Proofreading and Copy-editing

Today, I have been learning many things about publishing and marketing, and editing in particular.

What’s brought all this on? Well, a very patient friend of mine, Oliver Rhodes, founded online publishing house Bookouture six months ago. He’s already signed some great authors and the marketing work he did on Blood Shadows by Lyndsay J. Pryor was comprehensive and penetrating. I happened to unleash the inner-demon grammar-pedant in Olly’s hearing once and he offered to show me a little bit of behind-the-scenes editing work – I couldn’t refuse such an interesting exercise.

Wicked Marketing: Bookouture’s Trailer for Blood Shadows by Lindsay J. Pryor

I tried my hand at it – editing’s tougher than it looks – it’s not like maths, where the answer is either right or it’s not, and there are checks you can make. Editing is as much about style as about correct grammar. You look for continuity errors, disambiguate and tweak awkward sentences, However, you also have to rein in the desire to make so many changes you lose the author’s voice – leave good enough alone.

I’ve learned about dangling participlesmisplaced modifiers, and other grammatical errors. I think I’ve got a handle on the difference between structural editing (pulling the story into the best possible shape) and line editing (“a careful reader points out inconsistencies and annoying stylistic tics”). I now know the difference between a proofreader and a copy-editor: the former checks for errors in  the typeset version of a text including errors the copy-editor may have missed; the latter checks for grammatical errors, syntax, meaning, spelling, awkwardness etc. in the text. I think I would make quite a good copy-editor. By Murphy’s Law, there’ll be a whole lotta errors in this blog that prove otherwise, of course.

The professional body of editors and proofreaders in the UK have their website at This crew runs courses and provides accreditation in editing. I am quite interested in taking some of the courses. I might start out by getting a copy of Butcher’s Copy-editing, however, before I go haring off after another new career that doesn’t pay much. You don’t happen to have a copy of it lying around, do you? I could pay you in yarn!!?

Bookouture’s next release is “Blood Roses” by Lyndsay J. Pryor – Due out April 26th.

Blood Roses by Lindsay J. Pryor

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