Copy editing is one of the final stages of the process of writing a book. Professional copy editing provides clarity and improves the quality of writing.
Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, inconsistencies and awkward phrasing can all prevent a book from reading well. A copy editor looks out for these mistakes and brings them to the author’s attention. For example, copy editors will be on the lookout for mistakes such as a character being described as wearing a blue coat in one paragraph and then taking off a red jacket later.
If the text is hard to follow – because there are a lot of different characters talking for instance, the copy editor will encourage the writer to revisit that section of the text before finishing the final draft. The editor ensures that the finished work is clear and has a consistent tone throughout.
In non-fiction, a copy editor will also fact-check the content of the book.