The Copyediting Season

I just found an article from May, written by the former Publishing Director at HarperCollins, that described me as a "delicious-sounding writer-nerd". I had an ear-to-ear grin when I read that.

Anyway, the season of edits is over! Now a new season begins.  

The Copyediting Season.

After being edited to within an inch of its life, The Bone Season is all cleaned up and ready for Justine, my copyeditor. I was a bit overexcited when Alexa sent me the prepped document back, with dedication, acknowledgements and copyright pages attached. It brought it all to life, seeing "the moral right of the author has been asserted" and so on. I'm really starting to get a sense of what my book is going to look like when it's on paper.

I thought I'd use this blog to introduce copyediting, so you get some idea of what it involves. Copyediting is sometimes confused with proofreading, but from what I understand, the two fields are quite different. I'm still learning, but this is what I know so far:

Copyeditors are usually freelance, employed by the publisher to suit the needs of each book. The copyeditor's job is to go through the manuscript and look for typos, incorrect grammar, missing words, bad syntax, etc etc. All the devil-in-the-details stuff. Stuff that even after three big edits, the author still managed to miss. They also look for continuity issues. I keep reading through The Bone Season and seeing little errors, so it will be great to have Justine to catch them.    

The basic difference between a copyeditor and a proofreader is the stage at which they work on the book. A copyeditor works on it when it's still in manuscript form. A proofreader works on it at the "page proof" stage, when the book is going through production and is starting to look like a real book. The proofreader makes no substantial change to the manuscript itself  instead they make sure the manuscript and the proof are as similar as possible. I'll let you know more about how the process works as soon as I start working with Justine. The copyediting should be finished in mid-October. 

I also thought it might be helpful to put up a little glossary of publishing acronyms! One of my friends told me I keep using 'MS' without explaining what it means, so sorry if I've been rambling and you've had no idea what I'm talking about. Here are all the acronyms I've used so far, or that I'd like to explain. 

ARC: Advanced Reader's Copy
A proof of the novel, released before publication to online reviewers, newspapers and other press.  

CE: Copyediting 
See above!

MS: Manuscript
The novel prior to being bound; the prepatory document. Could be written or typed. If you're writing a novel at the moment, you're dealing with a manuscript. 

MSS: Manuscripts

SASE: Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope
This one drove me mad when I was looking for agents for my first novel. The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook includes many agencies that ask for it. The idea of the SASE is that you provide a self-addressed and stamped envelope so the agent can return your manuscript at no expense to them. If you don't send an SASE, the manuscript will be safely disposed of by the agency, but you won't get it back. 

WIP: Work in Progress Kind of synonymous with manuscript, specifically an unfinished manuscript. A book that is in the process of being written. 

I hope that's helpful. Don't forget to ask questions if you're curious about any stage of the writing, editing or overall publishing process.


  1. Inexplicably, you forgot the most important acronym - TFIO.

  2. I just spent at least thirty seconds watching that GIF loop.

    In an earlier blog post you mentioned being flattered by being called the "next J.K. Rowling." However, the article's author also calls The Bone Season the next Twilight-type fantasy. Just to clarify: your novel seems to be nothing even close to that genre correct?

    1. It is quite addictive.

      And no, not at all, except that both novels involve mythological creatures of some sort: 'Twilight' uses vampires, while I have my own species, the Rephaim. No-one who's written about me so far has actually read 'The Bone Season', so I think it's just conjecture. Also 'Twilight' is YA while I write for a slightly older audience.

  3. If i am not wrong,was release date not 12 September 2013? And now in August! I wish it comes more sooner.

    1. Yes it was, they moved it to August 20th! Very exciting. Still a long wait but the cover release should be soon.

  4. Is it okay to coauthor a story? Does it lessen your chance of being published? Can one author give his/her half to the other author so that it is only under one name? Would that be considered as dishonesty? Please help.


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