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You might want copy editing if:

  • Your manuscript includes everything it needs, is structured well, and all the writing is finished.
  • Your manuscript has previously been reviewed or copy edited.
  • Your manuscript is ready for a final polish.

What copy editing includes:


  • Review organizational elements to ensure the reader can find, understand, and act on necessary information.
  • Address gaps in arguments, narrative, and elements of story.
  • Address flow of ideas, logic, scenes, transitions, narrative arc.


  • Correct all errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage.
  • Flag any major issues that should probably still be considered.


  • Address clarity, consistency, and language at the sentence and word level.
  • Address typographic, layout, and design elements.
  • Ensure visual elements are well designed and easy to understand.
  • Address repetition of ideas and motifs.
  • Improve paragraph and sentence construction to more effectively convey meaning.
  • Pay close attention to elements like point of view, narrative voice, dialogue, and overall story structure.


  • Check facts.
  • Check references and citations.

Style tracking

  • Improve word choice to more effectively convey meaning, maintain authorial voice, and improve narrative flow.
  • Reduce or eliminate jargon and other specialized terminology.
  • Ensure conformation to the chosen style guide.
  • Create a style sheet or add to an existing style sheet, as necessary.

Address any questions or areas of concern from you, the author.

 What you will get back from a copy edit:

  • A copy of the revised file(s) showing all tracked changes and comments with detailed questions, suggestions, explanations, and examples.
  • A copy of the revised file(s) with all changes accepted and only comments remaining. (Useful to compare to when reviewing changes.)
  • A style sheet documenting style and editorial decisions.
  • For fiction and narrative non-fiction, separate style sheets for characters, timeline, world building, and settings, as appropriate.
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