Copy editing is also sometimes called as line editing in publishing circles, which involves going through the manuscript completely to identify and correct inappropriate punctuation’s, grammar and spelling. A good copy editor is expected to ensure factual consistency like names of people, places or their description remain the same or change logically.
Among the many things copy editors identify and highlight to the author are the confusing statements like who says a particular dialog to whom. They also raise queries about something contradicting with an earlier statement or presumption, or the presentation of real time dates. Sometimes the manuscript would have been prepared a couple of years back, which would require updating to the current prevailing circumstances.
The publishing copy-editors are capable of working on different publications like book, journals and newspapers. Copy editing may involve several levels. Sometimes it would be minor or light editing; sometimes it might involve major or heavy editing where there is considerable change in the presented text. Occasionally the copy editing would involve rewriting too; all depending on the quality of the presented text and the expectations from the final book.
Copy editors use their own symbols to mark their comments on the copy. Many of the features like italics, bold or quotes which authors generally use inappropriately are corrected. Copy editors don’t just check the main content of the book but the entire book including all its front and back matter.
If the proposed book already has a publisher, then copy editing would be undertaken by them as part of the book preparing process. After copy editing, authors should carefully go through the edits and see if the edits are warranted, and that he or she is in agreement with it. This is because, it is the author’s book and the author would be responsible to have the book as how he or she wants it in the printed version.
Copy editors mainly work as freelancers, getting work from several publishers. Among the formal designations associated with book and journal editing are copy editors, assistant editors, desk editors and production editors. Their roles may differ but are all centered around editing of the various elements of book or journal.