What to Expect from Professional Editors and Proofreaders

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It doesn’t matter whether you’re a greenhorn, a world-renowned novelist, or a grammar wizard—all authors should hire a professional editor and a proofreader to go through their manuscripts at least once, especially those choosing the self-publishing route. Publishing a book takes a village, and if you don’t have a big publisher or a literary agent outsourcing editing on your behalf, you, the author, have to do it yourself. 

You can edit your own work to some degree, but you’re so familiar with it that you’ll easily overlook silly typos. Also, since you know the plot so well, you won’t necessarily recognize how confusing the wording in some passages is. Hiring a professional is imperative, but where do you start? 

That depends on what stage of the writing process you’re currently at. If you’re struggling with story development, you need a big-picture, or developmental, editor. In case you require help with clarity, structure, grammar, and other linguistic issues, you should hire a copy editor. If you’re looking for an expert to check your final draft for grammar errors, spelling mistakes, and formatting, then enlist the services of a proofreader. Whatever you need, we’ve got you covered. Check out our services for authors and start working with a professional editorial team today. 

The job of a professional editor

Some independent and emerging authors might worry that sending their manuscripts to a professional editor will mean their work might be completely changed, rewritten, or worse, stolen. You can leave those fears behind. Professional editors help you improve your work by giving suggestions and notes that target plot holes, structure, story development, narrative, style, and character arcs, thus helping you sharpen your voice and express yourself with greater clarity. 

Editors will often leave comments explaining why they’ve made certain changes, asking for clarification, or offering advice to improve your story and writing skills. What they won’t do is rewrite or fundamentally change your work—they’ll just help you shape your manuscript into the best version of itself. Since they’ve got their own reputation to maintain, they will do everything they can to make their clients happy. Besides, you always have the final say. Their suggestions are just that—suggestions—and you can freely reject any of them. That being said, you should always make sure you’re working with a reputable professional or company. 

The job of a professional proofreader

Professional proofreaders will focus mainly on grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting. Authors usually hire proofreaders at the end of the writing process, before they send the finished manuscript to a literary agent or a publisher or upload it as an eBook. This means you should have already gone through a copy editor and have a “clean” draft—one that shouldn’t contain more than one or two typos per page. Proofreaders won’t help you with cohesion, clarity, or other structural issues, so make sure to sort those all out before moving on to proofreading. 

Basically, a proofreader serves as the final filter to make sure no typo or error got past the writer, editor, and beta readers. Some services will even edit bibliographies and fact-check academic papers and other non-fiction manuscripts.

The job of an author during the editing stages

Just because you’re outsourcing your big-picture editing and proofreading doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. Editors and proofreaders might misunderstand your meaning or offer suggestions you disagree with, which is why you must be attentive to their notes and keep communication lines open to ensure your story always remains faithful to your ideas and goals. While you should trust the professionals you hire and take their notes seriously, no one knows your story as well as you do, so if a suggestion doesn’t work for your story, you don’t have to accept it. Get in touch with your editor and explain the situation—they can help you come up with a good solution. As an author, you must be present at every single stage of the writing, editing, and publishing processes. 

No matter how experienced a writer you are, we’re all human and make mistakes, and there are always stubborn errors that we’ll miss. Even the silliest typo or mistake can be detrimental to the way readers perceive your book, so don’t put off working with a professional proofreading service. You should never publish a manuscript that hasn’t been proofread. Head over to our services for authors and start building your team of experts today.  

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