Resource: Working with a Copy Editor as You Self-Publish


Kim Staflund has writ­ten an arti­cle for Suite 101 which may be of inter­est to some of you. It is titled “Work­ing with a Copy Edi­tor to Pol­ish a Book.”

Ms. Staflund makes sev­eral points I greatly appre­ci­ate. One con­cerns the very nor­mal emo­tions a writer is bound to expe­ri­ence upon receiv­ing his or her work back from a copy­ed­i­tor. You’ve sent your “baby” off to a stranger (unless, by chance, you are for­tu­nate to know your copy­ed­i­tor per­son­ally or to have reached the point in your rela­tion­ship where you are more than acquain­tances), and that “baby” has been returned to you with a “hair­cut,” as it were! It’s nat­ural to feel a bit of resis­tance to sug­ges­tions made. Ms. Staflund offers help­ful advice for work­ing through such feel­ings to con­tinue to improve your manuscript.

Another point I am so grate­ful Ms. Staflund made is that, ulti­mately, in the self-publishing world, the final results — text, graph­ics, every­thing — are the respon­si­bil­ity of the author. I live in some dread (fairly slight, but present nonethe­less) that if an author’s book doesn’t sell well, he or she will try to sue me. I don’t know whether that’s ever hap­pened, but I’m relieved to see, in another writer/editor’s words, the same point I always try to express clearly to clients: that I will do the very best I know how for you, but in the end, you have the final call of whether to accept or reject my sug­ges­tions for change — and the final respon­si­bil­ity for the results. I, after all, am just one writer/editor — a good one, if I say so myself! — but just one human being with one opin­ion, no mat­ter how valid I may believe it to be. I’m trained in what I do, but I’m not per­fect. I do pledge, how­ever, to do my best as one part of the author’s “vil­lage” that, together, will raise the “child” — the pre­cious piece of writ­ing — to maturity.

One Response

  1. Kim Staflund Says:

    Hi Heidi,

    Thank you so much for shar­ing my arti­cle with oth­ers on your blog. I hope many writ­ers and edi­tors will find it both infor­ma­tive and helpful.

    All my best to you!

    Warm regards,
    Kim S.


    Report this com­ment

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