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  • Writer's pictureRobert Birdwell

I’m Self-Publishing My Book. Why Do I Need a Copyeditor?

Many authors skip the hurdles of seeking an agent and book contract, going directly to a self-publishing company. Some self-publishing companies offer editorial services; others, like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, do not. If you’re self-publishing through a company that does not offer in-house editing, you need to hire a freelance copyeditor.


A copyeditor polishes your book for publication, making sure it’s free of grammatical and stylistic errors, such as repetitious or incorrect word choice and sentence structure. In fiction, these errors can include inconsistencies in plot, character, and timeline. In nonfiction, errors can include gaps or incoherence in the story, argument, or information.


Usually, a traditional press will send a finished manuscript to a freelance copyeditor as part of its publishing process.


If you’re self-publishing, you need to find your own freelance copyeditor. Errors and inconsistencies distract from the message. More importantly, they detract from your authority as an author.


As a self-publishing author, you don’t have the authority of a Big Five publisher or a university press backing you up. You rely entirely on your own authority, which derives just as much from the quality of your writing as from your credentials. As a self-publishing author, you have to work extra hard to establish and cultivate your credibility. A grammatical or stylistic glitch doesn’t mean you’re untrustworthy, but skeptical readers can be unforgiving.


As a writer, you may be a master wordsmith, a grammatical whiz, and even know the intricacies of the Chicago Manual of Style. However, you still need a copyeditor, because in writing, as in ethics, we often miss our own mistakes. Don’t rely on a friend or a partner; you need an expert and objective set of eyes.


The takeaway? If the publishing service you use doesn’t include copyediting, you need to hire a freelancer. It’s a one-time, up-front cost, so it’s worth hiring an expert, and you usually get what you pay for.


Do you need copyeditor? Contact me at info@birdwellwritingandediting.com for a free quote.

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