Proofreading is a service that focuses on the mechanics and grammar of a novel. This is typically the final move an author makes before going to publication; it is a last sweep of the manuscript to find those pesky typos, grammatical errors, and stylistic inconsistencies before you go to print or self-publish your novel.
How to Know if You’re Ready for Proofreading
Typically, an author is ready for proofreading after they’re satisfied with the current state of their novel (or at least feel as though they no longer need to make any substantive edits or changes). This means your plot should be solid and consistent, and you should feel confident about the prose. To get to this stage, most of our authors have already completed all or most of the following:
- Several self-edits of their manuscript
- Beta reading from peers
- A developmental edit with a professional editor
- A line edit or copyedit with a professional editor
- Final layout, design, and formatting of the novel
If you aren’t sure whether your manuscript needs a proofread or another service, your best bet is to write to us and show us the current status of your manuscript. We’ll give you an honest opinion about whether you’re ready for a proofread or need a different novel editing service first.
Proofreading vs. Copyediting
What’s the difference between proofreading and copyediting? Though many people use these two terms interchangeably, the truth is that they’re not the same.
While proofreading focuses on the last minor details of mechanics and grammar, copy editing deals with the actual copy of the novel. In fact, copyediting is more closely aligned with our line editing service.
In short, during a novel copyedit or line edit, your book editor will help you rewrite clunky sentences, vary your word choice, and smooth out passages that need further development. During a proofread, your editor is focused solely on making sure the novel is neat and tidy for publication—they will not do any rewriting, and will only let you know if a sentence really needs addressing.
Why Pay for Proofreading?
While it may feel unnecessary to pay for someone to look for typos and edits when things like Whitesmoke, Grammarly, and spell-checkers exist, the truth is that grammatical errors can severely impact your novel’s viability in the marketplace.
It’s not uncommon to see book reviews on Amazon and other places calling out errors and inconsistencies. In fact, these types of errors can often cost you an entire star in an Amazon review.
All novel editors at Invisible Ink Editing use The Chicago Manual of Style, or CMOS, as a standard reference for fiction editing. The CMOS is considered industry standard in the US, so whether you are self-publishing or plan to submit your novel to a professional publishing house, it’s wise to consult the extensive guidelines laid out in the CMOS.
When it comes to dictionaries, we typically refer to Merriam-Webster as our standard when editing fiction from US-based authors.
While these are our standard references, our fiction editors are always willing to take into consideration an author’s personal style and preferences. We may challenge you on stylistic choices that vary from the CMOS, but provided you have good reason, we are happy to bend or even break the rules.
This is part of the reason why we develop a style sheet for every project—though it’s important to note that the style sheet is typically put into place during the line editing process. If you’re coming to us for a standalone proofread of your manuscript, it would be best to develop your own style sheet prior to beginning the proofread.
For more information on what a style sheet entails, check out our line editing service.
Rates for Proofreading
Our proofreading service starts $00.0085/word, though this price may fluctuate if you are purchasing an editing bundle.