“There should be no crying in copyediting.” – Carol Fisher Saller, The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago
Our editors will perform a variety of tasks, from correcting spelling, grammar, language usage, and punctuation to fact-checking and identifying inconsistencies within the body of the work and/or story line. Copyediting corrections and queries are made using Track Changes in Microsoft Word and then submitted to the author for his or her approval before the book moves on to the design process. Submit your book for a free sample edit.
Why Editing Is Important
Inkwater encourages every author to invest in professional editing, as it is crucial to the credibility of the published work. Nothing will turn a book reviewer or literary agent away more quickly than discovering a myriad of mistakes in grammar, spelling, or basic sentence structure. Errors in the text disrupt the flow and distract the reader, and professionals in the book world will not take the book seriously. It is also difficult to market a book that hasn’t been edited properly. Our editorial staff has over 30 years of editing experience in literary, academic, and professional fields.
Frequently Asked Editing Questions
What is copyediting?
Copyediting takes an author’s manuscript and prepares it for publication. Copyeditors ensure material is “accurate, easy to follow, fit for [its] purpose and free of error, omission, inconsistency and repetition.”* They correct for proper grammar, syntax, spelling, punctuation, and consistency, both in the details and larger picture of the full manuscript, and fact-check the manuscript—all essential elements in producing a professional-level book. Copyediting also “picks up on embarrassing mistakes”* and areas where text and information may be unclear. Copyeditors will also note if there are legal concerns, and they will prepare any special needs in the document structure for the designer.
* Society for Editors and Proofreaders Ltd, 2016.
Why should I get editing?
It is industry standard to have books edited. In order for your book to look professional (and not instantly appear self-published), it must have editing. Nothing will turn a book reviewer or literary agent away more quickly than discovering a myriad of mistakes in grammar, spelling, or basic sentence structure. Errors in the text disrupt the flow and distract the reader, and professionals in the book world will not take the book seriously. It is also difficult to market a book that hasn’t been edited properly.
Will the editor change the voice of my book? This is my story and I want it to sound a certain way.
No. Our editors honor the voice of the author and strive to keep it intact. If there is a question or concern, they will, instead, query the author and make a recommendation.
Will the editor fact-check my book?
Our editors perform a general fact-check for all manuscripts they edit. This includes confirming historical dates, checking the spelling of well-known names and places, checking product names and book, song, article, etc. titles for accuracy, and so forth.
What if I don't like some of the edits?
Our editors will give their honest, professional recommendations and opinions regarding all corrections and edits. However, here at Inkwater, our editors recognize that each book belongs to its author and therefore give the author the final say regarding all edits.
Editing means my book will be perfect, right?
Every book has mistakes, even New York Times bestsellers. That being said, our editors will use their skills and knowledge to remove the majority of errors from each manuscript and turn out a professional-quality document. You can help by rereading your manuscript when edit proofs are sent and noting any concerns you have about the edit.
My neighbor is an English professor and already looked over my book. Do I still need professional editing?
Yes. Copyeditors have the training, skills, and experience that allow them to do an in-depth, accurate copyedit of every manuscript they work on. They look specifically for mistakes in grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc., but the copyedit goes much further, including fact-checking and looking for issues in consistency and repetition. Our copyeditors edit every day and have a keen eye for detail and accuracy. They are also well-versed in publishing industry standards and will ensure each manuscript meets those standards and stands up in comparison to traditionally published books.
Will the designers make corrections when they see mistakes in my manuscript?
The designers will not make revisions to a manuscript unless instructed to do so after the author has received his or her first design proof.
When in the publishing process should my manuscript be edited?
Editing should be the first step your manuscript goes through in the publishing process at Inkwater. This is the easiest stage at which to make changes and exchange drafts of the manuscript. A manuscript should not go to the design stage until it is 100% complete (minus any last-minute revisions made after the first design proof has been received).
Can I still make changes to my book after I've approved my edit?
Yes. After editing, your book will go to design, and you will have the opportunity to make additional changes once you receive your first design proof.
I'm still writing parts of my manuscript; should I send what I have so far so the editor can get started?
We must have the most recent, complete version of the manuscript before editing can begin. If we don’t have this when a manuscript comes up in the editing queue, the editors will skip to the next complete manuscript and come back to the first author’s manuscript (provided the complete manuscript has been received).
How long will it take for my book to get edited?
Once an author signs up and pays for copyediting services, his or her manuscript goes into the editing queue. An author can expect that editing will begin within a month of signing up and after Inkwater’s receipt of a completed manuscript from the author. We must have the most recent, complete version of the manuscript before editing can begin. Depending on the length of a manuscript, the depth of the edit being completed, and the number of corrections to be made, the initial edit will take 2 to 6 weeks. Once the author receives the first edit proof, it is up to the author how quickly he or she wants to proceed. If the author responds immediately, the edit review process will go quickly; if the author waits to respond, the edit review will take longer. We highly recommend authors spend no more than one month on any edit proof. For the best quality edit, no more than 2 weeks on each edit proof is ideal. The editor will generally respond to the author’s revisions within 2 work days. An author can expect the edit review process to take approximately 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the author’s response time.
Do I need a special computer program for editing?
No. Our editors use Microsoft Word Track Changes for all editing. This allows the author to see all changes the editor has made, and the editor to see all revisions the author makes.
Optical character recognition, or OCR, converts printed (typed) pages to a digital format. Cost: $2.00 per page. Details: All manuscripts need to be in a digital format for the editing and design processes. If the author’s manuscript is only available in printed format, we can scan the work into digital format using an OCR scanner. Depending upon the condition of the document being scanned, the OCR process is not always perfect. We look the document over for obvious errors. We also ask authors to review the digital copies of their manuscripts for errors that may have occurred during the OCR process.
Hand-Written Manuscript Conversion
Convert hand-written or heavily hand-annotated printed pages to a digital format. Cost: $10.00 per page. Details: We can convert hand-written manuscripts into a digital Word document, which then will allow us to edit and/or design the manuscript for publication. Because this process is so labor-intensive, the charge is $10 per page (8.5 x 11) for these services.