Copy Editing Basics

Write With Sarah offers copy editing services, both heavy and light, for writers and other professionals. Copy editing is a wise step for any writer to take on the road to publication or submission, as it’s hard for a writer — even an excellent one — to have the necessary perspective on a piece of writing to find all the rough spots and mechanical errors. As your copy editor, I’ll work to maintain your voice while polishing your work for and with you.

What will I copy edit for you? 

  • Books, fiction and nonfiction
  • Articles
  • Websites
  • Professional communications
  • Brochures
  • Newsletters
  • E-books

Light Editing Services: 

  • Recommend changes in wording and sentence organization.
  • Correct grammar, punctuation, and usage errors.
  • Assure consistency in style, adhering to the style manual you prefer (Chicago Manual of Style, American Psychological Manual of Style, etc.)
  • Examine sentence and paragraph length and structure, correcting as needed.

Heavy Copy Editing/Substantive Editing:

  • Examine and critique organization and structure, recommending changes or rewriting, depending on our agreement.
  • Repair transitions and jargon and alert writer to sexist or racist language.
  • Examine logical consistency of the entire piece, search for holes in argument (nonfiction) and information for nonfiction.
  • Read for contradictions.
  • Perform all the light copy writing tasks.
  • Rewrite, as requested, sections in the writer’s voice.

The line between heavy and light copy editing may seem blurry, but the primary difference is the attention to the piece as a whole. Light copy editing doesn’t address the piece as a whole aside from style, where the question is consistency of word usage and tense. Heavy copy editing, or substantive editing, starts at the whole and works to parts as the whole improves. Coaching, a service I also offer, is essentially guided heavy copy editing where you do the writing and I offer critique and suggestions without making changes. Some writers may prefer this option, as it keeps the piece firmly in their own voice. Either way, line copy editing is the final editing job.
If you’d like to know more about what I can offer you as a copy editor, contact me via the form on the right or email me at






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