Editing for Clarity and Accuracy

The copyediting I offer involve fixing mechanical errors that could distract readers. The goal is to smooth out the technical issues so readers will stay fully absorbed in the story.

Some of the main things I look for are issues with grammar and punctuation that could make your story harder to read. I also flag words that are used incorrectly or lack clarity, and I correct mistakes and inconsistencies in spelling and capitalization.

Copyediting for narrative consistency

In addition to checking for mechanical errors, a copyeditor of fiction looks for consistency within the story itself.

As I edit, I flag internal contradictions that could distract or confuse your readers.

For example, I will note conflicting descriptions of characters and places. I’ll also point out lines of dialogue that don’t reflect how a certain character normally speaks.

Big-picture issues

You should wait to get copyediting until the developmental issues in your manuscript have been thoroughly resolved.

That being said, sometimes big-picture issues slip through anyway.

Even though these problems are not the focus of copyediting, I will draw your attention to any broader issues that need to be addressed, especially those that are easy to fix without significant adjustments to the surrounding text.

My style guides and references

The main reference book I use is for copyediting is The Chicago Manual of Style. I also have familiarity with a few others including the Associated Press (AP) style guide.

To verify that there are no misused words to confuse your readers or make your writing less clear, I refer to Merriam-Webster’s dictionaries and Garner’s Modern English Usage

What it looks like:

  • You send me your manuscript as a Word document
  • I send back the manuscript with my edits in redlining
  • A style sheet accompanies the manuscript showing each style choice that I enforced throughout the manuscript
  • I provide a review letter that gives feedback on the manuscript as a whole and how to navigate the revision process
  • You accept/reject my changes with track changes enabled, and I incorporate your choices into the final version to ensure no errors are inadvertently introduced

Blurbs & Marketing Advice

Because copyedits typically happen shortly before publication, I provide blurb editing and marketing advice for most of the manuscripts I work with.

This includes advice on how to attract your target readers in your marketing materials and which sub-genre categories are the best fit.

Additional Marketing & Publishing Help

I don't just want to make your book better; I also want to help you sell it, whether directly to readers or to a publisher.

All my edits for self-publishers include blurb editing and Amazon keyword research at no extra cost. I also provide some marketing advice, coaching, and moral support through the self-publishing process.

All of my edits for authors who plan to pursue traditional publishing include query editing at no extra cost as well as advice and moral support.

Most editors don't offer these services, and those that do can be difficult to find.

There are people who offer these as standalone services, but those people haven't read your full manuscript and therefore can't advise you to the level that I'm able to.

Not what you’re looking for?

Maybe your manuscript isn’t quite ready for the copyediting described here. In that case, check out my other editing services. or my article that breaks down each type of editing in more detail.

If you think there might be any big-picture issues in your manuscript, you might want to start with a developmental edit. Getting a copyedit later on will go much more smoothly if you have already spent time on developmental editing.

Combining a Copyedit with a Line Edit

You may be interested in copyediting but also want a little extra help making your words flow and improving the writing quality of your manuscript. If this is your situation, contact me to see if a copy/line edit combination could be right for you.

Doing each of them separately allows for more attention to detail and produces a higher quality result, but bundling them together can help you save money.