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Posts Tagged ‘copyediting’

Yes, it is a superhero talent to weed through and catch every error from comma placement to sentence structure to checking historical facts. And after all that, they still comprehend the work enough to make sweeping editorial changes!

How do they do all that?

I’m completely impressed by my editor’s talents. Both times I sent my ms to her I thought, I really feel like a caught everything this time. And both times, my ms came back painted with insertions, deletions, and editorial suggestions. My editor is the person who double-checks my parachute before I jump out the airplane. That added bit of confidence that I have produced the best novel that I can is priceless. Although, even with that extra pack inspection, every parachutist still has a backup parachute.

A proofreader (or copyeditor) is that extra parachute.

It’s important to get another pair of discerning eyes to pick up on the oversights the first editor missed. As authors, we’ve all experienced the moment when someone points out an obvious error and you say to yourself, I must have read that sentence a hundred times before, how could I have missed that!  Well, your editor is only human–although mine is as close to superhero as you can get–and they can overlook as well. Since my editor is making comments on practically every other sentence, things can get harder to spot. I do send it back for a second look through, but again, things may still slip on by.

Since the sequel is much longer (epicly long), I toyed with the idea that maybe I didn’t need a proofreader since my first editor is so amazing. The proofreader did find a few instances where she really saved my professional tukus in the first novel, but my editor caught most of the problems. So the cheap side of me tried to overcome the perfectionist side of me, but my OCD girl won out, and I opened up my wallet to hire the proofreader as well. The good news is that a proofread usually costs half of what the editor costs.

Phew! Was I glad I did get the proofread!

It must have been because this book is so much longer that it caused more opportunities for oversight, but she really caught some critical things. At one point I added something during the revision process and used the wrong name for a character and the proofreader caught that. That would have majorly confused someone. That one catch was worth her whole payment.

No matter how incredible your editor is, they are only human and can’t be 100% accurate.

The best evidence that all self-publishers should use an editor and a proofreader (if they can afford it) is that traditional publishers have a whole team of editors and copy-editors, all triple-checking your novel before release. As a self-publisher, I strive to mirror as many of the steps that a traditional publisher would carry out—at a lower cost of course.

So, you still might decide to only use an editor to save money, but if you hear feedback from an eagle-eyed reader about an error somewhere in your published novel, you’ll end up paying a formatter to go back and make those corrections for you, not to mention the fact that every review or rating you get mentioning that error is permanent.

My advice: hire the safety inspector and splurge for the backup parachute. It’s money well spent.

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I can’t wait for this editing to end!

This is all new to me so every step I don’t know what to expect. I was so pleased after working with the editor I chose and part of me wondered if I even needed to use a copy editor. But I listened to all of the most informative self-publishing blogs that insist you must have a quality editor and proofreader before publishing.

So luckily, I found the name of a very reasonable proofreader on one of the forums I frequent. Her website looked fantastic and I liked how she has a review site as well that showcases self-published books. Anyone who wants to support self-publishers like that I want to give my business to.

I gave her my MS on Wednesday and she had it back to me by Sunday night. She even had her partner give it a look through for no extra charge!

I was worried about seeing completely different suggestions the other editor pointed out. I worried I wouldn’t know which editor was right and I’d lose faith in both editors. Well, when I opened up my file I saw the corrections were very infrequent. She changed comma placement, suggested some sentences could be made clearer by removing a few words, found a word I left in by accident when I made my last edits, and made a few editorial comments.

All in all, there was much less corrections than I anticipated. At first I wondered if that meant she wasn’t thorough but then I realized all the improvements she did point out where spot on. So then I realized that this was a great sign. It showed the first editor did a great job and the second editor agreed with her choices.

A few instances she pointed out things I went against the editor with and so I knew I had to change them. But I was very happy to see that the majority of things I did keep (against the first editors recommendations) the copy editor didn’t pick up on. Making me feel much better about going with my gut.

In conclusion, I feel very confident going forward. The fact I’ve had such a thorough and professional editor and then a great copy editor who picked up on the little things we’ve both missed, makes me feel fantastically ready to publish. The copy editor also told me that she and her partner really enjoyed reading my book and couldn’t wait to see what happened next!

I’ll probably do another read through before I send off to the book formatter, who I am still waiting on for a quote. This is all really moving forward so nicely.

PS- Would love to give you the name of the copy editor if you’re looking for one, just ask!

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Phew! I did it. I sent the corrected MS back to the editor for the second look through. She said she’d have it back to me in two weeks and then I’ll make the changes and ship it off to a second copy editor to make sure we caught everything.

But I didn’t change everything the editor suggested. Most of the time, I immediately saw that her suggestions improved my novel and implemented them, but there were some instances where I realized the change wasn’t right for what I wanted to convey to the reader.

Here are some examples of what I didn’t change:

1) I kept some ‘says’ and ‘continues’ in where I felt needed it, but I did try to take out as many as I could.

2) Some historic things she didn’t find in her research but I found support in more detailed non-fiction books.

3) She wanted to take out unneeded words and I thought it changed the flow or impact of the sentence so I kept them.

4) She made a suggestion to completely remove something that didn’t seem to have much relevance to this novel but it is something that will be mentioned throughout the next few books and explained in the last book.

5) Her suggestions sometimes showed me that she didn’t understand what I was trying to say and told me I needed to clarify the sentence better.

6) Also some of the suggestions she made went completely against some beta readers’ favorite parts. If you hear the same suggestions being made it tells you to change it, but if some of your readers love something I say you should keep it.

All in all, 95% of the time I made the changes. The last 5% I thought over and over about before I decided to keep my words in. But if I send it to the copy editor and she picks up on the same things I didn’t change, well then, I’ll probably make the changes since it’s obviously standing out in the wrong way.

Well, off to enjoy a little summer 🙂

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Well I’m back home from the beach today and so anxious to really dig in and start correcting the suggestions from my editor. Every night I’ve tried to keep my beach-tired eyes open to read some more of her comments. I can’t help but be both super impressed with everything she’s pointed out and also overwhelmed with how much I overlooked after all the revisions I’ve done. I wonder if traditionally published authors have so many things flagged or do I have a punctuation impairment?

I try to assuage my interior editor by remembering that this will improve my finished copy greatly and if I pay special attention to the correction hopefully I’ll learn all that I’m doing wrong for my next book.

My plan is to print out the editor’s copy so that I can check off each correction as I make changes to the only copy I’m working on now (you don’t want to know how many copies I’ve saved so far!). There are some corrections that will take longer such as places where she’s pointed out areas that require more explanation or scene setting as well as asking questions about possible historical inaccuracies that I’ll have to research.

It may take longer than I originally planned but I feel so secure knowing that this editor has done everything she’s promised to further my first novel. If this book had gone out to print after beta reads and only my revisions it would have been a catastrophe. This step is critical for self-publishers to produce quality material and to be taken seriously in the marketplace. It’s just wonderful to know that such thorough freelance editors are out there to help us get there.

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