The public's embrace of indie publishing has changed the landscape of book production, distribution, and sales. Today a writer can e-publish her or his manuscript in a manner that will reach a larger public, something unheard of under earlier systems of self-publication. Nowadays, if due attention is given to PR concerns (e.g., producing catchy covers, reaching out to blog reviewers, hiring a PR consultant, etc.), a writer can develop a platform on his or her own terms. But all cases, a clean, clear, and powerful manuscript is the most essential piece of all.
This is when a copyedit could mean the difference between a good story and a stellar one.
In a copyedit, I examine the manuscript for clarity, coherency, consistency, and correctness—the 4 "Cs" of copyediting. I fix spelling and punctuation errors. I query when meaning is unclear or when a fact needs checking. When working on nonfiction projects, I also bring the prose in line with a particular style manual. If another style is not indicated, I use the Chicago Manual of Style.
Of course, a copyeditor's respect for authorial and character voice, her ear for language, and her familiarity with a writer's personal style are just as important as a style manual when making decisions about what to change or query in a manuscript. I strive to help a writer hone her or his style, not run it into the ground with rules.
Copyediting is different from developmental editing. When copyediting, I do not examine and make substantive suggestions for strengthening characters, plot, structure, argument, and theme. I do not offer advice on writing techniques that you can apply in revision. If those tasks describe your needs better, please visit my pages on developing nonfiction, developing long fiction, or developing short fiction and nonfiction.
And for those wondering on what side of the debate I come down ... I'm a fan of the serial (or Oxford) comma.
QUERYING FOR COPYEDITING SERVICES
The fee for copyediting depends on:
What type of copyediting is desired: light, medium, or heavy (i.e., to what extent am I given permission to adjust the prose, line by line, for clarity or for style). If the manuscript is a standard text or a difficult text with many footnotes and other materials. The fee will reflect the time needed to do two complete passes of the manuscript. If you desire a third pass, please let me know.
For further information or an estimate, please send the complete manuscript as an electronic manuscript in Microsoft Word. When you do, please share with me your plans for the manuscript (indie publishing, traditional publishing, etc.) because, in my experience, copyediting is not something everyone needs. You want to make sure this is the right service for you since copyediting can be expensive due to its technical nature.