Hiring a proofreader – don’t get stung


Proofreading 4-Pack, Part III – Hiring a proofreader/copy editor  

(Continued from Part I, Proofreading, an inch at a time, and Part II, Copy editing – getting the bugs out.)

Planning – Start looking for a proofreader the minute you start your book or soon thereafter.  Don’t decide you need a proofreader on Monday and hire one on Tuesday. Shop around. Ask other successful writers for recommendations.

Ask for Specifics – Ask the proofreader to outline exactly what they consider “proofreading” and “copy editing.” These differ significantly throughout the industry.

Put away the hatchet, please – When I proofread and edit for a client, I prefer to suggest changes; I do not make edits for the writer. You should direct how the edits come to you.

Research online – Look at the proofreader’s website, Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, and blog. Are they positive? Do they share tips and links? Are their online pages clean?

Stylebook – Ask them what style book(s) and references they use. If they hem and haw or say, “Oh, I don’t need those things,” run away.

Testimonials – Get testimonials or references and then look at the publications of the testimonials. Contact the people who have provided these testimonials. 

Turn-around – Look at the turn-around time – if a proofreader says she’ll have your 100,000-word work of art back to you in two days, that’s just not gonna happen.

Contract – Sign a contract. I would caution that if the proofreader doesn’t use contracts, again, run away. Be sure you can accept the contract payment terms, turn-around time, cancellation terms, additional cost for phone consultations, etc.

NDA – Ask the proofreader to sign an NDA – non-disclosure agreement. You don’t want your hard work to end up in someone else’s book or in the proofreader’s e-book!

This blog was originally posted on Chris Eboch’s blog Write Like a Pro!

Check back tomorrow for the final Proofreading and Copy Editing blog, Part IV (what if you just can’t afford a proofreader?).

Photo by Gwen Dubeau

Have you worked with a professional proofreader or copy editor? What did you like and what did you NOT like about the experience? 


Filed under Editing & Proofreading

9 responses to “Hiring a proofreader – don’t get stung

  1. Excellent advice. Haven’t used outside proofreaders myself (yet) but will definitely bear in mind for the future….

  2. It’s good to have a plan – especially when this person is going to be going all over your manuscript. Thanks for stopping by, Shawn!

  3. Pingback: Can’t afford a proofreader? Jump in with all eight legs! | Karen S. Elliott's Blog

  4. Just what I needed to read! Thanks for the advice.

  5. Glad it was helpful, Marsha.

  6. Pingback: Scenic Elegance, Photography by Gwen Dubeau | Karen S. Elliott's Blog

  7. Eric

    Thank you; would anyone have a copy of a NDA for proofreaders?

  8. Pingback: Can’t afford a proofreader? Jump in with all eight legs! | Karen R. Sanderson's Blog

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