Wasting money on a copyedit or proofread?

There’s a problem I’ve encountered with a number of my developmental editing clients.

They paid for a copyedit or proofread of their novel or memoir and only then sent their manuscript to me.


I think there are a number of reasons:

  • Writers don’t always know the correct order of editing (which I deal with below)
  • They got a copyedit/proofread but it was later suggested they needed a critique too. Ouch! Money wasted
  • They published the book (without a critique) and then needed to pull it to improve it
  • The copyeditor/proofreader wasn’t honest about the type of editing that was needed
  • The copyeditor/proofreader was honest but the client ignored it for any number of reasons

I’ve also noticed that some clients are sending me formatted books that are still early on in their development.

This can sometimes make the editing a little more difficult.

It’s best to send manuscripts with double-spaced text, but some people are sending single-spaced documents that already look like ebooks. Not so much space to leave margin comments.

Are you wasting your money on a copyedit or proofread?

Developmental editing requires rewriting parts of the book.

You might have to restructure the book, change parts of the plot, delete scenes or chapters.

If you have the book copyedited first, you’ve totally wasted your money because you’re going to have to have the book edited again, once the developmental editing is complete.

Here is the editorial timeline:

  • Critique partners/writing groups/alpha readers
  • Developmental editor – either a critique or a full developmental edit
  • Line editor/copyeditor
  • Proofreading is the final stage to check everything is correct and spelling and formatting are consistent, etc
  • Beta readers can be used in the later stages, after developmental editing

You don’t have to go through every layer of editing here. You could choose the following:

  • Writing group/critique partners
  • Manuscript critique
  • Proof-edit

This would be cheaper though it wouldn’t be as detailed. Still, if you’re on a budget, it’s worth bearing in mind.

There is absolutely no point in paying for copyediting and proofreading when you’re still working on the plot and bigger picture issues.

Seriously folks, don’t do this.

Some of my writers have completely wasted time and money on copyeditors and/or proofreaders. Indie publishing already has costs. Don’t make it more expensive than is necessary.

You want the best book you can deliver to readers, but you also don’t want to get ripped off in the process.

Want to try a free sample developmental edit?

I’m currently offering a free sample developmental edit of 2000 words. This will include an editorial report and track commenting in the margins of your manuscript. If you’re interested, you can contact me at: karen@indiecateditorial.com

The manuscript should be in Word or a compatible Word format.

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