Copy-editing

Copy-editing is the second stage of editing for publication, and takes place after structural editing.
     The copy-editor reads through the typescript to carry out a more in-depth check of the text before it is typeset to produce a proof copy (a trial print of the finished book), checking for continuity problems, loose ends, inconsistencies, irrelevant detail, repetition, factual errors, spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors...to name a few!
     At the copy-editing stage, there will be some back and forth with the client in order to resolve minor queries, but there should be no major rewriting required, or carried out, by the author.
     By now, the fundamentals of the story are sound, but the finer detail may still need attention.
How I work: At the copy-editing stage of the project, I work with the revised digital version of the typescript, so onscreen (usually a Microsoft Word document). Using Word's Track Changes feature, I add comments and queries, insert and/or delete text, and may amend the formatting. Again, some back and forth with the client is required, and I generally work on a chapter by chapter basis. This enables me to provide regular updates and to maintain a consistent focus on the project - for both of us! - so as not to drift off course. This can, and does, happen, as life always finds a way to interfere!

How long will it take? Copy-editing is quicker than structural editing, but is still dependent on word count and editor-author response times. In traditional publishing, copy-editing can take up to four to five readings of a typescript, but that is not be practical for me, and would also prove to be very expensive for the client. Allow up to six weeks for copy-editing to be carried out.

How much will it cost? Due to the nature of my work, I generally pick up copy-editing issues during a structural edit; however, the two stages need to be carried out separately, and I still have to read through the typescript to carry out a thorough copy-edit. My fee for copy-editing is combined with my fee for structural editing: £10 per 1,000 words (the copy-editing fee being £4.00 per 1,000 words). Note that copy-editing is not offered without structural editing unless the client can prove that their typescript has been structurally edited.

What happens next? After copy-editing is complete, the next stage is to prepare the text to become the printed version of the book. See Typesetting.
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