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Courses by Mail

The ABCs of Copyediting

Cost $400 for the United States; $425 for Canada and Mexico; $440 for other countries
Instructor Amy Einsohn

This correspondence course introduces you to the skills and procedures used by copyeditors in publishing firms and corporate communications departments. These skills and procedures can be applied to the copyediting of all types of nonfiction writing: books and articles, professional and trade journals, manuals, newsletters, and reports.

The course is designed for

  • People who have little or no copyediting experience but do have a solid grasp of grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation
  • Proofreaders, indexers, newsletter editors, production managers, and desktop publishers who want to add copyediting skills to their repertoire
  • Onetime copyeditors who want a refresher course


This course focuses on copyediting (as opposed to proofreading, developmental editing, or substantive editing). For a list of the topics covered, see the contents page from the course manual. If you are a newcomer to publishing and are not sure whether copyediting is for you, you might want to look at the first chapter of the textbook before enrolling.

Materials and Supplies

When you enroll, you will receive a course manual (52 pages), an answer key booklet (18 pages), and a mail-in exercise booklet (15 pages). In addition,you will need to obtain a copy of the textbook for the course: Amy Einsohn, The Copyeditor's Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications (University of California Press, 2000; 2nd ed., 2006; 3rd ed., 2011). You can use either the second edition (going out of print in fall 2011) or the new third edition. To obtain a copy: Ask your local bookstore to order the book for you, or you can order the book from any of the online booksellers, from UC Press (1-800-777-4726), or from the UC Press website. The only supplies you will need are a few lead pencils, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener.


Each of the nine units in the course guide introduces you to a topic, sends you off to read a section of the textbook, and closes with a copyediting exercise. The answer key booklet provides corrected sentences or a marked-up manuscript and detailed explanations for all the exercises that you will correct on your own. The mail-in exercises booklet contains three exercises that are to be mailed to the instructor for critique.


Correspondence study allows you to work at your own pace, but moving too quickly or too slowly can be counterproductive. The key to successful correspondence study is to make a realistic schedule and stick to it. The shorter units in the course will take about 3 or 4 hours to complete; the longer units may take 6 or 7 hours, divided between reading the course guide and the textbook, doing the copyediting exercise, and checking your work against the answer key. Your enrollment lasts for 1 year; the instructor will not respond to mail-in assignments submitted after your enrollment ends.

Amy Einsohn is a freelance editor and writer with more than 25 years of experience in the Bay Area business, publishing, and academic communities. She has taught editing classes through Editcetera since 1986 and has also taught at UC Berkeley and UC Berkeley Extension. She is the author of The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications (University of California Press, 2000; 2nd ed., 2006; 3rd ed., 2011), which has been adopted as a core textbook by many college-level publishing programs, including University of California Extension, Harvard University Extension, University of Washington Extension, and the Graduate School of the USDA.

Course Manual Contents

Questions and Answers

Registration Form for Courses by Mail (PDF)

PayPal Registration Form for Distance Learning Programs



The instructors were approachable, engaging, and very knowledgeable about the subjectslarge-white-quotes


A Student