You’ve written a book, academic paper, web article, business plan, or some other document. You know you need it copyedited. But you’re not sure what that really means. When you turn to a professional editor, what can you expect in a copy edit?

There is nothing more important than a second set of eyes to take a look at what you’ve written. A professional editor is trained in both the little things and the big things. Not only does a professional editor know where all the commas should go, but she also has an eye for the overall document. A good copyedit will include an assessment of sentence structure, word usage, voice, verb tense, and all the other elements that apply to the type of document you’ve written.

A copyedit from a professional editor also means that conformity to style will be checked. Different types of writing must conform to different styles. And there are many. Book and journal articles generally follow Chicago style – the set of standards for the publishing industry. Newspaper and web articles follow Associated Press style. Most academic papers must conform to APA style, including the formatting of citations and references. A professional copyeditor is versed in all these styles and can make sure that your document conforms.

It’s a good idea to give your editor as much information as possible before the edit. What kind of edit are you looking for? Just grammar and punctuation? Or do you want to know if the plot works and if the characters make sense? If the formatting is correct? Or if the section headings conform to APA style? The more information the editor has about what you expect, the better able she will be to meet your needs.

Your editor will also want to know in the case of an academic paper, which style is expected. While APA style is the generally accepted standard for academia, many institutions have their own style guide with subtle differences that can include punctuation, word usage, whether numbers are spelled out, and other things that writers don’t normally even think of.

A professional editor does think of those things. So when you get a copyedit from a professional editor, you will get a trained eye that can look over your book, or paper, or article, or whatever it is you may have that needs to be edited, and catch all those things, little and big, that you may not even realize need to be caught.

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