It’s the start of a new year!
Have you made any resolutions?
Perhaps you’re planning to self-publish the book you spent most of 2018 writing, but know that it needs a little fine-tuning, in the form of a proofread or edit?
It’s important to understand that although proofreading and editing have their similarities, there are key differences between the two.
I provide both services, but you may come across professionals specialising in either proofreading or editing, so it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the terms.
So, what does a proofreader do?
A proofreader will be on the hunt for issues such as spelling, grammar and punctuation. They will not offer extensive editorial suggestions, nor will they make huge changes to your manuscript.
As the Society for Editors and Proofreaders say, a proofreader ‘will intervene only with good reason’.
… and what does an editor do?
An editor will delve far more deeply into your manuscript. Looking closely at structure and content, they will ensure clarity, be on the lookout for inconsistencies (for example, in terms of plot, character, and the presentation of dialogue), offer constructive feedback and provide editorial suggestions. They will also check headings, footnotes, bibliographies, graphs, tables… the list goes on! You can, therefore, expect to pay more for an edit.
Ultimately, an editor will work with you to improve the readability of your manuscript and ensure that it is appropriate for, and of interest to, your target market.
You may have come across different types of editing, including ‘line’ and ‘developmental’. In short, a line edit focuses on the use of language, whilst a developmental edit looks at the story itself; for example, plot, character and pace.
To quote the Society for Editors and Proofreaders again, an editor should ensure that a manuscript is: ‘clear, correct, coherent, complete, concise, consistent and credible’ (‘the seven Cs of editing’).
How are proofreading and editing similar?
Evidently, both proofreading and editing involve making amendments to a manuscript in order to improve it ahead of publication.
Many proofreaders and editors are avid readers and/or writers themselves, which means that they can relate to their clients and genuinely want to help them produce the best manuscripts possible.
In my experience, authors quite often request a ‘proofread’ when they’re actually hoping for an edit.
If your head is reeling, please send me the first 1000 words of your manuscript for a free sample proofread or edit. I can advise you on the level of editorial input I feel your project would benefit from and provide you with a fixed quote.
Have a wonderful January!