Copy-edits focus on a story’s grammatical issues, and I believe every indie author should get a good copy-editor. I could give you a long list of indie books that were excellent in content, but didn’t go through a good round of copy-edits and were still riddled with grammatical issues and typos. This is an instant negative mark to the professionalism of the book, and it could be so easily avoided.
But it’s not all on the authors. Editors also need to be better about recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and not offer edits they can’t do with excellence. Many of those indie books I’d list have editors attached to them, and it’s discouraging to me as both an author and an editor to find so many remaining errors. But I digress.
Why should you invest in copy-edits? Copy-edits (assuming they’re well-done) will add the final level of professional polish to your book by ironing out grammatical mistakes and catching any typos that have slipped through the cracks. Even authors with a strong grasp of grammar on their own can benefit from having a second set of eyes. Outside readers are in a position catch those typos the authors has seen ten million times and overlooked because they know what the word is supposed to say. Finding a good copy-editor will mostly ensure that you don’t have any embarrassing errors or incorrect homophones or too many misplaced commas.
Can you get away without copy-edits? Technically yes, but I’d advise strongly against it. As I said before, even the most grammatically-aware authors can benefit from a second set of eyes on their work.
Where to find a copy-editor
Since copy-edits are founded in technical English rather than storytelling, you may be able to find a copy-editor among your personal acquaintances. Is your aunt a stickler for grammar? Enlist her help. Family friend is an English teacher? Also a potential copy-editor. Sometimes you don’t have to invest a whole lot of money in copy-edits, and the return value is well worth it.
But if you do want someone who copy-edits professionally, I have a short list. I’m a copy-editor myself, and I come from a family of editors in different fields. If you’re interested in checking out my services, you can do so here.
The editors I mentioned last week for line edits also do copy-edits. Rachelle Rea Cobb, who—as mentioned previously—I plan to work with on my own novels; and Brianna Storm Hilvety, who’s praised in the Story Embers community. (Brianna lists her copy-edits under “proofreading.”)