How many copy editors do I need?

Depends on how long ago you took English. You probably just need one…one good one.

Do copy editors have specialties? In major publishers, there are typically three types of editors, although every house is different and these roles may all be played by one editor or there may even be additional editors that get involved, depending on the project:

  • Acquisition editors find new writers to publish, working with agents, reviewing manuscripts, staying in close touch with the market and with the publisher’s marketing team to find where the market has holes that need books to fill them.
  • Developmental editors work with contracted authors to make their manuscripts better. Better organized, more compelling, in line with the publisher’s style and the things that make books sell and book readers happy. Some of the most successful literary authors of the past hundred years only got that way because they had a great developmental editor, helping to make their near-great material great.
  • Copy editors also work with manuscripts that are in process toward publication, seeing that spelling, grammar, and style are to standard. If a manuscript is in pretty good shape coming in the door, this may be the only editor who touches it. But the work of the copy editor is essential and invaluable.

Search “copy editing” and “book editing” for sources of editing tools and freelance editors of many colors.

Author: Mike McCandless

WordPress user since 2005. Building several blogs and e-commerce sites to pursue personal ideas.

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