In its simplest form, copy-editing is the process of editing your manuscript for errors such as typos, incorrect punctuation, language usage and general grammar. A copy-edit ensures that your manuscript is presented in a clear and effective way to the reader. All editorial or structural issues should be fixed before the copy-editing stage.
Whilst the principles of editing remain the same, when it comes to copy-editing fiction, there are elements of style, syntax, writer's voice and world-building to take into account. A skilled editor will be able to make any adjustments needed whilst maintaining the writer's style and voice.
Copy-editing a fiction manuscript involves looking at consistency, both within the written style and within the world created by the author. It also covers consistency of character attributes, natural sounding dialogue, pace and fluency of writing, lengthy or clunky sentence construction, repetition and word usage, and timelines where relevant. Where necessary the editor will also focus on the use of either US English or UK English according to the author's preference.
Have you already had a manuscript appraisal?
We tend to only recommend copy-editing to authors who have previously had feedback on their manuscript and are in their very final stage of drafts. The reason being, that if it becomes clear that the manuscript still needs some tweaks in terms of plot, structure or characterisation, then changes may still need to be made after the copy-edit. You may then need another copy edit further down the line - never good for the finances or the morale.
You can find out more about our manuscript appraisal service here.
Are you planning to self-publish?
In this instance we would highly recommend a copy-edit. Again, however, we would only recommend it once you have been through a manuscript appraisal. If you are self-publishing, there is very little filter between your book and your potential readers. It's important to have everything looked over by a professional editor before you let your manuscript out into the world.
Are you a US author looking for validation of UK language, style and setting?
If you are a US author or an author from another country and you are looking to check that your characters are using the right phrases, slang and mannerisms, or that locations and procedures are correct, then a copy-edit is ideal for you.
Are you planning on traditional publishing?
If you are planning to submit your work to a literary agent to go down the traditional publishing route, then it is likely that if your work is taken on by a publisher, they will do their own in-house copy-editing. So, it is worth bearing in mind that any edits that are made in this scenario may be subject to change by a publisher.
Request an instant free quote for your work by completing our no obligation quote form below.
You will then be sent an email with details on how to go ahead with the work and how to send your manuscript through to the team. One of the team will then be in touch with more details.
Copy-editing usually takes a minimum of three weeks and possibly longer during our busy periods.
PLEASE NOTE: Our copy-editing services are for manuscripts only. We do not provide a website copy-editing service.