In today’s post I want to talk a little bit about the difference between copyediting and proofreading and how we are making the determination at SWP about which manuscripts require a copyedit before moving forward into the She Publishes Package.
We include proofreading in our package, but proofreading truly is a spot-check. It should be the final pass on an already-copyedited manuscript, a last opportunity to find spelling errors, grammatical problems, or punctuation mishaps.
A copyedit, meanwhile, is a line edit. Most copyeditors, in addition to marking up a manuscript, will offer queries to the author in places where they have questions about plot, a character’s motivation, redundancy, or pacing. A copyeditor’s eye is more on the big picture than a proofreader’s, who’s really just looking to make sure the manuscript is polished and consistent.
There are many manuscripts that need to go through more than one edit before they’re publish-ready. Memoirs and novels in particular require a lot of thought, development, and attention to detail. You have to think about sequencing, pacing, character development, character motivation, landscape, scenery, imagery, metaphors, language, narrative voice, and the list goes on and on.
At SWP, we are receiving a lot of great submissions (55 to date!), and we want authors to know our rationale for a Track 2 recommendation. It can feel frustrating to hear that we’re recommending a copyedit if you’ve already been edited. Kamy and I have decided this week to add to our submissions guidelines that you should include whether you’ve been edited and what shape you think your book is in. We want to be in open dialogue with our authors, and we also want you all to know that copyediting and developmental editing services are open to the entire community--not just to those who submit to SWP.
We are striving to provide a service that works. We are vetting the manuscripts that come in for the purpose of maintaining a high editorial standard and competing in the marketplace with traditionally published books on the one hand, but also to set a high bar for indie books as self-publishing continues to be a more and more popular publishing option. We want to partner with you, our community, and ultimately with our authors in a way that works, with an end goal toward publishing the best books we can publish. Books our authors will be proud to have out in the world for years to come.
Thanks, as always, for reading.