Sunday, March 15, 2015

Should Writers Use Proofreading Services?

After my ideal readers read through my novel, Claire Young, I sent my manuscript to Steve Mathisen for an unbiased, third-party proofreading. I found out about Steve from one of K.M. Weiland's Facebook posts. For a very reasonable price, Steve provided me with a proofreading that caught some mistakes in my manuscript. Here are just three examples:

  1. I somehow combined two different Bible translations in a single verse, resulting in a priest quoting a non-existent verse.
  2. I confused Polaroid cameras with Instamatic cameras.
  3. Steve recommended I italicize POV thoughts, thus distinguishing them from the narration itself.
Keep in mind that Steve specifically offers proofreading services, not editing nor copyediting. You can read about the differences here.

Proofreading usually comes after editing, but I'm preparing my manuscript for pitching and querying, not publication. The manuscript hasn't been edited yet.  That being said, I'm unpublished and unproven, and for any agent or publisher to gamble on me, my manuscript must hit desks in a format as close to publication as possible--more so than bestselling authors. No publisher wants to invest hundreds of hours into editing a novel that might sell.

Decreasing my word count and increasing the quality of my manuscript ensures the lowest possible cost for the publishing house to produce my novel, thus increasing my odds that my writing has a relatively low-risk cost-benefit for the publisher.

Consider giving Steve a try. You can contact him at


  1. When proofreading a document, you should first read it slowly and carefully to determine whether or not it communicates its message.

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