What is proofreading?
Proofreading checks for errors in grammar, spelling and style within a document. Aside from misspellings and typos, other style elements such as punctuation and consistency are corrected when proofreading. Its primary purpose is to ensure ease of reading, and that the English language is properly used. In academic work (eg. Theses, reports), a proofreader will ensure that illustrations, tables and other labelled material correspond correctly to the text.
What about copy-editing?
Copy-editing expands upon proofreading, by taking into account problems such as plot inconsistencies, inaccuracies, ambiguities and other mistakes overlooked by the writer. A good copy-editor will improve a manuscript by correcting or querying plot holes and issues with a book’s theme or voice. If the structure of a book or an individual chapter has an overarching problem, a copy-editor can make suggestions to improve it.
Because of the extra time needed to perform these tasks, copy-editing generally costs more than proofreading and takes longer to complete.
A document in dire need of proofreading will be difficult or off-putting to read, and will not come across as professional to its reader. It may not even convey its intended message. As a lover of indie work, including video games, I love the humour that arises from mis-translations and typos, but at the same time I feel sad for the person who made that error. While I’m sniggering at the bad grammar and over-long sentences, any atmosphere the designer was trying to evoke has been lost. How can I get immersed in a horror game or a fantasy novel when I can only focus on the errors?
What type of people do you work with?
I’ve known a lot of people with great ideas, literary and academic, who didn’t have a dictionary-perfect grasp on the English language. Even as a writer myself, I know that there are many creative virtues besides the written word. You may have amazing creative or academic talents, and need a little help polishing your English into something other people can enjoy. Proofreading and copy-editing can make your writing look that bit more professional.
I’ve worked with people who had never touched a keyboard and needed hand-written notes typed up. I’ve helped people with dyslexia add extra flow to their writing, and clarified the arguments of ESL students. I’ve given the once-over to work that needed just a quick check before printing, and pored over cluttered-but-creative work that needed a loving hand. On top of my work for other people, I have hired proofreaders and editors in the past to look over my own writing. Proofreaders and editors are a great resource in many fields! It doesn’t matter whether you’re an established writer or just starting out – people all throughout the publishing world use proofreaders and editors to get things ‘just right’.
Why should I hire a proofreader/editor?
Most of us remember a time when a typo made us laugh. Many of us find a spelling mistake to laugh or groan at every day – especially online! But what makes us laugh on Facebook or YouTube isn’t the kind of thing we want a reader to find in our writing.
What does the process involve?
Normally I receive documents in Microsoft Word format. MS Word works well for proofreading and editing because of its ‘Track Changes’ feature, which allows editors to make necessary amendments to a document without finalising them. An edited document with tracked changes will be returned to you with the amendments clearly marked, so that you can choose to ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ each one. Or, if you so choose, you can trust the editor’s judgement and ‘accept all’. This will provide you with a clean, edited document.
Because of the Track Changes feature, MS Word is many editors’ preferred software for document exchanges. I can accommodate many formats apart from MS Word, so if you have a particular requirement just let me know.
How long will it take?
I can have several different projects on my desk at any one time. Normally I fulfil clients' requests in order, therefore I can give you an estimate of how long your work will take when you Get In Touch. Small projects like CVs & Covering Letters can normally be turned around within 48hrs, as long as payment is received promptly. If you have an urgent deadline to meet, please inform me when you first make contact.
How much will it cost?
For general guidelines on my pricing, visit the Services & Rates page. For example, if you would like me to edit an academic report of 2,800 words, the estimated cost would be £28 (based on a charge of £10 per 1,000 words). If you needed a manuscript of 60,000 words, the estimated cost would be £600. However I will endeavour to offer the most affordable price for my time taken over the project, hence why I will ask to see any documents before accepting a job or finalising the price. Your 60,000 word novel may only be in need of a quick polish, or your thesis may be full of grammatical and spelling errors. Total cost will always be agreed with the client before the work begins.
If a more thorough editing service is needed for a fiction manuscript (eg. Checking for plot consistencies or suitability of material) this will increase the final cost, as will tight deadlines and other factors. I am always willing to discuss your needs beforehand so don’t hesitate to contact me. There’s no obligation if you decide my services aren’t right for you!
Can you proofread my hard-copy document?
Unfortunately at the moment I am not accepting physical copies to edit – working in hard-copy takes more time at various stages of the project, and the cost of posting bulky documents (as well as the worry!) is prohibitive while I have other electronic work on my plate. This may change in future, though, and I do welcome any enquiries to this effect.
I live in the UK. Can I pay you via cheque or bank transfer instead of Paypal?
As long as you are a UK resident I can accept these forms of payment, however there may be a delay in returning your documents while waiting for a cheque to clear. If you are outside the UK, I can only accept payments via Paypal.
I want to hire you! What should I do now?
The first thing to do is contact me via my Get In Touch form, or e-mail me directly. That way you can tell me exactly what you need, and I’ll let you know whether I can accommodate your project right away.
As long as I have a valid e-mail address to contact you, I will request your documents in order to overview the amount of time needed, and therefore the cost. I will advise you of the total, and if you accept the fees I will begin work at once. Before returning your edited documents, I will request payment via Paypal invoice. Once this has been paid, I send the completed work back, and our project is complete. It’s just that simple!
In the case of particularly large projects (eg. Many thousands of words or work undertaken over several weeks) I may request two or three payments over the course of the project, with one final instalment before all documents are returned to you. This will be discussed with you before any work begins.
If you have any questions about the process or require a particular financial arrangement, please contact me with no obligation. My services are flexible - every project is dealt with on an individual basis.