Proofreading and Editing Differences

Proofreading

When your work has been edited and you have your final draft in hand, ready to be published, that is when you need a proofreader. A proofreader is the final pair of eyes on your work before publication or submission. A proofreader looks carefully, line by line, at your work for misspellings, grammatical errors, punctuation corrections, and formatting inconsistencies. Think of it as the final polish so that your work can really shine.

Why use a professional proofreader?

Because online spellchecks cannot catch things like homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently, for example, wear/where), nor can they follow style guides, such as CMOS (Chicago Manual of Style – used in book publishing), or AP (Associated Press – used in news media and some online writing), or House Styles (particular styles used in publishing companies or for a particular project). As a professional proofreader, I can follow any guide you use as I check your work for errors.

Editing

There are many levels of editing. The first edit is called developmental. It addresses the arc or big picture of the writing. After this comes the substantive edit. This edit tightens paragraphs and chapter structure. Sometimes both are done at the same time.

These editors reword, rearrange, and rewrite your work in order to improve readability and flow. They are looking at the content and revising it. In book publishing, editing always occurs before a book goes to print, whereas proofreading is done on the final draft of a fully-formatted manuscript.

After these edits, depending on the field of publication, you may need a mechanical editor, line editor, and copy editor. In many fields these are lumped under the category of copy editing. If separated into different processes, a mechanical editor will edit solely to follow a certain style guide (like CMOS, AP, or a house style), while a line editor then addresses word choice line by line to really refine it, and a copy editor goes through looking for grammar, spelling and punctuation. Frequently a copy editor is expected to do all three of these processes. If you are unsure of what you need or what your copy editor is offering, have a conversation with him or her. Clarity is always welcome in an editor’s world, and he or she will be glad to be on the same page with you!

I provide copy editing and proofreading services. If you are interested in a quote and conversation with me about your project, fill out the contact information below. I will respond within twenty-four hours, often within six hours.