Proofreading & Editing

The Copyeditor’s Handbook

by Amy Einsohn

From the publisher: The Copyeditor’s Handbook is a lively, practical manual for newcomers to publishing and for experienced editors who want to fine-tune their skills or broaden their understanding of the craft. This book may be used for self-instruction or as a textbook in copyediting classes. The exercises are accompanied by answer keys and detailed line-by-line explanations.

The third edition features:

– Updates reflecting the 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style and the most current editions of other major style manuals.
– Additional updates to register technology-driven changes in onscreen editing procedures and typecoding.
– A revised chapter on resources for editors.
– Expanded bibliography and glossary.

Length: 576 pages
Publisher: University of California Press
Average customer review: 4.7 out of 5 stars (120 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies

by Suzanne Gilad

From the publisher: Turn your knack for language into a lucrative career.

Must-know techniques and resources for maximizing your accuracy and speed.

Interested in becoming a copyeditor or proofreader? Want to know more about what each job entails? This friendly guide helps you position yourself for success. Polish your skills, build a winning résumé and land the job you’ve always wanted. Books, magazines, Web sites, corporate documents—find out how to improve any type of publication and make yourself indispensable to writers, editors, and your boss.

– Balance between style and rules
– Master the art of the query
– Use proofreader symbols
– Edit and proof electronic documents
– Build a solid freelancing career

Length: 384 pages
Publisher: For Dummies
Average customer review: 4.5 out of 5 stars (117 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

Proofreading and Editing Precision (with CD-ROM)

by Larry G. Pagel

From the publisher: Proofreading and Editing Precision is a comprehensive, activity-oriented book designed to sharpen proofreading and editing skills. It provides a thorough review of the rules governing language arts and applies them in business documents. Computerized exercises are integrated to give users practice in proofreading, editing, and formatting Word 2007 documents just as they would in everyday situations.

Length: 312 pages
Publisher: Cengage Learning
Average customer review: 3.9 out of 5 stars (34 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

by Renni Browne and Dave King

From the publisher: Hundreds of books have been written on the art of writing. Here at last is a book by two professional editors to teach writers the techniques of the editing trade that turn promising manuscripts into published novels and short stories.

In this completely revised and updated second edition, Renni Browne and Dave King teach you, the writer, how to apply the editing techniques they have developed to your own work. Chapters on dialogue, exposition, point of view, interior monologue, and other techniques take you through the same processes an expert editor would go through to perfect your manuscript. Each point is illustrated with examples, many drawn from the hundreds of books Browne and King have edited.

Length: 288 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Average customer review: 4.6 out of 5 stars (528 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors

by Kathy Ide

From the publisher: Learn how best-selling authors proofread their manuscripts to avoid typos, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and errors in punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling.

Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, by professional freelance author, editor, and proofreader Kathy Ide, is the essential go-to tool for aspiring and experienced writers and editors. This book includes all of the material from Ide’s popular Polishing the PUGS book (now out of print), with added PUGS guidelines and helpful tips from multi-published authors on how to catch typos and other common mistakes.

In Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, Kathy Ide identifies the industry-standard references for books, magazines, and newspapers (which are different from the guidelines for other types of writing, such as college term papers). Using these official references, she highlights the most common mistakes writers make in the areas of punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling (for which she uses the acronym PUGS). She also includes guidelines from The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style for authors and editors who work in the inspirational market.

Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Average customer review: 4.6 out of 5 stars (68 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

McGraw-Hill’s Proofreading Handbook

by Laura Killen Anderson

From the publisher: The ideal desk companion for everyday writers, aspiring copyeditors, professional proofreaders, and veteran perfectionists alike.

McGraw-Hill’s Proofreading Handbook helps ensure that your documents are letter-perfect, every time. Veteran editor and proofreader Laura Anderson arms you with all the tools of the proofreader’s trade and walks you step-by-step through the entire proofreading process.

From term papers and annual reports to books and online articles, important documents only look professional if they are free of errors. And whether you’re a student, a businessperson, or a professional proofreader, it’s your job to make sure that every piece of writing that crosses your desk is clear, concise, and correct. Now you can avoid embarrassing mistakes and hone your critical skills with McGraw-Hill’s Proofreading Handbook, the most up-to-date and authoritative guide to ensuring your documents are error free.

Completely updated to include the latest information on Web-based material, this second edition makes proofreading easy for beginners and nonprofessionals, while providing a complete compendium of helpful resources that accomplished proofreaders will return to again and again.

Step-by-step instructions take you through the entire proofreading process, showing you how to:

– Read for accuracy and train your eyes to hunt for errors
– Create a style sheet to help you stay consistent
– Check facts thoroughly and efficiently
– Use good judgment when querying the author
– Master the art of making proofreader’s marks
– Understand typesetters’ language

This comprehensive guide also provides you with the tools of the trade, giving you valuable sample style sheets, proofreading checklists, a list of commonly misspelled words, and a chart of proofreading symbols–everything you need to dot your I’s and cross your T’s. You’ll never send out a resume, submit a report, or hand in a proofread manuscript without first consulting this go-to guide.

Length: 164 pages
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
Average customer review: 4.0 out of 5 stars (39 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

The Subversive Copy Editor

by Carol Fisher Saller

From the publisher: Longtime manuscript editor and Chicago Manual of Style guru Carol Fisher Saller has negotiated many a standoff between a writer and editor refusing to compromise on the “rights” and “wrongs” of prose styling. Saller realized that when these sides squared off, it was often the reader who lost. In her search for practical strategies for keeping the peace, The Subversive Copy Editor was born. Saller’s ideas struck a chord, and the little book with big advice quickly became a must-have reference for copy editors everywhere.

In this second edition, Saller adds new chapters, on the dangers of allegiance to outdated grammar and style rules and on ways to stay current in language and technology. She expands her advice for writers on formatting manuscripts for publication, on self-editing, and on how not to be “difficult.” Saller’s own gaffes provide firsthand (and sometimes humorous) examples of exactly what not to do. The revised content reflects today’s publishing practices while retaining the self-deprecating tone and sharp humor that helped make the first edition so popular. Saller maintains that through carefulness, transparency, and flexibility, editors can build trust and cooperation with writers.

The Subversive Copy Editor brings a refreshingly levelheaded approach to the classic battle between writers and editors. This sage advice will prove useful and entertaining to anyone charged with the sometimes perilous task of improving the writing of others.

Length: 200 pages
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Average customer review: 4.7 out of 5 stars (67 reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

The Editor’s Companion

by Steve Dunham

From the publisher: Excel at editing!

The editor’s job encompasses much more than correcting commas and catching typos. Your chief mission is to help writers communicate effectively—which is no small feat. Whether you edit books, magazines, newspapers, or online publications, your ability to develop clear, concise, and focused writing is the key to your success.

The Editor’s Companion is an invaluable guide to honing your editing skills. You’ll learn about editing for:

CONTENT: Analyze and develop writing that is appealing and appropriate for the intended audience.
FOCUS: Ensure strong beginnings and satisfying endings, and stick with one subject at a time.
PRECISE LANGUAGE: Choose the right words, the right voice, and the right tense for every piece.
GRAMMAR: Recognize common mistakes in punctuation, parts of speech, and sentence structure—and learn how to avoid them.

You’ll also find valuable editing resources and checklists, advice on editorial relationships and workflow, and real-life samples of editing with explanations of what was changed and why. The Editor’s Companion provides the tools you need to pursue high quality in editing, writing, and publishing—every piece, every time.

Length: 232 pages
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books
Average customer review: 4.5 out of 5 stars (23  reviews)
Buy it: Amazon

14 thoughts on “Proofreading & Editing

  1. Amber F. says:

    I’m a freelance writer. Learning about editing has helped my writing tremendously, especially when applying for new work.

    • Rockwaller Books says:

      Hi Amber,
      That’s a big part of why we’re recommending these manuals. Our editors are always happy when they spot a writer who is knowledgeable of different editorial conventions. It really shows in the quality of their writing.

    • Rockwaller Books says:

      Hi Jake,
      For copy-editing, the regional differences are quite small and technical. If you learned US conventions, you would be able to apply them very easily in a British text, and these books will certainly make that clear for you.
      For proofreading, the differences are a little more notable in regard to the marks that proofreaders use to illustrate changes in a manuscript. But since the marks are used to convey the same information to the typesetter, it’s very easy to learn both as needed.

    • Patrick says:

      Same here. It’s a good book to refresh yourself with every now and again. Covers pretty much everything you need to be on top of for editing (and proofreading).

  2. Natalie says:

    For anyone keen on getting into proofreading, McGraw-Hill’s Proofreading Handbook is a good resource to start with. It covers the most important conventions really well and keeps things accessible.

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