Copy editing is the process of checking the punctuation, grammar, spelling, appropriateness of language use & clarity of a text.
Whether your text is a 60,000 word book or a 10-page newsletter, copy editing can add value by improving the language & accessibility of information as well as ensuring accuracy & professional standards.
- The 1st step is a thorough briefing, which will include details of your timeframe & budget. Once we understand your purpose & expectations we can assess the text & offer suggestions.
- We’ll run macros to eliminate common errors & to make other useful global changes.
- We’ll then do a quick on-screen edit to remove grammatical errors whilst making note of any style & content issues that need to be discussed.
- We’ll print out a hardcopy & read through it carefully to correct errors & inconsistencies whilst marking up any points for discussion.
- Where appropriate we’ll prepare page proofs & discuss problems with the author.
- Finally, we’ll enter any author changes into the file & print out another copy to check that changes were all entered cleanly.
A proofreader provides a new pair of eyes to do a final check of your publication, to pick up any typos or howling errors that are likely to get between your reader & your message.
Proofreading assumes structure & grammatical checks have already been run, so a proofread generally won’t revisit these areas in any depth. It just picks up anything that’s clearly wrong & needs correction.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to read words despite their letters being jumbled?
If you’ve written copy yourself or read it several times already, it’s very hard to actually slow down your reading to carefully check things are as they should be.
A fresh pair of eyes will read exactly what’s there, with no expectations & can often more easily pick up typos & errors.
- Do your figures add up?
- Are your styles consistently applied?
- Is there any text missing (especially at page turns)?
- Do tables, figures & charts get referenced consistently, with correct numbers & labels?
- Is everything indexed correctly?
A good proofread will ensure it is.
If you’re a new author, getting started can feel a bit like fumbling around in the dark. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Producing a large document with lots of information requires careful thought to structure & organisation.
Piecing together a book or a large report is a very different skill to simply writing an interesting paragraph.
If you haven’t walked this path before, it’s natural to get lost & wander off track.
- Where do you begin?
- How can you ensure your style is consistent?
- Where does the topic start & finish?
- Will you need to prepare several drafts?
- How can you make the information flow without jumping back & forth?
I can help you to map out a plan, using sequential groups of ideas as stepping stones to keep your structure on track.
Once you’ve put together a detailed template of ideas – each leading into the next & taking your reader through your topic – all that will remain will be to flesh out this skeleton structure in your own words.
Discussing your ideas with an experienced editor before you start can make the process a lot easier. And constructive feedback & corrections on early drafts can help to transform your ideas into a finished product that publishers & clients will more easily consume.