Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Hardest Job in Publishing: Copy Editing

Want to know what is the hardest job in publishing? It's what on the surface looks like the easiest -- the final proof. Ask any author who has gone through the process to get a completely cleaned-up book. The overall editing (big picture editing to ensure the copy flows and the story makes sense) is small compared to the even smaller -- copy editing every last word in the book. 

A fantastic copy editor not only must know grammar, usage and style backwards and forwards, but also he or she must have an amazing attention to fine details. Why is this so delicate and arduous a task? I try to distill it down to what is like math: imagine having to ensure 75,000 words are all absolutely correct. Just think of it like a jar of 75,000 jelly beans all spilled on the floor. Now I'm going to tell you to sort through each jelly bean one at a time and look for the ones with the blemishes. Are you wrapping your head around this incredible task? 

Why does it matter? Because many critics and general readers out there will take glorious pride in telling you which page(s) have the mistake(s). One mistake is forgivable. Two mistakes is forgivable. But a book loaded with mistakes on every other page becomes fodder for the critics to point to your mistakes and completely overlook the most important part -- the story or general content. Do you really want all that hard work to be reduced down to mistakes? It will make you feel frustrated and sad instead of joyous about your book being published. 

Even if you only intend to submit your book to a publisher for review, you need to hire an editor. Readers at publishing houses will get more caught up in your mistakes than they will your actual book. If you need assistance with editing and/or copy editing, please give 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) a call at 916-300-8012. We will happily assist you to get your manuscript ready to be published whether it's through us or a traditional publisher or vanity press. 

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