Do all books need a copyeditor?
Some authors believe they can edit their own work or that hiring an editor is too expensive.
As a reviewer for many books, I’ve seen errors in words, subject-verb agreement errors, and errors in punctuation and grammar, also typos.
This seems especially true for self-published books.
Have you seen these same errors on the Internet as I have?
In some cases, it appears that spending time on social media is a detriment to proper English.
If you want to hook readers with your writing, can you afford not to have a copyeditor handy.
Will a copyeditor cost you money? Yes. Is not having a copyeditor costly? Yes. I know of copyediting for as low as one dollar a page. A page of a double-spaced manuscript is roughly two-hundred and fifty words. Is that reasonable?
Each author will have to determine that for themselves.
There is a big difference between copyedited and not copyedited to the reader and whether they enjoyed the book and they want more of what the author offers in the future.
Not have books edited is one reason for the perception that shelf-published books are of low quality garnering a less than professionally written reputation.
Thinking of having your manuscript edited?
You should have a professional editor check your work
There are different types of editors.
These are the most familiar with ones:
Taken from The Chicago Manual of Style Ed.15
Developmental editor: “Developmental editing addresses more radically the content of a work, the way material should be presented, the need for more or less documentation and how it should be handled, and so on. Since editing of this kind may involve rewriting or reorganization of a work; it should be done---if need---before manuscript editing begins.”
Copyeditor: “Mechanical editing. Copyediting involves two processes. The first, being concerned with the mechanics of written communication, is known as mechanical editing. It refers to the consistency in capitalization, spelling, hyphenation, table format, use of abbreviations, and so forth; correctness of punctuation, including ellipsis points, parentheses, and quotation marks; the way numbers are treated; consistency between text, tables, and illustrations; citation format.; and other matters of style…”
Substantive editor: “Substantive editing deals with the organization and presentation of existing content. It involves rephrasing for smoothness or to eliminate ambiguity, reorganizing or tightening, reducing or simplifying documentation, recasting tables, and other remedial activities.”
The different types of editors can help you produce the best work possible for readability that book readers have a right to expect from authors.
Books should have a certain flow, consistency, clearness of what the author is saying.
As an author, do you have a favorite word? A word repeated over and over for no good reason. Editors should catch that as well as too many passive sentences and rewrite them as active sentences.
If a sentence is written in the passive sense, is it for pacing or just written passive, an editor should know and edit accordingly.
All authors should hire a professional editor
The marriage between author and editing creates the best work possible for the reader, which is what every author should strive for.
Yes, it will cost money to have a manuscript. There are editors that cost less than others. That doesn’t mean that the lower cost means less professional and more expensive mean better editing.
The main thing to look for in an editor is heir proficiency with English, American or United Kingdom English, which are different.
If a publisher has a specific style guide, your editor should become familiar with and follow the style he publisher desires.
When hiring an editor, ask these questions:
Do they want a hard copy or electronic copy in Microsoft Word, PDF, or some other format?
How will they show the changes they make?
What is the time fame for editing?
Are they willing to do a chapter for you to see how they edit?
How much they charge for editing, copyediting, developmental editing, substantive editing?
For manuscripts, most authors should look for a copyeditor. A copy editor should be able to tell if the manuscript needs a developmental editor, the author should also know if they are willing to take a red pencil to their manuscript or have a beta reader read the manuscript.
If an author is having trouble with the way their manuscript is advancing, a developmental editor may be required. Listen to your beta reader or someone to read it as a reader. You need honest feedback from a second pair of eyes on your manuscript for how the story reads.
Never take feedback from beta readers and editors as a personal affront to your writing.
We all make errors that we don’t see because we are too close to the work we create.
Typos happen to the best of us that we don’t see at the time because our brain sees what we thing rather than what’s on the page.
An editor should take the time and find miscues in spelling, grammar, punctuation, tense, typos, and more if they appear in the work.
Even with an edited work the printer is liable to make an error in final printing of your book.
Working with an editor insures the best error free copy sent to the publisher for printing.
When your work is printed, you might think about sending a reviewer an advanced review copy and ask them if they see any errors in the book as they read it. If the reviewer does see any errors, you have time to notify the publisher and have them corrected before mass distribution.
A reviewer should not charge you for reviewing your book. I’ve heard that there are some who do charge for reviewing.
Personally, I find that like paying someone for a biased review. Reviewers should only offer honest non biased reviews for the book. Many reviewers are willing to review the book as a PDF, Mobi, and other formats for Ereaders.
Check with the reviewer to see which format they are willing to read for review.
You can use the reviews as a selling and marketing of your book.
Does the reviewer have a book blog?
Will the reviewer post to sites you want?
Will the reviewer post the review to more than one site?
Will the reviewer post the review on their social platforms?
How long do they need to review your book?
Reviewers should send you a copy of the review for your approval and be willing to edit their review.
Authors should be willing to go through these steps to insure that the book buyers have in their hands is the best possible written work.
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer Learning Marketing