Proof-editing for indie authors
You’ve written your novel. You’ve revised it and revisited it and have made improvements along the way. You’ve sent it to your beta readers, your mate, the woman from your creative writing group, and have made a few tweaks here and there as a result. So, what now? Are you ready to hit publish? Not quite yet.
When you’re as close to your novel as you are, it’s easy to read what you think is there rather than what’s actually there. Give your book the best chance of success by having it professionally proof-edited. Think of your reader and give them a frictionless experience. You don’t want anything to jolt them out of your world.
Read below to see the definitions of proofreading and copyediting in traditional publishing. I offer indie authors the same services in the ‘correct’ order if that’s something your timescale and budget will allow. Or, if you think you would like to combine the two and get the best of both worlds, you’re in good company as that’s the approach most indie authors ask me to take. I refer to this as proof-editing.
Most indie authors want to send me a Word document. They want me to read their novel, check there is nothing amiss, correct misspellings, grammar mistakes and typos, and flag anything that doesn’t make sense.
Most indie authors are surprised but grateful when I present them with a style sheet to accompany their edited manuscript. This details all the style decisions you have used in your book: whether that’s using Oxford commas or not, spacing your en/em dashes or not, writing numbers as words, or not. It also has an overview of characters and places so there are no slips – like an Italian restaurant suddenly having a different name in chapter 13, like Rachel suddenly becoming Rachael in chapter 9, or having blue eyes then brown. Think of this as your style bible. You can refer to it for any sequels, prequels or other writing you do in the same world.
Most indie authors want me to use Track Changes on Word so that they have control over the edits that I make. When they get their edited manuscript back, they will set aside time to ‘accept’ or ‘decline’ changes I’ve made to the manuscript.
You may be like most indie authors and want the same. Or maybe you want something a bit different. I can tailor the approach to you and your needs. The cost of a proof-edit depends upon the level of intervention required. In some cases, it’s a quick process and more a case of quality-assurance. Sometimes more is needed: for example, I’ve worked with authors with English as an additional language and there is sometimes a lot more work to do to get the manuscript right.
A 1000-word sample edit will not only allow me to quote accurately, it will also ensure that we are the right fit. It’ll allow us to tweak the process and open up channels of communication to give our editor–author relationship and, ultimately, your book, the best chance of success.
Proof-editing fee: depending on the level of intervention, between £25.70 and £34.40 per hour.
On average, it usually works out as somewhere between £7.50 and £10 per 1000 words.
So, a ball-park figure for a 50,000-word novel would be £375 – £500.
You will know the cost of your project up-front.
|Substantial editing, rewriting, development editing||£34.40|
Proofreading is the final stage of a book’s journey from concept to publication.
So, I know that a traditional publisher will not want me to make any direct changes into the manuscript.
Proofreading is the final quality check. If I see anything amiss, I will mark up the text using either BSI symbols or clear notes in the margin, depending on the publisher’s instructions. This can be done electronically or by hand.
The marked-up text is then returned to the typesetter who corrects the errors.
And, voilà, there you have it: a manuscript ready to hit the shelves.
My charge for this service is £25.70 per hour. This is in line with the CIEP suggested minimum hourly rate. To work out an accurate quote for your manuscript as a whole, I offer a 1000-word sample proofread.
In the traditional publisher’s workflow, copyediting comes before a manuscript is typeset.
The service is a wide-ranging one and involves checking the text, correcting mistakes, improving clarity, ensuring consistency, and marking-up the structure of the text for the typesetter.
If a writer or a publisher does not yet have a style sheet to go with the work or series, I will create one as part of the copyediting process.
At copyediting stage, I will make direct changes into the manuscript using Track Changes on Word. If preferred, the changes can be marked up in the margins using BSI symbols and notes, or using review tools.
My charge for this service is £29.90 per hour. This is in line with the CIEP suggested minimum hourly rate. To work out an accurate quote for your manuscript as a whole, I offer a 1000-word sample edit.