Why Editors Love Writers Who Know Copyediting Marks

Copyediting is often a thankless job. Writers complain about your changes. Clients want to know why you “scribble” all over their documents. Sometimes you feel like no one takes you seriously.

The truth is, a copyeditor can be a writer’s best friend. Good copyeditors produce work that is almost invisible. Their editing polishes the writer’s work, making it shine. Most writers who work with good copyeditors say that their copyeditor makes them look good in print.

So make an effort to make friends with your copyeditor by learning to speak their language—-the language of copyeditor marks. If you don’t know what copyeditor marks look like or if it’s been a while and you’d like to refresh your memory, check out the New York Book Editors Copyediting Marks.

It’s such a relief to copyeditors, line editors, and proofreaders when the writers they work with understand the meaning behind those strange “scribbles” we make on their documents. It makes our lives so much easier because we don’t have explain every change we’ve made or why we made it. In fact, if we’ve done our job well, most of the writers we work with will thank us for helping them look like writing rock stars.

Although more writers and editors exchange documents online and use Track Changes to edit documents, a lot of documents are still edited in hard copy. If you know how to speak the language of your editors, in the form of copyeditor marks, you will quickly become a favorite of the editors you work with.

What do you think about copyediting marks? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. (If you’re reading this post on the Writers Inkwell home page, please click on the headline to leave a comment, then scroll to the bottom of the post.)

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