What is copy-editing?


Copy-editing involves checking:

  • Spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • Capitalisation and hyphenation
  • Consistency
  • Accuracy
  • Writing style, readability and suitability for the intended audience

A copy-editor will also:

  • Flag up any ambiguities and anomalies for the author’s attention
  • Correct or query doubtful facts
  • Check illustrations, graphs and tables for clarity, accuracy and suitability
  • Make sure headings match up with the correct chapters, sections and illustrations
  • Flag up potential legal issues for the author’s attention
  • Make sure that the document is suitably formatted for the typesetter

There is a very comprehensive description on the Society for Editors & Proofreaders website of what a copy-editor does.


Which type of editing do I need?


Copy-editing covers a broader range of issues in more depth than proofreading. If you are not sure which service you need, we would recommend that you opt for a ‘proof-edit’, which is a hybrid of copy-editing and proofreading. In traditional publishing, your work would be copy-edited first, and then proofread after coming back from the typesetter. Proof-editing merges those two stages. This means that there is a risk of formatting errors creeping in during the typesetting process, but these are likely to be minor and outweighed by the benefits of the greater editorial input.

All our copy-editing and proofreading is carried out by our Director, Catherine Dunn, who is a professional member of the Society for Editors & Proofreaders (SfEP) and abides by their Code of Conduct. You can read more about her at www.catherinedunn.co.uk.

Please note that although they are both called ‘editing’, copy-editing is a different thing from structural editing. Where copy-editing looks at the fine detail, structural editing looks at the big picture, and includes in-depth suggestions for your writing style, characterisation and plot development. We don’t provide this service but we recommend the highly experienced Cressida Downing over at The Book Analyst. She can also provide you with a professional assessment of your chances of publication, with suggestions for improvement.


How much will it cost?


The cost of the service depends on the length, type and complexity of your manuscript. If you’re interested in our copy-editing service, contact us, send us your manuscript and we’ll provide you with a no-obligation quotation. Before we go ahead with the job we’ll come to an agreement with you about exactly what will be included, so you can feel confident that costs won’t spiral out of control if the job takes longer than expected.

When we quote for you, we’ll send you a sample of our suggested changes so that you can see the approach we’ve taken and decide whether it meets your expectations.

We are happy to work on your manuscript in hard copy, in Word with tracked changes, or in pdf with comments – whichever way suits you best. We can raise queries as we go along, in batches, or at the end, depending on your preference. We’ll provide the individual, tailored service you need throughout the copy-editing process.

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