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The last of five editing steps, book proofreading ensures that your manuscript is ready to publish. Once your book has passed through a proofreader’s scrutiny, you can bid adieu to the endless revisions! But precisely because it’s the final check before publishing, proofreading a book professionally is extremely important.
A reader may be willing to ignore a minor typo, but a grammatical error or layout mistake isn’t so easily brushed off. These problems take away from your hard work, making it nothing but a sum of your mistakes. No writer wants that, which makes professional book proofreading crucial to your success.
In this article, we’ve compiled just about everything you need to know about proofreading books. Take a look!
Book proofreading is the process of reviewing a manuscript to mark errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and syntax. It also identifies inconsistencies in style and formatting to ensure an excellent reading experience.
Proofreading is different from other book editing processes in one key respect: it doesn’t make significant changes to the book. Developmental editing can drastically improve a book’s quality and value to the reader by suggesting key changes to its content. A line edit and copy edit also suggest revisions and changes to the writing for better flow and readability.
Proofreading merely indicates incidental errors and minor flaws, not large-scale changes to the book. It takes place after not just the first few editing steps, but after your book has been typeset. This is because book proofreading checks for any and all issues that hinder readability, typesetting errors included!
So, your book is ready for the proofreader’s desk if:
Book proofreading is important because it’s your book’s last line of defense against shabby writing and improper formatting. If you want your readers to take you seriously, you need to put in the effort to make it flawless.
If used incorrectly, a comma can make a world of difference. So even minor errors can take away from your hard work. If a reader can’t stop thinking about that funny typo or annoying inconsistency, how can they focus on your writing?
So, proofreading a book is important to retain your reader’s attention and ensure your effort translates without any hindrance. It’s an essential step in creating a polished, high-quality book.
But do you need to get your book professionally proofread? What if you get your friends or colleagues to do it, or handle it yourself?
Well, that’s easier said than done.
You need professional book proofreading because an expert proofreader has the training and expertise required to catch the smallest errors. A proofreader also brings a fresh perspective to your manuscript. This makes them the best person to handle this crucial task for you.
By the time you get around to finishing your book, you’ve gone through multiple revisions and redrafts. This makes you intimately familiar with each and every word on the page, which would be a good thing normally, but not here.
A proofreader needs to view the manuscript from an objective point of view, or they are likely to miss out on a lot of mistakes. Even if you ask your friends, colleagues, or other amateur language experts to handle this, they run the risk of losing their way into the flow of the book and missing out on key problems.
On the other hand, a professional book proofreader:
In this way, professional book proofreading allows you to focus on the creative process and leave the technicalities to the experts.
We won’t lie: finding the right book proofreader is not an easy process. You need to ensure that the person you’re hiring understands your niche, your point of view, and your artistic voice. More importantly, you need to ensure that their working style is suitable for you.
Different proofreaders employ different methods of working and charging. You must comb through reviews, recommendations, and samples before deciding on the person for this job. The following steps are a blueprint for finding and hiring the right book proofreader for you:
1. Rely on recommendations
There is no better yardstick to judge a proofreader than recommendations from writers you know. Fellow writers or writer groups, especially with the same genre or subject matter as yours, are the best source for book proofreading recommendations. They can tell you what to expect when working with a proofreader, helping you find the best one.
2. Search online directories
While a simple web search sounds quite anticlimactic, there are many online directories that can help you find a book proofreader. Websites such as Reedsy, The Editorial Freelancers Association, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors feature a large variety of book proofreading professionals.
3. Check online reviews
No matter where you find a book proofreader, you must check their online reviews. This will help you understand the quality of their work and the experience that other writers had working with them. You can find these reviews on a number of sites, including Yelp, Google My Business, and Trustpilot.
4. Request sample edits
Once you have narrowed down your list of potential proofreaders, consider requesting sample edits from each one. After all, your own experience is the best indicator to decide on a proofreader for your book.
If you want to avoid the long and tiring process of searching for the right proofreader, your best option is to hire a book proofreading service. These editing firms are specifically designed to help self-published writers refine their manuscripts. So, they understand the global standards of language and formatting that are expected of a published book.
Here’s how a proofreading company simplifies the process for you:
1. A project manager meets with you to understand the requirements of your book.
2. Based on the genre and niche of your book, they assign you a proofreader.
3. The proofreader begins working on your manuscript.
4. Your proofread manuscript is delivered to you.
5. If you need any revisions or clarifications, the project manager mediates a dialogue between you and the proofreader.
This is a standard procedure, prone to changes depending on the firm you work with and your own unique project. For example, at PaperTrue, you have the option to send your manuscript in a series of sections to ensure quality work and timely feedback.
Most book proofreading companies also offer other self-publishing support. As publishing experts, they know how to make your life easier! As with individual proofreaders, however, make sure you go through their online reviews and testimonials from other authors. Most services are happy to offer a sample edit, making your job easier.
An average book proofreading rate is $10 per 1,000 words. This is an aggregate of the book proofreading cost from various individuals and organizations. However, the actual cost of book proofreading will vary depending on the word count, genre, and effort required on the part of the proofreader.
If you’re publishing a collection of essays on quantum superposition, you’d need a proofreader with some level of familiarity with Physics and Mathematics. This expert will charge more than the average book proofreading rate due to their expertise in your niche. Similarly, if you need an indexing or citation check, that will also come with an additional cost.
In this way, the pricing for book proofreading varies from manuscript to manuscript. But we can help you get a clearer idea of how much you can expect to pay for this. Here are some of the most prominent book proofreading companies and their cost per 1,000 words:
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