hire a professional proofreader to ensure your book is the best it can be
Most writers and authors know that hiring a professional editor is an important part of the process, and one that should not be scrimped on or ignored. But many writers don’t realize the importance of hiring a professional proofreader to ensure that every small grammatical technicality is perfect, that there are no spelling errors and that your book will be the best it can be. A proofreader should be the final step before your book goes to print.
hiring a proofreader
I’ve asked Bev Phillips, a good friend of mine who is a professional proofreader, to write a guest post on why proofreading (and editing in general) is so important to the book publishing process. Please welcome Bev to our virtual community, and enjoy her post.
why hiring an editor is not an optional expense
by Bev Phillips
You’ve spent years and lots of money working on your book – researching, writing, rewriting, designing, printing, marketing. But without an editor, your finished product may contain annoying errors that will stop people from ever reading it.
Errors are distracting and infuriating to readers. At the very least, they diminish your credibility.
How bad can it be? I have bought self-published books that contained hundreds of errors: incorrect grammar, bizarre capitalization, words that change spelling and punctuation from page to page, misused vocabulary, and others too numerous to list here. That’s not even mentioning obvious factual errors.
I’m amazed that some authors spend so much time and money but omit the necessary step of using an editor.
Should you hire an editor? Yes!
First, understand what kind of editor you need. The main specialties are substantive, stylistic, copy editing and proofreading.
A substantive editor considers the overall manuscript, and can make suggestions like moving chapters around, focusing on one character or story line, and changing the voice or tone. A stylistic editor concentres on language. A copy editor or proofreader (the terms are often used interchangeably) works on a line-by-line basis, eliminating errors and inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and formatting for numbers and capitalization.
Authors and publishers dedicated to quality hire both types of editors. The substantive editor looks at the manuscript when it is fairly complete, but with plenty of time for changes before the publishing date. The copy editor looks at the final text, shortly before publication. (If you are tempted to keep making changes until the presses roll, remember that every time you make a change, new errors can creep in.)
Build about a month for the editing process into your book development timeline. That should allow time for the editor to complete one review, and the necessary back-and-forth discussion to clarify points and ask questions. Again, discuss with your editor how much time they expect to need.
How much does an editor cost? Most editors are freelancers and set their own rates. Generally editors charge by time, so the more work they do, the more they charge.
You can expect to pay at least $2,000 to $3,000 for a 60,000-word manuscript. You’ll pay more if the text is technical or challenging, or if your writing skill or command of English is below average, or if you’re aiming for a mass market.
The Editors’ Association of Canada explains types of editing duties and rates at http://www.editors.ca/.
You can find local editors and their specialties at the Manitoba Editors’ Association site: www.manitobaeditors.ca.
Your editor helps pave the road between you and your future readers. When you receive your editor’s comments, thoughtfully consider them. It can be hard to consider changing the precious text that you’ve put so much of yourself into, but your editor has an impartial fresh eye and detailed knowledge of the mechanics of language. Work together to create the best possible version of your book!