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Copy editing vs Proofreading: What's the difference?

hello and welcome to another article  today we're going to talk about the difference between copy editing and proofreading this is an area of confusion often authors believe that they are one in the same and that if they paid for copy editing they get proofreading and vice versa so they are two separate services and in this article i'm going to explain how they differ and why you should consider using both of these services. 

 so what is copy editing copy editing ensures that your language and how you have written the book supports your intent so what does that mean in a bit more detail it means that the story you're looking to achieve or the feel you're looking to achieve for the book for example with a horror book um you would want to make sure that your language was consistent with that genre and consistent with the story that you're trying to tell that means that your word choices would be you know darker or uh ominous you know it's ensuring that you're using the right language to tell the story that you are looking to tell the other element of copy editing is it's designed to make the most readable version of your book and what that means is that if you are trying to convey a point and you are using very complicated language or jargon the copy editor would look and suggest alternative ways of phrasing that sentence to make sure that it could be understood by a larger number of people you know put very simply they just want to make sure that you convey your message clearly to your reader and the final part is then going to be incorrect facts or anomalies.

 so for example have you called a certain character john and then perhaps the name has changed to michael or did you mean to write michael but perhaps you wrote john so looking for anomalies inconsistencies in your text perhaps you know you've used a certain word to describe um a house you know the entire way through you've used a certain word and then it switches to another word it's just trying to make sure that the manuscript as a whole is is tight effectively so there aren't these um anomalies inconsistencies so that while the reader is going through your book they enjoy understand everything is clear when reading your manuscript and your text those are the do's those are the things that the copy editor does do and then there are a few things that the copy editor doesn't do will be characterization plot and pacing so characterization plot and pacing are not included in the copy edit these would form more of a structural edit and go much further in the case of characters you can actually pay to have a character edit and we recommend those in situations where the book is very complicated from a character perspective particularly if you are writing a series and you have a huge number of characters within the series that it would be very important in that instance to have a character edit the same can be said for the plot so if you have a complicated plot you would probably want to consider a um you know plot edit so someone actually going in and their sole purpose is just to check the plot for any inconsistency.
now we'll talk about proofreading so how is proofreading different to copy editing proofreading is focused on grammatical issues so this would be things for example such as capitalization so perhaps in some at the start of some sentences you've forgotten to add you know a capital letter or perhaps there are commas missing full stops missing um inconsistencies like that and errors in your grammar is what a proofreader is looking for they will also be looking for inconsistencies in your grammar so perhaps you have used um you know you've used speech marks that were the double lines and then in some places maybe you use the curly speech marks so they'll look for little things like that and just look to tighten it up and keep everything consistent they will also look for formatting issues as well so they will have a look and see if you know paragraphs have been split up if there are any kind of formatting issues with the book um that should that need to be amended so that is the difference between the copy edit and the proofread so to go over and summarize copyedit is very much making sure that your language supports your intent supports the overarching story and really the copied editor is checking the manuscript from a more holistic level for inconsistencies proofreading on the other hand is all about grammar so it's very much about looking for grammatical errors and grammatical inconsistencies in your work when authors work with us we actually send back a clean version of the manuscript and then we also send back a tracked changes version of the manuscript.

 a clean version is where we have done all the edits and we've included absolutely everything and then a tracked changes version has all the edits you can see what we've edited and you can approve or you can deny those changes so you can go through and say yes i want to change that or actually i spelt that word a particular way for effect the one final point is do remember editors are not robots so we always reinforce this you may still find the odd little issue here or there you can look at any book that has been through a major publisher has perhaps been through five or six edits in some instances and there will still be the odd comma in the wrong place or you know the odd type holders are very forgiving they're not going to mind most of them probably won't even notice but what you do want to avoid is having a manuscript that is absolutely riddled with mistakes that is quoted as one of the biggest turn-offs for readers and one of the biggest reasons they will leave a bad review is if the manuscript as a whole is full of inconsistencies errors grammatical mistakes that's just going to turn them off entirely we would highly recommend copy editing and proofreading it just makes sure that your book is in its best possible format for release you know it's the best it can be when it's been through a professional copy edit and proofread so that is one area definitely to invest the money when you are publishing once again i hope you have enjoyed this article.

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