Copyediting or Proofreading?

Choosing the editing service that best fits your manuscript can be a bit daunting.  There are many definitions of editing, copyediting and proofreading in the market place and each editor will provide a different scope of service.

In an ideal world where budget allows, your book will go through an initial macro-edit which looks at all the main storytelling elements such as

  • theme
  • plot
  • structure
  • characterisation
  • pace etc.

This could be in the form of a manuscript critique/assessment or a more in-depth developmental edit. The point here is to give you an objective view of your novel as a whole, and it will raise any major issues so you can make rewrites ahead of more intensive sentence and word-level edits, known as copyediting and proofreading.

I edit at sentence and word-level, so I offer copyediting and proofreading.

Copyediting: correcting the text

Copyediting aims for accuracy, clarity and consistency throughout the manuscript. This stage comes after a macro-edit and before a proofread.

I don’t just look at standard spelling, grammar and punctuation. For example, I also look at:

  • consistency in industry-standard document format (e.g. paragraph indentations, chapter breaks, extra spaces at the end of paragraphs, incorrect spaces before punctuation etc.)
  • correct punctuation of dialogue
  • correct word usage and missing words
  • consistency in the narrative (e.g. switching between third and first person, accidental tense changes)
  • accidental sentence, paragraph or scene repetitions (e.g. where redrafting has taken place)

To find a comprehensive list of included elements, I’ve put together a copyediting and proofreading comparison for you.

Copyediting is suitable for novels and novellas.

Proofreading: polishing the text

A proofread is the final polish at the end of the editing process. It checks to ensure everything is where it should be, and it’s the final chance to catch any last errors that may have slipped through ahead of the novel being released to the public.

A note of advice here though: unless a novel has been through a copyedit (even better a macro-edit too), I would not recommend just a proofread. My proofreading service includes some elements of a copyedit; however, it does not improve the text.

Proofreading is suitable for author websites, blogs, short stories and edited manuscripts.

What you can expect if you work with me

At the end of the project, you will receive two files:

  • File 1 displays all the edits I’ve made through Track Changes and all the Comments prior to any edits being accepted. This shows you everything I’ve done.
  • File 2 displays only the Comments: all the edits have been accepted. This means you can easily find any queries without being distracted by edits made within the text.

You’ll also receive:

  • a Style Sheet for the manuscript. This is a quick reference guide which records your preferences in spelling and punctuation, as well as the most important editorial and stylistic decisions I’ve made. It’s my aid to ensure consistency, but it will also help you to understand the reasoning behind my edits.
  • one email correspondence within one month from the date you received the finished edits to answer any questions you may have and to clarify anything you’re unsure of. However if, at this point, you wish to make additional edits, these would need to be treated as a new project.

If you’re interested in working with me on your self-publishing journey, contact me here and let’s start a conversation.

Your work was wonderful, prompt replies, delivered on time, answered every question, wonderful copyediting and proofreading skills. I will recommend you to everyone without hesitation. – T Sumrein