Okay so you have spent out on a professional editor. They have performed their grammatical alchemy on your manuscript and you’ve hired a cover designer to do your cover. Job done. Well, not quite. You still need a proofreader.
You’ll look at your dwindling bank account and think is it worth it? You might think I’ll just read it through myself very, very carefully and I’ll pick up any mistakes that remain. You might think the editor has done all the hard work for you so why should you bother? You might find a well-read victim, sorry volunteer, and ask them to do the job for you for free. I would caution you against any of these steps but particularly the last one. What if your relative or friend misses an obvious error? They are going to feel terrible when it’s pointed out to them and you are never going to be able to quite forgive them for missing it. Save yourself the angst and hire a professional.
I worked with a proofreader and it was a worthwhile experience. It gave me the opportunity to check through the manuscript very, very carefully myself one more time whilst I worked my way through the proofreader’s suggestions. I made a small number of additional changes (give a writer a red pen and a free hour and there’s no telling what might happen – if you find yourself spending five minutes ruminating on ‘He stood his glass down’ as compared to ‘He slammed his glass down’ or comparing the relative merits of ‘charmed’ against ‘enchanted’, as I did, it’s probably time to step away from the keyboard).
My proofreader spotted some spelling errors that had sneaked (snuck?) through. She also commented on readability in a few places and pointed out some sentences were clarification would be a good idea. She also highlighted some stray formatting issues that had crept in like extra spaces.
The changes we made between us probably went into double figures and this was on a manuscript that had been relatively ‘clean’ to begin with. Are there still errors that remain? I hope not but if there are the responsibility rests with me.
So, if you are wondering if a proofreader is worthwhile I would urge you to hire one (and no I don’t secretly beyond to the Guild of Proofreaders [if there is such a thing!]). My rationale is always ‘Will this make my book a better book?’ A professional proofreader will give you that.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking an editor is enough on their own. Hiring an editor without a proofreader is like having treacle pudding without the custard. Nice enough on its own but better together.
Today’s blog is the latest in my Flower Seller Thursday collection of writing related blogs leading up to publication day of my debut novel The Flower Seller on Thursday 2nd June 2016 #FlowerSellerThursday
The Flower Seller Kindle edition is now available to pre-order from Amazon via my website http://goo.gl/0Gv8Jg