Guest Post

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

The importance of a copy editor

cj Sez:  I’m feeling pretty mellow right now. It’s Saturday night, and I just got home from the Allison Krause concert in Mobile. She has such a great voice.

   Okay on to the blog post: Did you ever open a book, read a few chapters (or even a few lines), and then put it down because of errata, i.e.; those typos and misspellings that drive a pedantic like me up a wall. One or two will make me pause and shake my head; gremlins happen. A lot of them will stop me in my tracks.

  Now, I’m finding errors in books by established authors and big publishing houses that, I thought, should do better. Perhaps it comes down to the time it takes to do a detailed copy edit vs. getting the book on the market. 
(Definition: Copy editing is the process of reviewing and correcting written material to improve accuracy, readability, and fitness for its purpose, and to ensure that it is free of error, omission, inconsistency, and repetition.)
   Speaking from experience, self-edits and beta readers do not, will not, and cannot catch everything that a professional copy editor will. When I was gainfully employed, one of my report/column-writing rules was to get as many people as possible to read the document . . . the more eyes on it the better the end product. That wasn’t easy to do as I was always on an eleven a.m. deadline every day, and my work wasn’t on the top of someone else’s to-do list. But the effort was so worth it.

   The same thing is true about an author’s manuscript. I, me, personally, want my manuscript to be the best I can make it. I read the document on the computer screen, and then I print a few pages. Because the text looks different when printed, I’ll usually find the missing comma, period, or quotation mark that was missed on numerous computer-screen read-throughs. Sometimes, I make a copy of the printed page. Copying changes the size of the font once again, yet I will too often find another gremlin to correct.

   My advice to indie-published authors: Don’t presume that because you’ve typed “The End,” your manuscript is finished. It’s probably months away from being ready for publication. It needs fresh eyes. It’s a personal and financial consideration for each author, but please consider hiring a copy editor if you can afford it. 

   Caveat: Expect that if your manuscript is accepted by a publisher, their punctuation rules for how they want their publication to look may differ from your copy editor’s input, and there could be (probably will be) more changes to be made

   By the by, as the masthead of Lyrical Pens says, if you have a book you want to promote (new or one you want to refresh), let me know. We can arrange a blog date…the only caveat is that this site is PG 13.

   That’s it for this week’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. See you next week?

CHOOSING CARTER and DEADLY STAR are quick reads chock full of adventure with a touch of sassy banter and sweet romance. Get your Kindle copy on Amazon…visit my Amazon Central Author Page = for more information about my stories.

   TO ORDER an autographed copy of CHOOSING CARTER, DEADLY STAR, HOMETOWN HEROES, and/or THE POSSE, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: The Haunted Bookshop  Angela Trigg, the awesome owner and a RITA Award-winning author in her own right (writing as Angela Quarles) will be happy to ship you the book(s) of your choice.

Visit me on Facebook at:   cjpetterson/author on Facebook

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