Proofreading for self-publishers of fiction

sfep memberIf you are a self-publishing author looking for someone to proofread your novel or short story, you can simply send me your final draft and I’ll let you know whether I can help you. If I can, I’ll give you a quote.

Proofreading fiction is of course a little different to proofreading other sorts of texts. As you probably already know, in the publishing industry proofreading is the last task in a long list of work that is done on a manuscript by editorial professionals. It is the final check on a text that has ideally been edited and then copy-edited.

I’m aware, however, that many self-publishers won’t have the resources to have gone through all the traditional stages. But I would expect that your manuscript has at least been copy-edited. If you are unsure of the differences between copy-editing and proofreading, have a look at the SfEP’s FAQs page, which you’ll find here: http://www.sfep.org.uk/about/faqs

Any quote I give you would include doing the following:

  • Checking spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • Checking that the syntax of sentences seems to work and that sentences make sense in context
  • Checking that your writing is clear and reads fluently
  • Checking that the style you have used is consistent, e.g. double or single quotation marks and that things like italics are used consistently
  • Ensuring that any ambiguity or monotonous repetition is highlighted and possible solutions are suggested
  • With regard to all of the above, being sensitive to your style of writing and bearing in mind that with fiction, standard grammar and/or punctuation rules can be broken if it seems to make sense in context to do so (I’d make a note about this to make you aware of your options)
  • Noting formatting issues such as inconsistent paragraph spacing/margins (but not correcting those).

Ideally, as many people as possible should read your manuscript before you finalise it (it’s best to have a number of beta-readers read your work so that you can get useful feedback, but any friends or family who have analytical and crticital skills can provide useful feedback and spot errors too). I suggest you consider this even after my proofread, because you will be doing work on the text after that, and errors can creep in.

You can see testimonials from some of the clients who’ve been happy with my work. I have a love for fiction, a feel for language and an eye for detail, and would do my best to substantially improve the quality of your text. Please get in touch with me here, by email, via bev.sykes@superscriptproofreading.co.uk or by phone on (+44) (0)7503 845938.


SfEP membership – what this means

sfep memberI am a Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). This is a professional UK-based organisation for editors and proofreaders that promotes high editorial standards. I am proud to be a member of this organisation and abide by its code of practice:

The SfEP’s code of practice (CoP), Ensuring editorial excellence, is a really useful resource for editorial workers – editors, proofreaders and project managers, whether working freelance or in-house – and their clients and employers. Its purpose is to establish standards of best practice for SfEP members and help them maintain them and to encourage good professional relationships.

Good communication between client/employer and freelance/employee is essential. Clear briefing and the agreement of terms are vital if high standards are to be maintained by both parties, and unsurprisingly they’re emphasised by the CoP.

In addition, the CoP includes guidance on:

  • the professional behaviour of both freelance/employee and client/employer
  • standards for proofreading, editing and project management
  • information on web editing, electronic file handling, email etiquette, confidentiality and computer security

Since the summer of 2016, I have been co-running the South Warwickshire and Coventry local SfEP group. You can download the code of practice here