Is It The Right Time For Proofreading Your Novel?

Jun 12, 2020 | Editing

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You’ve come to the end of your manuscript. Everything seems to be in place. All you need is proofreading for your manuscript to be ready. Are you sure now is the right time though? Most writers believe it is time to hire a proofreader when really they need something else.

This blog is here to help you know whether your manuscript is ready (or not) for the dreaded red pen.

Has Your Manuscript Been Edited?

Wait, what? I thought you were helping me understand when it’s time for proofreading?

Hold on, I am. Let me explain.

Editing is a broadly defined term. When it comes to writing, editing entails the following… content editing, line editing, and other associated specific sets of eyes (many fiction writers employ special sensitivity editors, for example). A content editor ensures the story is a tight, satisfying read.

The line editor makes sure the sentences and language flows together.

A proofreader comes along at the end. I mean, the very end. Their red pen is literally the last line of defense before publishing (or submitting) a typo-filled manuscript.

Have You Combed Through The Manuscript?

OK, let’s say your manuscript has been edited. Good for you. The story is tight, the characters work and the prose is clean.

Now for those testy typos.

But hold on, something for you to consider. Proofreaders usually work by the hour. That means, if you hand over a mess, you’re bound to pay more for it. Sure, that’s what a proofreader is there to do, but the cleaner your manuscript is going in, the easier job they’ll have.

Why do you want to make things easier?

Proofreading is tough. It takes a great amount of attention to detail. If you’ve got a professional scratching their head because you’ve confused there, their and they’re a dozen times, you could lose their valuable attention.

Every word processing program has a spelling and grammar check. Anyone can download a basic version of Grammarly for free. Employ the free tools you have access to in order to get the cleanest manuscript possible. 

Your proofreader will thank you for it, I promise.

Proofreading Is Your Last Step

Releasing a book is a big step. Once you press the PUBLISH button, your words are out there. 

I have met a number of authors, too many to tell the truth, who do the right thing. They write a good manuscript. They have their book professionally edited. Then last comes the proofreading.

But something else gets in the way. The publication jitters. On the brink of pressing that button (or sending it out, as the case may be) releasing the book to the world, they add new material. A new chapter. An introduction.

Something new comes into play. Don’t do this!

When you hire a proofreader, give them the entire manuscript. If you’re submitting your manuscript to publishers or agents, get them the full book. Self-publishers should include the forward, introduction, afterward, all of the front and back matter.

Why? Readers expect a professional-quality book, that’s why. If you fail to deliver that, they won’t be so forgiving to you when it comes to reviews.