Wednesday Wing – WHY YOUR BOOK NEEDS A PROOFREAD part 2 by @ProofreadJulia #wwwblogs

Why your book needs a proofread – Part 2

Last week Julia chatted about what a proofreader was and why you need one. Today we continue with ways to choose the right proofreader for you. Read Part 1 post here

Making your book as error-free as possible before publication is essential in today’s flooded market. New writers with no experience in the industry may not know exactly what a proofreader does, or how to find a good one. Today I’ve asked one of the UK’s top proofreaders, Julia Gibbs (@ProofreadJulia on Twitter) to help writers through this stage of the publishing process.


Even more helpful, concise hints about proofreading.

How much should writers expect to pay?

I would say, look around, get an idea of the range of prices being charged. See what you feel comfortable with. By the way, I charge per thousand words, and not by the hour; this is because I reckon it’s my responsibility how much time I take to do the job, not that of the client, and charging per thousand words means that the client knows exactly how much the fee will be.

How can a writer find a proofreader who will do a good job?

Firstly, ask the prospective proofreader if they will work on a small sample for you, without obligation and free of charge. No bona fide proofreader will object to providing this service.

Secondly – ask for references! And make sure that they are recommendations from real people whom you can contact, not just a quote such as, ‘Very pleased – Mrs A. of Aberystwyth’!

I’ve been followed on Twitter by lots of new companies that promise perfect proofreading at knockdown prices. How would a new writer know if they are any good?

Buyer beware. I’ve noticed a lot of companies and individuals, relatively new to Twitter, who are offering proofreading services. There has recently been an absolute avalanche of companies who seem to think there is money to be made from self-published authors. My advice would be the same as for the previous question. One thing I would warn strongly against is companies that advertise ‘proofreading software’. There is no substitute for the human eye and brain. Click here, and I try to explain why:

Some companies provide packages of editing, proofreading, cover art, translation, formatting and many other services. Is it a good idea to go with one of these, or seek out individuals who specialise in one particular area?

I would look for individual specialists. You really don’t know, with companies such as these, who they are farming the work out to. Naturally they have a reputation to maintain, but what if you like the editor they provide but not the proofreader or the cover artist? Recommendations and references, that is the key.

As a reviewer, I come across many books with a lot of errors. Sometimes, the writer will tell me that they have already been proofread—which means, basically, that they’ve been ripped off. Are there any other warning signs writers should look for, on proofreading sites?

Naturally, make sure there are no errors on their web page! I recently looked at a proofreader’s website, and was astounded to see 3 incorrect uses of the apostrophe. If you’re not sure about punctuation or spelling, ask another person or particularly an author whom you trust to have a look, just to see what they think.

What if a writer is submitting the book to a publisher? They will have their own proofreaders who correct mistakes before publishing, won’t they? Or would the writer be expected to get it proofread first?

If your book is being traditionally published, then you’d reasonably assume that the proofreading provided for your book will be satisfactory (although we’ve all seen errors in traditionally published books, have we not). Again, there is no guarantee that editors or proofreaders attached to an independent or small publisher work to a high standard. In short, if a publisher has accepted your book, you can expect them to proofread it for you. But you might want to get your book proofread before you submit it in order to increase your chance of publication. One of my clients is a successful, traditionally published US crime writer – he asked me to proofread his book before he submitted it to his publisher because he felt that he’d rushed it, and they might reject it on the grounds of too many errors.

Rosie's Notebook

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Beach Reads Blog Tour 2015 Day 10 #Beachbooks @ProofreadJulia #wwwblogs

Beach Read Postcard

So we are 10 days into our Beach read holiday and by now we should be totally relaxed and rested.


Today my guest is Proofreader Julia Gibbs

My ideal holiday destination? I have a few! Some years ago, before my work life consisted of sitting on the sofa with my laptop, I visited many exotic locations in the course of my work (that’s a whole other story). So I have many to pick from, and I’d like to share some with you.

I prefer hard copy, paperback books. Yes, I know Kindle is more convenient, and I do have one, which I find very handy for plane journeys etc., but in an ideal world I’d carry an entire library with me, like the character in Somerset Maugham’s story, The Book Bag. (Read it, it’s haunting.)

My 5 book choices

A Fun Read


Chances by Jackie Collins. Set in New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. I first read it when I bought it at the airport in Las Vegas, having flown there to visit my friend who was a dancer in one of the shows. Nothing like reading about a glamorous venue when you’re actually in it! I consider this the best of her books, a real family saga. It’s got gangsters, intrigue, beautiful women, a charismatic hero – and is completely unputdownable.

Find a copy here from or

A Fact/Guide book


For my 50th birthday, I went to Manhattan for a week with a friend. Although I’d been there briefly before, I wanted to do a bit of research, find out how to walk around, what sort of thing I ought to know, which areas to visit, and all sorts of other things. An English friend who lives there recommended Frommer’s The Irreverent Guide to Manhattan. There’s a quote from the New York Times on the cover – ‘like being taken around by a savvy local’ – and so it proved to be! I really enjoyed reading the book and it all added to the fun of my holiday planning. I’ve lent it to friends since, and they all loved it.

Find a copy here from or

A book to truly escape with


About 15 years ago, I visited Singapore for a few days. I’d never previously been to anywhere as exotic as South East Asia, and was struck by the beauty of the place before I’d even left the airport. However, even though most of the population whom you will encounter speak English, Singapore is of necessity somewhere very alien to the Western experience, and you do wonder what goes on behind the façade. When I was invited to proofread Jake Needham’s The Dead American, I was immediately transported back to the Malay Peninsula, and also intrigued by the story that unfolded before me – as you will be, and you will not guess the ending, I guarantee.

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A book from my favourite genre

Product Details

My favourite genre, if I must pick one, is anything involving human relationships – and no, I don’t just mean romantic love, in fact a love story doesn’t even need to be included. I recently proofread Stolen Journeys by Sylvia Atipova, and had no idea what to expect as I started the book. This starts out in Bulgaria some years ago and then moves to England in the present day, and just as you’re beginning to work out how all the characters relate to each other, they creep into your consciousness and you start to care about what happens to them. They don’t occupy a big stage, but their actions and feelings are utterly realistic, and you can picture them as easily as if they were sitting across from you.

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Another book to truly escape with!


Having mentioned Somerset Maugham in my opening paragraph, and told you about Jake Needham’s book, I must now turn to the former’s short stories. These are tales of love, passion, death, betrayal – just everything, really, and were written in the first half of the 20th century. Some are set in England, but most take place in what were British Colonies in Asia before World War II. Some of the stories are about life or death themes, some are very funny, but all are compelling. These books belong to my mother, and the inscription inside is from my father, on their first wedding anniversary; I’ve been reading the stories over and over again since I was around 14 years old. Seldom have I been so immersed in another world.

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Julia Gibbs


Beach Reads Drift Wood