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        Manuscript Proofreading | Definition, Process & Standard Rates

        • calenderJun 22, 2023
        • calender 4 min read

        Proofreading is the final step before your manuscript is turned into a book, ready to be critiqued by everyone. Lack of proofreading not only leads readers to underestimate the quality of your manuscript but also results in poor reviews by your readers. 

        Manuscript proofreading not only corrects typos and spelling errors but also improves the structure and readability of your manuscript, making it clearer and more coherent. Turning your manuscript into a bestseller means it should not only be error-free but also user-friendly. It should also read well and be succinct and well-structured.

        In this article, we have compiled everything there is to know about proofreading book manuscripts. Let us start by understanding what actually is manuscript proofreading. 

        What is manuscript proofreading?

        Manuscript proofreading refers to the process of marking and correcting minor errors that hamper the readability of a document. The process of proofreading takes place after your manuscript has been typeset. This happens because, the process of proofreading involves correcting issues related to readability, formatting as well as typesetting.  

        The process of manuscript proofreading significantly differs from the process of manuscript editing. Proofreading makes no major changes to the content and structure of your manuscript and simply focuses on making it readable and coherent. On the other hand, the process of developmental editing involves making significant changes in the content of your manuscript changing its quality. Whereas line and copy editing also involves making changes to the structure and content of your manuscript. 

        Proofreading is the last step of the editing process. It follows the processes of developmental, line, and copy editing as well as the process of typesetting. Your manuscript is ready to be proofread if:

        • The developmental editor has improved the quality of your manuscript by making large-scale changes in its content
        • The line editor has corrected any tonal inconsistencies 
        • The copy editor has corrected any mechanical errors or inconsistencies
        • Your manuscript has been effectively typeset

        Why is manuscript proofreading important?

        Lack of proofreading results in several spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors that create a poor impression of your book. Readers may ignore minor punctuation errors, however, major spelling and grammatical errors distract them from the message of the book.

        Take a look at the following sentence on a parking lot sign:

        Illegally parked cars will be fine. 

        Illegally parked cars will be fined.

        Unless you want to reassure troublemakers, this sentence should obviously be “Illegally parked cars will be fined”. The omission of one letter completely changes the meaning and significance of the sign. 

        Similarly, minor typographical and spelling errors can result in poor performance and reviews of your book. Readers a more likely to focus on the silly spelling error than the actual message of your book. 

        If you want to convey your message effectively and efficiently make sure to produce an error-free, succinct, and coherent manuscript. You can either choose to perform this task on your own with the help of friends and family or consult a professional proofreader. 

        You must be wondering why you need a professional proofreader or even if professional help is necessary. There are several reasons as to why you should work with a professional, let’s take a look at them.

        Why do you need professional manuscript proofreading?

        Professional manuscript proofreaders have the expertise to identify and correct the most minute mechanical and formatting errors. Their objective eye and sharp attention to detail can bring a fresh perspective to your manuscript.

        Although your friends and family do have an objective eye, they may get swept up in the flow of your manuscript. Professionals have the necessary training to look at the manuscript objectively and not get swept in the flow. This allows them to find and correct errors and inconsistencies in your writing. 

        These professionals are also well acquainted with the formatting and style guidelines and the high publishing standards that are expected of your manuscript. Hence, working with a professional is a wise investment for the long term. 

        If working with an individual proofreader is too much of a hassle for you, consider approaching a proofreading firm. Let’s take a look at how these firms work:

        How do proofreading firms work

        The process of working with an editing and proofreading firm is much simpler as compared to hunting for an individual proofreader. Individual proofreaders may only be well-versed in specific disciplines. They may not always be familiar with your niche. 

        On the other hand, proofreading firms employ expert proofreaders from various academic disciplines and pair you up with an expert from your niche. For instance, if you desire nonfiction manuscript proofreading they will pair you up with an expert familiar with the nonfiction genre. Similarly, if you wish for fiction manuscript proofreading for a romance novel. The proofreading firm pairs you up with a proofreader, well-versed in the romance novel genre. 

        How to find a manuscript proofreader

        Finding an appropriate proofreader for your manuscript can be a challenge. It is crucial to consult a professional who is familiar with the genre of your manuscript. 

        Another vital factor to consider is the working style of the professional. Make sure to consult someone who has a similar working style and pattern to yours. 

        Different professionals use different metrics to charge clients. Some proofreaders charge per hour, others per page, yet others per word. Make sure to select a method that works best for you. 

        Here are a few more methods to look for a proofreader right for you:

        1. Consult other writers

        Word of mouth from other writers is one of the best methods to find a professional suitable for you. You not only get an idea of what to expect but also get acquainted with the professional’s method of working. There are several writer forums you can look into before selecting a proofreader you’d like to work with. 

        2. Consider online ratings 

        Although this method may not be as revealing as consulting other writers, online reviews provide a glimpse into the skill of the proofreader. Sites such as Google My Business and Yelp provide significant insight into the professional’s skill and method of working.

        3. Ask for sample edits

        Product and service reviews are highly subjective and cannot be fully trusted. So it is crucial to form your own opinion before selecting the proofreader you want to work with. Several professionals provide a free sample edit of your manuscript. After selecting the top three professionals you want to work with, you can select one on the basis of the sample edit. 

        If you want to avoid the hassle of finding an individual manuscript proofreader, you can simply work with a professional manuscript editing and proofreading service. These editing and proofreading firms employ multiple expert proofreaders that are trained to make your manuscript clear, coherent, and error-free. 

        What is the price for proofreading a manuscript?

        The average price of proofreading a manuscript costs $13–$15. However, this rate greatly varies according to the turnaround time, length, and complexity of the manuscript. 

        For instance, proofreading a manuscript for literary fiction will cost less than proofreading a business or self help manuscript. In spite of all these variations, we’ve compiled a list of proofreading prices for a few major proofreading firms:

        Now that we’ve established the price range of different proofreading firms, you can decide upon a firm that fits your budget. Professional proofreading can certainly be pricy. However, if you want to produce a polished manuscript, professional proofreading is irreplaceable. 

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        Nandita Linkedin

        Nandita is a budding writer with a background in Psychology. She adores mysterious movies with unusual plots, cozy coffee houses, and any conversation involving Agatha Christie!

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