I have copyedits back for Assassin’s Gambit!
Authors hear a lot of horror stories about copyediting. Horror story #1 is that the copyeditor tries to rewrite your book in his or her own style, resulting in a nightmare for the author of trying to sort out the legitimate copyedits from the “I want to change your authorial voice” copyedits. Horror story #2 is that the publisher gives you the copyedits on Christmas Eve or something and demands you get them done immediately.
I’m happy to report that neither of these horror stories happened to me. Not even close. I was warned in advance when my copyedits would arrive. They arrived on schedule, and I had two weeks to return them. And the copyeditor made no stylistic or “voice” changes to the manuscript. All the changes were to bring the manuscript in line with the publisher’s style guide and to correct inconsistencies within the manuscript. Some examples:
Every “towards” is now “toward.” Every “downwards” is now “downward,” etc.
Apparently I overuse hyphens! The copyeditor took out about 90% of them. Most were in my made-up words like mind-mage, war-mage, etc. These are now mind mage and war mage. I think they do look better that way.
Lots of little punctuation changes (commas added or removed).
A lot of capitalization issues. I was never sure whether to capitalize emperor, or imperial, especially when the latter was paired with other words, like Imperial Palace or Imperial Princess. From seeing how the copyeditor handled both words, I think I understand now when they are and aren’t capitalized (both are conditionally capitalized depending on how they are used in the sentence).
“Echoes”–places where a word is unintentionally repeated within a sentence or two of itself.
That’s not an exhaustive list but just a few things that the copyeditor addressed. One of the great things about working with a big publishing house is that they are experts and there’s a lot I can learn from them. I learned a great deal going through my copyedits, and I’m already applying a similar set of changes to the manuscript for book 2, which should make copyediting easier in the future.