What is the difference between copyediting, proofreading, and beta reading?
Copyediting is all about the micro level and includes the following:
Pacing, voice, inappropriate wording, and wordiness (larger-picture issues not addressed).
Grammar and spelling
Minor formatting issues
My service includes two complete passes, style guide creation, and one follow-up email with any questions or clarifications, submitted within thirty days of returned manuscript. Copyediting DOES NOT include: developmental editing, line editing, or content editing.
Proofreading is a final check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors that were not caught during prior rounds of editing (or that were introduced during editing). It is not a replacement for copyediting or “big picture” (developmental) editing.
My services includes only one pass through your manuscript and one follow-up email with any questions or clarifications, submitted within thirty days of returned manuscript. Proofreading DOES NOT include: creating a style sheet, fact-checking, story-related issues, pacing, and writing style. More often than not, proofreading and copyediting are used interchangeably. They cover some of the same topics, but one is more "rifling through your panty drawer," while the other is just "checking out your ass."
Think of beta reading as a souped-up version of a book review. It's an overview of your book from a reader's POV and normally covers likes, dislikes, and big picture feedback.
My service includes a critical read of your manuscript, feedback on any questions you provide, an in-depth report that covers six elements, and one follow-up email with any questions or clarifications, submitted within thirty days of returned manuscript. Beta reading DOES NOT include copyediting or proofreading.
Please keep in mind that FIRST DRAFTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED for this service. Like Ernest Hemingway said, "The first draft of anything is shit." Eye-bang your manuscript at least twice to make sure it turned out the way you wanted. It would be a waste of your money--and my time--if you haven't completed your due diligence.
Do I really need a copyeditor?
Uh, yes, you do. If your reader has to go over the same sentence again and again to understand what you’re trying to say, you’ve just interrupted narrative flow. Or if your dialogue leaves your reader wondering who is speaking, you’ve just wrecked readability. Just think of all the bad reviews you won't get if you let a copyeditor eye-bang your material.
When should I get my book copyedited?
After it’s completed, after your beta readers have eye-banged it, after you’ve had a chance to incorporate their feedback, and after a developmental edit (if applicable). But before proofreading.
When should I get my book proofread?
Right before you sashay your ass down Publication Road. Or Literary Agent Row. It's the final step in the process, so you know you want to look hella good.
So, what’s this style sheet you speak of?
Basically, style sheets are a powerful tool for ensuring stylistic consistency and accuracy within a manuscript. But I think Louise Harnby’s explanation encapsulates why I create one. Hell, you should even create one for yourself.
Can you copyedit and proofread simultaneously?
I can't speak for other editors, but I prefer not to do so. I recommend that editing clients contract me for a separate proofreading pass whenever time and budget allow. Here's why: proofreading needs to be performed on an already-edited manuscript rather than one that hasn’t yet been edited, because proofing isn’t the time to make decisions about how to do things—it’s the time to ensure that the decisions already made have been uniformly enforced. Making these decisions while proofreading will distract me from spotting errors like typos or missing quotation marks, so it’s essential that the proofing pass consist only of proofreading if maximum accuracy is to be achieved.
Now, if an author who has previously hired me to copyedit a manuscript and then later hires me to perform a subsequent proofread of the same manuscript, I will use Word’s “Compare” function to compare the edited manuscript I returned to the author with the new version sent back to me for proofreading. This will ensure that the author hasn’t accidentally missed or rejected any of the fixes applied during the initial copyedit.
I’m a traditionally published author. Will you still work with me?
Hells to the yeah! I may be a picky eater, but I'm not picky about my authors. Sort of. I love to work with indie, traditional, and hybrid authors (authors who publish both traditionally and independently, not the cars). As long as you write adult romance and your material fits within my Reading Policy guidelines. I’m also willing to work with publishers.
How long does it take you to beta read, copyedit, or proofread?
Beta Reading: 2-3 weeks. I only do one pass and like to take the time to let my thoughts percolate. I can do a one-week Rush, but it's gonna cost ya.
Copyediting: 3-4 weeks. I do two complete passes and create a style sheet (if you didn’t create one yourself). I DO NOT offer a rush option for this service.
Proofreading: 2-3 weeks. I only do one complete pass. I DO NOT offer a rush option for this service.
I’m on a budget! Can you help me?
I’ll do my best. I’m well aware that indie authors often don’t have the resources they’d like to invest in improving their books, especially when they’re first starting out. Too often, indie authors on a limited budget obtain the services they think they can afford rather than the ones their manuscripts really need. For example, an author whose manuscript is plagued by usage and style problems as well as gaping plot holes may seek “proofreading” rather than the substantive and line editing required, simply because proofreading is the cheapest service. For projects costing $300+, I offer three different types of payment plans. We can discuss this prior to scheduling your project so you can get services that fit your needs.