Copyediting Fiction and Nonfiction Books: Principles & Mechanics


Now with a Bonus PDF, “12 Common Mistakes in Fiction Copyediting”










Six Monday sessions:

January 18, 2021, 6:30–8:30pm ET

January 25, 2021, 6:30–8:30pm ET

February 1, 2021, 6:30–8:30pm ET

February 8, 2021, 6:30–8:30pm ET

February 15, 2021, 6:30–8:30pm ET

February 22, 2021, 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 18 to February 22, 2021, 6:30–8:30pm ET

Where? Remotely by Zoom

How much? USD $479


Now with a Bonus PDF, “12 Common Mistakes in Fiction Copyediting”

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 18, 2021

This 6-session class will be held by Zoom on Mondays (6:30–8:30pm ET) January 18 through February 22, 2021.

Price: $479

The 6 lessons in this class, along with the forum on Slack, 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 and homework (ungraded) and a Slack forum.

Sign up for “Copyediting: Principles & Mechanics” and get a bonus!

Bonus PDF, “12 Common Mistakes in Fiction Copyediting”

Copyediting fiction doesn’t have to be intimidating. When you sign up for “Copyediting: Principles & Mechanics,” you get this PDF download that reveals twelve typical mistakes you’ll find in most books. You learn not only what the error is, but also why it’s wrong and how to fix it (and a couple surprise extras). This list was compiled after twenty-plus years in the business. Consider this your shortcut to gaining hard-won insider knowledge!

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? Have your family and friends suggested you might like a T-shirt that reads, “I’m silently correcting your grammar”?

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!

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 five weeks and six 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 and The Magic of Fiction (both of which are 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, as well as how to communicate well with your clients and other insider tips.

And finally, we’ll have fun! A Slack forum will let us chat and share ideas 24/7, and we’ll have an optional game night to play the card game STET! Dreyer’s English over Zoom.

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.

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

GAME NIGHT! We’ll play STET! Dreyer’s English over Zoom

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: Workflow and Efficiency
  • 6.2: The Physical Side
  • 6.3: Client Relations

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!”
“You are both very inspirational, knowledgeable and funny! I could have listened to you all day.”

“I really liked the small, actively engaged group. It felt *real* and cozy/comfortable. Susannah’s Zoom presenting skills are just wonderful. Almost as good as being there!”

“I’ve taken a lot of classes for work over the years and got used to just gritting my teeth, getting through it as best I can, and counting myself lucky if I got one or two new/useful things from the experience. 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.”

Your Instructor – Susannah Noel

Susannah Noel, MA, has copyedited and proofread books, websites, corporate communications, and academic journals for over twenty years. She now focuses exclusively on fiction and nonfiction trade books for traditional publishers, particularly Macmillan, and independent authors. Recent titles include In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway, The Spirit of Music by Victor L. Wooten, and Humans by Brandon Stanton. Susannah is also a developmental and line editor working with independent authors. Read more at Noeleditorial.com.


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, and The Magic of Fiction, by Beth Hill.

What are the dates and times of the classes?

There will be six classroom sessions of two hours each on Monday evenings (Eastern time). The dates are January 18, January 25, February 1, February 8, February 15, and February 22. Classes will be held from 6:30 to 8:30pm Eastern.

If you miss a class, you can watch the playback, which we’ll post as an unlisted video on YouTube. You can also ask questions by email, and we’ll answer them in the next class.

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.

Who is the teacher?

Susannah Noel, MA, will be your instructor. Susannah is a working professional freelance book editor who’s been in the business for close to twenty-five years. She has edited hundreds of fiction and nonfiction books, including bestsellers, and she’s taught editing to dozens of students. Find out more on her editing services website, Noel Editorial.

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, but that is not the focus of the class. For further hands-on experience, students can take “Copyediting Fiction and Nonfiction Books: Practicum” and/or “Copyediting Fiction and Nonfiction Books: Mentorship” (application required). These practice-based, feedback-heavy courses are 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’s this about a game night?!

On Friday, February 12, students are invited to play STET! Dreyer’s English – A Game for Language Lovers, Grammar Geeks, and Bibliophiles over Zoom. This card game is based on Dreyer’s bestselling book Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, which is a fabulous introduction to the world of trade copyediting. The game will be entertaining, but it’s also instructional, especially for aspiring copyeditors. To get a feel for what our game night will be like, check out this video of Dreyer playing with a small group of industry professionals.

What is the cost of the class?

Registration is $479. This price includes the lecture content, supporting materials and resources, Slack forum, and a game night.

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!








Register Here

Fill out the form below to register. 

Dates: January 18, 25, February 1, 8, 15, 22, 6:30–8:30pm Eastern

15 seats per class – only 3 seats remaining

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Email us with questions: info@editorialartsacademy.com

Copyediting Fiction and Nonfiction Books: Principles & Mechanics

  • Price: $479.00
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