Editing for Indie Writers: Copyediting Checklist Part 1 (Technical Considerations)

The indie editing series continues (starts here but the collective posts are here).

It’s helpful to literally print out a copyediting checklist and check off boxes as you complete steps, but it’s not necessary.  Personally, I recommend going through everything in this blog post first, using a checklist, then going back and doing next week’s checklist along with the style sheet.  At this point, you should put all your material in the document and in order, although not necessarily formatted correctly.  Some people like to format first and copyedit second, then do the proofreading once during the galley/proof stage; if that’s the case, make sure you review the formatting steps as noted and make sure you do the formatting checklist at the same time (this will come later).

Headers/Footers (If formatting before copyediting)

  • POD: Headers/footers on first pages of section correct (may differ than other pages).
  • POD: Headers/footers on even pages correct.
  • POD: Headers on odd pages correct.
  • POD: Page numbers in correct location, formatted correctly, and in order.
  • POD: No header/footer information on title/copyright pages.

Front Matter – Title and Copyright

  • Title matches exactly in all references in and to the work.
  • Byline matches exactly in all references in and to the work.
  • Copyright date, symbol, and copyright holder present and correct.
  • Copyright information for all images and design work present and correct (may be located in back matter).
  • Publication date present and correct, if desired.
  • Publisher name, city/state/country, and additional contact information present and correct, if desired.
  • Any front matter disclaimers present and correct (e.g., the Smashwords blurbs, safety notices, permissions for lyrics, “no resemblance to persons living or dead,” etc.).
  • POD: ISBN correct and listed, if desired.
  • POD: Library of Congress information correct and listed, if necessary.
  • POD: Edition notice (e.g., First Edition)  present and correct, if desired.

Front Matter – Table of Contents

  • Table of Contents title present and correct.
  • All necessary items listed, in the same order as in the text, numbered sequentially.
  • At least two items must be present at each level of the outline in order use that level of outline.
  • No two items in the same level of outline may be the same unless they are sub-items to different items.
  • Ebook:  All links working (if formatting before copyediting).
  • Ebook: If using an abbreviated TOC at the front of the book and the complete TOC at the back of the book, both sets of TOCs present, correct, etc.
  • POD: All page numbers correct (if formatting before copyediting).

Front Matter – Other material

  • All other sections of front matter present and correct, as desired (e.g., List of Illustrations, List of Figures, Preface, Foreword, Dedication, Acknowledgments, Errata, Frontispiece, Introduction, Pull Quotes, Blurbs, Also Available).

Main Text – Links

  • Ebook: All hyperlinks present and correct.
  • POD:  All hyperlinks formatted consistently and correctly, for ease of use by readers.

Main Text – Images

  • All figures present and correct, including captions (in order).
  • All tables present and correct, including captions (in order).
  • All illustrations present and correct, including captions (if using).
  • No two captions may match.
  • Formatting for captions is consistent throughout the book.
  • All figures/tables/illustrations aligned consistently.
  • Ebook: All initial caps created as images present and correct, if using.
  • Ebook: All headings created as images present and correct, if using.
  • Ebook: All additional text created as images present and correct, if using
  • Ebook: All glyphs created as images present and correct, if using.
  • Ebook: All images with correct dpi/maximum dimensions.

Main Text – Section Titles

  • All section titles present, correct, and sequential (check for missing numbers).
  • All subsection titles at the correct level, present, correct, and sequential.
  • If sections have individual author information, all sections’ author information is present and correct.

Main Text – Notes

  • All notes present, correct, and correctly numbered.  I recommend writing out the exact format for citing references and include it in your checklist (e.g., Lastname, Firstname.  That One Book: A Really Useful Reference, Edition.  City, ST: Publisher, Copyright Date.
  • Ebook: All notes in correct location and all links working, if using.
  • POD:  All notes in correct location.

Back Matter – Appendices

  • All appendices are present and correct.
  • Appendices are titled correctly and in order.

Back Matter – Author Information

  • Section title present and correct.
  • Author photo present and correct.
  • Author biography present and correct.
  • Author social media information present and correct (e.g., blog, email, and other contact information).

Back Matter – Publisher Information

  • Section title present and correct.
  • Publisher photo/logo present and correct.
  • Publisher information present and correct.
  • Author social media information present and correct (e.g., blog, email, and other contact information).

Back Matter – Additional Work

  • Section title present and correct.
  • Cover image present and correct, if using.
  • Blurbs present and correct, if using.
  • Additional Work material present and correct, if using.

Back Matter – Bibliography

  • Section title present and correct.
  • Bibliographic entries all present and correct (exact matches on title/authors, titles correct, publication/edition information correct, correct city/state/country, exact publisher name, correct copyright year, correct pages cited, if any, etc., as required by your style guide).  I recommend looking up the correct format for your style guide and write it down in your checklist.
  • Bibliographic entries alphabetized by author’s last name, then by title, as required by your style guide.
  • Bibliographic entries indented correctly (if formatting before copyediting).

Back Matter – Misc.

  • All additional back matter is present and complete, as desired (endnotes, glossary, index, colophon, etc.).
  • Ebook: Links in all sections of back matter present, working, and correct.
  • POD:  All hyperlinks formatted consistently and correctly, for ease of use by readers.
  • POD:  All page number references correct.

Let me know if you end up checking for anything else, technically speaking, and I’ll add it to this part of the checklist.

Next Week: Copyediting Checklist Part 2 (The Six Cs)

Update:

Auuuuggghh!  Bullets and lists!  What was I thinking!  I updated the images section (more on captioning) and the TOC section (more on not duplicating titles).  Also added notes about making sure section titles (chapters) are sequential.  Thanks, Holly G!

Main Text – Ordered and Undordered Lists

  • All lists where the order of the items is significant are ordered (numbered) lists and that all lists where the order of items is not significant are unordered (bulleted) lists.
  • Punctuation in lists is consistent.
  • Numbering/bulleting in lists is consistent.
  • Indentation in lists is consistent.
  • Level of indentation in lists is correct.
  • Two items must be present to make a list (except ironically), and two items must be in each level of the list.

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4 Comments

  1. HollyG

    Great list! I would add under the Table of Contents to check chapter numbers to be sure they are sequential. I’ve skipped a number before and so did one of my critique partners.

    • De

      Okay. I had that come up on both mine and on clients’ books, too. I didn’t know how specific to get in that area…I may have to expand on “complete and correct” in a few places. Good point 🙂

  2. Sherrell Ovadilla

    I’ll right away grab your rss as I can not find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me know in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

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