Making the Most of a Proofreader or an Editor
Writing may be a joy in itself but listening to someone’s criticisms may take all the fun out of it. But, it may be a necessary evil. Getting someone’s take on your passages may provide some enlightenment and clarity in what you are attempting to express.
Getting someone to review your pre-published work sounds easy enough. But a real review provides value, not just punctuation changes. For African American authors, you want to find someone who can share in your experiences, your imagery, and your characters.
A Proofreader is someone who is looking for grammatical and spelling errors. An Editor generally reviews the context for flow and accuracy. You will want to have your manuscript reviewed for both before publishing. This is especially vital if you are self-publishing. Most traditional publishers will have staff to review your manuscript and offer suggestions for changes.
Take the following steps to find a way to get your work reviewed and critiqued before it’s in the public.
- Take a Writer’s Workshop. Consider it an investment in your craft. You can learn some of the basics. And, an added benefit is that you can start a network of peers that you can tap for more information.
However, before signing up for a writing course, especially those offered through the mail or online, check the credentials of those offering the course., There are many gimmicks out there promising to make you a published author at a great cost to you. Be wary of courses promising to get you published.
- Join a book club. This is a way to get to know your audience. A book club’s members can share their personal tastes and provide you with insights as to what makes a story a true adventure.
- Share your manuscript with friends. Friends may not give you an accurate reading of what your work will mean to a literary agent or to the buying public. So, share a chapter or a couple of poems rather than the whole volume. They will be more likely to read a synopsis and then a chapter rather than a whole work. And, if they want more, you know that you are on to something.
- A number of self-publishing companies that offer a wide variety of assistance along the publishing trail. Most offer a proofreading and editing service. Some even offer to set your manuscript to the proper format that most publishers require.
- If funds are tight, go to local colleges and hire an English major student. This symbiotic relationship gives the student experience in editing while offering an affordable solution to you.
Review any suggestions for changes with an open mind. You must determine whether or not the suggestions will change the overall mood of your manuscript. In the end, remember this is your manuscript, and you must be comfortable with any suggested changes other than grammatical.