If you, as a self-publisher, are just publishing your first book, you are sure to be asking a lot of questions – including proofreading. You may ask:

  • Do I need proofreading?
  • How much does a copy-reading cost?
  • How do I find a good editor?

In today’s blog article, I’d like to provide you with specific clues that will help you answer these questions.

1 As a self-publisher, do I need proofreading at all?

As a self-publisher you may be considering whether it makes sense to have a copy-reading – especially since it costs a lot of money, which you have to invest in your book project yourself. My answer – you guessed it – is a clear yes.

As an author, you will eventually become blind and even if you are spell-proof, you overlook mistakes. Friends can help reduce the error rate, but they can not replace a professional editor. In addition, a lecturer does a lot more than just correct mistakes: With regard to your target group, he ensures that your text reads fluently and the thoughts are well understood.

Therefore, not only spelling, grammar and punctuation are corrected in the course of a review. Your editor also smoothes stylistic bumps, such as by carefully dividing sentences and deinterleaving sentences or by changing the word order. It takes a lot of knowledge, experience, feeling and patience. If you once worked with a lecturer as an author, you will not want to miss him anymore.

2 How much does a copy-reading cost?

Most editors calculate on the basis of standard pages, whereby a standard page often includes 1,500 characters including spaces. Standard pages have a decisive advantage: In contrast to A4 pages, which can be formatted differently and therefore contain different amounts of text, they are a clear benchmark for the calculation.

The price for the editing depends above all on the correction effort and the length of your manuscript.

A lecturer invests a lot of time in your book. Depending on how extensive the corrections are, it may only create two or three standard pages per hour (rarely more than ten) and it will reputably read your text at least twice. Not infrequently, even more corrections are necessary

The less experience an author has with the assignment of a proofreading, the harder he can usually understand the price, above all, many authors can not begin with standard page prices. If so, ask the editor how many hours of work he has calculated. This will make it clearer for you which performance is behind the amount.

3 How do I find a good editor for my book?

After exchanging an e-mail with a bruised author last week, I would like to add a second question here: How do I find a reputable editor? Because even among the editors there are providers who go crooked ways. But one after anonther …

Ask other authors for a recommendation

First of all, you can ask authors with editing experience for a recommendation. Ask them why they chose a particular editor. Not only the price should have been decisive.

Take a close look at the website of the editor

Take a close look at the website of the lecturer or the platform that gives you a lecturer (which is also available). Not all providers are serious.

Do you get a feeling for the person or company behind the website? If a company’s website looks impersonal or slick, I’m always careful.

Is there any references on the website?

Are the contact details complete (e-mail, address, telephone number)? There are actually providers that do not have a telephone number on the website. That should startle you.

Does the website have the legally required imprint?

Black sheep are often recognized on their website. But I can reassure you: the whites are clearly in the majority!

Check the offers

When it comes to a larger job, such as a book, it is obvious that you will get several offers. Make sure that the cost estimates contain a clear description of the services. For vague phrases (eg: “The price includes a style analysis”) you should check. Let yourself be explained unsolicited offered additional services, such as the mediation to a publisher.

Ask for a Prosectorate

Ask the editors who are shortlisted for a proof-reading if you are not already offered it (we do it by default in book projects). And compare the sample sectors of different providers with each other:

  • What exactly has been corrected?
  • Can you understand the corrections?
  • How extensive are the corrections?

Are there any content comments that will help you? Incidentally, such comments are made in Word files in “bubbles” on the right side of the page, so you can easily see them.

Even if you’ve never worked with a lecturer as a self-publisher, you can use the sample submission to check the quality of your work.

Look carefully at the payment options

For orders such as a multi-hundred-page book, it is common to agree on a down payment or a down payment (for example, if half of the service has been provided). The requirement for a full payment of the proofreading in advance, however, is not common. So do not get involved in something like that.

Do not just decide on the basis of the price

Of course, as a self-publisher you will use the price to select the editor, but it should not be the sole criterion. Ultimately, the price-performance ratio counts.

Avoid time-consuming editing

If you’re looking for a specific release date for your book, do not go looking for a copy editor at the last minute. In the end you will find someone who is really good and who makes you a reasonable offer, but who has no time so short notice. It does not help if you push the editor. Time pressure is the biggest enemy of good editing.

Finally …

Once you have commissioned the lecture, you can sit back and relax and enjoy what you’ve done.

Once your editor is done with the work, he will usually send you two (Word) files: in the first one you will see all corrections, in the second you will only see the comment bubbles with his hints. Here you are again in demand as an author. This means: expect that you will have to put your hand to your manuscript again after the editing, and plan a little time for it.

Incidentally, a lecturer can also provide you with content-related feedback. But do not be disappointed if it also contains points of criticism. It is the task of the Lector to point out weak points. Praise is good and important, but pure belly brushing is not his job. The editor is your partner on the way to your book, which will hopefully find its way to as many readers as possible.

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