Given that my wife and I are both thinking about getting into the freelance copyediting business as a side-job, I thought Lilith Saintcrow’s response to copyedits were right on target.
Copyeditors are those brave souls who descend upon one’s manuscript and pick through it with a fine-tooth comb. Punctuation. Grammar. Internal consistency. Formatting. Everything. As you might guess, these people are quiet heroes. I can tell you that if I had to copyedit, I would quickly reach the point of flinging myself off a bridge. It takes a keen eye and a lot of patience.
Getting copyedits back is like failing a test. The sheer amount of markup even on a light copyedit (i.e., a manuscript that didn’t need “much” in the way of corrections) is stunning the way an iron club to the head is stunning.
She’s right. Even light copyedits I’ve gotten back are daunting and take tons of time to look over. As Birthright nears completion, and I get chapter-by-chapter notes and copyedits, I understand her iron club metaphor all the better.