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Proofreading, Editing, Critique

Proofreading, Editing, Critique

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The Different Types of Editing 3 - Proofreading

Writing is only a quarter of what is involved in producing a successful book: editing, publishing and marketing are the other equally important three-quarters of the effort. No one person can do these four tasks as well as they need to be done as they involve four very distinct and detailed professions.

When you’re writing a book, let the experts in the other three areas do their job while you do yours. If you’re self-publishing, you’ll need to find a team of experts, but this is not always easy to do. What do you need? Who does what you need?

Your best bet is to start with editing. Editors generally specialise in genre and a certain type of editing. So, how do you know what type of editing you need? In this mini-series, we’ll have a look at three types of editing: developmental editing, copy or line editing and proofreading.

In this article we’ll have a look at the third type.


This part of editing is all about quality control. If your book has been to a developmental editor and a copy editor, the next logical step is to give it to a proofreader. Format the book as you would like it to look when published before sending it to a proofreader. Checking layout is also part of a proofreader’s job, and there are always mistakes that manage to slip into the text during layout.

How does proofreading work?

A proofreader will check your manuscript for all errors that may have slipped through the cracks during the copy editing stage. She may find missing words, spelling mistakes, confusing sentences, incorrect information, erroneous chapter or page numbers and strange paragraph breaks. If you ask a proofreader to define what she does, she will tell you that her job is to make sure that your book has the least errors possible.

Proofreaders often work on PDF documents once the layout has been done, but they can also work in Word. Your proofreader will mark up the document using highlights, comments, strikethrough and replacement suggestions telling you what you need to do. Copy editors are not machines, they make mistakes; an experienced proofreader will look over your manuscript with an eagle eye and will often find mistakes that no-one has else has noticed in the editing process.

How much will proofreading cost?

If you think that proofreading is not that important – think again! It’s the last time someone will be able to find mistakes before you actually publish your book. If you paid a lot of money for a developmental editor or copy editor and your budget is spent, you can ask friends or family to proofread your final version. If you do this, make sure you ask more than one person. Proofreading is a real job and it takes a lot of training and experience to do it well. One friend who likes to read does not a proofreader make!

If you want to use a professional proofreader, you can find many online who will charge by the hour, page or word.

Remember that a well-edited book looks more professional, engages readers and sells. Contrary to what you believe, you cannot edit your own book; you’re too emotionally invested. Hire an editor and give your book the best chance to succeed.


Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Louanne Piccolo