At times, what you need is editing services and not proofreading services. You can not or should not be asking for car washing services when you haven’t got a car in the first place.
Editing and proofreading are two different things. One comes before the second and one takes a lot more time than the other. But for some reason, people think they are the same. For other reasons, people ask for the wrong services when they need an entirely different one. Even when it comes to word usage, some authors say proofreading when what they mean is editing.
This article looks carefully at the confusion and the differences. In the end, you will know what your work needs and ask for it.
They Are Two Different Things
You first need to accept that the two are not the same. Once you have agreed to that, you will find it easier to accept the clear differences.
This comes first in the publication cycle. You have written your book by rapidly putting your ideas down. You have done a wondrous job of writing everything like a possessed beast. Good. Before you go to the two other drafts, you need to make the draft whole. You should do this yourself. You will hone the piece to the best of your abilities and make it as readable as possible. Combine ideas that you write differently and package all the content into one file. In this case, readability and combination are your priority. That’s called your first draft; you are going to create at least two more drafts.
After you have your first draft, before you jump to proofreading services, you need editing. This is deeper work. it addresses issues relating to:
- Development of content
- Style choices (not the same as style)
- Flow or coherence
If you are writing fiction, the editing process is usually more complicated. There are aspects of
the craft that will be addressed such as plot, character development, point of view, etc.
There are different stages in editing depending on what your manuscript needs. It could be light or heavy. It could be stylistic editing, copy editing, structural or substantive editing. It could combine some of the mentioned processes. After the first round, it is always advisable to try a second round because you can not catch all the errors at once.
One thing a writer or author should know is that editors do not care about the look of your book. So don’t spend hours designing a cover page, or using a font that doesn’t make the editor’s work simpler. Times Roman, 12-point font is fine. Keep it in editable ms word to make things easier.
After editing, there are usually two more stages – revisions and the design stage. This article focuses on the differences between editing and proofreading services and will not go into those ones.
The last stage is proofreading services. Before modern times, proofreading refers to reading the galley proofs after typesetting. After the book is designed, the proofreader will check things the editors don’t – paragraph, line, the amount of white space, margin space, subheadings, headings, headers, and footers. Proofreading services check for consistency of style and the things listed earlier. After completion of the services, she meets with the designer and explains what she has noticed.
Over time, the roles have shifted a bit. Proofreading services have taken some of the roles of editing services. in the past, the work of the proofreader is limited but they can catch some of the areas where the editor has skipped unintentionally.
It is worth mentioning again that the explanation in this post focuses on the cycle in traditional publishing. Things have adapted and roles intertwined. An editor may check your paragraph and note if the white space is too little. A proofreader may correct grammar and adjust poor spellings.
Hire the one you need but talk to the person to know what their services cover. In the past, you will call an editor if you just finished preparing your manuscript, later you will hire a proofreader. Many people still follow the chain to date. And those hired do exactly what an editor or proofreader will do as described here. To be sure, ask your editor or proofreader what their service contains. This is the simplest way to know if you need their service or you should be looking elsewhere.