But proofreading is not part of my job. Sue Jorgenson (sjorgonson@earthlink.net) and I have been friends for 20+ years, and she’s been proofreading the books I’ve edited for at least a decade. (She lives half an hour down the freeway from me.) She prints the manuscript I send her and reads it on paper.That means she sees things you and I both missed because we’re seeing what’s in our head on the computer screen. Then she brings me her marked-up copy, we have a nice visit, and I make her corrections (or nearly all of them). Then I send the final copy to you and you begin your search for a literary agent or a publisher. Or you dive into self-publishing.

Here’s what Sue tells people about proofreading:

In the greater scheme of things, here is where proofreaders fit in. Editors work with the content of a manuscript, helping to shape and refine it. Proofreaders have a different role. We:

  • spot spelling errors and typos, and correct them
  • clean up punctuation
  • check on grammar
  • verify certain details and dates

If needed, a proofreader may also suggest a sentence be rewritten to improve punctuation and/or grammar. In other words, we tend to the nitpicky details. We polish and refine so that the manuscript gleams. Many publishers don’t like to review or accept manuscripts that haven’t been proofread because they know it will add to their time and costs to have it done on their end.

I do not do Track Changes. I print out the manuscript and hand-write my corrections, and take the manuscript to Barbara so that she can incorporate the changes. I communicate via e-mail with the authors. I give authors estimates and accept checks and PayPal. My rates are based on how long it takes to proofread a manuscript, not by the word. That is because some words and phrases can take time to verify or work with. (My rate also covers paper and printer ink.)