The copyedit is the last stage in the process of bringing a manuscript to publication, and it is the last time the manuscript will be reviewed before being typeset and laid out in book format. All substantive changes should already have been made by this point. Copyeditors may tighten up the text to eliminate wordiness and increase readability, move text around to improve logic, and smooth awkward transitions, but substantive changes should be few.
Copyeditors look for errors in
- sentence organization
- writing style
- grammar and usage
- spelling and punctuation
- house style.
Copyeditors perform a similar function to proofreaders; the difference between these two professionals is their place in the publishing process and the type of errors corrected. Copyeditors perform their job when the manuscript is still in Microsoft Word files, before the manuscript has been laid out by the designer. Sometimes a proofreader may work on a manuscript before layout, but proofreaders usually work in PDF files or on hard copy (paper) after the typesetter or desktop publisher has laid out the manuscript to look like the final product. Copyeditors correct all types of grammatical and punctuation errors, whereas proofreaders correct only egregious errors and mistakes in layout. Therefore, copyeditors are the last line of defense against bad writing.
April Michelle Davis has been the executive director of the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) since 2018. Prior to that, she was NAIWE’s Social Media Marketing Expert. NAIWE is an association that focuses on career building for writers, editors, and other professionals in the publishing industry by developing multiple streams of income; it helps its members market their products and services through social media, newsletters, and more.
She is also the coordinator for the Virginia chapter of the Editorial Freelancers Association, a lifetime member of the American Copy Editors Society, and a freelance editor, indexer, proofreader, and author. April Michelle has taught courses through her own company, Editorial Inspirations, as well as for associations and colleges on topics such as editing, indexing, grammar, writing, and creating macros.
Her credentials include a master’s degree in publishing from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Messiah College, as well as certificates in editing (University of Virginia), book publishing (University of Virginia), and professional editing (EEI Communications).
April Michelle has shared her insights about her career development by contributing quotes and vignettes to several books. She has presented sessions on various editorial topics to many groups, including the Virginia Writers Club, the Communication Central conference, Randolph-Macon College, the Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, the EFA, Copyediting newsletter, RavenCon, and the Hanover Book Festival. In addition, April Michelle has published three books.
Leave a Reply