The Importance of Copy Editing in Self-Publishing
Not many people will continue reading a book that is full of mistakes and typos. This is because errors diminish the readability and overall quality of the book. Fortunately, this type of problem is easily remedied by a qualified copy editor. Unlike editors who provide content editing, which deals with things like plot and character development, copy editors look for problematic grammar, continuity issues, difficult-to-follow content, incorrect punctuation, and other mistakes.
Copy editing is one of the most recommended things a writer can possibly do when publishing their book. Using correct and coherent language in your book will not only help readers stay focused on the great story you’re trying to tell, but is critical for getting positive book reviews, gaining media attention, and increasing the changes of your book being considered by bookstores and, possibly, by publishing companies. In other words, if your book isn’t readable, it isn’t marketable.
What will a copy editor do with my manuscript?
The goal of any good copy editor is to correct the language of a manuscript in order to achieve a marketable level of readability. Editing may include corrections for grammar, word usage, spelling, punctuation, internal consistency, typos, and other mechanics of style such as flow, formatting, and syntax. Depending on the individual copy editor and your agreement with them, the editor may make changes directly to the text or may notate changes so that you can see and approve of whatever changes they make.
What do I need to know about working with a copy editor?
Your copy editor might make recommendations that you are unhappy with. After all, your writing is the sum of your energy, time, work and enthusiasm. Indeed, it is all of these things that you need in order to produce your book, but understand that a good editor knows this and is suggesting changes to make your book better. Some writers feel that their editor “didn’t get them” when they make substantial changes to a text, but trust that your editor is a professional and knows what they are doing. It is their job to make your book the best it possibly can be, so prepare yourself for feedback, criticism and direction.
What do I do now?
At this point, focus on your writing and make sure to hire an experienced, reputable copy editor when you have a finished manuscript. Don’t do any copy editing until you are completely done writing and revising—it is a waste of your time and money if you hire an editor and then make changes to the edited work. It is also useful to read through your finished manuscript yourself before seeking out professional editing services. Catching your own mistakes will make you a better writer and cutting unnecessary words will save you money, since many copy editors charge by the word.