Having a professional copy editor review your fiction or nonfiction manuscript before publication is a very good idea. But what makes a professional copy editor?
The above question is a serious one that I have been pondering as I find numerous errors in books (including my own) that are both self-published and published by major publishers.
And here is an interesting consideration: How much does the copy editor know about the world? Seriously.
Let me explain:
I have been reviewing before publication the fourth humorous short story book by my 88-year-old father Al Zimbler. He has a professional copy editor, who does a very good job of finding grammar errors, etc. But what about logic errors?
In a story that takes place in 1940, a person is referred to as working at a “high-tech company.” I think we can agree that this term was not used in 1940. (I eliminated the reference.)
In another short story, in one place the woman has never dated and in another place she only goes on occasional dates. (I corrected this inconsistency.)
Then there is the question of varying cultural references in the same language:
In my experience Robin is usually a woman’s name in the U.S. and a man’s name in the U.K. So in a short story meant for English-speaking readers, using the name Robin can cause gender confusion. (How about choosing a clearly masculine or feminine name for this issue?)
As much as we authors strive for perfection in our books, there will be errors. (Hopefully ones that we can correct.) But logic inconsistencies can give us all headaches!
P.S. If you are at Book Expo America in New York, I’ll be hanging out part of the time at Booth C1283 with the team from Booksicals, which is launching its Sweetness of Reading campaign. Stop by and say hi!
And you can see my father’s humorous short stories about love and sex at www.amazon.com/author/albertzimbler
© 2013 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON and the romantic suspense spy story CIA FALL GUY.
She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com