Copyediting Your Own Book

Professional copyeditors look for several things at once as they copyedit a book. If you copyedit the book yourself, it is better to copyedit in separate passes, concentrating on  a few types of errors per pass.

Following is a sample copyediting plan for a novel:

  1. Spelling and typos
  2. Punctuation
  3. Word usage
  4. Sentence structure
  5. Grammar (parts of speech, verb tense, etc.)
  6. Dialogue
  7. Formatting for e-book
  8. Breaking into paragraphs, white space
  9. Consistency – Timeline
  10. Consistency – Place
  11. Consistency – Names
  12. Consistency – Terms
  13. Overused words
  14. Wasted words. Long explanations in the midst of action

When you are finished with these passes, read your book for meaning without regard to grammar, spelling, or anything else. See if the words mean what you want them to.