To pay to proof or not. . .

Hello,

 

I am just wanting to get some thoughts/opinions. . .

 

Have you or would you pay for someone to proof your work?

 

I am currently tempted to as I feel they will more than likely find loads of items/things that I missed.

 

But I reluctant to spend money (as from what I can see it can run really expensive). . . . I can really give a reason to why I am reluctant other than money is tight at the moment. . . .

 

What are your thoughts?

Comments

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor

    Erikajayne wrote:

    Hello,

     

    I am just wanting to get some thoughts/opinions. . .

     

    Have you or would you pay for someone to proof your work?

     

    I am currently tempted to as I feel they will more than likely find loads of items/things that I missed.

     

    But I reluctant to spend money (as from what I can see it can run really expensive). . . . I can really give a reason to why I am reluctant other than money is tight at the moment. . . .

     

    What are your thoughts?


    Technically speaking, I presume you are wondering whether you should get someone to either edit or copy edit your book. If you can at all afford to do so you absolutely should. If you cannot afford to pay someone, then try to find someone who is intimately familiar with spelling, grammar and punctuation to help you out (perhaps teacher or journalism student). The bottom line really is this: do you want your work to appear professional?

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • I agree with Ron. If at all possible get a professional to edit your book. If not give copies to several friends and have them look for problems. There is also a program called Ginger that is free to a point that does proofreading or Whitesmoke if you can afford it. Either way I'd go back over  it again even after using them. I understand if money is tight, which is why I use the programs I mentioned.

  • Hi Erikajayn

     

    Never underestimate the power of a proof reader! I have never tried the programs mentioned above but friends and family only got me so far.  I too am on a very tight budget and cannot afford the services of a true professional but I stumbled across StudentGems.com where students and graduates advertise their services to get real world experience in their chosen field and to supplement their student loans.  I found the incomparable Nat, a media and journalist student who has been a godsend to me and at a fraction of the price of a full professional service.

     

    I also found Rhi, a game art student, who does my covers and characters.

     

    I do have to be flexible with their deadlines because their studies come first but I could not be happier with their work.

     

    I would also say that there is nothing worse than trying to wade through book, no matter how good, when it is shot full of grammatical and other errors. Until Nat started working for me I had no idea the scale of the errors I had been making – ‘he’ instead of ‘she’, misuse of commas and other punctuation, ‘hanger’ instead of ‘hangar’ – the list just goes on.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Be aware that nowadays there are people charging as little as $99 for Proofreading an entire novel and all they are doing is banging the file through Word's checker. If they do not know why Word is finding mistakes and how to correct them, then they are doing nothing you cannot do yourself. Some even charge $100s for that 'service' as if doing it 'by eye'. The same applies to any software based checking tools and the user of them. The former are not human and the latter are ... Think about that.

     

    Always check a service provider's credentials, be it qualifications and/or long term experience and number of happy clients. It takes as long to proofread a book as it does just to read one. Think on that when you are looking at service prices from around $0.1c per word.

     

    Having said that, I recently bought a batch of T. Pratchett books published in Canada, and the text is full of mistakes! Strangely the UK published ones are not! What's that all about?!

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher

    The best friend of a good writer is a good editor. By good, I mean brutal.

     

    Having your friends read your book won't help you, unless you have a friend who is willing to call you out over an Oxford comma or a truly boring chapter. If you know someone who is, first, an expert on the English language, and secondly, willing and able to take a red pen to your pages until they look like a crime scene, then buy that person a big cup of coffee and a felt tipped marker.

     

    Otherwise -- that is, if all of your friends read your book and say, "Gee, that's lovely..." -- you need a professional. It does you no good to have people who either do not know the rules of grammar, or who will not apply them to you with brutal frankness. The goal of editing is to catch and help you fix errors.

     

    Now, it is possible that you are personally an expert in English, and dispassionate enough to read your work with an editor's eye. In that case, you may not need an editor. It is said that Rex Stout used to turn in manuscripts that were ready to typeset, but he had an IQ of 192. You probably can't do that... I know that I can't.

     

    So I don't know if that answers the question or not... But I hope it helps.

     

     

  • I have only once used a proof reader, a lady who worked in the local library and, got to say she was good and never charged money but she moved away and we lost touch.
    Now I do my own proofing but it is tough, I always think proofing your own work is cifficult since you know what is coming next, and sometimes your eyes just 'flip over' sections.
    Now when I am proofing, I do it almost as I write, going over everything I have written before putting the computer down. Next day, or the next time I add to the story, I then go over it again. At the end of the book, I go over it again, at least twice. It is so painstaking but it works for me.

    James
  • I've done it that way.

     

    I've also buried the manuscript in my sock drawer for six weeks to six years, and then read it again.

     

    Another good trick is to print the manuscript and retype it from scratch.

  • I think we shouldn't be charged for proofreading our publications unless you want to pay someone to do it for missing a lot of errors. But for those who want to proofread their own works by themselves, why a printed copy? With high tech and all, we can download the front and back covers and edit text and images. We can download on PDF and correct the errors and then upload the correct version again.

     

    So I think printing it and mailing it to us is a waste of time and money when we can do it with the resources given us by lulu.

  • Hi Narciso,

    I have to disagree.

    Looking at a PDF is perfectly fine way to proof the actual text for spelling and the like. But you need a physical copy in hand to review the layout, the margins, the font sizes.

    Its also a requirement for our retail distribution, as retails want to be sure an author has reviewed the book that their customers will buy before they can approve it.
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