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Correspondence Courses

Copyediting Fiction

Copyediting Cookbooks

Cost $135 for the United States; $140 for Canada and Mexico; $145 for other countries
Instructor Zipporah Collins

What the Course Covers

If you enjoy cooking and already know how to copyedit generally, this course will tell you what you need to know to copyedit cookbooks (and articles that include recipes). Culinary manuscripts are very enjoyable to copyedit, provided you really like paying attention to detail.

Since the narrative text of cookbooks and food articles is edited much like any other nonfiction text, this course concentrates on editing recipes.

Some of the information in the course is specific to cookbooks, but many of the procedures for editing cookbooks are applicable to editing other kinds of books in which a list of components and a series of steps are given. Examples include home improvement books, nursing procedure texts, craft books, and gardening project books.

This course does not cover basic copyediting rules and procedures, and it does not explain common terms that copyeditors are expected to know. Terms such as series comma, second pass, style sheet, and compounds are used without definitions or examples. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, you should consider taking a basic copyediting course before plunging into this course.

Materials and Supplies

When you enroll, you will receive a package containing a coursebook (39 pages), a packet of self-review sheets for mini exercises (5 pages), and two send-in assignments (2 and 3 pages). If you prefer to edit on-screen, the coursebook tells you how to obtain electronic files of the mini exercises and assignments. The only other materials you’ll need are a computer with Microsoft Word or a similar word processing application in which you can track changes, or redline, if you choose to do the assignments on-screen, or, if you prefer editing on hard copy, a pencil (a bright color is recommended) and eraser.


In the Copyediting Cookbooks course, first you’ll read and absorb some general information. Then you’ll read about a specific element in a recipe and practice editing it with a mini exercise. You’ll correct the mini exercise yourself using self-review materials included in a separate packet of the course package. After that, you’ll read about another topic, perhaps look over a sample edit of that element, and do a mini exercise a few more times. Midway through the course, you’ll put into practice what you’ve learned by completing a full recipe assignment that you’ll send to the instructor to review and return with comments. Next you’ll read and absorb some more topics and examples, do and self-correct one more mini exercise, and finally complete a second, more complex recipe assignment and send it in for the instructor to review and return.


To benefit most from the course, you should plan to read the first 13 pages of the coursebook and do the first mini exercise without taking breaks of many days (for example, allow about 45 minutes apiece on 2 successive days or about 90 minutes on 1 evening). That way you will practice what you’ve been reading before a lot of it has slipped out of your mind, and the practice will help you retain the information. Then allow another 60 minutes or so for reading the text and example and doing the mini exercise on the next 5 pages, and after that allow the same for the following 5 pages. The send-in assignment that comes next may take about 60 minutes also. The second half of the course is similarly best managed in segments of 45 to 60 minutes’ work over 1 or 2 days, and the final send-in assignment may take between 60 and 90 minutes.

Assignments will not be accepted more than 1 year after you register.

Zipporah Collins has been a freelance copyeditor and project manager for more than 30 years. She has worked for Bay Books, Chronicle Books, KQED Books, McGraw-Hill, Pomegranate, Tricycle Press, Wadsworth, and many other publishers, handling a variety of trade, text, and technical books. She has taught courses in various aspects of publishing through Bookbuilders West, Media Alliance, and UC Berkeley Extension, as well as through Editcetera.

Course Manual Contents

Questions and Answers

Registration Form for Correspondence Courses (PDF)

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


A Student