5 Tips to Working Well with Your Copy Editor on YOUR Project

A copy editor is worth their weight in gold, especially if they are proficient in a few things:

  • Use of the English language
  • Awareness of different style rules for fiction, nonfiction, technical writing
  • A stellar knowledge of the rules of grammar and punctuation
  • An understanding of storytelling mechanics

A copy editor makes writers look their very best. They don’t perform magic but rather make what you give them look better. It’s a collaborative process that involves your participation. How can you insure that your copy editor returns a product that is as close to excellent as possible? Here are a few tips:

  1. Avoid an excessive (mis-)use of bold, caps, and italics in your manuscript.
  2. Avoid the excessive (mis-)use of ellipses and exclamation points to end your sentences.
  3. Avoid the excessive (mis-)use of run-on sentences and extremely long paragraphs.  
  4. Avoid the excessive (mis-)use of periods and commas outside of quotation marks.
  5. Avoid the excessive (mis-)use of the same word or words spelled in multiple misspelled ways.

Copyediting is a meticulous and thoughtful job. Your copy editor labors over the details, but they need your help. Before sending them your manuscript or writing project, make sure to follow those tips above to make sure s/he returns a product you can be proud to put your name on later. In short, your copy editor is your collaborator for success, and their success depends on you.

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