Here is Why You Need a Proofreader


Suppose you have written a short story collection and decided to publish it through Amazon. Now you have clicked on the option that releases the book, like a wild boar running into readership land.

But – what if you haven’t looked into the collection of short stories for a little while? And perhaps, a few months down the road, you decide to scan through it to refresh your memory, and while you are at it, you discover that you made a typo.

Now, this is the ultimate moment you realize that you should have hired a book proofreader.

Read on to learn more about why you need a proofreader, what a proofreader does, and what the potential benefits of hiring a proofreader are for your next book.

What does a proofreader do?

A proofreader is someone who looks through a copy – the words of your text/ story – and ensures that it is free of errors. The proofreader’s job is to find typographical, grammatical, or spelling errors. They will also look out for things to do with your formatting.

Proofreaders typically have the patience of a saint, as it can be long and tedious work. They will concentrate on the text, taking every line you have written. They can often spot a spelling mistake at sixty random places.

Why do you need a proofreader?

At this point, you might be thinking that you have read your manuscript a hundred times and that you have seen no spelling errors, which is why you don’t need to run it past somebody else – particularly if you have to pay for it.

Have you ever heard about the term – writer’s blindness?

This term refers to the aspect that when you write a sentence, your brain might be thinking one thing but your hand might be writing something completely different. Now, the weird thing is that when you read that sentence back – you don’t see the error.

You could potentially read it 40 more times, but because your mind has somewhat convinced you that you wrote down the thing you thought you wrote down, you simply fail to see the mistake.

And if you are at the very early stage of your author career, there is a great chance that you might be making this mistake more often than you could potentially imagine.

Friends vs. Proofreader

While you might have gone through your manuscript countless times, it might help if you were to ask your friends and family to go through the manuscript and kind of proofread everything before you go to print.

But – the thing is that although friends and family can be quite helpful, they won’t be able to pinpoint mistakes and bloopers as accurately as a professional proofreader can.

At the end of the day, you will want to sell text with no mistakes, which is why getting a professional proofreader on your side can make an enormous difference in the long run.

At this point, you might be wondering how much a proofreader might cost you. The answer is that it depends on how much the proofreader will have to read. If you are living in the USA, you can anticipate paying somewhere from $25 to $50 per hour.

Nonetheless, a professional proofreader can also charge by the amount of thousand words or by the entire project.

Why is it not okay to have errors in a published book?

If you publish a manuscript with grammatical mistakes and typos – it won’t look very professional. And if you want to be taken very seriously as an author, you will want your work to look slick and flawless.

Just keep this in mind – if there is a mistake and you haven’t gone to the trouble of having it proofread by a professional proofreader, one of your potential readers will find it and let you know all about it.

It is easy to spell words the wrong way when we are typing on computers. Although, with spell checks, it is harder to get typo mistakes; you never know what a computer system might be omitting. Nothing beats a human proofreader.

Apart from typos, you will also have to watch out for spelling errors. Apparently, one of the most misspelled words in the UK is “calendar.” Perhaps, you might use a word that is not fed in your spell checker, such as the name of a place.

Perhaps, you are using a made-up word that is very specific to your story – you need to ensure that that word is consistently spelled all the way through your book.

Proofreader for Formatting

Your proofreader will also assess the formatting of your manuscript. They will look for too many spaces between words or paragraphs.

They will also point out the paragraphs that seem too long. The proofreader’s job is also to pay attention to the overuse of punctuation, such as exclamation marks and the use of inappropriate capital letters.

But also, the proofreader will look out for mistakes in typeface sizing – perhaps, you have used the size 14 all the way through your book, but on one page, you might have used 12 points. When it comes to formatting, proofreaders will keep their eyes out for hanging widows and orphans.

That said, before you send your manuscript off to a professional proofreader, ensure it is as good as possible.

Make sure that your manuscript isn’t your first draft – but ensure that you have done it to the best of your ability because it will cost you more in the long run if your manuscript keeps returning to your proofreader.

The Takeaway

By now, you know that you really need a proofreader before publishing your book. However, keep in mind that the proofreader won’t give you suggestions on your narrative. They will also not pass comments on whether they like your manuscript or not.

These sorts of things are really down to you – the author. A proofreader won’t fact-check your work, either. It is up to you to ensure that any facts stated in your book are authentic.

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