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A professional editor

Just want to make sure everyone understands that a professional editor or copyeditor is not going to mock you or make fun of your work.

By the time we see your manuscript, you’ve spent months and often years on it. Our job is to help ensure your words are clear to the reader and to make you look as good as possible. It’s a collaborative relationship that works best when there is mutual respect. In all cases, the book belongs to the author, and the author has final say.

Of course there will be infelicities, unless you are one of those rare* people who is perfect. A typical manuscript comprises 100,000 words. That’s 100,000 opportunities for error at minimum, compounded by words’ pesky habit of working in tandem and our brains’ tendency to spit out commonly heard terms while our eyes overlook them.

Copyeditor’s note: “Our brain’s tendency” or “our brains’ tendency”? A judgment** call. Although there’s only one brain per person, using the singular brings up the image of a collective mind. These constant judgment calls make copyediting the hardest job I do, except for writing.

* Thank goodness!

** Although “judgement” is an acceptable variant spelling, according to Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary, the dictionary recommended by The Chicago Manual of Style, “judgment” is the preferred spelling. Major and minor publishers use Chicago for their house style.

About Sandra K. Williams

Sandra K. Williams loves books, both printed and digital. Since 1996 she has worked with authors and independent publishers, editing and designing books for print. Since 1999 she has built easy-to-use, accessible websites, and she uses her HTML and CSS skills to design reader-friendly e-books.

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