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Forest Path

Copy Editing

Corrects small errors and polishes the prose.

Copy editing corrects spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage. It also ensures consistency in editorial style for things like capitalization, numbers (spell out or not), and formatting.

This is the one level of editing that every book must have. It's hard to copy edit your own work because you're so familiar with it. If a word is missing, your brain will automatically fill it in.

Copy editing catches mistakes that would distract readers from your story or argument. It aims to make your manuscript correct, accurate, complete, and consistent.

Consistency in editorial style

I'm well versed in the Chicago Manual of Style, the industry standard for book publishing in North America. I'm also familiar with APA (used in the social sciences) and MLA (often used for the humanities).  I’ll consult with you about choices for editorial style and provide you with a style sheet.

Is copy editing a good choice for me?

Your work is ready for copy editing if the structure is sound and the paragraphs are well organized.

Copy editing is a must if spelling, grammar, and punctuation are not your strong points.

Self-publishing authors should budget for copy editing to produce a book they’re proud of.

But—if you’ve had your book edited at the developmental and line level and you’re trying to get an agent or a publisher, do not hire a freelance copy editor. The publisher will pay for copy editing and other costs of production. 

What does it cost?

$15 to $30 per 1,000 words (Canadian dollars).

A copy edit can be light, medium, or heavy. The complexity of the manuscript also affects the price. For example, a manuscript with dozens of references that need checking will cost more to copy edit than a book with accurate and complete references. ​Please contact me for a free estimate.

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It has been my good fortune to have Ellie Barton as copy editor. Her work harmonizes aspects of form and style, bringing them into conformity with the publisher’s expectations, but more importantly in my view, Ellie offers comments on awkward wording, instances of heavy overstatement, and the points at which the text is quite simply unclear. Her editing has made my Reading Alice Munro with Jacques Lacan a better book.

Jennifer Murray, University of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France


We very much enjoyed working with Ellie on the editing process of Cirque Global. She was a careful, insightful, and respectful reader, always open to discussion but also extremely well-versed in academic writing. Unfailingly professional and a pleasure to exchange emails and ideas with, we warmly recommend Ellie for copy editing and stylistic editing.

Louis Patrick Leroux and Charles R. Batson

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A superb copy editor.

Thomas Axworthy, Secretary General of the InterAction Council

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Interested in working with me?

Please complete this author questionnaire to receive a complimentary assessment of the level of editing your manuscript needs.

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