Copy editing

  • final step before submission

  • ensures style compliance

  • correlates and cross-checks all parts of manuscripts

For pieces that feel completely done, and simply need one last polish before heading out the door, copy editing is ideal. Copy editing catches and fixes errors in grammar, spelling, and consistency; it also cross-checks and correlates the disparate parts of the manuscript to one another, ensuring that there isn't a misnumbered table, or a reference cited in the text that isn't in the reference list, or a repeated footnote. This is the kind of detail work that is very, very difficult to do on your own manuscript.

At this level of editing, I go over all style choices with a fine-tooth comb, ensuring that the manuscript meets your journal's or press's style requirements. (These are more nit-picky than they might seem; are numbers spelled out or given in numerals at your target journal? How is statistical notation handled? Are block quotes single-spaced or double-spaced? Footnotes or endnotes? Punctuation after the footnote number or before? These are not the kinds of questions you should be spending time answering!.)

Readers do notice (if only subconsciously) if this step is skipped, and sloppy writing may instill doubts about sloppy argumentation, analysis, and data collection. Whether you simply have better things to do or you just can't stand to look at a manuscript for long enough to clean it up, hiring me to copy edit your manuscript before submission ensures correctness and consistency and increases your chances of publishing your work. 

Note: In general, I am not accepting light or mechanical copy edits (edits for simple correctness or compliance with a particular style) at this time. You can ask—I do sometimes do them for existing clients who want to work with me all the way through the process, or if I have an unexpected gap in my schedule—but to be honest, I find this the most boring of all the types of edits. There are plenty of editors out there who can do a mechanical copyedit just as well as I can (and most of them are cheaper!) I’d rather use my particular skillset to work with your prose and your argument—services that can’t be performed by every other competent editor around. I’m happy to refer you to other editors who specialize in copyediting if this is what you need.