The copy editor edits the manuscript, looking out for grammar, spelling mistakes, inconsistencies, and applying Unbound’s house style. It can take up to two months.
Copy editors make sure that grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct, word choice is strong, text flows well, and sentences and paragraphs are digestible. Copy editors also comb through the nitty-gritty like bibliographies and footnotes to ensure that they are in order and complete.
Copy editors apply Unbound’s house style and work to a brief prepared by our editorial and production departments. However, they will also work to preserve the author’s own narrative style and the characters’ voices – for example, where repetition or stream-of-consciousness have been used.
A good copy editor will seek clarification from the author on points of fact or consistency, and so copy edited manuscripts are accompanied by a list of queries for the author. For example, the copy editor might flag that a character is wearing sandals in one scene and snow boots in the next, and ask the author to resolve this.
The author then has some time to respond to these queries, and one of Unbound’s in-house editors will work with the author to implement these changes in the manuscript. Substantial changes are best avoided at this stage (see development edit), but this is the author’s last chance to make changes to the manuscript before it is typeset.
From the start of the copy edit stage, it may take up to two months before the text goes on to typesetting.
(And here is some info on the publishing process as a whole.)