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Indie authors - would you pay for a proofreader?


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Showing 1-25 of 37 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Apr 2011 13:42:24 BDT
Nutmegsmum says:
Since grammatical errors, punctuation, typos and spelling mistakes seem to be the greatest source of criticism levelled at indie authors, would you be prepared to pay someone to edit and/or proofread your book prior to publication? If so, how much and on what basis - wordage, number of errors found, or an hourly rate? Would this make your own standards more lax, knowing that someone else would correct your text?

This is a hypothetical question; I'm not volunteering!

Posted on 24 Apr 2011 14:12:19 BDT
J. H says:
Most already do.

Posted on 24 Apr 2011 14:24:31 BDT
Judging by some big publishing house books, they don't bother with proof readers either, and just use computerised spell checkers - which can't pick up homophones and/or misplaced quote marks.

Posted on 24 Apr 2011 15:02:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Apr 2011 22:56:36 BDT
I'm very meticulous when it comes to proofreading my work, and I believe I would be far too tempted to proofread the labours of the proofreader, even though it would be entirely unnecessary to do so. Is it beneficial to use a proofreader? In short, yes. But our relationship would be an ongoing cyclical process of botheration for the pair of us, the results of which would most likely see me bleeding copiously from the eyes and ears, and the proofreader screaming frantically from inside an asylum situated on some remote weather-beaten island.

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 12:26:10 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Apr 2011 17:54:31 BDT
For Feed the Enemy I effectively am, but out of a share of royalties, not up front.

For my next book, a collection of short stories, I am not so sure - many have appeared in small-press magazines previously, and so were proof-read to various degrees then. I think I'll some of these out to trusted readers and see what level of mistakes remain, if any, so I can more objectively assess how different magazines have edited/proof-read them previously.

James

Edit - should have proofread my post about proofreading...!

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Apr 2011 13:15:49 BDT
Apart from having developed a somewhat cumbersome, but quite effective, editing system, I'm lucky enough to have three hyper-anal and literate test readers, who gleefully point out any and all mistakes. With that sort of back up paying someone to do the same job seems more than a little redundant.

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 14:06:32 BDT
I would suggest any writer needs their work looking through in detail by at least one and preferably a few others before uploading.

My first book had repeated visits to an editor friend of mine with instructions to set her editing spidersenses to "vicious" (or indeed to 11). After that it went to another friend who proofs uni theses for a living, and it went to him three times before i finished making alterations, he finished checking them and we decided it was ready. I learnt a hell of a lot in the process, not only about how to make prose flow better and about the weaknesses of my own writing style, but also about some of the basic assumptions I was making and the words I overuse (we all have them....) The end result is so, SO much better than the MS I started with that although the initial MS for book 2 is much less knaggy, as soon as I've done my own scalpel-work it'll be setting off on its own journey to my guys.

I'm lucky because I have extremely talented friends who are happy to wait until I've earned their fees, however long that takes. However, the process has been so useful that I would strongly recommend other authors to try the same. It's more than a bit dismaying, I grant you; several of my favourite bits fell by the wayside, but I think the end result is so much better than the initial material that I don't regret a single one of them.

That said, I don't think it's necessary for a person to have all the letters after their name if they have the smarts and the capability; you judge them by the finished result more than anything.
And now I'll stop pontifcating!
JAC

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 15:56:53 BDT
Since I'm writing in second language I have no choice but to ask for help. Luckily, my friend is helping me with those issues. Spelling, typos or commas are not as much my problem as is syntax.

If I didn't have my friend I would try to exchange my knowledge of being an editor for plot-development with someone native who needs in depth edits. Proofreading in the form of getting rid of typos and misplaced commas is a far easier job than editing, and anyone who's a bit familar with it can do it. So no, I wouldn't necessarily pay for one unless all my friends are tied up.

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 16:53:33 BDT
Ann says:
Part of the problem with kindle books is that the author carefully proofreads it before converting it to kindle format and then does not look at it again. They need to check the final formatted version for formatting errors as they are far more numerous than the spelling errors in my experience.

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 17:55:25 BDT
Very good point Ann - again, something I've effectively paid for on my Feed the Enemy, but will have to look at very carefully myself for the next.

From what I hear, you can put the book up, download it to your own Kindle, and remove it from sale while you check it through? If that's correct, it seems an obvious and simple way to ensure it's Kindle format friendly.

James

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Apr 2011 22:09:18 BDT
I'm getting all weak in my knees now. I hope my book's all right now. I checked several times re indents and the like, does kindle bugger up the formatting. Please say no!

The only thing I had that my index didn't have links and I apologised profusely for that. It's fixed now.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Apr 2011 22:29:54 BDT
I already do; the price I pay varies by experience although at the moment, I've found someone I'm quite happy with. I pay for a proofreader and separately for a copy-editor. I still have one book that needs another round with a copy-editor.

The prices I hear range from about 75 dollars to about 350 (US dollars).

Maria

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 22:31:01 BDT
There's certainly a problem with manuscripts which were originally written in older 'word' formats. They have a tendency to do strange and ridiculous things when they encounter kindle's software.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Apr 2011 22:36:38 BDT
I'm using open office, newest version. How about that?

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 22:38:25 BDT
P.S. I did have some formatting issues early on. I'd get a space between paragraphs. Took some time for me to figure out how to remove it, although some readers actually liked it there as it was easier to read for them. There are nuances to learn with the formatting!

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Apr 2011 22:42:00 BDT
Cuban Heel says:
James, I downloaded it once it was up to double check, but before I did that I used the Kindle Previewer download from Amazon. You can use Kindle for PC to check the file before it goes up to the platform, but that displays it slightly differently than it actually appears on the device. The previewer is the closest approximation. Still, I checked in there and then checked the file once it was up to be certain.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Apr 2011 23:08:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Apr 2011 23:11:12 BDT
@Stella,

When you say 'open office' do you mean the Microsoft Office 2007 or later a later version? If so you should be fine. If this is another program, then I couldn't tell you, not having had experience with such.

Edit: Just to clarify: Microsoft Office 2010 works fine as well.

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 23:12:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Apr 2011 23:14:09 BDT
Jon, Open Office, I think has nothing do with Microsoft. It's a free beta version that is slightly different from Word. But Neil might know more about it.

http://why.openoffice.org/ It looks different but works sort of the same.

I'm using the latest version Open Office 3.3

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 23:14:55 BDT
Open Office is not a microsoft product. I do use it. I upload HTML rather that .doc, although you can create .doc version from open office.

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 23:18:44 BDT
Yes, Maria. I transfer it to html, too. Cuban then introduced me to mobipocket to get it into one file. You can also create pdf with one click, but it's not writing protected, I think.

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 23:21:50 BDT
That's good to know, I've always been a bit uncomfortable with my reliance on microsoft. (but never had the cash to spare to go the apple route or the time to spare to learn linux)

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 23:25:32 BDT
Try it out, Jon. It's free and it's really good. A bit of a fiddle, but if you are familiar with word, you can manage. I lack basic knowledge and therefore tear my hair out a lot, but I think it's a bit easier than word.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Apr 2011 23:31:23 BDT
Golly it looks just like word 2003 (which apart from the idiot paper clip I like a lot better than its successors).

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 23:40:45 BDT
Really? I used word 2003 three years back, but I can't remember. Have then started with Open Office and never looked back.

Posted on 25 Apr 2011 23:48:20 BDT
The moment I saw the picture I had a strong sense of deja vu. I did an awful lot of writing 2003.
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Discussion in:  kindle discussion forum
Participants:  19
Total posts:  37
Initial post:  24 Apr 2011
Latest post:  21 May 2012

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