We get it—proofreading is the last thing you want to do after the long process of writing your book. Now that you have a manuscript and you’ve done your editing (including developmental editing, line editing, and copyediting), it feels like it’s time to be done. And by using a professional book proofreading service, you can relax and trust a reliable proofreader to take your manuscript to its polished final form.
Working with a professional proofreading service is the best way to guarantee that your manuscript reaches its maximum potential. Professional proofreaders are highly trained experts who can spot the last remaining errors and get your writing ready for successful publication. Quality writing deserves quality editing, down to the very last step.
After you have completed your editing, it’s time to hire a professional proofreader. A reliable proofreading service will spot any mistakes that you and your book editor might have missed.
It’s important to know the difference between editing and proofreading. Editing usually happens in steps, or “rounds,” giving you multiple chances to make changes. On the other hand, proofreading is the final step. After a proofreader checks your manuscript for any errors, you are ready to publish.
Proofreading services focus on spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Most professional proofreaders will follow a style guide that lists writing rules (for example, Elite Authors uses the Chicago Manual of Style). By following these guides, proofreading services can ensure that your writing is consistent and acceptable to publishers, critics, and readers.
The more editing your manuscript receives, the better it will be. And the better a book is, the better it sells! A professional book proofreading service will make sure that your writing is clean and polished. And readers will see that polished writing and get excited to buy your book.
Print sales have risen in the past year, among both self-published and traditionally published authors. And as more first-time and veteran authors try to get their books in readers’ hands, the market continues to grow more competitive. Book editing and proofreading services give your work a competitive edge in a market looking for perfection.
We all get distracted by the errors we find in writing. But because you and your book editor know your plot and characters so well, it’s easy for both of you to overlook tiny grammar and spelling mistakes that will hinder your readers. Unfortunately, readers rely on precise language to be able to get in your head and see your ideas.
Proofreading services have the advantage of seeing your manuscript in the form in which readers will see it. A proofreader’s job is to read just the words, not the story, to make sure your ideas shine.
Book critics have very high standards for writers. If they don’t think that you did a good job editing and proofreading, chances are they won’t take you very seriously. A polished manuscript will show that you are a professional who has worked hard on this book—which, of course, you are!
The secret to being a top-quality professional proofreader is simple: having an eagle eye for writing mistakes. In a proofreading job, the professional that you’re working with stays laser focused on grammar, spelling, and punctuation to make sure that your writing is impeccable. As a result, proofreaders can spot mistakes that others might miss.
You’re a writer because you have big, brilliant ideas that you can’t wait to put on the page. When you read your own writing, you’re focused on characters, conflicts, and happy (or sad) endings—not grammar. But a professional proofreader is able to put all of that aside to look only at the words and sentences.
Scientists have performed lots of research to see what goes on in your brain while you write. Writing’s brain benefits are numerous, including improvements to memory, creativity, and logic.
But inventing stories and proofreading them remain very separate brain functions. Rely on your expert editor to have a brain tuned to proofread so that you can keep your mind occupied with the fun stuff.
An expert editor knows how to look at everything in the writing at once. While a proofreader is able to zoom in on language-level mistakes, editors focus on all kinds of big-picture ideas in your book. For example, developmental editing services don’t even look at grammar or punctuation because they are so focused on your plot and ideas.
Expert proofreaders have training and experience that helps them block out the story itself so that they can stay concentrated on just the grammar and formatting. Your book will be better if your editor stays focused on the story and your proofreader is just the cleanup crew.
Of course, proofreaders can do this because they have different training than other editors might. It’s always a good idea to ask an editing service if their employees specialize in grammar, copyediting, or any other kind of review that you’re looking for.
Nobody, not even a self-published author, writes a book alone. Working with other human beings, like line editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders, is the best way to make sure your writing is as good as it can be. Self-published books deserve professional attention and expert review.
It’s tempting to use cheap, easy spell checker and grammar checker software to find mistakes. But robots can’t match the quality of professional proofreaders and expert editors. Good proofreaders and editors will be able to ask you questions, check for a natural flow in your writing, and most importantly, understand the ideas you want to get across.
Imagine this: you’ve written the sentence “Since Jean got married, Harold’s been a grump.” A human proofreader will need to look at the context to know whether the word since means that Harold’s been a grump because Jean got married or simply that he started being a grump around that time.
An expert editor might suggest a rephrasing that could clear that up or advise you against using the word since as a synonym for because in formal writing. A grammar checker, on the other hand, might just tell you that the sentence is correct.
There are a massive number of proofreaders and editing services advertising their services online. From your book editor to your copyeditor to your proofreader, you deserve to work with professionals who will treat you and your manuscript with respect and individual attention.
Proofreaders are language experts. They know everything there is to know about grammar, spelling, and punctuation. In contrast, editors can be experts in other areas of writing like character development, plot structure, pacing, and dialogue.
Developmental editing, line editing, copyediting, and proofreading all focus on different aspects of the writing process and require different skills. Some book editing services offer a publishing bundle, which guides you through each step of the process. Many authors find it helpful to work with editors and proofreaders from the same editing service in order to stick to consistent expectations.
There are very few formal qualifications for proofreaders and editors. Instead, most editing services require editors and proofreaders to submit things like proofreading tests, résumés, and reviews from past clients to ensure that they are hiring experts. That’s why hiring from an editing service is more reliable than finding a freelance editor—the service does the screening for you.
When hiring a proofreader, check for qualifications, reviews, and service descriptions that show that the service you have found will match your needs. Any reputable proofreading or editing service should have this information clearly listed for you to look at before you give them any money.
First, make sure you start with a good understanding of the different types of book editing that are available. Editing services follow a predictable sequence from beginning to end.
Generally, you want big-picture edits (like developmental editing and line editing) when you’re in the early stages of writing. You want more specific edits (like copyediting and proofreading) when you’re almost done.
Being able to tell an editor or proofreader exactly what you’re looking for will help you choose someone who is a good match. Then, make sure you check that the credentials and experience of the editing or proofreading service fit your own needs.
It’s good to get as much information as possible about a proofreading job before investing your time and money. Here’s a quick rundown of some frequently asked questions about book proofreading services.
The time it takes for a professional proofreader to complete a thorough, professional edit will depend on several factors, especially the length and condition of your manuscript. Most of the time, proofreading and copyediting won’t be done overnight. An expert proofreader looks carefully and deliberately at every single word in your manuscript. Perfection takes time.
When hiring a proofreading service, be sure to ask up front about their time estimate specific to the job. Also tell them about any deadlines you are facing. Most professional book proofreading services will be able to work with a reasonable timeline.
Proofreading services and editors might charge by the word or by the hour. While early structural edits will be more expensive, from $0.07–$0.12 per word, copyediting and proofreading will be cheaper, from $0.01–$0.03 per word. Check out our pricing structure for more details.
If that feels pricey, that might be a good thing. Highly qualified and experienced editors and proofreaders will give your book the time and attention it needs, and their rates will reflect the quality of their work. At the end of the day, it’s worth it to pay a little more so that you don’t get back a manuscript riddled with spelling mistakes.
Did you know that most professionally published books undergo six to eight rounds of editing? That’s because each round, and each editor, will scan your manuscript for something new.
Think of editing like building a house. Round 1, the developmental edit, will check that the foundation is secure and that the beams and framework are sturdy before you keep building.
In Round 2, you can start putting up plaster and installing water pipes—going from a skeleton to a livable construct. That’s the job of the line editor: to check that your manuscript functions well paragraph by paragraph and line by line—complete with consistent and effective tone, imagery, and personality.
After that, it’s time to start choosing carpets and paint colors. That’s Round 3, copyediting, which makes your writing clean and comfortable with an eye to sentence structure, style, and consistency.
Finally, Round 4 is for proofreading: cleaning up the dust and adjusting the decorations to make sure the new house looks perfect when people come to visit.
Skipping any of these steps may hurt the structure, function, or aesthetic of your home or writing. Multiple rounds of editing, including the work of a professional proofreading service, will help to keep your writing strong and stable.
Once you make it through, you get to have even more fun. You can find literary agents to help you sell your house—er, book—and maybe even invite some friends over for the launch party!
You have worked too hard on your manuscript to go easy now! A professional book proofreading service will make sure that your writing is polished, professional, and ready for print. You deserve an expert proofreading job that will elevate your writing and help sell your marvelous manuscript.
Visit Elite Authors’ website and tell us about your book to get started on the final step of your writing. We can’t wait to help you make your writing the best it can be.