Six reasons why self-published authors should have their work copy edited before publication.
Copy editors help ensure work due for self-publication, or submission to an agent or publisher, is the best it can be. Many, like myself, work on a freelance basis and you’d be wise to check not only their fees, but their editorial function beforehand. Their role should include:
- Correcting spelling, grammatical and typographical errors.
- Checking consistency of style, particularly where co-authorship is involved or when a novel has been written over a long period of time.
- Querying inconsistency in plot and character traits. Again, this is easily done particularly if the author has had a significant time break away from the work.
- Spotting over-writing or awkward sentence structure and suggesting alternatives.
- Highlights conflicting statements.
- Ensuring continuity of presentation.
A copy editor employed by a publisher may also check facts and potentially libellous statements, though the responsibility of both is more commonly put in the hands of the author and noted as such in the publishing contract.
Maureen Vincent-Northam is the co-author of The Writer’s ABC Checklist and a regular contributor to markets aimed at writers. She is a freelance copy editor, having worked on several anthologies and a good number of novels. Previously co-editor of a Unison Health & Safety newsletter, she now co-edits Writelinkers, an e-zine publication that features the work of Writelink members.