Copyediting

A friendly approach to copyediting

I approach your writing with genuine enthusiasm and positivity. When you choose me to copyedit your writing, I am honored and delighted. You will never hear a stern word from me—just cheerful questions, positivity, and explanations for my proposed changes.

Even the best writers in the world need a good copyeditor. And yes, even those writers end up with a marked-up manuscript! Unless you are fascinated by memorizing thousands of rules, just enjoy focusing on the writing. No need to pause to look up some debatable rule—a rule that might vary from source to source or from year to year.

What I do

  • Make writing consistent and polished
  • Adhere to a set of professional guidelines (Chicago, AP, etc.)
  • Make the content as clear as possible for a reader
  • Query or explain in a friendly manner where necessary

What I don’t do*

  • Gleefully embark on a red-pen power trip
  • Scold or make snobby comments
  • Water down your writing style

*I have never worked with a copyeditor who does these things. I’ve only read stories!

Relaxed but thorough copyediting

I have worked on the author’s side of the table. I know the copyediting process can feel like your writing is being judged. I know how it feels to think, “No! Why did the copyeditor change that? My way was better!”

I get it. That’s why I explain my suggestions and offer potential solutions in a way I would appreciate if I were the author. I love helping writers feel confident knowing their finished product isn’t riddled with errors or distractions—that it’s polished, professional, and clear.

I don’t rewrite your words or water down your writing style at all. If rewriting is necessary for sentence structure, I only rearrange what is necessary. If more modifications are needed, I will simply offer an idea for revising. If you disagree with a change I’ve proposed, no problem, unless it’s a rule your publisher must follow. I don’t change things just to change them. My copyediting approach is relaxed but thorough!

My copyediting process and tools

I read your book from beginning to end just like a reader. I get into the story you are telling. I laugh. I cry. (At the story, not the errors!) I highlight, but I don’t go chopping away at any material until I fully understand the context. I work with the forest first, the trees second.

The style guides are fantastic for creating some consistent rules we can consult. But if following a rule causes undue awkwardness, I will follow the number one rule—clarity. I use the most up-to-date Chicago Manual of Style for books and this year’s AP Stylebook for media and web, but I can work with any style guide and publisher’s house rules you prefer.

I also enjoy editing source citations. (A weird thing to enjoy, I know!) As long as all the information is there, I’ll standardize the formatting of your bibliography, endnotes or footnotes, and in-text citations to perfection, check cross-references, ensure notes correspond with the text, and properly harmonize the bibliography and notes.

I work in Word for ease of comments and revisions, but you are welcome to send the file to me in any format you like, including InDesign. I also have experience with basic HTML and CSS for text, so I can usually incorporate that if needed. (I also do indexing if you are in need!)

A copyeditor who knows the style guides

As you can see from my posts on this website, I enjoy studying and comparing the latest style guide rules and recommendations. I write quick guides to concisely round up the most frequently consulted rules in one place. I consult my posts often! I hope they come in handy for other writers and editors too.

Of course, if I’m your copyeditor, you don’t need to worry about those rules unless you’re especially interested. I’ll handle those details for you!

The majority of my work has been with nonfiction books and university presses—formal scholarly writing. But a less formal style and tone can be perfect when the medium calls for it—this page, for instance. I am comfortable copyediting writing that falls anywhere on the informal-to-formal spectrum.

An easy-to-work-with copyeditor

I can work with publishers or directly with authors. When working with a publisher, I always introduce myself to the author via email and make myself available for any questions. I adhere to the deadlines of the schedule we’ve agreed on beforehand.

I live in Kansas City, Missouri, but I work virtually with authors and publishers all over the U.S., communicating by email, phone, and mail.

The process

1. When I’m finished copyediting, I will email you the Word files. If you are hesitant about working with Word’s revision tracking system, I created a good how-to with screenshots that might be helpful.

2. When you have made all your revisions, either email or ship it back to me.

3. If you have questions on the revisions, I will respond to those.

4. I will clean up the files and send them on to the publisher or to you.

5. If it’s a book, you’ll likely get one more chance to proofread it during the indexing phase. (I also do indexing if you’re looking for someone!)