How a Copy Editor Can Improve Your Writing
We writers are a finicky bunch. We love our little darlings, and we grow attached to our words. It makes sense we would, writing is an art. It is our art. That said, whether you are writing a full-on manuscript of the next great American novel or you are producing technical white papers, sales copy, newsletters, or any written or online materials you might consider adding a copy editor to your editorial process. And here’s why:
1. Copy editors read differently – While many of us skip words when we read (we are reading for content), a copy editor reads every word. Even with tools like Spellcheck, a copy editor is the best way to get mistake-free work.
2. Copy editors bring a new perspective – A fresh set of eyes is always a good thing. Writers are often so familiar with their work that they can miss mistakes. Copy editors will pick these up.
3. Copy editors ensure consistency – A copy editor makes sure your work is fluid by creating a style guide. Regardless of your subject, you will decide which of two alternate spellings you prefer, or whether an abbreviation is acceptable, for example. The copy editor makes sure that all subsequent texts are consistent.
4. Copy editors check for accuracy – Does your text reference websites or statistics that may change from year to year? Are there any calculations? A copy editor will check your references and do the math, if necessary.
5. Copy editors ensure clarity – A good copy editor will guarantee that your text is clear and understandable.
6. Sometimes it’s okay to start a sentence with “And” – You don’t need to be a grammarian to produce good written materials. An experienced copy editor will make those judgment calls.
7. Bigger isn’t always better – Is your text bogged down with complex words? A copy editor will simplify your copy, while still conveying your message.
8. Copy editors respect the author – A good copy editor improves awkward language or structure without altering your writing style.
9. You will save time and money – Do you have time to edit your own materials (even if you do, you shouldn’t)? Hire a professional. It may save you the time and cost of correcting and reprinting published materials.
10. Copy editors support your commitment to excellence – Your writing reflects your values. Do you care about quality, consistency, clarity, and professionalism? A copy editor will make sure your words reflect that.
Copy editing is necessary for anything you publish whether you write a full-length manuscript, marketing materials, technical manuals, or website content. There is nothing more embarrassing than promoting yourself or your company with material that is riddled with mistakes. Put your best foot forward and hire a copy editor.