How I Do Copyediting and Proofreading

I’m not going to lie here that doing copyediting and proofreading on your own is not an easy thing to do. That is always the case when you don’t have any technical background.

Just to let you know that I certainly don’t have any technical background in doing both copyediting and proofreading. But it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to do it yourself.

“It shouldn’t be much of a problem if you have a good grasp in English or any other language for that matter, right?” You ask.

Well, you’re right about that. But having a good grasp in English or in any language isn’t the only thing you need for doing an effective copyediting and proofreading.

Copyediting goes so much more than knowing how to write better since you have to be sure that each sentence that you write is connecting from one another.

I know that it may sound complicated, especially to those who have never done it before.

But like I said before, it’s possible for you to do copyediting and proofreading yourself even if you have no technical background and you’re new to this.

What copyediting and proofreading is all about

I have to admit that the term copyediting, for the most part, can be rather confusing for some people, myself included. So, here’s what I understand what do the people in the publishing house mean when they talk about copyediting and proofreading.


The editor will check sentences in the text line-by-line, looking for any sentences that they think seem complex or confusing to the readers. The editor then will break the complex sentence into a much simpler, easy-to-understand sentence. They will also do the same for sentences that they deem confusing to the readers too.

Apart from editing each sentence, the editor will also look for the common words being used in the manuscript and replace the words with a far better word.

Of course, they will also fix any grammatical errors and typos too, in case you’re wondering.


While proofreaders will also do things like checking the grammatical errors and typos, they won’t be the one who will fix the errors, though. The copyeditor will still be the one who will have to do those things, especially when there are so many errors to fix.

Apart from identifying grammatical errors and typos, proofreaders will also check the edited manuscript with the proof copy. They need to make sure that the formatting for the book is done correctly and there are no missing pages before the book is being sent for the large scale printing. 

Do you need to hire a copyeditor and a proofreader too?

If you have the budget to hire a copyeditor, then go for it. While it’s true that hiring a copyeditor isn’t as expensive as hiring a structural editor, it still does add up to the publishing cost. If you have a limited budget, I highly suggest you save up and spend the money on other critical things such as book cover design. So, there’s no shame in having to do copyediting yourself.

My rule for hiring a proofreader is the same as hiring a copyeditor. If you have the budget for that, then go for it. Otherwise, you can do the proofreading yourself since you don’t have to do anything much at this stage of the process.

As for me, I didn’t hire any copyeditor and proofreader for my book when I was just starting out. So, it’s okay for you to choose not to hire a copyeditor and a proofreader if you don’t have the budget for it.

If you’d like to hire a copyeditor and a proofreader, you can find them in a place like Reedsy. They cover all the things you need when it comes to book publishing. I also recommend Reedsy in the previous section of this guide as well.

How can you do copyediting and proofreading yourself

For those who are thinking of doing copyediting and proofreading yourself, here are the apps that I’m currently using to polish my manuscript. While these apps aren’t perfect, they do get the job done. What’s even better, they’re affordable too if you decide to opt for the premium version.

Hemingway App

Hemingway app does all the things that copyeditor does. All you need to do is to paste the chapter you want to work on the app and it will highlight the problematic parts in your manuscript.

The instruction on how to edit the highlighted part is easy too. Have red highlights in your manuscript? Well, you only need to break these sentences into sentences that are simpler and easy to understand. And you’re good to go.

Have many adverbs in your manuscript? You can choose to get rid of them or find other similar words. You can leave it there if you want to since the app also provides you with the suggestion on how many adverbs is ideal for that chapter.

The only downside of Hemingway app is it doesn’t provide you with the suggestion on the highlighted sentences. So, you still need to come up with a better sentence yourself.

Not only that, but it also doesn’t help you with correcting any grammatical errors or typos. The app won’t be pointing out for the grammatical errors or typos if you have one.

The web version for the Hemingway app is free. But if you prefer a desktop version and you tend to do your works offline, for the most part, you can get the paid version of the app for only $19.99.

The desktop version is available for Windows and Mac.


Grammarly is a perfect complement to the Hemingway app since it can identify and correct the grammatical errors and typos with just a click of a button.

What’s even better, you can use it pretty much everywhere online once you have Grammarly installed on your browser. It’s also available on iOS and Android too in case you’re doing most of your writings on your phone or tablet.

I admit that Grammarly isn’t perfect since I still spot errors when I have the proof copy with me. But the errors are minimal compared to the time when I’m not using Grammarly.

The free version of Grammarly allows you to do the basic grammar and spelling checking. But the premium version can do so much more than that such as suggesting a better word to the common word that you use in your writing.

I already write a dedicated post talking about Grammarly premium. You can read about Grammarly premium right here to learn more about it.

I use Grammarly to correct any grammatical errors and typos in my manuscript once I already completed the copyediting process.

Print your manuscript

Nothing beats doing manual proofreading by printing your manuscript and mark the errors with a red pen. Despite having fancy apps like Hemingway app and Grammarly under my disposal, I still find that it’s easier for me to spot the errors when I see my writing in print.

Sure, it’s troublesome and you don’t feel like looking through at your manuscript again. But if doing that will ensure that your book will be error-free when you receive the proof copy, then it’s worth the trouble, right?

Don’t get me wrong. I love using apps like the Hemingway app and Grammarly. But sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to do manual proofreading as a final round of quality assurance.

Keep in mind that printing your manuscript for a final round of check is optional. But if you want to make sure that the book is error-free even in the proof copy, then there’s no other way to do it other than to print the manuscript and do your final check before you submit the book for printing.