When Is Your Work Ready For A Copyedit And Proofread?

brown wooden desk

I’m writing this blog because as a Muslim editor, I have noticed that I have been receiving a lot of queries from authors who would like a copyedit and proofread of their work. However, after reviewing the manuscript, I have noticed that it’s not quite ready for a copyedit or proofread.

There are four stages to the editing process—developmental editing, line editing, copyediting and proofreading, so as you can see copyediting and proofreading are the final two stages before a copy goes to the publisher. In this blog, I am going to flip the approach a little; rather than detailing when your work is ready for a copyedit or proofread, I will flag instances when your work is not ready.

Rough/First Drafts

This is a big one, so if you consider your work to be a rough/first draft, it is not ready for a copyedit or a proofread. You need revisit your work, develop it where necessary and make sure you are satisfied with your work before you share it with a proofreader/copyeditor.

The Story Needs Developing

If the plot, characters or themes in the story require development, then your work is not ready for copyedit/proofread. At this stage, you will find more benefit working with a developmental editor. A developmental editor will look at the story as a whole and see how the different components in the story work together. They will look at character development, as well as strengths and weaknesses in the plot. 

You Are Unsure If It Connects With The Audience

If you need feedback on whether your story will connect with the reader, then your work is not ready for a copyedit/proofread. At this stage, you would be better off working with a line editor. A line editor will go line by line through your text to improve the style and effectiveness of the sentences. This will make sure it is written in the best way for your audience. Some authors also get feedback from alpha and beta readers to make sure the text has the intended impact on the reader.

So, I would say approach a copyeditor or proofreader with the intention that they will polish your work and make it ready for publishing. If you are unsure about which service your work requires, I am more than happy to answer any questions and provide you with feedback on what your work requires.