Proofreaders shouldn’t be mistaken as an editor. Proofreaders should be reserved to read the polished manuscript (after it's been thoroughly edited) in the months/weeks prior to publishing.
As an indie author, my job is to find an editor AND proofreaders, because nobody else is going to do that for me. This is the business side of the process. At least that’s how I think of it.
If a reader begins reading my book and finds themselves pausing over mistakes here and there, their opinion of my work will not be as good. Which means they're less likely to eagerly share my book with their friends. And word of mouth is a huge part of reaching new readers.
How to Find Proofreaders
By this stage, my manuscript has already been edited by a professional editor. Which makes the job of proofreading easier for me. Anyone who is willing to read my book is a potential proofreader, because they simply need to read the story from beginning to end, searching for tiny mistakes that have been missed up to this point.
A proofreader is looking at the finite details, looking for a missed comma or word that’s spelled/used incorrectly. They should read my book as they would any other. And if they spot an error, take note and keep reading.
Where can you find proofreaders?
I’ve given my proofreaders two weeks to read my book. Any longer, and they usually don’t read it until due time. Proofreaders have busy lives too, and they’re only human. However, out of the three people I sent my book to, one has given it back within the allotted time-frame. But I’ve touched base with the other two (during the second week), and one needs a week longer, and the third needs three weeks longer. So all in all, it’ll take 6 weeks for me to get my proofreading copies back (pdf, word.doc, epub, or Mobi).
It’s important to stay in touch with your proofreaders; I do so weekly, but no more than once a week. I don’t want them to feel rushed. And I also don’t want to rush my book to publication. I want it to be well edited and well proofread, and you should too. Learn from my mistake, I didn’t always work this way, and I paid for it with low sale numbers. Plus, the worse is having to reload my book onto Amazon and Createspace repeatedly because I didn’t follow editing/proofreading steps correctly prior to publishing.
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Writing Tip: A tool that allows you to convert your book into an eBook format for proofreaders is Calibre.
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