Why is there a typo in my book?!

Imagine this – you just bought a book. Still fresh from the bookshop, you open it on the first page, start reading and suddenly, an odd-looking word catches your attention – whoa, why is this word here?! You think about it for a brief second and then move on, because the book is interesting and you want to know what happens next. But wait, you get to page 2 and now there’s a full stop missing… and then there’s an extra comma a few pages on and then a funny-looking word break… What at first seemed like an innocent typo is now starting to bring up questions; you’re getting fed up with the book. Why is this typo here?! I’ll never buy another book by this author!, you think to yourself. But before you throw the book on to the rubbish heap, let’s look at a few reasons why there may be typos in an otherwise carefully produced text.

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What makes a good copy-editor?

open book
Copy-editing is an adventure the author takes you on

I recently spoke to students on a publishing degree about the roles of copy-editors and proofreaders. One of the topics we covered was how to become a copy-editor. And it’s an interesting question, because it touches on something I’ve been thinking about for a while – what makes a good copy-editor? Knowing your grammar, BSI mark-up and having an ‘eye for detail’ are obvious answers, but I also believe that there are certain qualities that a good copy-editor can try to practise – these will allow her to work with, not against, the author. I can think of four; let’s look at those. Continue reading “What makes a good copy-editor?”