Can you proofread your own book? Here are some quick tips on formatting your Word file ... final tidy-ups to get your file in shape, and that accord with mainstream publishing standards.
Truly, nothing beats a second pair of eyes on a piece of text, short or long. I know this all too well because I’m a professional proofreader and copyeditor, but I also write – books (yup, I've self-published four times), guides, booklets and blog posts.
And I miss stuff – not because I have a problem with grammar, punctuation or spelling, but because I’m too close to the text. I see my own writing in terms of the ideas I want to convey rather than the text in front of my eyes.
That’s why I hire fellow proofreaders and editors to help make my written materials the best they can be. I don't expect those people to guarantee perfection but I do expect to them to ramp up the quality (and they've never failed me).
Here’s another thing I know – the better shape the file's in, the better the price. Editors and proofreaders are professionals and, though we love what we do, we have bills and mortgages too. So, very broadly speaking, the more intervention needed, the higher the fee.
There are things every writer can do to tidy up a piece of text by themselves, though. I’ve compiled them in one handy resource: The Author’s Proofreading Companion.
The steps in this toolkit won’t replace a rigorous professional developmental edit, line edit/copyedit and final prepublication proofread, but they will help rid your file of some of the nasties!
Here’s what the Companion shows you how to do:
Just click on the image below to get your FREE copy!
Hope it helps! And come back soon for more handy tips and advice designed especially for beginner writers.
Louise Harnby is a line editor, copyeditor and proofreader who specializes in working with crime, mystery, suspense and thriller writers.
She is an Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), a member of ACES, a Partner Member of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), and co-hosts The Editing Podcast.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Fiction Editor & Proofreader, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, connect via Facebook and LinkedIn, and check out her books and courses.
'Louise uses her expertise to hone a story until it's razor sharp, while still allowing the author’s voice to remain dominant.'
'I wholeheartedly recommend her services ... Just don’t hire her when I need her.'
J B Turner
'Sincere thanks for a beautiful and elegant piece of work. First class.'
'What makes her stand out and shine is her ability to immerse herself in your story.'
'A million thanks – your mark-up is perfect, as always.'