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Effective novel proofreading separates an average book from a professionally written bestseller. Failure to proofread results in several grammatical, punctuation, as well as spelling errors. This may lead to several reputed publishing houses rejecting your manuscript no matter how interesting, or engaging the plot may be.
When it comes to self-published novels, shabby formatting and careless mistakes put off any reader. They also make the novel amateurish and difficult to read.
In this article, we will guide you through the process of proofreading your novel. This involves understanding different proofreading options and learning about the cost of consulting professional proofreading firms.
But first, let’s understand: What exactly does proofreading a novel include?
The process of novel proofreading includes correcting minor errors that hinder the readability of your manuscript. The word proofreading can be traced back to the Latin word “probare”, which means to test or prove.
These errors include grammatical, spelling, syntax, typographical, and typesetting errors. The proofreading process is the first step towards the publication of a novel and takes place after the novel has been typeset.
Proofreading is often confused with copy editing, however, the two processes differ significantly. Copy editing involves making structural and stylistic changes to improve readability and flow. It also includes making subtle changes to the content of your manuscript to make it appealing to readers.
Comparatively, proofreading is a much more straightforward process. It simply focuses on fixing mechanical errors and does not involve making changes to the content of the manuscript. The process of proofreading is conducted after your novel is typeset. Whereas, the process of copy editing is carried out before the typesetting process.
Even minor mechanical errors can stand out like a sore thumb and compromise the quality of your writing. How the omission of an Oxford comma completely changes the meaning of a sentence. Take a look at the following cases:
I would like to thank my parents, Tiffany and God.
I would like to thank my parents, Tiffany, and God.
Unless Tifanny and God are your parents, the second sentence is the right way to go. Lack of proofreading not only detracts from all your hard work but also obscures your ideas and confuses readers.
If you want to publish a high-quality novel that matches the industry standard, thorough proofreading is key. You can either do this on your own or consider consulting a professional. But what are the benefits of consulting a professional?
Professional proofreaders have the ability to catch the smallest of errors that often go unnoticed. They are also seasoned enough to notice discrepancies in the format of typeset documents. Hence, it is a good idea to trust them with the manuscript you’ve worked so hard on.
Constantly writing and revising your manuscript gets you intimately familiar with it, which makes you overlook the most obvious of errors. Professional proofreaders approach your manuscript with a more objective point of view. Their professional training, along with an objective viewpoint, makes them the perfect candidate for this task.
Apart from language training, proofreaders also have extensive knowledge about the publishing requirements and the industry standards your novel should meet. So, if you simply want to focus on the creative writing process, consulting a professional is your best bet.
Wondering how and where you can find a professional? We’ve got you covered!
Finding a professional who understands your thought process and method of working is not an easy task. Although skill level is important, you should also consider the working pattern of the professional. For instance, if you find proofreading physical copies easier, you should consult a professional who uses that method!
Different proofreaders employ different methods to refine and correct your novel. Depending on their skill set, experience, and the length of the novel, the charges may also differ. It is crucial to conduct the necessary research before consulting a professional. Let us see how this can be done.
1. Consider recommendations.
The best way to find a professional suitable for you is by word of mouth. There are several writer groups of various genres you can consider in order to get relevant information. You can refer to the personal experiences of fellow writers while making decisions. If working with an editor, you can also consider asking them for references.
2. Look for online directories.
There are several directories that offer listings of highly qualified editors and proofreaders. These directories are reliable sources of information as they take into consideration the qualifications of the proofreader, along with the genre they specialize in. You can refer to websites like The Editorial Freelance Association to help you in your search.
3. Refer to online reviews.
Although this may not come as much of a surprise, online reviews provide a wealth of information when looking for a novel proofreader. Online reviews provide helpful insights on not only the quality of work but also the level of professionalism and time taken. Websites such as Google My Business, Trustpilot, and Yelp are helpful in providing these insights.
4. Ask for sample edits.
Even though it is helpful to consider the experiences of other writers, forming your own opinion is crucial before making a decision. Many professionals provide free sample edits. You can refer to these edits before selecting one that works the best for you.
Finding a proofreader is too much of a hassle for you, hiring a proofreading firm is your best bet. These firms have trained experts with significant knowledge and experience to make your job much easier. They also provide specialized services for self-published authors. Here’s a general overview of the proofreading process:
1. A proofreader is assigned to your novel, based on its subject matter.
2. The proofreader begins working on your manuscript.
3. It is then reviewed by the senior editor.
4. Last-minute quality checks are made, and the document is then returned to you.
5. If you wish to make any revisions and changes to your manuscript, you can also avail yourself of a revision request.
Although this is the general procedure, this process varies from one proofreading firm to another. For instance, some proofreading services offer a free revision of your edited novel and specialized proofreading services for self-published authors. To make things easier for you, they also provide free sample edits.
The average proofreading rate for a novel is $13–$15 dollars per 1,000 words. However, this rate greatly differs according to the length and genre of your novel.
The following table provides an overview of the proofreading cost as per the genre of the novel.
Proofreading rates may also vary from one firm to another. Here are the average proofreading rates for prominent proofreading firms:
Even though these rates may seem pricey, getting your novel professionally proofread is a wise investment. Lack of proofreading may result in poor sales and negative reviews from readers. So, if you want to make things easier for yourself, it’s a good idea to consult a proofreading firm.
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