The Difference Between Copyediting and Proofreading

Copyediting includes checking written material for sentence construction, grammar, spelling, style, and punctuation issues before it’s prepared for proofreading. I always ask crucial questions about your material: Does it make sense? Is the meaning likely to be misunderstood? Does it have consistency, flow, and cohesion?

A copy editor may also do a rewrite, if necessary, to fix any problems with transitions, wordiness, jargon, and to ensure the style of the piece fits with the type of publication. This work is known as revision.

Note: Copyediting does not involve content editing, which means verifying the accuracy of content. That task requires a subject matter expert.

Proofreading takes place when the material is a finished product – when it has been edited, laid out, and designed. . Proofreading does not involve major changes to the text; rather, it calls for finding typographical mistakes and minor errors in text and formatting, and confirming that the material is ready for publication.

While copyediting and proofreading are separate tasks, obviously, there is some overlap. Now that you know the difference, which skill would better meet your needs?

My Availability

I work out of my home on a flexible schedule. I divide my time between residences in Burke, Virginia and Melbourne, Florida, and traveling abroad. Nevertheless, with the Internet and email, distance is seldom a problem. Obviously, my availability to work on your project depends on my existing obligations. After talking with you about your expectations and the size of your project, I will be completely honest with you as to whether I can meet your publication deadlines.

I work in MSWord and edit with the Track Changes function, allowing the client to see my edits and comments on the draft copy. I will also communicate with you via phone, Skype, or email, as needed.

Fees and Payment

 I charge by the page (approximately 250 words, on average, double-spaced): $5 per page to copyedit and $4 per page to proofread. This arrangement usually adds up to $20 to $25 an hour, which, according to Writer’s Digest, is the standard fee. I accept payment via PayPal.

If your piece requires multiple edits of the same pages, the same fee applies for each successive edit. I don’t charge for emails or quick phone calls about the progress of your project.

If you are a writer and you want me to critique your piece and coach you on your writing skills, I charge $50 an hour. We can negotiate the number of hours in advance, or work on an ad hoc basis. I suggest you purchase my book: Improve Your Writing with NLP.

Contact me for more information or to discuss your project. Your message matters!