What Does a Copy Editor Do? And Do I Need An Editor?

In writing forums, I’ve seen many writers ask questions like:

What does a copyeditor do?

What is the difference between copyediting and proofreading?

Do I really need an editor for my novel or story?

My first two novels were traditionally published, and they were both taken through the usual two rounds of editing: developmental edits (aka story edits) and copy edits (or line edits… some people distinguish between the two terms, and others, like me, are philistines who use them interchangeably.)

A while back when I was reviewing self-publishing costs, I noted that while it’s ideal to have both a developmental editor and a copy editor, the copy editor is the one place I wouldn’t skimp.

There are many indie authors who don’t use editors. Even though I have strong opinions about self-publishing, which is clear from the linked post, I do realize that what other writers do is none of my business. I’m hoping this post gives people more information to make their own decision.

I have an MFA in Creative Writing, and I’m a voracious reader, so you might think that I wouldn’t need a lot of copyediting. And you’d be wrong!

Here’s my re-enactment of what the copy edits looked like on my first published novel… just a wall of changes in the margin.

Continue reading at:

What Does a Copy Editor Do? And Do I Need An Editor?


7 thoughts on “What Does a Copy Editor Do? And Do I Need An Editor?

  1. Very good article, showing the extent of what an editor does.
    In a book by another Masters graduate I finished editing a week or so ago, I had to query historical accuracy, uses of words, inconsistencies, omissions of important information (known, of course, to the writer but never disclosed to the reader!) and a lot of wandering tenses. Punctuation was punctilious, but a few of the usual suspects had slipped by.

    Liked by 1 person


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