Many aspiring writers and even experienced, professional writers do NOT understand the differences between the terms editing and proofreading. When you don’t understand how each of these services is vastly different, you could get taken advantage of by signing costly publishing contracts that deliver very little. Or worse, you could be publicly humiliated when readers trash your writing on social media sites, because of all the errors in your work.
Are the Terms Editing and Proofreading Interchangeable?
Proofreading and editing are two words which get interchanged so often that the WordsRU professional editing company wants YOU to know the differences. By the end of this blog post, you will no longer believe that editing services are merely proofreading services. Much to your surprise, you will quickly learn there is a clear distinction between these two tasks.
Why is it important for me as a writer to understand the differences between proofreading and editing?
Time and Money—Those are the most important reasons for learning more about this topic. However, read on to discover the more finite reasons and ways to distinguish proofreading from editing. Then, take a few moments to read about the differences in the BASIC and PLUS services, as defined by the editing team at WordsRU.
Editing: Its Purpose and Function
When a professional editor EDITS your manuscript, he or she reads and reviews your entire manuscript, which includes evaluating and arranging your content for publication. This large task involves adding words, sentences, and sometimes paragraphs of text or dialogue to help the overall flow, believability, readability, and accuracy of your materials. Then, an editor will most likely revise and correct your grammar, spelling, sentence structure, flow, and point out areas where the text can be improved, where it was excellently written and easy to understand, and indicating the text or scenes you can delete entirely and not lose the reader’s attention.
Finally, a professional editor looks at your writing from a publishing perspective, evaluating and making suggestions for more clarity, and noting those items or words that will soar or tank when the work is published. (Soar meaning that you’ll sell more books, and tank meaning that you’ll be lucky to sell more than a few copies to friends and family—not good.)
In the broadest sense, editing involves improving the quality and flow of a piece of writing. During the editing process, the phrases, sentences, and entire paragraphs you’ve written and think add substance and meaning to your work may be removed or rewritten. In the publishing industry, it is said rewriting and creative changes are the foundation of excellent editing.
Proofreading—The Real Truth Behind the Word and the Tasks
Contrary to what many people believe, proofreading does not just involve reading the text, and marking or correcting errors. The task of proofreading demands that the proofreader must have the skills, talents, and readability expertise to not just look at the content’s big picture as a whole. Attention must be directed to more finite technical details.
Yes, in the proofreading pass, spelling errors are found and corrected, and usually punctuation mishaps are fixed. More than that, sentence fragments are pinpointed and changed, and the text is read OUT LOUD (yes, I said that with emphasis) in order for the proofreader to hear how the paragraph sounds. Indeed, words, when read, make your story believable or not. And with the omission of, or inclusion of just one word, an entire story or strategy can forever be changed. It’s the proofreader’s job to make sure every word is the correct word the author intended.
For example, have you ever read a legal document for its creativity? Maybe not, but if one error is overlooked, it could change the entire outcome in a court of law.
Editing is said to focus on readability and flow, as compared to proofreading, which focuses on all the technical details, words, and innuendos often overlooked in an editing pass.
Another example to help you understand the differences between proofreading and editing is that editing can reveal the human element of your story or nonfiction strategy that tugs at a reader’s heart strings by the way you’ve chosen your words and described the scene or a life situation. Whereas proofreading looks at the technical mechanics, much like a spell-checker program or autocorrecting and grammar suggestion system might reveal.
Which Comes First: Editing or Proofreading?
The short version is…editing. The editing pass is the time when the entire story, dialogue, table of contents and corresponding page numbers and fact elements get noticed so the author can rework and rewrite the first draft into a saleable piece of perfection. When everything is just as perfect as it can be at that moment in time, and the author is ready to submit the work for publication, the final step is the proofreading phase.
HINT: I like to think of proofreading having this meaning—it’s the final set of proof pages that need to be read before the book or document gets published. Get it? Proof-reading, reading the proof. Okay, let’s move on.
In the final proof stage (where the manuscript has been typeset and is ready to be printed), most publishers will accept ONLY a maximum of 25 changes to the original manuscript, and that does not involve rewriting text, which would or could change the text on the designated page in the book. This is why it is so extremely crucial to hire a proofreader who will catch every last detail which you might have overlooked—a missing comma or period, a misspelled word, a name that wasn’t changed in the first draft and shouldn’t appear in the story, and things like that.
Let’s face it, if you’ve never found a mistake in a published book…well, maybe I shouldn’t go there in this post.
Editing And Proofreading Options Available At WordsRU
As promised at the beginning of this post, the WordsRU editing and proofreading team offers two levels of editing and proofreading services for all your written documents—BASIC or PLUS. The cost differences are minor, but the results are major. Go ahead and download the WordsRU PDF document, Basic vs. Plus Editing Services, save it to your electronic device, and then read it when you have a moment. If you want, print it, and keep it close at hand the next time you want to hire an editing and proofreading company who has been providing these services to millions of clients.
Next, read the unsolicited testimonials from happy clients located in all parts of the world who have benefited from the services provided by WordsRU editors.
Do you have any disaster stories to share about that time when you didn’t hire a proofreader or editor? You don’t have to name names, but we’d like you to share your story so others understand how important it is to have your words reviewed before you publish your work. Thanks for reading. See you next thyme (time).