Tuesday, April 26, 2016

To Copyedit Or Not To Copyedit

I’ve listened to a lot of people ask if they really need a copyeditor.  After all, it can be expensive to hire a good one, especially if your novel is large.  Can’t you just look through it yourself, or ask a friend to do it?

Of course you can, but you run the risk of having a poor product if you do.  First of all, don’t do this yourself.  You’re too caught up in your own work and you’ll miss things.  As for asking friends, make sure they’re good(ie, an English teacher).  Getting the guy who fixes your car or the lady who you know reads a lot is a recipe for disaster, because they’re not used to looking only for grammar, much less correcting it.

I think getting a good copyeditor is worth the expense.  Most folks simply aren’t good at grammar, nor are they good at rewording something to meet the standards of good grammar.  You need a set of trained eyes that are not invested in your project to look at it and make sure it’s coherent.  Yes, they may want to correct things you’ve intentionally written poorly for voice or something, but nothing says you have to take all their suggestions.  Further, they might catch what you miss that you didn’t mean to look like a bumpkin over.
You can find a decent copyeditor online, and rates aren’t prohibitive.  If you want to be successful at your business – and this is a business – then find a way.  It will help distinguish your work as being professional.  Yes, you can risk not getting one and rely on your grammatical genius, but you’re taking an awful chance at that point.  Remember, there’s a fine line between bold risk taking and brash overconfidence.

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