What is Copy Editing… and Do You Need It?
Everybody makes mistakes, especially during the white-hot process of blazing through your latest passion project. No matter what, employ a copy editor. This is the most important quality assurance step before publication. I’ve been copy editing text of various forms for almost twenty years, and there are always mistakes. No one can avoid them. Skipping this process is the quickest and easiest way to mark yourself as an amateur.
Cost of Copy Edit
Less than 5k words – $0.05 per word
6k-25k word manuscript – $0.045 per word
26k-69k word manuscript – $0.04 per word
70k+ word manuscript – $0.035 per word
5k – 25k words = 1 week
3k – 65k words = 2-3 weeks
70k – 100k words = 3-4 weeks
110k+ words = 4-5 weeks
How is copy editing different from line editing?
Here’s how Grammarly.com describes copy editing:
“The tasks involved in copy editing include checking written material for grammar, spelling, style, and punctuation issues before it’s prepared for proofreading. A copy editor may also do a rewrite, if necessary, to fix any problems with transitions, wordiness, jargon, and to ensure the style of the piece fits with the publication. This work is known as revision.”
In the course of a copy edit, I pick out typos, punctuation errors, grammatical mistakes, descriptive inconsistencies and other errors. I may also line edit in certain areas that contain flagrant weaknesses, though line editing will not be the focus of a copy editing project.
Here’s how Masterclass.com describes line editing:
“More art than science, line editing ensures that the sentences in a book or article are as effective as they can be. A line editor is attentive to the writer’s individual style (for that reason, the job is sometimes called stylistic editing) and approaches the manuscript as a careful reader.”
“A line editor works line-by-line, tightening up sentence structure so the language is sharp and clear. They look closely at how a writer’s word choice and syntax contributes to the tone or emotion of a piece of writing. Finally, a line editor is concerned with the overall pacing and logical flow of a piece.
Big difference, though both are very important toward maintaining quality throughout your manuscript. I would recommend a line edit first to upgrade the literary quality of your sentences and finesse your book’s prose style, then follow up with a copy edit to make sure everything is squeaky clean.