You’ve Read it Over and Over and It Looks Find, Right?

You’ve finished your book. Yay!! The work’s not over yet, though. MagnifierYou go back and re-read it, making revisions, read it again; give it to your significant other after each revision to read – heck, when you’re both finished, you almost have it memorized and could recite lines back and forth to each other. One more read, one more time just to make sure.

Next you steel yourself, break out the Excedrin and get ready to hit publish, at the end of which, you’re either singing Hallelujah, doing the happy chair dance, or reaching for the artificial tears because your eyeballs have turned into two Brillo pads from starring at the computer screen and correcting formatting errors.

Enter Key PublishThat magical push of the “Enter” key and BAM. You’re online, live, at Amazon. Time to sit back, relax and wait for the reviews to start pouring in. Visions of sweet accolades dance on the wings of Angels, waiting to rain down on you as you drift into a much needed slumber.

Just as you predict, the emails from your loyal writer friends start filling your mailbox. You smile as you read them, “Great book! Fabulous. Um, do you want me to send you some typos I found?”

Wait, WHAT?!

Proofreading. I don’t care how many books you have written – whether it’s your first or one hundred and first, there are going to be typos, timeline hiccups in the story, an incorrect form of tense, improper shifts in POV, or some other type of inconsistency. Nobody can beat out a clean draft. NOBODY. That’s why it’s important to dole it out to someone fresh, preferably an unbiased third-party. No matter whether you have sent it to an Editor or not (and, I hope you have – I’ll touch on that in another blog), a Proofreader picks up where the Editor leaves off.

If you want a polished work, get it proofread! First impressions are vital in a book’s life. I’m a big fan of the “Click to Look Inside” feature on Amazon; or, “Read Instantly” on Barnes and Noble. No matter how interesting the book may sound or the story begin, nothing will make me hit the “x” to close the screen and move on to preview someone else’s book, than to stumble across a typo in the sample. You just lost a buyer of your book, and possibly, all the rest of your books to come after. It’s not an issue of “everybody makes mistakes,” it’s an issue of putting your best foot forward for the reader and gain the reader’s interest. No matter how good a story is, when a reader is absorbed and moving at a brisk pace, the flo sops ata mestake,


The thing is, even a Proofreader is not infallible, nor is an Editor, BUT they’re going to make reading your book as comfortable for your reader as possible. Instead of fifteen or fifty errors, you may only have three. And please, don’t even think that Word or some other type of spellcheck is going to catch everything. No program will be able to figure out that when the girl looked out to see, you were referring to an ocean and not vision.

Cost to a writer usually makes the decision on whether to hire an editor and proofreader. You can make do with one, if need be, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Like I said, a Proofreader takes up where the Editor leaves off. However, if you can only afford one, go with a Proofreader. A good one will make editing suggestions along with catching punctuation, misspellings, and other inconsistencies as I already mentioned. Then, when your book has done well in sales and you’re ready to publish the next, hire yourself that Editor.

Being new to the publishing world, I am already working with an Editor and at the proper time, will be hiring a Proofreader. That may sound silly to some since I am a proofreader for other authors, but it goes along with the saying that “he who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.” There is no way I would be able to proofread my own book. I want that “fresh” eye and read.

Check rates. Hire a proofreader. Like everything else, the prices range. Read the books of your author friends. If you think it’s polished, ask who they use. If the price is too high, look around some more. If you like what you’ve read here, contact me. I’m taking on work right now – just drop me an email. I’d be happy to get in touch and work with you.

The point is, you, the writer, don’t (and shouldn’t) go this alone. You want your reader to remember your book for the story it told, not the words it took to tell it.

(And, for those who noticed the title, YES, it was intentional, and aimed to drive home the point that everyone needs a Proofreader 🙂 )

Never Enough Books

This entry was posted in Books, Editing, Education, Proofreading, Writing, Writing Skills and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to You’ve Read it Over and Over and It Looks Find, Right?

  1. roystonvanderkerkoff says:

    “Great post! Fabulous. Um, do you want me to send you some typos I found?”

    (I’m so sorry, I just couldn’t help it.)

    • Gail Gentry says:

      LOL, thanks! I think I deserved that. After hearing from several friends over the course of the day, I realize now I should have put a note at the end of the blog (which I’ve now added) to let everyone know that I did, on purpose, place the typo in the title to make a point.

      It has certainly made me realize how many friends are there to cover my back if I were to ever really need it. So, to everyone who has read my post today, and thought “I wonder if she knows….” yes, I did. It was a very calculated title to grab attention. And, I thank YOU for jumping in to comment. You rock!

      P.S. Sorry for using your comment as a forum to get the word out but “I just couldn’t help it.” 😉

  2. lironah says:

    The proofreader in me cringes at your title, despite the knowledge that it was intentional.

    • Gail Gentry says:

      Actually, I know EXACTLY what you mean. It was/is hard for me to look at, too. It seems it’s always the little words that misses the proofing eye – something I was trying to get across. Thanks for coming in and leaving the feedback. Really appreciated 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for your article! I’m a novice writer, and have published with Createspace. I’ve used expensive editors, some from my writing group, and Createspace, but I’m still not happy with the results. I’ve not been trained in this field, but always had a desire to write. It was on my bucket list when I retired. I’m working on my fourth book which is approaching 90,000 words. My story, The Scent of Gardenias, touches on love, death, spousal abuse, a murder mystery,a revenging ghost, and a few other things. I’d love to have you proofread when I finish, and tell me if it is worthwhile publishing. Thanks, Gail.


  4. Diane says:

    I agree — everyone needs the “fresh eyes” of a proofreader. Even when I slow myself down to proofread, I still catch myself speeding up and glossing over words (and of course, missing something). I remember being a part of a committee that put on a conference. I was in charge of designing the program and was proud of how good it looked. I proofread it. Committee members proofread it. No one caught that I had misspelled participants (and it was in bright blue letters, vertically written down the entire side of a page). A friend noticed it after the conference (sigh…). It takes special eyes to be a proofreader 🙂

  5. Gail Gentry says:

    Those types of misses, you’re always putting palm to forehead on how could you ever miss such a thing. It happens – more than we like. Thanks for the story, Diane. Classic 🙂

  6. I have had a book professionally edited and proofread and I STILL had a reader post up the typos – the three she found (in a public review). Good article!

    • Gail Gentry says:

      Thanks, Alison, for this. When they’re pointed out, you always have to wonder how in the world could they have been missed by so many people – you go look and they are right there. Always thankful, though, for the people that take the time to let you know. Thanks again for the comment 🙂

  7. Cina says:

    I might be a little less strict on the sample and typos, but I get what you mean. Tiny things can happen, but when someone has not even used any kind of spell- and/or grammar check and more than five grammar / writing / logic mistakes within the first three pages it is definitely putting me off as well. Never in my life have I read a book that was free of errors, but there are so many good programmes and free beta-readers out there, one should take the time and effort to ‘use’ them.

  8. TripFiction says:

    What great words of advice. It is soooo true, you do remember some books because of their awful typos and errors, when underneath there is actually a good storyline (I can even think of two books that came STRAIGHT to mind just now!).

    • Gail Gentry says:

      Thanks so much for commenting, Trip. I will never understand why some authors don’t place importance on what can turn out to have a huge impact in sales. I use the “Click to View and Sample” tool A LOT on Amazon…and if the sample has more than two typos, I won’t buy it. In the long run, I’m sure their lost sales far outweigh the money it would have cost to hire a proofreader. All a part of ditching the tunnel vision and looking at the big picture. 🙂

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