TIPSY Today™ with Rogena — Home of Anything GRAMMAR™ — A Footprint of RMJ Manuscript Service LLC
Copy Editing should never be an option! It should be a requirement!
Which do you need?
What is best? What is the bare minimum? Do I need a content editor? What about a proofreader?
So many questions, so many choices, and so much money. I know. There are ways around breaking the bank. However, the cost can be worth it in the end.
First, build a team of supporters. Beta readers are one way to do this. What does a beta reader do? They will read your story, either as you write it, maybe a few chapters at a time, or all at once after you have finished writing it. Your betas aren't there to make sure everything is grammatically correct. Most won't know all the basics of actual editing. And that's okay. What they will do is tell you if something doesn't flow, if a scene doesn't make sense, or maybe if you have something inconsistent in your plot. They will tell you what you need to hear. Yes, some will say what you want to hear, but most will want to see you succeed; therefore, they will guide you to make your story better.
Writing Coach / Content Editor
What if your writing could use tightening or smoothing out? Maybe you have written your book, but you want to improve your style. You might need help learning how to 'show, don't tell' in your writing. This is where you might consider a writing coach, also known as a content editor.
They will take your story to the next level, maybe something like this:
This is what a great writing coach slash content editor can do for you. (Check out our LINKS page for info on Writing Coach, EJ Runyon.)
(The above was an image I found online. I have added my own touch to the 'showing' from what was on the original image. I don't know who wrote the source, so no attribution is given.)
“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
Copy Editor / Line Editor
Every author should use a COPY EDITOR. You might say I'm a little biased. You're right, I am. However, without a copy editor, your writing, even after working with a writing coach, should still go through the process of a line-by-line editing process for grammar, punctuation, and typographical errors. If you choose not to hire a copy editor, most authors will end up with unfavorable reviews.
Make sure you hire a proven, credible, professional editor. Trust me.
In fact, I've reached the point where I'm not opposed to having more than one editor do a sample edit on the same 5000 words. Don't tell us you are doing it. Just do it. (Some authors charge for the sample, and some don't, but even a nominal fee might be worth it in the end.) There are too many out there who feel they can edit, but don't know basic grammar and punctuation rules.
Even I've learned more and improved vastly in the three years since I've been doing this full time. I thank those who gave me a chance to work with them when I first started. They gave me the boost I needed. Since then, I have learned, fine-tuned, and polished my craft just as an author does with each book they write.
Experience DOES matter.
Let's talk about hiring a proofreader now. There is no such thing as a perfect book. Trust me. Even the big names have errors in their books. It's the nature of the beast. We are all human. That means I might miss a word that has been left out or a misuse of your/you're. Yes, really. This is why I believe it is wise to have a final proofread—a fresh set of eyes—someone who will not change the punctuation presented by your professional editor, but who will look for missed words and typographical errors. The cost is usually nominal and well worth it in the end. I highly recommend a final set of eyes go over your manuscript one last time before you hit the publish button.
RMJ Manuscript Service has two who will proofread a manuscript I have edited at a discounted rate. If our proofreaders are unable to meet your timeframe, I have those I also recommend such as Colleen Snibson, who I have been mentoring. =)
Additional note about a final proofread:
It's important the person you use to proofread either not make changes to grammar and punctuation or the changes be looked over by your editor. There are times when an editor doesn't follow every grammar 'rule' in order to preserve the style, voice, and flow of the author, characters, and the story. For instance, you 'shouldn't' start a sentence with and or but. Right? But why not? (See what I did there?) You pay your editor to learn your style and your voice. You also pay your editor to know the rules, but also to know when it's okay to break them.
So, here's what you need to do. . . Hire a proven copy editor. Someone with experience.
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