The last editing step in writing your novel is to hire a copy editor. A developmental editor looks at your overall story. A content or line editor helps you polish it. And a copy editor helps you fix the smaller mistakes such as spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Have you ever purchased a book and been so annoyed by all the typos and punctuation errors that you could never finish reading it? Those errors might seem small to you, but they pull the reader out of your story. To ensure their full engagement, it is vital that you hire a copy editor.
Even if you’re good at editing, it is easy for your eyes to glaze over your own words. I can’t tell you how many times I missed something because I read it as how it should be instead of how it was. Words I misspell because the spell checker doesn’t pick them up: ‘form’ vs ‘from’, ‘he’ vs ‘the’, ‘though’ vs ‘thought’, and dozens more. Other things I tend to overlook are when I don’t close the quotes, when I should or shouldn’t have a comma, or I forget a word like ‘a’ or ‘the’.
When searching for a copy editor, make sure you review their bios, read the reviews of their other customers, and ask for a sample edit. If they don’t find any errors in your sample, great—but be wary. Perhaps they aren’t as detail oriented as another editor might be. It helps to research multiple editors and compare before deciding on one.
Don’t skip out on a copy editor just because it’s not in your budget. I know hiring editors is expensive, but you don’t want to get a bad reputation and hurt your sales. Invest and make your novel the best it can be.
What are your most common errors when it comes to spelling, grammar, or punctuation? What are some funny or annoying errors you’ve come across when reading other’s work? Do you believe it’s important to hire a copy editor? I’d love to hear from you.