The Importance of Copyediting

No matter what your published piece of work involves – articles, books, journals, magazines, textbooks, novels, or newspapers – any piece of writing that is well written and more importantly well-edited, is always more convincing to the readers than a piece that is strewn with errors and senseless facts. A copy editor is a person who is hired by publishing services companies to review the manuscript for varied qualities standards before it goes into publishing. The task may also involve a team of copy editors who belong to a publishing outsourcing service company that helps publishers with review and modification tasks. Regardless of the kind, here are is how copy editing helps.

• Spelling check – The first, foremost, and probably the simplest of tasks that is carried out by a person who reviews the content is that of spell check. Most writing tools today, especially the ones that are part of electronic devices such as computers and laptops, include inbuilt spell checkers that eliminate spelling mistakes within a copy that is submitted for publishing or review. However, these tools may not completely be able to graze through the content, and correct mistakes especially when it involves language dialects or technical terms, which are prone to be misspelt.

• Grammar check – The next task after spelling check, which is conducted by the copy editors, involves check for grammatical errors. The review scans the copy stringently for errors of tense, vocabulary, punctuation marks, subject verb agreement, modifiers, and so on. Check for grammar not only ensures the quality of written piece of work, but also ensures the idea is conveyed correctly and accurately to the readers, through the use of right and meaningful words.

• Verifying correctness of facts – Published work often includes content that hinges on historical data, names of people, dates, places, important landmarks, and so on. When the published work is an academic or scholarly piece, there maybe vital statistics or information that is covered in the written content. In such a situation, the copy editor who is also usually a subject matter expert, verifies the authenticity of the data as well as its correctness. Such people could also be used to verify solutions in test papers, and modify them when necessary.

• Correlating parts to the whole – The task of copy editing also involves correlating parts within the manuscripts, to the whole. This includes verifying cross references that appear in the text, numbering of footnotes and notes, tables, and illustrations, verifying the content on the illustrations against its text in captions, verifying the table of contents against the manuscript, checking in text citations against the bibliography, checking the alphabetization of reference lists, and so on. When the content involves specialized knowledge the copy editor who is also a subject matter expert, verifies the data to ensure that what is presented is correct.

• Obtaining copyrights – When manuscripts involve quotations, citations etc. that are borrowed from other sources, is a copy editor’s duty is to remind the writer to obtain necessary permissions for reprint.

• Following guidelines on writing styles – most book publishing houses have a given set of guidelines and writing styles that they follow. It is also the copy editor’s duty to ensure that the text that is submitted for review checks all the boxes that is laid down by the publisher. when necessary, the editor may have to modify the copy, or when extensively work is required, send the copy back to the writer for major revisions. The copy editor also has to check for continuity and coherence, and ensure that the content is presented to the readers in the best possible manner.

In short, copyediting services ensure that the final product meets the highest standards of quality, and that it is organized, complete, and hundred percent correct.