I finished going over my copy-edit this evening. All the changes are made, the manuscript has been sent back to iUniverse so they can do God knows what with it (hopefully publish it, lol), and I officially have nothing more to do with the book until they send me cover proofs and final print proofs. Woo! Talk about a weight off your chest. Now I can focus on other things, like my job, and not living in a forest of cardboard boxes.
But you don’t care about that. You came here for the list!
9 Things I Learned From My Copy-Edit
1. The first paragraph at the start of a chapter is not indented. The same goes for the first paragraph after a scene break.
2. According to American publishing standard, when indicating possession, this — Chris’ — is not correct. This — Chris’s — is correct.
3. A list of adjectives do not require as many commas as you might think. This — fluffy, white hair — is not correct. This — fluffy white hair — is correct.
4. Once you’ve defined a foreign word in italics, you don’t have to italicize it any more. I’m given to understand that you can still italicize it if you want to, but it’s not necessary.
5. Instead of using italics to put emphasis on a certain word, try to let the sentence structure emphasize for you.
6. Ship names are italicized, but a class/type of ship is not italicized. E.g. The Enterprise v.s. Boeing 747.
7. The following dialogue tags — “she panicked”, “she laughed”, “she sighed”, “she smiled” — are not actually dialogue tags. They are verbs that should not be applied to dialogue.
8. Percentage should be written as XX percent — e.g., 97 percent.
9. The correct phrasing is “Far be it from me to say”, not “Far be it for me to say”.
Also, having finished reviewing the copy-edit, I can now officially pass judgement on my copy-editor. Ready?
Was the copy-edit worth $1900?
No. I definitely did not get $1900 worth of editing done to that manuscript. Not by a long shot. On the plus side, I did learn several things (see the above list), so it certainly wasn’t a complete waste of money.
How was the quality of the copy-editor?
He seemed fairly competent. I caught five mistakes overall — four typos, and one word that was randomly bolded. He had a weird obsession with semicolons that I didn’t agree with, and he also seemed to have a vendetta against commas, so I had to add a handful back in. He also failed to notice that some of the chapter titles were misaligned. To be fair, I didn’t notice that either, but still!
Not worth the money, but I did learn many new things, so we’ll call it a draw and move on.
Unrelated media of the day: