Copy editing

Copy editing is the most basic, and, in some ways, most essential level of revising: without it, publishers may reject your manuscript outright. It involves correcting errors in spelling, grammar, syntax, and punctuation; formatting the text to conform to a publisher’s guidelines; and ensuring consistency of terminology and citations. It may also entail rephrasing sentences to improve their readability or adjust them to the target audience; adding or deleting paragraph breaks to group ideas in a logical sequence; or adding headings or subheadings to make the organization of the text more apparent.

Copy editing is sometimes erroneously called “proofreading,” which is actually a different editorial task that takes place right before printing or publishing a text. Proofing involves comparing the page proofs (the typeset pages after layout is complete) against the version delivered to the typesetter to make sure no errors were overlooked or introduced during layout. This is not a service I offer, but I would be happy to recommend some trusted proofreaders if you need such work.

Although each academic publisher has its own style sheet that must be rigorously followed when copy editing a text for publication, these guidelines are usually variants of one of only a few major academic style manuals. I am thoroughly versed in the Chicago Manual of Style, including both of its citation systems (the author-date system and the note-bibliography system). I have also worked with the style manuals of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Modern Languages Association (MLA). When we discuss specifics of your publication aims, please let me know which style manual is used by the journal or press where you want to publish, as well as the web address of its specific style sheet. This way we can save time and cost from the start of the editing process.