FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
My grammar is good. Can't I proofread my own work?
I have no doubt that your spelling and grammar is good, however, we become so close to our own work that we fail to spot errors. As we read work we are familiar with our eyes skip over words and sentences as our brain knows what is coming. This is also true for familiar words and phrases, rather than really seeing it, our brain sees what we expect. I have been trained to read closely, taking in every letter and punctuation mark and, as a fresh pair of eyes, I am more likely to pick up on those typos and grammatical mistakes that manage to find their way into your work.
Can't I just use a spell checker?
Spell checkers are great and very useful but they will not pick up everything. For this task you really can’t beat a human being! A spell checker will not pick up those words that are spelt correctly and sound the same but mean something totally different. Examples of this are: ‘taught’ and ‘taut’, ‘heroin’ and ‘heroine’ and ‘to’, ‘too’ and ‘two’. It may also fail to pick up on the incorrect placement of words such as ‘than’ and ‘then’.
Isn't getting a friend or family member to proofread for me just as good?
A friend or family member may be able to do a great job spotting spelling and punctuation mistakes, but as a proofreader I am trained to do much more than this. I am trained to ensure that the style of your manuscript is laid out correctly and consistently, for example: that dialogue is punctuated correctly, when the use of italics is appropriate and that all running headlines are correct. A family member or friend may not know when to use and em or en dash instead of a hyphen or when a word break needs altering.
Will I be able to understand the proofreader's mark up? Don't they use funny symbols?
The majority of proofreading is now done electronically and I am trained to mark up in Word using track changes and on PDF. I am also trained to mark up on hard copy (paper) using BSI symbols, so I can work in a way that suits you. Whichever way you want your proofreading completed, I will ensure that you can follow and understand my recommended changes and the reasons behind them.
When should I hire a proofreader?
The proofread is the last line of defence in ensuring your manuscript/project is perfect and ready for publication. In traditional publishing the proofread would come after your novel has been edited and is ready to go. Why not just publish straight after editing? Because typos can sneak in during the editing process. I view proofreading as the final polish, ensuring the beds have been made and the cobwebs have gone, before you send your work out into the world.
Doesn't proofreading cost a lot?
While having your manuscript/project proofread may seem like a big financial layout, it can prove to be cost effective in the long run. Imagine that you have spent a long time writing a novel, you get it beta read and edited and then publish. The reviews start coming in, and your heart sinks when they comment on how they liked the book but it was let down by typos. This impacts on the star ratings the reviewers give. You then not only have to pay for your book to be proofread, but you have had to pay out again to ensure physical books and eBooks are corrected. It has now cost you twice as much to have your book printed. This is one of the reasons why publishing houses use proofreaders.