1. What is a
copy editor? Freelance copy editors review all types of written
materials for style consistency, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Copy editors also mark content that is unclear and
review tables of contents, bibliographies, headings, captions for pictures,
tables, and graphs, rewrite when hired to do so, and analyze the entire
manuscript to ensure that the intended audience—the reader—will not be
confused or bored.
Most copy editors use the publishing industry's standard style
guidelines, such as Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), the Associated Press Stylebook
(AP), American Psychological Association (APA), or the American Medical Association (AMA) Style Manual. Or, if hired
to do so, copy editors are qualified to develop a specific style sheet
for that particular client.
2. What does a developmental editor
do? If an author needs an editor who will work one on one to
develop the manuscript or documentation from startup to completion, the author
needs a developmental editor, not a copy editor. Most developmental
editors work in-house at publishing firms or in marketing departments of large
corporations. Developmental editors are usually involved in the entire production
process and, if working for an independent author, will charge hourly rates
based on the subject matter and tasks required.
3. What is a proofreader?
Proofreaders review copyedited manuscripts or documents for errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and layout.
A proofreader is sometimes called the "Third
Eye," which means that she or he is the "third" person to review a document.
Proofreaders are hired after the copy
editor has worked on the project, the author (or managing/production/developmental
editor) has incorporated the changes, and the document is almost ready to go to press.
At one time, proofreaders compared copyedited documents
side-by-side to the typeset document to ensure accuracy after copyediting
changes had been entered by the production team, but today this process
is often eliminated because of deadline constraints. However, the human eye
of the proofreader is still necessary to ensure an error-free document.
4. The latest trend: editorial
proofreaders. Editorial proofreaders
will combine copyediting and proofreading tasks, and charge according to
the particular needs of the client. For example, if the author or company
needs someone to check grammar and consistency of style and perform minor rewriting, an editorial proofreader is qualified to perform
all of these tasks, and will usually charge a fee according to the tasks
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