FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROOFREADING AND COPYEDITING?

Once a novel is completely finished and content edited, a proofreader goes over it, looking for spelling errors or typos that the editor may have missed. The proofreader also looks for formatting problems (like missing sections, cut-off words, or skipped pages). Because of this, it’s best to employ a proofreader after you’ve completely formatted your novel.

Copyediting occurs after it has gone through a developmental edit. Copyeditors focus on the details, rather than the big picture or layout of a novel. For example, we don’t suggest major changes to plot, character development, or pacing. Our main goal is to eliminate errors, make sure the words flow well, and improve the readability of the story.

DO I NEED A COPYEDITOR? CAN I DO IT MYSELF?

We’re in a wonderful age of indie publishing, when it’s so much easier to get your story told and out there for everyone to see. So why can’t authors just read over their own stories one more time and take care of all those errors themselves? Part of the problem is “typo blindness.” It’s what happens when you think what you’ve just read is completely correct, but you’ve missed errors. You’ve missed them because you’re the author of the idea you’re reading. Since you know exactly what you’re about to read, your brain fills in any gaps or problems to help you reach the intended conclusion. This can happen to anyone, even expert writers.

WHAT KIND OF EDITING DO YOU DO?

I’m a copyeditor. I do all I can to ensure that your manuscript is completely free from errors.

On my Services page, you can see a list of exactly what I look for when editing a manuscript.

DO YOU DO DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING?

No, I don’t provide developmental-editing services (it’s a different skill set). I highly recommend doing some sort of developmental editing before coming to see me. Any big changes you want to make to the story need to happen before I copyedit. If changes are made after I copyedit your manuscript, then you could end up with errors in your novel.

CAN YOU COPYEDIT A SAMPLE OF MY WORK?

Yes, I can edit a sample of your work for free. Simply contact me to send me a request for a sample. I’ll respond as soon as I can with an estimate on when I’ll be able to schedule it for you. I will copyedit five pages when I do a sample. Your sample will need to be in twelve-point Times New Roman font, double spaced.

DO YOU COPYEDIT MANUSCRIPTS IN OTHER LANGUAGES?

No. Even though I’m intrigued by other languages, I’m only fluent in English. Therefore, if a foreign language is present in your manuscript, I can’t guarantee that it will be accurate.

WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE YOU AS MY COPYEDITOR?

I’m very acquainted with English language rules, as all copyeditors should be. But there is a delicate balance between having everything grammatically correct and keeping a story “human.” Each writer has his or her own writing style, and I believe that that style should be retained throughout the editing process. The authors I edit for still hear their voices in their work after I’m done editing. I don’t take that away. I do all I can to help writers reach their ultimate goal—to have a well-written, error-free novel that fully captivates its readers.

I also write notes to the author while I’m copyediting. These notes explain why I made certain changes. This is important for a couple of reasons. First, I think the writer should know if I’m making a change based on an important English rule or if I simply think it sounds better that way. I wouldn’t want the writer to reject my change because he or she thinks it’s not that important when really it’s an English rule that should be followed. Readers notice when rules are broken, and that can negatively influence reviews. Second, I genuinely want to help the writers I work with become better at their art. If I observe the same grammar mistake made throughout the novel, then I’ll write a note explaining that particular rule to help the writer understand it better.

You’re welcome to contact an author I’ve copyedited for to ask about the quality of my work.

Jackie Jones, Copyeditor

Seattle, Washington, and Beyond

Jackie@JJcopyediting.com

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