Copyediting or proofreading: What's the difference?
The descriptions here will give you an idea of what to expect. Please select a tab below to learn more. Regardless of which service you need, I respect your author's voice and your writing style while applying high editorial standards to help you present your work in the best possible light. If I am not comfortable with my ability to edit your project---for instance, if it's something highly technical or scientific---I'll let you know right away.
And if your manuscript isn't ready for copyediting?
Maybe it needs more plot development of "big-picture" editing---I'll be honest and tell you, so that you don't waste your money paying me to copyedit something that's going to be substantially changed. In either case, I can suggest where you might find someone better suited to your needs.
Select a tab below to view the description.
In proofreading a text, I look for the following basics:
- typos (spell-check doesn't distinguish between though and through, for example)
- errors in usage (such as principal when principle is meant)
- bad line breaks in proofs
- misplaced punctuation, such as periods outside quotation marks
- plus a number of other details both mechanical and verbal, such as matching the table of contents to chapter titles and so on
Ideally, proofreading is done as a final step before publication. Therefore, when proofreading, I assume sentences don't need rewriting. I assume questions of logic and coherence have been resolved---although of course I will alert you if I find something that is obviously wrong.
Ah, now we're having some fun! Copyediting can range from light to heavy. Although copyediting includes the basics of proofreading, it also goes a step (or more) further. In copyediting your text, I read your work line by line and do the following:
- correct faulty spelling, grammar, and punctuation
- write questions to you when something isn't clear or doesn't seem to make sense
- flag redundancies and suggest alternative wording if warranted
- ensure consistency in spelling, numbers, capitalization, names, and hyphenation
- flag or reword jargon
- smooth out awkward or confusing sentences
- ensure that any citations/notes are complete and that their style is consistent
- create a style sheet listing terms, character names, treatment of numbers, and so on for your individual piece
I stay alert to inaccuracies and write notes when I suspect or know that something is factually wrong. If I can find the answer quickly using trustworthy sources, I'll include that information, too, although accuracy is ultimately the author's responsibility. Ideally, after a text has been copyedited, it will be thoroughly proofread before publication.
I can Americanize texts originally written in British English and polish manuscripts that have been translated into English from other languages.
I suggest American words for British terms that may confuse American readers, such as dessert for pudding or sandpaper for glasspaper. I also convert metric measurements to US customary measurements---and vice versa, if that's what the project calls for.
I generally charge a flat project fee after I see a sample of your work and have some idea what it requires and what you want and expect. That way you know the cost up front. However, some work lends itself better to an hourly rate. We can talk about what makes the most sense for your project.
My definition of a page is based on the assumption of 250 words per page, regardless of the variations in computer layout.