If you Write A Book you need a Proofreader

Editing is a multi-staged process that usually requires more than one editor for it to be completed successfully. The final stage of the editing process is proofreading, a role that is often completed by someone who was not involved in the copy-editing.

Proofreaders are exceptional wordsmiths with a great eye for detail. They are responsible for correcting minor mistakes that have been overlooked. When working with a proofreader there are certain things that need considering.

Separate the roles

Although you can use the same editor to also proofread the manuscript, there is a common agreement to separate these two roles. That is, the copy editor should not be the proofreader as well. This is because there are plenty of occasions where someone has read a document so many times that they're overlooked obvious mistakes. The key to proofreading is fresh eyes and proofreaders that have not read a manuscript umpteenth times can bring a fresh perspective to the editing process.

Proofreaders essentially look at the tiny details – are full stops missing, when should a comma be used, should this title be italicised. They should also be aware of your style guide so that they don't undo certain stylistic points. 


Ask your proofreader to go through and Google any names – be it people, other books, movies, countries and so on – to ensure that the spelling is correct and that the right name has been used. You should also ask your proofreader to Google common sayings or analogies because sometimes these phrases are used so often that the words become misconstrued.

Hard or soft copy

Some proofreaders prefer to edit on-screen whereas others prefer to work with hard copies. Neither of these is wrong or right, however, an author should present their manuscript in the format preferred by the proofreader. While soft copy may seem easier, quicker and cheaper than printing the manuscript, the advantage of proofreading via hard copy is that you will be able to view all the changes made when the manuscript is returned to you.

The final say

You need to decide who the final decision maker is. Is it you? The editor? The proofreader? There can be three people, sometimes more, in the editing relationship, so it's important to decide who has the final say. Sometimes it might be your editor because you trust them the most; other times it might be your proofreader who has over 20 years experience. It could be you, simply because you know exactly what you want and because you are investing the capital to ensure that the book is successful.

Different authors and publishers have different opinions about whom and how many people should be involved in the editing process. There are various opinions and a range of preferences; however, the key is to find an arrangement that will allow for the successful editing of your book. It ultimately needs to be a decision that you are comfortable with.


Dale Beaumont is the author of this article. He is an internationally renowned book publishing expert, the author of 16 best-selling books and the creator of the Get Published Secrets Program.  

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