Reasons to hire an editor AND a proofreader.
This week I’m here to remind you why it is important to have your books both edited and proofread. Whether you are a publishing company, or a self-publishing author, both parts of the publication process are important.
I’ve noted before why you need an editor, and how you can get too close to your writing… if you write something, be it a blog post or a book, you get too used to what you have written and after a while word blindness sets in. Missing letters get overlooked, whose becomes who’s and little formatting errors creep in. It’s not good when those errors get published… the pedants come out to play – especially those who have no idea about excruciatingly tight deadlines, lack of money or lack of staff.
So why hire both an editor and a proofreader?
Writers and publishers:
- Need an editor to polish their text. They will pick up the ‘big picture’ aspects of the manuscript.
- Need a proofreader to give it that final check. They will pick up the errors missed by the editor. By the very definition of the work, especially if the text is heavy, an editor may miss things.
What happens when you only hire one or the other?
- Hire only an editor and the small stuff may slip through. Concentrating on the bigger picture may mean that occasionally the odd typo, or other type of error, could be missed. Editors are only human.
- Hire only a proofreader and while the small things may get fixed, the bigger picture won’t be addressed.
What happens when you get your author to edit and/or proofread their own writing?
- They will be too close to the text that they have been writing up for the past few weeks/months/years. Word blindness creeps in and errors will be missed.
What happens if money is too tight to hire both an editor and a proofreader?
- Extend the publishing deadline. Then…
- Get as many people as possible to read through the document. Only when you are sure that it’s the best you can get it hire an editor. The fewer corrections that need to be made, the easier the editor’s job and the cheaper it will be for you.
- Make a list of priorities… if you still find an editor too expensive, prioritise and have them make the kind of changes you feel are most important.
- Still hire a proofreader, but again prioritise.
There’s no getting away from it, editors and proofreaders should be budgeted for. Both are important when it comes to creating quality text.
Look at it this way, the editor is like a car mechanic – they make sure that everything is working as it should, that your vehicle will get you to where you want to go. The proofreader works in the body shop – they make sure that the surfaces gleam and everything is looking good.
A shiny car doesn’t mean that the internals are working, and likewise a great runner won’t be at its best without the bodywork gleaming. You wouldn’t go out into the world in a car that isn’t fit for purpose, so surely you wouldn’t send your product out into the world looking shabby?
By taking your work seriously, and by hiring both an editor and a proofreader, you will make your writing the best it can be, and that can turn heads.