When should I commission a line and copy-edit?
Once you are completely happy with the overall story and have written and revised the manuscript to the absolute best of your ability. There should be no more rewriting at this stage. If you want broader guidance on your novel, I recommend first commissioning a manuscript critique or a full developmental edit.
I’m an author planning to submit my novel to agents. Do I need a line and copy-edit?
If you’re going to submit your novel to agents or publishers, I generally don’t recommend having your manuscript line and copy-edited – the publisher will have this done for you. However, it’s up to you if you’re happy to invest in making your writing super-clean before you submit.
Will the manuscript be error-free after a line and copy-edit?
Probably not, though that’s always the aim. It’s impossible for every error to be caught in a single pass. The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading says: ‘A good copy-editor picks up 80% of errors; a good proofreader picks up 80% of what’s left.’ Remember, though, that a line and copy-edit helps improve the writing – as well as catch as many pesky errors as possible.
What if I just need a proofread?
Line and copy-editing aims to catch as many errors as possible, which is probably what you’re looking for. Technically, a proofread is the final check done on pages that have already been edited and typeset (designed). A proofreader looks for errors that have slipped through the cracks.