Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Editing and Proofing

We are the writers of words.

Sometimes they're beautiful and perfect. Other times they're horribly wrong.  And quite often, they are either bad choices or misspelled. Or both. Yikes!

As writers, it's always a challenge to proof and edit our own creations. A fresh pair of eyes can usually, sometimes almost instantly, spot things that we've missed, even after we've read it for the hundredth time. We get involved in the creative process, and we type away at a million miles an hour. We know what we're saying. Our perfect words make perfect sense. To us. Unfortunately, there are times when the reader just doesn't understand what we mean.

Those are the times when the assistance of an editor/proofreader can be invaluable. Before sending our "baby" out into the cruel world, we need to be certain she's ready. Agents expect nothing less. And it's not only our manuscript that needs to be perfect. Don't forget about that pesky query letter and synopsis.

I've been giving this some thought. There are great resources on the internet including Absolute Write, Miss Snark's First Victim, and Query Shark, just to name a few. These sites are frequented by writers with varying degrees of experience and knowledge they generously and freely impart. But their time is limited, so they're probably not going to be spending a great deal of it helping to improve our work. At the same time, there are professional editing and proofreading services floating around out there in the ether of the web. Which begs the question: Can the market stand the addition of another professional editing and proofreading service? Because that's what I'm considering, and I'd like your input.

So, here are my questions for you: (1) Have you ever used an editing or proofreading service? (2) Would you consider taking advantage of such a resource, provided the cost was affordable. (3) What would entice you to use such a service? (4) Do you have the knowledge, time, or interest in case the workload requires additional help?

Please don't think I'm posting this in an attempt to push such a service offering on the loyal readers of this blog. That's not my intent at all. It's simply to get a feel for what other writers think about using such a service. Based on the comments, provided its a large enough sample, it should provide either a yes or a no on whether it's a feasible undertaking with any merit for future consideration. I would love to read your input, and feel free to write as much or as little as you wish. I'm in the research stage at the moment.

(Gosh, I hope there are no tpykos in this post.)


  1. 1) Never used one 2)I think that if it is affordable I'd use it, because I cant find anyone who has the time to look over my stuff.:( 3) Enticing, well cost is at the top, reliable, efficient, and honest. dont want someone stealing my idea, even a little. Legit, legal, and that they have some type of contract, (now that im goign to law school I'm into contracts) 4) and i would make the time for additional help.

  2. I do have beta readers and a trained editor in my group of friends, so I have never used a paid service, but my uneducated uninformed opinion is that there could never be too many competitors in the field, especially if you're thinking of offering at the lower cost end of the market.

    And, heck yeah, I would love to help and get more experience proofreading. But I am not a native speaker of English. Are you offering the service in Dutch, too ? ;)

  3. Never used one, would if the cost was right. Most are just too expensive. It is hard to edit my own work, but perhaps a sample edit to make sure we are on the same page. I don't think there are too many. Finding an editor who fits is liike finding an agent who fits. I don't want one who is just doing the job for the money, but one who genuinely cares about my project. Possibly, I could help.

  4. I tried to use an editing/ proofreading service once. I sold the book one day before I signed on for the service. Now I'm superstitious. Should I start to sign on for this service every time I want to sell a book?

    I do have the knowledge and a lot of interest in editing mss, but I have no time. I love to edit. It teaches me so much about writing. That should encourage some to sign on for the task.

  5. I do a lot of proofreading and editing of other peoples' manuscripts in return for them doing the same for mine. I couldn't afford to pay a professional editor, so this works well for me... I used to proofread as a living a long time ago, so I'm good at picking up little nit-picky things.

  6. Good question. I know several writers who paid for a freelance editor. It helped a little, but no more than having good crit partners and beta readers. And in the end, the books still went nowhere.

  7. Everyone is different. I personally wouldn't use a service like this myself, but that doesn't mean others wouldn't. My reasons are simple. 1) I'm poor and couldn't afford a service like this no matter how cheap it was, and 2) I feel I should learn to edit my own work seeing I want to become an author. I am a big believer in critic groups. I am in The YA Novel Workshop on, and I can't say enough about the place. We are a mixed bunch from all over the world and we are all learning together. This is something money can't but in my humble opinion.


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