The important difference between proofreading and copyediting
What is more important: proofreaders or copyeditors? What are their roles? Learn the difference between proofreading and copyediting to make your decision because understanding different edit types is quite a confusing part of the entire editing process. For every new author, proofreading can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know how to choose a good one for your manuscript. There are proofread critiques, copyedits and line edits, etc.
Read this free online guide that highlights the main difference between proofreading and copyediting to help you understand it well, decide the one you need for making corrections in your document, and be ready to correct it professionally.
What is copyediting?
It’s all about checking every page of papers before their publication for consistency, style, repetition, and possible mistakes of different types. This process makes your manuscript polished. Contrary to popular beliefs, copyeditors aren’t glorified spell checkers. Your copyeditor is your publication partner who focuses on small details and bigger pictures to ensure that your paper tells readers an interesting and valuable story. This professional should be highly technical and meticulous to know overarching themes. The main task of copyediting Look at what copyediting does. Copyeditors are your partners who guarantee that your edited manuscript tells a good story because they:
Copyeditors check spelling and grammar. They guarantee that each component of your story is cohesive, complete, and consistent at every stage of your writing process. They’re different than general editors because of their unique skillset. Professional copyeditors should stay up to date with standard practices in book publishing and be detail-oriented, precise, and knowledgeable in word usage or grammar. Are you ready for copyediting? It’s a final stage before production (do it after other edits). Look at how it should fit into your standard timeline:
- Copyediting checks for technical consistency in spelling, numerals, fonts, hyphenation;
- Copyediting corrects mistakes in grammar, punctuation, syntax, spelling;
- Copyediting checks for all factually incorrect statements (it’s a crucial part of any copyediting process for historical pieces, memoirs, and other non-fiction stories) because they check if facts in your paper are accurate, dates and names are correct;
- Copyediting checks for continuity errors;
- Copyediting checks for possible legal liability by verifying that your piece of writing doesn’t libel others;
- Copyediting checks that you tie all loose ends;
- Copyediting checks for inconsistencies in your story, such as its settings, plot points, character descriptions (they look for conflicting descriptions and guarantee that all characters stay true to their descriptions in your story).
If you prefer to go with traditional publishers, these are important edit types that you require (you don’t need anything else). After comprehensive edits, start querying agents. After accepting your manuscript, publishers perform copyedits before its production. Why hire professional copyeditors If you prefer to self-publish, hire professional copyeditors because their high-quality services will help you prepare your story for its successful publication. As a writer, you may not be familiar with typo blindness. Its basic idea is that you can’t spot your own errors in texts because you know what you’re planning to convey. That’s why you need additional pairs of eyes. Look for someone who knows grammar rules to check your manuscript and fix all of those mistakes that you can’t spot yourself. In conventional publishing, copyediting is an important step. No one will print off many books to find out that they have typos, discrepancies in character descriptions, or other inconsistencies. Many self-published writers skip this step to end up with negative results. If different inconsistencies or grammar errors interrupt the flow of your story, it’s embarrassing for you and confusing to your targeted audience. Hire professional copyeditors before printing your manuscripts. You’ll feel good knowing that mistakes and typo blindness won’t have any negative impact on your final work because qualified experts proofread it. Remember that copyediting is available only after completing comprehensive edits to ensure that they won’t spend a lot of time editing the content that you should rearrange or delete after line edits. Copyedits are always the last steps. It takes 3-5 weeks to take them. It’s another reason to entrust this complex task to skillful professionals whom you can easily hire on a reliable site. What is proofreading? In publishing, proofreading happens after you print your manuscript. Proofreading is when professional proofreaders examine a final copy of your proof or manuscript, and their basic job is to check it for clarity before it will go into mass production. They take your original edited copy for proofreading and compare it to your proof to guarantee that there are neither missing pages nor omissions. Proofreading corrects all awkward page and word breaks. They can make light editing (because they can complete such tasks as correcting hyphenations or inconsistent spelling), but they aren’t copyeditors. If they spot many mistakes, they may return your proof for copyediting. It is also useful for your business or formal letter writing.
Professional proofreading is necessary because traditional publishers use it as an effective quality assurance measure before printing multiple book copies. If your proofreading budget is low, it’s possible to do it yourself. Make sure that professional copyeditors check it before proofreading to fix all errors in your content.
- Manuscript critiques before getting into comprehensive edits because they produce a big-picture analysis (editors read your paper to prepare their comprehensive and broad assessment, you get their specific guidelines on how to develop better pacing, more engaging characters, and stronger narratives);
- Comprehensive edits (intense, in-depth, comprehensive, and thorough edits to tackle your manuscript line by line) where editors cut down on wordiness or tighten language to end up with a more enjoyable story, looks for awkward and clumsy sentences that have a negative impact on how your prose sounds.