Copyediting and Proofreading: The Essentials of Publishing

Copyediting — Putting in a Good Word

Copyediting (sometimes written as copy editing or copy-editing) is the work an editor does to improve the format, style, consistency, and accuracy of text. Unlike general editing, copyediting often doesn't involve changing the substance of the text. Copy refers to written or typed text for typesetting, printing, or publication. Copyediting is done before proofreading (see the Proofreading page), which is the last step in the editorial cycle.

Using the "five C's," a copyeditor makes copy clear, correct, concise, complete, and consistent. Copyeditors should "make it say what it means, and mean what it says."

The purpose of copyediting is to ensure that the original text is:

  • Free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors
  • Consistent with a publisher's style sheet  A style sheet helps copyeditors and proofreaders keep track of spelling, number, and other style choices incorporated into written pieces. Style sheets (see WCD's sample style sheet) ensure that both the author and the copyeditor and/or proofreader follow the same guidelines from start to finish.
  • Clear and easy to understand  This task usually involves breaking up long or complex sentences, rearranging sentence components, reducing repetition, and pointing out inconsistencies.
  • Unlikely to be misinterpreted
A sample page of Warren's copyedit suggestions

Warren Camp Design offers copyediting services for projects of any size — from one page to hundreds of pages — for organizations and industries using a variety of writing styles.

As you can see throughout WCD's copyedited web pages, Warren Camp has a keen eye for detail. Equipped with years of experience in writing, grammar, punctuation, and style, he gets paid for being critical and seeing what's wrong with the way words are used. When needed, he relies on highly qualified professionals to provide answers to challenging questions.

Warren can review what you've written and suggest edits to make your work easier to read and understand while ensuring that it adheres to your style sheet. If you don't yet have your own style sheet, ask Warren to create one for you. To see what one looks like, take a peek at WCD's style sheet for this site.

Don't Forget Proofreading

In addition to copyediting comes proofreading — the special and patient attention given to a final draft, as well as the correction of a manuscript prior to submission. How do they differ?

      Copyediting: word choice, clarity, phrasing, grammar and syntax, references
      Proofreading: spelling, punctuation, basic grammar

Note: On the next page, see how proofreading can improve your written message.

here Rewriting  Sometimes a document needs so much copyediting that a major overhaul is necessary; it might be better to rewrite the document or have someone rewrite it for you. Rewriting involves restructuring text according to its quality and/or the author’s preferences, even making it read as though someone else wrote it. Considerable amounts of paraphrasing and rewording are sometimes needed to convey a clear, well-written message. Unlike copyediting or proofreading, preservation of the author’s voice or style is not always a priority when rewriting.

Warren has written the entire contents of the WCD site. In the left column, he provides examples of copyediting, proofreading, and rewriting work he's done. Rely on Warren to "put in a good word for you" on your next production.

Copyediting  |  Proofreading

In addition to these copyediting, proofreading, and rewriting pages,
see the many examples of WCD's copyedited/proofread pages in the left column.

Don't wait any longer to improve the readability, formatting, style, consistency, and accuracy of your projects. Contact Warren Camp Design today, at 209-795-7661, to discuss your copyediting, proofreading, or rewriting needs and learn how Warren can enhance and give prominence to your publications.