Copyediting Fiction and Nonfiction Books: Principles & Mechanics


Six Monday sessions:

January 24, 2022, 6:30–8:30pm ET

January 31, 2022, 6:30–8:30pm ET

February 7, 2022, 6:30–8:30pm ET

February 14, 2022, 6:30–8:30pm ET

February 21, 2022, 6:30–8:30pm ET

February 28, 2022, 6:30–8:30pm ET


Remotely (by Zoom)

How much?

USD $479   

Copyediting Fiction and Nonfiction Books: Principles & Mechanics


When? Six Monday sessions from January 24 to February 28, 2022, 6:30–8:30pm ET

Where? Remotely by Zoom

How much? USD $479 


Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Designed for anyone who wants to learn how to copyedit fiction and nonfiction books. It will be easier if you have experience with editing, but experience is not required.

Starts: January 24, 2022

This 6-session class will be held by Zoom on Mondays (6:30–8:30pm ET) January 24 to February 28, 2022.

Price: $479

The 6 lessons in this class cover what you need to know to get started as a copyeditor of fiction and nonfiction. Unlike other training programs, we do not divide the content into beginning, intermediate, and advanced. You get it all in one course.

Remote Meetings

6 sessions of 2 hours each by Zoom, with exercises, homework, individual feedback, and a Slack forum.

Discover a Rewarding Career as a Freelance Book Copyeditor 

Do you love books? Do you find typos in menus, on signs, and in newspapers? Have you been known to read the dictionary for fun?

Did you get Grammar Guru and/or Detail Lover in our Book Editor Profile Quiz?

If so, you might like to copyedit popular books – fantasy, romance, memoirs, literary fiction, YA, and so on. This class will teach you how!

“I seriously thought there’d be no chance that I could do copyediting, but you changed my mind. You also showed me how fun it is and how much it matters to the authors you work with. You’ve really got something good going on.

Amy Bee

Sacramento, California

“Whether you’re an aspiring professional copyeditor or, like me, a default copyeditor wherever I work, this is an invaluable class. It’s exciting to know that I’m not the only one obsessed with correct usage of the English language. I highly recommend this class!”

Yudi Bennett

Glendale, California

“Copyediting Principles & Mechanics was an excellent starter course for those of us wanting to dip our toes or go full steam ahead into the editing world. There was enough information and practice to whet our appetites. By the end of the course I felt prepared to update my social media profiles, put up a page on my current website, and go out and find editing work. I would highly recommend this course to anyone looking to find out about the principles and mechanics of copyediting.”

Patricia Bumpass

North Carolina

Class Information

This class is designed for anyone who’s interested in becoming a freelance book copyeditor. It’s a crash course on copyediting trade books — popular books you’d read for book group (not technical books, medical books, or textbooks). Over six weekly meetings, we will study both the principles and mechanics of copyediting.

The mechanics, or rules — things like grammar, punctuation, and spelling — will be taught by diving deep into Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition (which is required for the course). Weekly homework and editing practice will help students sharpen their editing skills with excerpts from manuscripts.

As for the principles, we will explore those in our class lectures. Topics include how to preserve the author’s style, developing editorial judgment, and what to include in a style sheet.

We’ll also tackle Microsoft Word and Track Changes, where to find work, and how to live well as a freelancer.

And finally, we’ll have fun! A Slack forum will let us chat and share ideas 24/7.

This copyediting course is different from others. First, it’s focused only on trade books (popular books for a general audience). And second, the course isn’t divided into different levels. It’s an intense course that will give you the basic skills and approach – which we believe are all you need to start.

“I am forever grateful that you offered this course online. Your attention on our personal work and journey in the course kept me motivated to engage and grapple with the assignments. I was nervous. But I held on to your sureness like a lifeline. I am so glad I did this! Thank you, a thousand times thank you.

Yvette Pelser

“Copyediting Principles & Mechanics provides a thorough introduction to the business of copyediting. Resources and materials related to every aspect of the field are generously shared. It will take me months to check out all of the links, references, and other information provided. I recommend this course to anyone who is interested in or curious about copyediting.”

Kim Lier

Brattleboro, Vermont

“I’ve been working as a freelance editor, primarily for business clients, and looking to add more book editing to my business. Finding the Editorial Arts Academy class on Copyediting Fiction and Nonfiction Books: Principles & Mechanics online was exactly what I needed. This class provided a strong base for current editing practices helpful to any editor looking to work in trade book editing. I highly recommend this course for anyone looking to work in book editing trade fiction and nonfiction.”

Heidi Peterson

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Class Breakdown

Week 1: What Does a Copyeditor Do? | Punctuation
Week 2: Mastering Technology | Spelling & Hyphenation
Week 3: The Elements of Style (and Style) | Capping/Italics/Quotes
Week 4: Into the Weeds We Go! | Numbers
Week 5: When Rules Fall Apart | Grammar I
Week 6: Insider Tips for the Happy Copyeditor | Grammar II

Class Curriculum

Week 1 – What Does a Copyeditor Do?

  • 1.1: Copyediting and the Editorial Process
  • 1.2: The Copyeditor’s Tasks
  • 1.3: Tools of the Trade

Homework/Self-study: Punctuation

Week 2 – Mastering Technology

  • 2.1: Microsoft Word and Track Changes
  • 2.2: Typecoding and Styles
  • 2.3: Tools, Add-ons, and Macros

Homework/Self-study: Spelling & Hyphenation

Week 3 – The Elements of Style (and Style)

  • 3.1: Two Types of Style
  • 3.2: The Hierarchy of Style Authority
  • 3.3: All About Style Sheets

Homework/Self-study: Capping/Italics/Quotes

Week 4 – Into the Weeds We Go!

  • 4.1: Fact-checking
  • 4.2: Continuity and Consistency
  • 4.3: Permissions

Homework/Self-study: Numbers

Week 5 –  When Rules Fall Apart

  • 5.1: The Art of Copyediting
  • 5.2: Editorial Judgment
  • 5.3: What and How to Query

Homework/Self-study: Grammar I

Week 6 – Insider Tips for the Happy Copyeditor

  • 6.1: Where to Find Work
  • 6.2: Getting Paid
  • 6.3: Insider Tips

Homework/Self-study: Grammar II

Want more details? Check out our class tour.

What Students Are Saying…

“The supplemental materials you sent right after each class were and are invaluable — I continue to look back to see topics I should brush up on.” 

“I loved your enthusiasm and just plain fun delivery of information that could possibly have been boring in other hands. Language nerds unite!”

“I really liked the small, actively engaged group. It felt *real* and cozy/comfortable.

“There was a lot of room for conversation, the posing of questions, and the sharing of thoughts and ideas. Lots of learning. Lots of fun.

I personally found it hard to just sit and read all the sections of CMOS before having examples to look at. Much of it didn’t sink in just reading. But it helped to have the drills afterward to help retain the information.”

“I’ve taken a lot of classes for work over the years and got used to just gritting my teeth and getting through it as best I can. Your classes are so well thought out, so well organized and so well presented . . . my standards are now way, way higher.” 

“Reviewing each week’s exercises together, as being able to ask and receive answers to questions was very helpful. The technical guidance in learning the many functions of Track Changes was also useful.

 “I learned so much! I am already feeling the effects of the class in my own work as a writer and editor.

Your Instructor – NaNá V. Stoelzle

NaNá V. Stoelzle, MA, has worked full-time as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader for over twenty years. Focusing exclusively on fiction and nonfiction trade books for traditional publishers, like Penguin Random House, she started out working at a scientific/technical publisher in New York for five years. Recent titles include proofreading reprints of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Dorothy Parker’s Enough Rope (poems), and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Getting paid to work on the classics is a dream come true. Lesser-known titles, like John Grisham’s Sooley, abound too. An East Coast native, she makes her home in Casper, Wyoming, where she loves to garden, cook, hike, ski, and read, dreaming about traveling while listening to music on radio stations around the world.


Who should take this course?

The class is designed for new and working editors who want training in the skills and principles of copyediting fiction and nonfiction books (trade books, or books for a general audience).

If I have experience as an editor, is this the right course for me?

Yes. Both experienced and new editors will learn valuable skills and receive support by taking this class. Experienced editors will particularly benefit if they have worked in other types of editing and are relatively new to copyediting trade books.

How is the course delivered?

This is a virtual, remote-only, live class delivered through Zoom, a video-conferencing platform (similar to Skype). Shortly before the class begins, we will email you the link to enter the classroom at the designated time. If you’re in a time zone that would make the class hard to attend, you can watch the playbacks and ask your questions by email.

What equipment and software will I need to participate?

You’ll need a computer, tablet, or smartphone with a webcam, speakers, and a microphone (all either built-in or external). You’ll also need a reliable Internet connection.

Am I responsible for buying additional materials?

Yes, students need to purchase Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition.

Will the classes be recorded for viewing at a different time?

Yes, we’ll load the class playbacks into our YouTube channel (they’ll be unlisted so only students will see them).

Will the lectures be transcribed?

Yes, each participant will receive a transcript of the lectures and slides from each of the six lectures.

Will there be a chance to interact with students and teachers?

Yes, you can ask questions during class and participate in the Slack forum.

Will there be homework/exercises?

Yes, this is a skills-training class in which you will be taught how to edit. Weekly assignments will help you accomplish that goal. The instructor will provide feedback on homework individually, and the beginning of each class will be dedicated to reviewing the homework as a group.

Will I get feedback on the editing exercises?

Yes, the instructor will review your final editing exercise and point out strengths and challenges. In addition, at the beginning of each class, we’ll go over the previous week’s assignments, and students can check in about the editing choices they made.

Will the class be an opportunity to practice editing?

You will get some practice with editing, including personalized feedback on your final assignment. For further hands-on experience, students can take “Copyediting Fiction and Nonfiction Books: Group Mentorship.” This practice-based, feedback-heavy course is designed to fully prepare you for the field.

How much time does the class take per week?

Including class time, students should expect to devote five to ten hours per week to their studies.

Does the class cover marketing and finding work?

Yes, but it is not the primary focus of the class.

Can I expect to get jobs editing books as a result of this class?

Yes, getting editing jobs requires the technical training that is offered in this class.

What is the cost of the class?

Registration is $479. This price includes the lecture content, supporting materials and resources, the Slack forum, and forever access to the class library.

Is there a money-back guarantee?

Yes. If for any reason you find the content and delivery of “Copyediting Fiction and Nonfiction Books: Principles & Mechanics” less than satisfactory, we will refund your class fee.

How can I sign up?

Easy! Just scroll to the bottom of the page and fill out the form.

The Countdown Begins!








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Fill out the form below to register. 

Dates: January 24, 31, February 7, 14, 21, 28, 6:30–8:30pm Eastern

15 seats per class

Copyediting Fiction and Nonfiction Books: Principles & Mechanics (January-February 2022)

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