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Archived Author Help > Do you hire a copy editor or proofreader?

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message 1: by Sam (new)

Sam Friedman (sam_ramirez) | 83 comments Quick question for y'all: I need to know whether I need a copy editor AND a proofreader (one person does two passes), just a copy editor, or just a proofreader. I had an editor do two passes, one developmental and one line edit. I've also self-edited the full novel four times, and my novel is currently being (sort of) beta-read on Wattpad. I also have personal professional editing experience, but only for things like academic articles, grant requests, and technical documents only.
Did you hire one or both of these services?


message 2: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments If you've had a line edit and have done several rounds of editing, I'd go with a good proofreader. That's what I did for my books. (I'm also an editor by profession, like you, for scientific/technical work.)


message 3: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Unless your editing skills are supberb, you need both. You certainly need a proofreader. Be careful, though. Make sure you hire a proofreader who understands the difference between editing/proofreading fiction vs. nonfiction. There's a huge difference, and I've learned that not all proofreaders understand that.

April


message 4: by Morris (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) I have employed both. Even though I am a professional editor, and do edit much of my own stuff, I always run it by my editor because, like most authors, I have blind spots sometimes concerning my own works. I have several beta readers who read it through and give me feedback. More is always better.


message 5: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) At this point, you've already had the book edited. Save yourself some money by using the text to speech function on your computer or ereader (most kindles and many tablets have this). What you would do is have the device read aloud as you read along. Wrong words, bad syntax, missing words, etc will jump out at you. You will find mistakes that your human editor missed.


message 6: by Morris (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) Christina, I agree wholeheartedly. I just bought a Kindle fire, and found it doesn't have TTS option. I had to download another ap Voice Aloud Reader, which automatically enabled the kindle Fire to TTS without any other configuring.


message 7: by Angela (new)

Angela Quarles (angelaquarles) | 1 comments If your line editor is good at the copy edit stuff (punctuation, grammar, etc) then you might be able to skip a copy editor, but it depends on your line editor. Some only concentrate on making your prose stronger and don't mark grammar issues. You'll definitely need a proofreader. I've found it better to hire two cheap proofreaders instead of one more expensive proofreader. Each has different strengths and rarely overlap in what they catch!


message 8: by Stephen (new)

Stephen J. Wolf (stephenjwolf) | 1 comments Multiple edits definitely help, as others have mentioned. I love the text-to-speech idea too. If you're going to check it yourself, the best advice I've heard is to read it sentence by sentence backwards. That way you're not caught up in the story itself, just the wording of each sentence.


message 9: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Christina's suggestion is a good one, except that you can't easily catch punctuation errors that way (and editors never agree on those anyway). At this point -- assuming your editors are decent -- you should be in pretty good shape.

But if you want to hire someone, I'd think you'd only need a proofreader. (We are hiring an editor for our next book who does both.)

But before you decide, I'd suggest going with Christina's suggestion, and see how many errors you catch. If you are catching a lot, fix them but in that case, having someone take a more careful look might be a good idea. If you find very few, either a final proofread might be the way to go, or -- if there are very few -- maybe you're all good.


message 10: by HKelleyB (new)

HKelleyB (hkelleyb-editor) | 31 comments IMHO, you should hire a copy editor AND a proofreader.

Yes, you can catch many errors on your own. But, only those you know about. What about the ones you don't know about?

Proofreaders will catch formatting errors like: using a closing quotation mark when an opening quotation mark is called for (or vice versa); using an ellipsis when an em dash is called for (or vice versa); missing indentations at the beginning of a new paragraph; missing periods at the end of sentences; including incorrect word breaks; creating widows and orphans; including incorrect math; using dashes (en and/or em dashes) when a hyphen is called for; including extra line spaces; missing question marks on rhetorical questions; etc.

Kindle e-readers will not do this. Beta readers probably won't do this. Copy editors may do this. Proofreaders will definitely do this.

Copy editing and proofreading are specialties. But, there are some professionals that are trained to do both.

I am a professional editor (developmental, line, copy) and a proofreader. I do either, or both, depending on the author's request.


message 11: by Kenneth (last edited Aug 17, 2015 01:33AM) (new)

Kenneth Brown | 17 comments April is right when she said make sure you hire a proofreader who understands the difference between editing/proofreading fiction vs. nonfiction. I myself have learned that which wascostly. Not all proofreaders and editors who adverise their service understand what you are trying to convey in your book, so be very carful who you hire to proofread and edit your book. My advice is let him or her show you book they have worked on.Mind Process and Formulas: Principles, Techniques, Formulas, and Processes for Success


message 12: by Michele (new)

Michele Clack | 10 comments I like the text to speech idea. When you are proofreading a good book you can get caught up in thw story and stop noticing missed words etc sometimes.


message 13: by Sam (new)

Sam Friedman (sam_ramirez) | 83 comments The line editor caught a lot of proofreading errors, and I did it myself. The kindle voice to text is not a bad idea, but that assumes I realize where I made the errors. What if I don't realize it? That's why I do think an extra editor will help polish the book. But still, I am not seeing the difference separating copy editor from line editor or proofreader. Voice is not the problem. Having someone spot black hair on page 41 and red hair on page 73 is fine, though I did a lot of this myself already. Great feedback everyone! Much appreciated.


message 14: by Jenycka (new)

Jenycka Wolfe (jenyckawolfe) | 301 comments Sam wrote: "Quick question for y'all: I need to know whether I need a copy editor AND a proofreader (one person does two passes), just a copy editor, or just a proofreader. I had an editor do two passes, one d..."

I didn't use those services cuz I can't afford them. I intend to as soon as the money's there, though.

I will say that, as someone who does edit for pay, editing your own work and editing someone else's are like night and day. It's a lot harder to catch your own errors than it is someone else's.


message 15: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Owen wrote: "Christina's suggestion is a good one, except that you can't easily catch punctuation errors that way (and editors never agree on those anyway). At this point -- assuming your editors are decent -- ..."

Actually, when you listen at the standard reading pace, you are forced to slow down and do indeed catch more punctuation errors than you would reading through on your own.

I have a tendency to add quotes to the end of sentences that are not dialog or forget them at the end of actual dialog. When I switched over to this method for my final edits, I found many of these that slipped past several proofreaders. I'll wager there still may be stray or missing quotes, but nowhere near as many now.


message 16: by Jenycka (new)

Jenycka Wolfe (jenyckawolfe) | 301 comments Christina, I do love the suggestion about text-to-speech. Gonna use that on my next book.


message 17: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Christina wrote: "Actually, when you listen at the standard reading pace, you are forced to slow down and do indeed catch more punctuation errors than you would reading through on your own..."

I should have said I don't catch easily punctuation errors. We mainly have semi-colon and comma issues, and those don't show up as clearly. And half the time, I don't know if I'm using a semi-colon properly anyway.


message 18: by Tom (new)

Tom Thurston | 2 comments Owen wrote: "Christina wrote: "Actually, when you listen at the standard reading pace, you are forced to slow down and do indeed catch more punctuation errors than you would reading through on your own..."

I s..."

A semicolon is a weak period; it separates two independent clauses.


message 19: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments Oh lord the semi-colon discussion.

I love them btw.


message 20: by Andreas (new)

Andreas Laurencius (andreaslaurencius) | 74 comments Ah, the infernal semicolon, dashes, colon, ellipsis rules. People now have their own rules .... It's hard to be sure. I've spent days poring over this.
Space or no space, comma or no comma, m dashes inside or outside the quotation marks. One of the keys is consistency: just choose which one works best for you.


message 21: by Max (last edited Aug 20, 2015 05:29AM) (new)

Max Nightjar (maxnightjar) | 5 comments Yes...YES...yes! I'm a editor, but as an author I say...YES!

It saves time , money and frustration. My first book took forever because I never saw my errors. It was impossible to see blatant errors on the page, I knew the story too well. I asked a friend to review my book and edit it and she found three mistakes in the first paragraph that were killers for a serious author. IProofing also gets rid of your stuff and allows you tell a real story that's believable.


message 22: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4306 comments Mod
Gary wrote: "Hello people - understanding editorial input..."

Gary, I'm removing your comment as it seems you're making the assumption that a lot of authors do not understand editing and that they should be embarrassed. You also seem to be pushing your services as an editor and this is not the place for that. There is a folder set up for offering services. Please do your promoting there, but keep it positive.

Thanks.


message 23: by Idav (new)

Idav Kelly (alixe_tiir) | 37 comments I rarely, if ever, use a copy editor. I edit myself, since I tend to be very good at it (I used to do this kind of thing all the time when I was a moderator at the creepypasta wiki). I have thought about hiring a proof reader once or twice for fiction, but not for spelling and grammar, instead, I mainly want them to look for inconsistencies and story faults.

Luckily, I haven't published any fiction yet.


message 24: by Don (new)

Don Alesi Question. Please delete if not appropriate. Someone approached me at an event. She said she loved my book. She and her husband live near me and would love to edit and reissue my book. I published it thru Create Space. I thanked her but said that I couldn't afford a professional editor. (1500.00). She assured me that she was much more affordable and that she feels that my book only needs minor tweaking and she can help put it out to a wider audience.

So here is my question. Will there be any legal or other issues if she reissues my book? Anything else I should be concerned about or questions I should be asking her? I only write as a hobby but selling more books is always a plus. My book is about death and is a memoir. I feel that the market is quite small.
Thanks for any advice.


message 25: by A.A. (new)

A.A. Bavar (aabavar) | 23 comments Hi, Don.

I've been an author and screenwriter for over twenty years. The dynamic of them reaching out to you is already wrong. It should be you reaching out to editors/ghostwriters because you're committed and want to improve your manuscript. That being said, here's my advice to you:

1] Ask for more details. Are they line editors, copy editors, style editors, proofreaders? What is it that they are offering to do?What is it that they feel needs review/editing and what will they be delivering? Send them a chapter and ask for a sample of what to expect from them (this should be free).
2] What are their credentials? What other books have they edited? Get references from previous clients.
3] Do they have any genre expertise that may add extra value to your story when editing your manuscript?
4] How long will it take?
5] What do they charge, how will they bill you, and what are the terms?
6] FINALLY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: Prepare a non-disclosure and a contract detailing all of the above AND that you retain all rights to the original and edited book.

In my opinion, if you weren't looking for an editor, you shouldn't hire an editor.

If you have any other doubts, I'll be more than happy to give you my two cents worth.

Good luck!


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