I’m sometimes asked by independent writers if I can proofread their work and help them with other critical elements of the publishing process. These might include development work, copy-editing, indexing, rewriting, and getting published. I’m solely a proofreader so when I receive requests for help beyond my area of expertise I do my best to point people in the right direction – towards other professionals with the right skills for the job.
Some editorial freelancers are trained to wear a number of hats, but not all. Not every proofreader is also a copy-editor; not every copy-editor is also an indexer; not all development editors provide a publishing consultancy function. These are separate services and need to be treated as such.
Here are a few tips to set you on the right track:
Whichever service you are using, and in whatever genre, take care to do your research carefully. The people with whom you choose to work should be able to demonstrate experience in their field. Read testimonials from past clients; these will reassure you that the provider can do what they claim. Ensure that all parties are clear about what is included in the service. And give yourself plenty of time to find the right person for the right part of the job and at the price that suits your budget – a last-minute rush could lead to disappointment.
Louise Harnby is a professional fiction proofreader and copyeditor. She curates The Proofreader's Parlour and is the author of several books on business planning and marketing for editors and proofreaders.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Proofreader, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.
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I'm an Advanced Professional Member of the UK's national editorial society. Visit the SfEP website for more information.
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