The Importance of Good Editing and Proofreading

By Danielle Wrate, journalist, book editor and founder of Wrate’s Editing Services

Most self-published authors are savvy enough now to know that their book needs editing. I’ve had several writers come to me after publishing their book and receiving negative reviews regarding typos and poor grammar. People may have loved their story, but they’ve been put off by poor presentation. As an editor, I see myself as a ‘polisher’ – the writer has done all the hard work by coming up with the idea, doing the research and putting the hours in getting the words down, and then I come in to make sure that every sentence reads well and makes perfect sense. I admire every author I work with because I know the sheer graft involved in writing a book. I’ll work closely with them during the editing process and like to follow the progress of their book once they have published.

There are many different types of editing services out there and I’ve kept it simple by limiting mine to just three.

Structural Editing is for writers who are aware that they need to do further work on their manuscript and require feedback. I’ll read through it and make notes on parts that need to be rewritten, developed or researched. I’ll then provide a report for the author to go through. Once they’ve addressed the points I’ve raised I’ll usually Copy Edit and Proofread their manuscript too, although these services don’t always need to be booked together. I tailor everything for the individual needs of the author.

Copy Editing is for authors who would like their work to undergo a professional polish. I’ll make improvements to sentence structure and copy flow, checking for things like repetition and inconsistencies. For instance, many writers will not realise that they’ve used the same word twice in a sentence or that they’ve repeated an explanation for something in a paragraph. I’ll also check facts and suggest small improvements that the writer could make. This is my favourite part of the editing process as it’s about perfecting the writer’s work. Most authors are happy for me to make small changes as I go but I would never change or rewrite huge swathes of copy without running it by them.

Proofreading is about getting down to the nitty-gritty of grammar, punctuation and spelling (the rather dry, pedantic stuff!). Word processing software usually has a spell check facility, but it’s no substitute for an editor. For instance, I’ll make sure that words are capitalised correctly (dad or Dad, queen or Queen) and double check whether those hyphens and exclamation marks you’ve used are necessary.Although I’ll pick up a lot during the Copy Edit, a book will only be ready to send out into the world when it has been proofread at least once.

Danielle offers a free sample edit.

To learn more about Editing, book a ticket for

Class 1: Editing, Book Doctor and Critique (11:00 to 11:45am) with Danielle

on November 27th 2015.

£35 for class, £100 for five classes with lunch. 

If between 16-25 years old, please contact us for special priced tickets.

Helen AbiolaComment