What will a copy editor do for you?

A newspaper article shockingly advised new authors to “get someone such as an English teacher to help with the editing later if you’re not capable of it.”

The fact is, no writer is capable of it, not even editors who write. Even the most informed, intelligent, savvy writer needs an editor, who in no case should be an English teacher, unless that teacher works first and foremost as a professional copy editor. 

Copy editors do much more than correct grammar and punctuation. Their experience and background make them acutely aware of every factor involved in any kind of writing for publication.

One of those factors is conformity. Was her dress blue on page 4, but green on page 7? How did 90% on the graph become 6 out of 10 in the sidebar? A copy editor checks for conformity and accuracy in everything, including
     character and characteristics;
     geographical settings;     
     numerical comparisons and statistics;           
     technical and scientific references;     
     time of day, era, period, and timeline.

Copy editors do research to assure consistency in 
     quoted speech, 
     regional differences,
     dialects and other languages.

 And they check to verify
     religious and scientific allusions; 
     quotations and attributions.

Finally, copy editors make sure the finished manuscript has shape, flows smoothly, and is as polished as a diamond. 

Every writer puts heart and soul into writing. How sad it is that so many lose the opportunity for publication due to lack of good copyediting. Those who self-publish but skip copyediting miss the opportunity to build reputation and readership. 

It simply comes down to this: when an author feels that work on a manuscript is finished, it’s time to turn to a professional copy editor to make that writing shine.


© 2015 by Jenny Garden