The Truth About Copy Editing

You’ve probably heard that if you want your self-published book to be taken seriously, you should hire a professional copy editor. Before you do, there are a few things you should know.

There might still be errors.

How many times have you read a national publication or a book by a top publishing house and found an error? Even the best editors and proofreaders make mistakes.  While hiring a professional will significantly improve the quality of your book, don’t be surprised if one or more errors make it into print. An occassional error does not mean that the editor did a poor job; it just shows that editors are human.

You get what you pay for.

Copy editors charge per word, hour, page or project. The cost of the edit depends on the number of times the editor readers through your manuscript. If you only pay for a single line edit, the editor will only read your manuscript once. Therefore, there is a good chance that there will still be errors in your book. If you want a more thorough edit, you must pay the editor to spend more time on your book. When hiring an editor, be sure to find out how many times he or she will read through your manuscript.

Editors must be paid.

I’ve occasionally had to deal with writers who refused to pay for editing services because their manuscript was not flawless or the writer disagreed with some of the editor’s recommendations. Editors are professionals, and they earn their living by editing materials such as books. You cannot decide to not pay for services because they did not catch all of the errors, especially if you only paid for a single line edit. You need to be realistic about your expectations and respectful to the person working on your book.


Don’t let this information discourage you from hiring a professional copy editor. This service is an important part of the publication process, and it will significantly improve the quality of your book. However, you need to be realistic about your expectations. You cannot pay someone pennies to make your book flawless, and you cannot expect perfection every time. Copy editors desire fair wages for the time they spend on your book, and writers need to recognize that even the best copy editors make mistakes.

Cheri Breeding ABOUT CHERI BREEDING: Since 2005 Cheri Breeding has been working as the Director of Production for Outskirts Press. In that time, she has been an instrumental component of every aspect of the Production Department, performing the roles of an Author Representative, Book Designer, Customer Service Representative, Title Production Supervisor, Production Manager and, Director of Production. She brings all that experience and knowledge, along with an unparalleled customer-service focus, to help self-publishing authors reach high-quality book publication more efficiently, professionally, and affordably.

One thought on “The Truth About Copy Editing

  1. I agree with you, we have to limit our expectations. In fact, with any person we get involved with. We do need editors to make sure that our book is almost perfect when we publish them for our readers but like we are, these people are prone to mistakes, delays and other flaws that are normally committed by an imperfect human, considering that nobody is indeed perfect.

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