Novel proofreading service
Posted on March 11, 2017 (Subscribe to Blog)
An important part of finishing a novel is all the editing and proofreading. In fact, I do this in stages during the writing process as well as after. I write a chapter, then read and edit it, then write the next chapter, read and edit, and so on. Every five or six chapters I'll usually read and edit that whole section again, which helps me with overall pacing. So by the time I get to the end of the book, I've already edited each chapter two or three times.
Then I read the whole thing again... and AGAIN... before handing over to beta readers. Then I make further edits and fixes based on their comments, and possibly read parts of the book again, and only then is it ready to publish.
The Importance of Beta Readers
Some beta readers are amazing at catching the little things I missed. Having said that, it seems no single person can catch every tiny thing. It takes a village to raise a child. Each beta reader will make their own list, and while there's a lot of overlap with each list, certain things are subtle enough to escape attention and are perhaps only spotted once.
Even after all that, there are often STILL occasional typos that only make themselves known after publication. I fix them immediately, but that doesn't help those who have already bought the book – whether in print form or electronic, the copy they bought will always contain those few typos. So it's important to get that book as clean as possible before publication.
New Proofreading Service for Authors Who Want Clean Manuscripts
I'm now offering a proofreading service to authors willing to cough up a little cash to ensure their book is 95% free of typos. I won't catch everything; I'm only human after all. But I've written enough books now (20 and counting) to call myself "fairly adept" at producing a clean manuscript. More about this here:
I've always been happy and willing to proofread manuscripts for others... except for the simple problem of time. How can I justify reading novel after novel and writing up long lists of comments when I have so little time in the first place? I have to earn a living, right? Hence why I'm offering the service at a very reasonable rate. It's not a lot of money for the number of hours I'd spend on a read-through, but it's enough to call an extension of my business. So that's website design, writing, proofreading... and construction. Yeah, that last one doesn't really fit, but there you go. As I said, gotta earn a living.
Why an Author Ditched Most of His Book
Recently, I proofread a new novel by Brian Clopper. It had a few problems. His blog post, "How a Novel Collapses In On Itself," explains why my comments caused him to ditch a huge portion of the novel in favor of a new plot, new characters, and probably 50,000 new words! I'm very happy to report that Brian is not the sort of person who descends into a six-month-long despair when faced with a challenge like this. Instead, after a few hours of muttering "Who the heck does Keith Robinson think he is anyway?", he dusted himself off and grew very excited about what promises to be a vastly improved book.
I've been there, too. I wrote Caleb's World many moons ago, and proofreaders disliked the direction it took. I ditched the second half and rewrote it... and readers still didn't like it. Disheartened, I shelved the book for years. Then, finally, I dusted it off and rewrote much of it again, changing a few characters, adding a lot of new material and deleting stuff that didn't work. The book is still named Caleb's World, but now it's Book 3 of my Sleep Writer series. And it works so much better as part of a series with established characters. It's like it was always meant to be.
When writing Valley of Monsters (Island of Fog, Book 7), I came to the conclusion that absolutely nothing happened in the first two chapters. It was all about planning for their trip. So I went through and highlighted sections that I absolutely needed to keep. I ended up with a short list of maybe ten sentences. Pathetic. So I ditched those two opening chapters entirely and started the book at Chapter 3. All I had to do was sprinkle in those highlighted sentences, and that was that. A far more streamlined opening to the book.
That's not to say massive rewrites or dramatic chopping happens often after a proofread. Normally, whether it's my book or someone else's, I'd find around 200 minor typos and errors – nothing that can't be put right in a couple of hours.
So, if you're an author looking for a final bit of spit and polish, give me a try and see what I can find. There's a cost calculator right there on the page, and I offer a free 1000-word tryout to see if we're a good fit for each other before embarking on the full project.
Thats' all four noow.
I can attest to the quality of your work, Keith. Your sharp eye has caught a lot of "stuff" in my manuscripts.
I don't know where you get the time to do everything you do Keith. I actually noticed this earlier today on your website and thought it had been there for a while and I had just missed it. Expect something from me at some point, haha, I have a couple of novelettes written that I done. I enjoy writing, I find it relaxing but, as with most, I am my own worst critic and overthink it. It would be good to get a professional look at it in proofreading way.
And your manuscripts, Roger, turned into great novels once you'd fixed all that stuff. :-)
Graeme, bring it on!