What You Don’t Know About Copy Editors

As a copy editor, I’m often asked the question “What do you do all day?” The short answer is, I read. A lot. 

Every day I switch between eight or ten different voices and styles, travel around the country, and constantly adjust to the new subject matter. It sounds like a dream job to many people, but it’s also one where you can make some embarrassing mistakes if you aren’t careful.

1. Copy editors play a crucial role in improving the quality and accuracy of written content.
2. Their responsibilities go beyond just correcting errors – they also enhance clarity, style, and coherence.
3. Copy editors contribute to maintaining the author’s voice while refining the content for a wider audience.
4. A solid understanding of grammar, language, and style guides is essential for effective copy editing.
5. Copy editing is valuable for self-published authors, enhancing their credibility and attracting readers.

Copy Editing Is A Profession

It’s a simple fact, but it’s important. Copy editors receive years of formal training, and they’re skilled in their field. You wouldn’t go to a doctor who wasn’t properly trained, so why would you expect your copy editor to be less qualified? 

A good copy editor is highly skilled and has years of experience. If you want to find out more about what makes them so great, check out this article on the best ways to find a good one!

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That Red Pen Does Not Mean “You Suck”

You probably have a lot of questions about the red pen. You may be wondering why it’s there. And what it means to you.

At its core, a red pen is a tool that helps copy editors communicate with writers. But when used incorrectly or without context, it can be a weapon for tearing down one’s work and making them feel bad about themselves. So let’s get some facts straight:

The red pen does not mean “you suck” it means “I think this needs improvement before I send your piece out into the world.” It’s an indicator that something needs attention and clarification so that readers can understand your message more clearly (or at all). 

For example, if I see punctuation marks missing from your text or words that are spelled incorrectly I’m going to fix them because they’re distracting and make reading difficult for others; but if I see sentences that aren’t clear or confusing.

I’m going to change them because they’re distracting and make reading difficult for others, but if I see words misspelled because they were typed wrong on purpose (like “information” instead of “information”) then those needn’t be changed since they were done purposefully by the writer.

Copy Editors Do More Than Just Grammar And Spelling

Copy editors do more than just grammar and spelling. They check for consistency, style, tone, and accuracy. 

If you’re writing a blog post that has to be approved by your boss before it gets published, then a copy editor would make sure everything is consistent with your brand standards (make sure you have an established brand manual). 

If you’re writing a scientific paper or book on a discovery, then they will look at the evidence presented in a way that is clear to readers who may not be scientists themselves.

A good copyeditor will also check for grammar errors as well as spelling mistakes; however, these are not their only responsibilities when reading through content. 

They also look for the organization of ideas within text whether this comes from sentence structure or paragraph structure.

And how easy it is for someone who does not know about your subject matter (or even if they do) to understand what you are trying to say within each paragraph (and sometimes each sentence). 

A good copyeditor will help you organize information so that readers can understand what it means without having any prior knowledge about what has been written thus far in order by providing suggestions on how best to convey meaning through language itself.”

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A Great Copy Editor Will Save You Time

If you’re writing a book, a blog post, or any other kind of text, it’s important to think about how much time you want to spend editing each sentence. If your writing is full of errors and mistakes, then the whole thing will appear sloppy even if the content itself is interesting and valuable. 

A great copy editor will help make your work more readable by fixing those errors and making sure that every sentence reads smoothly. 

They’ll also help with word choice, punctuation use, and tone so that the message comes across clearly in what you write (and they won’t let any awkward sentences slip through). 

This can save hours or even days in the long run because if there’s no time spent editing every piece of text before publishing it then people might not bother reading it at all!

It’s Better To Have A Copy Editor Too Soon Than Too Late

Why? Because once you and your copy editor get into the flow of working together, everything goes much more smoothly. You get used to each other’s quirks, and your communication becomes easier. 

That means that in addition to making sure there are no typos or grammatical errors, you can discuss larger issues like overall tone and whether or not something is clear enough for your audience. 

And that also means that when it comes time for edits at the end of the process, there will be less resistance from both sides about what has changed as a result of their work together (and less frustration on everyone’s part).

Copy Editors Have Different Levels Of Experience And Skills

Copy editors with more experience and skills will be able to do more than those with less experience and skills.

The copy editor that you hire should be able to do everything that you need them to do. If they can’t, then they are not the right person for your job.

Copy editors also have different levels of experience, so it’s important to know what level of experience you want before hiring one. It’s better to hire an editor who has more skills than someone who does not have any experience at all when it comes down to editing jobs online!

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Not All Copy Editors Are Created Equal

As you might imagine, not all copy editors are created equal. Your top-level editor might have years of experience and a background in publishing or journalism.

While another editor may have tried their hand at editing once or twice before deciding to focus on other aspects of the business.

Even among editors with similar levels of experience and education, there are still some major differences between them: how they edit your content will be influenced by what skills they’ve acquired over time, what type(s) of editing jobs they’ve done in the past (or currently).

Whether or not they specialize in something specific (like medical writing), how fast or slow they work…the list goes on. 

And don’t forget about rates! Some editors charge per word; others charge by the hour; some are freelance while others work for companies that offer discounts if you use them exclusively; 

Some will adjust their rate according to project size, while others stick with one price no matter what comes through their door…and so on!

When choosing an editor for your project whether it’s a novel manuscript or a blog post it’s important to consider who has been hired before so that you can find someone whose style fits yours best. 

You might also want someone with experience working with certain types of content (such as children’s books or cookbooks), 

Since those types require specialized knowledge when it comes down to formatting text correctly without breaking any rules set forth by publishers/authors/etcetera.”

All Copy Editors Are Individuals

It’s important to understand that copy editors are all individuals with their styles. Some editors are more aggressive, some are less so. Some are more passive and others more sensitive. 

You need to find an editor who matches your style, which means you should ask for samples of the work they’ve done for other people and see if it fits with what you’re looking for before hiring them.

We Write, Too

Copy editors write, too.

Copy editors are professional writers who write all the time and for a living. We use our writing skills to edit and proofread manuscripts that go into books, magazines, and newspapers. 

The kind of writing we do may not be as creative or interesting as your blog posts or tweets (though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those!) but it’s still very important to work that requires both skill and an eye for detail. 

As an editor myself, I can tell you firsthand: You might think being an editor means just reading other people’s words but it involves a lot more than that!

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Nobody’s Perfect Especially Not Your Copy Editor

It’s important to remember that even the best copy editors make mistakes. They are human, after all. 

And for those of you who don’t know what a copy editor does, it’s not their job to fix your grammar or spelling they’re there to ensure your writing is logical and clear, so readers can understand what you mean without having to re-read things multiple times.

So when your editor tells you they made a mistake and are sorry about it, don’t panic! It happens all the time (even when proofreading my work). Nothing will be lost by correcting it your work will be better because of it!

The Best Copy Editors Will Always Be In Demand

The need for copy editors is growing.

There are many reasons for this, but one of the biggest is that the internet has given people access to more information than ever before. 

The sheer amount of content available on the web has increased as well, while at the same time its quality has decreased. 

This means that there’s even more work for copy editors to do than there used to be and their skills are in demand by companies who want their websites and other marketing materials to be written, accurately, and concisely.

What To Look For When Hiring A Copy Editor

As you’re looking for someone to edit your book, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First and foremost, look at their portfolio. 

If they have samples of books they’ve edited before, it’s helpful to see what their editing style is like and how they approach different types of content.

Another thing to think about is whether or not the copy editor has experience with your industry or type of content. 

Copy editors could have spent years working as online marketers or in education publishing, but if they don’t know anything about publishing fiction books, then that seems like something worth considering.

Lastly and this is probably the most important point you should consider whether or not the person has experience working on projects similar to yours: with your target audience and intended tone (or “voice”). 

It’s one thing if someone says that she loves romance novels; it’s another thing entirely if she can show you examples from multiple romance novel series that she has worked on!

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Find The Right Copy Editor For Your Needs, And You’ll Never Think Of The Profession The Same Way Again!

Find the right copy editor for your needs, and you’ll never think of the profession the same way again! 

I worked with more than one copy editor who was an expert in her field. She knew what she was doing and gave me excellent advice that helped me to improve my writing skills. She also had an excellent understanding of grammar and punctuation.

She knew how to work with other people as well as with herself, so it was easy to get along with her when we were working on a project together.


Copy editors are a crucial part of the writing and editing process. They help make sure that your work is easy to read, correct and consistent from beginning to end. 

If you have any questions about your writing or want someone else to look over it before publishing it on Medium, please reach out! I’d love to hear how my tips helped you and how we could continue improving upon them in the future 🙂

Further Reading

For more information on copy editing and related topics, you might find these resources helpful:

Understanding the Importance of Copy Editing Short Description: Learn about the significance of copy editing in various forms of content creation, ensuring accuracy and clarity.

Explained: What Copy Editors Do Short Description: Gain insights into the role and responsibilities of copy editors, and how they contribute to polished content.

Mastering the Art of Copy Editing Short Description: Explore the world of copy editing and discover techniques to enhance the quality and professionalism of your writing.


What is the role of a copy editor?

A copy editor is responsible for reviewing written content to correct errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style. They ensure that the content is accurate, coherent, and consistent.

How does copy editing differ from proofreading?

While proofreading focuses on identifying surface-level errors like typos and formatting issues, copy editing goes deeper. Copy editors not only correct errors but also improve the overall quality of the content by enhancing clarity, style, and coherence.

Why is copy editing important for writers?

Copy editing enhances the readability and professionalism of written content. It helps writers communicate their ideas effectively, maintain credibility, and leave a positive impression on their readers.

What skills are essential for a copy editor?

A copy editor should possess strong grammar and language skills, attention to detail, knowledge of style guides, and the ability to maintain the author’s voice while improving clarity and coherence.

How can self-published authors benefit from copy editing?

Copy editing is crucial for self-published authors as it ensures that their work is polished and free from errors. Well-edited content can help self-published authors compete in the market and attract a wider readership.