Proofreading

proofreadingCareful proofreading is essential to ensure that a book is accurate and consistent. Every book that goes through a publisher is professionally proofread at least once, and authors who want to succeed need to pay the same attention to quality. Your Aunt Margery may be great at spotting typos in the newspaper, but she’s a long way off being at the level of a trained book proofreader.

Working with a professional proofreader gives you peace of mind that you haven’t missed any ‘embarrasing erors’ in your book. We proofreaders are eagle-eyed, we’re sticklers for consistency and we can sniff out a misplaced apostrophe at 20 paces.

Remember, as a proofreader I’m not here to judge – everyone makes mistakes. But readers do judge, which is why professional proofreading is important to your reputation as an author.

Why commission a book proofreader?

First things first: every author needs a book proofreader. No matter how many times you’ve read and re-read your book, I can guarantee you’ve missed mistakes because:

  • You’re too close to the material. Strange but true – when you’re very familiar with material, you get blind spots. You know what’s there, so your eye fails to read exactly what’s on the page and you miss errors. A proofreader has fresh (and trained) eyes.
  • You don’t realise that a mistake is a mistake. Few authors are experts at spelling, punctuation and grammar. But a book proofreader’s job is to know all the ins and outs of the English language.

Working with a book proofreader is an essential part of the publishing process. Typos and grammar slips are extremely off-putting, and they undermine your image as a talented, professional author. If you’re serious about your book (ebook or print, self-published or traditionally published) then you need to take book proofreading seriously too.

Proofreading in the editorial process

Proofreading is the very last stage in the editorial process – the final check-through before the text is published.

Developmental work

Developmental editing or a book critique.

Language polishing

Copy-editing or intelligent copy-editing.

Final checks

Proofreading before publication.

The proofreading service

The book proofreader looks at two areas as they read:

  1. Accuracy: The proofreader corrects errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar, catching misspellings, spotting erroneous punctuation and sorting dodgy verb agreements.
  2. Consistency: The proofreader ensures that a consistent style is applied in areas such as capitalisation, italicisation, hyphenation, punctuation and spelling.

Please keep in mind that it is the proofreader’s job to check a manuscript that has already been carefully edited. The proofreader does not undertake any editing; that is down to the copy editor. The proofreader should find only a few mistakes that have slipped through the net. If your book contains more than the odd mistake, you need to commission copy-editing rather than proofreading.

Proofreading mark-up

I use Microsoft Word’s Track Changes tool when I proofread to mark up my suggested amendments. The marked-up file for proofreading looks like this:

proofreader screenshot

With Track Changes, you keep complete control of your book. You can clearly see my mark-up, and then choose for yourself which changes to accept or reject.

Proofreading example: Click to see a sample proofread. 

Proofreading rates

Proofreading costs from £6 per 1,000 words. (International clients may use the XE Currency Converter.) If you’re interested in commissioning me to proofread your book, please get in touch.

Contact Me