Professional Book Proofreading
(Australian English spelling and grammar)

First impressions matter! Don’t get caught making avoidable mistakes in your writing.
Missed typos and grammatical errors make your writing look messy and unprofessional. A final proofread is vital to maintaining a professional standard and to keep your readers happy – no one wants to read a book full of bad grammar and spelling mistakes.

Why proofreading your own writing is not recommended 
B
ecause you tend to only read what you want to see and not what is actually there. This can result in missed errors and an unprofessional finish.

Is your book ready for its final proofread?
I provide a professional proofreading service for fiction books, novellas, and short stories. I primarily cater for books based in Australia that use Australian English spelling and grammar. Please let me know if you are using different spelling.

What is Proofreading?
A proofread is the final check for errors before you publish your writing. This means before you go to print, or before you publish your writing online. Other types of editing should be completed before the final proofread.

There tends to be a bit of a crossover between copyediting and proofreading. This means that the service provided by different editors may differ slightly depending on their individual style of editing. That is why you should always ask exactly what is included when requesting a quote.

My proofreading style includes some minor copyediting, but I highly recommended employing the services of a copyeditor before booking a final proofread. And it is strongly advised to have a separate editor complete the copyedit and then another who has not yet seen your writing to complete the final proofread. This is because the copyeditor will become too familiar with your writing and they may miss some things. A fresh set of eyes is vital to eliminate as many errors as possible. And remember, editors are only human. No edit will be 100% error free, even with multiple proofreads done by different people, but we do strive to achieve the best edit possible.



Different types of book editing
Remember – what’s included in each stage of editing may vary slightly with different editors.

Structural Editing
Structural editing (also called substantive or developmental editing) involves looking at the big picture. It takes an in depth look at: the story plot, how scenes flow, point of view and narration, consistency of characters and motivations. It can involve the editor suggesting minor and/or major changes in the story structure with the rearranging or removal of scenes and/or characters. 

Copyediting
A copyedit involves looking at language and grammar. Fixing messy sentences, research to check facts, spelling, punctuation, consistency of formatting and layout. 

Proofreading
A proofread is the final check for errors before you publish your writing. It involves 
correcting mistakes in text, including the correction of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting.



WHAT MY PROOFREADING SERVICE INCLUDES

Finding and correcting any errors in your writing, including but not limited to:

  • spelling mistakes
  • misused words, e.g. there or their, your or you’re, to or too
  • missing or duplicate words
  • the correct use of punctuation marks: commas, apostrophes, quotation marks
  • consistency of style and preferred spelling of words, e.g. no-one or no one, acknowledgment or acknowledgement
  • consistency of character names and places (includes global checks of spelling)
  • I will read and comb through your entire book at least twice, more times if necessary
  • pdf print proofs will also include checking for correct formatting and layout including: headers, footers, numbering, front and end pages, font types, chapter headings, paragraph styles, checking for orphans, widows, stacking and windy paragraphs (spacing issues). Note: some of these corrections may not be possible to fix unless you are using Adobe InDesign or a similar program to format your print pdf.

What’s not included: structural feedback, rewriting of clumsy sentences, researching of facts.

WHAT I PROOFREAD

Word documents, pdfs (digital or hard copies), ebooks (ePub or mobi files).
For ebook proofreads, please
 supply both the ebook file and the original Word and/or Vellum file for easy comparison and to allow for more detailed global checks. E.g. I cannot check if there are spacing issues in an ebook file unless I can cross-check the spacing in the Vellum file or Word document.

Please include the following details when booking a proofread:

  • A list of your character names
  • A list of places (real or made up) with unusual spelling
  • A style guide – Free Download: Basic Style Guide Sheet.docx (This Word document is set up in two columns. You can change the layout to suit you, e.g. have more or less columns or change the document from portrait to landscape. Some instructions are included, which can be deleted once read. There are also some examples that can be deleted if you don’t want to use them.) 

Please include the following style preferences in your style guide:

  • Your preferred spelling, e.g. Australian English, or US English
  • Your preferred style for writing times and dates
  • Use of dashes: (–) en dash, or (—) em dash (the em dash is longer than the en dash), spaced or unspaced, e.g. spaced – spaced, or unspaced–unspaced
    For example: I use ‘spaced em dashes’ in my books
    Please note: hyphens are not dashes. You should never use two hyphens to make a dash.
  • Dinkus style (ornamental scene break). More details below.

Does your print book (paperback/hardback) include a dinkus in every scene break or just when there is a scene break at the top or bottom of a page?

***

This is a personal preference. But for ebooks, I recommend using a dinkus in every scene break. This makes the breaks clearer to the reader.

In print books, it is standard to include a dinkus if a scene break falls at the top or bottom of a page. But if it falls in the middle of a page you can just use a paragraph break. Note that including a dinkus in every scene break can affect your total page count (depending on how many scene breaks you have), so this is something to consider if you are trying to decrease or increase your page count. 

The following rate is for information purposes only. Each manuscript will be individually assessed to determine the final cost. A free, no-obligation quote is provided for all proofreads.

AU$0.012 per word (minimum $60)

A minimum $60 upfront charge applies to works with fewer than 5,000 words.
For works over 5,000 words, a 50% payment is required upfront and the final 50% payment is required on completion of proofread before work is returned.
No refunds. (Refund policy exception: if for any unforeseen reason I am unable to complete the proofread, you will receive a full refund.)

All prices are in Australian dollars.

Payment
An invoice will be sent via email.
Payment options include: direct bank transfer or PayPal.

 

When writing my own books, I begin the writing process in a Word document then I later end up working with multiple files in different programs. I use a Word document for writing and for most editing phases, then I format the book in Vellum for ebooks and InDesign for print books before finishing with a final proofread. Your process may be different to mine, but most of the tips I will be sharing are relevant to the general process that I follow.

Scroll down the page to find the first few tips.
I will gradually be adding new tips and resources to this page.

Free Downloads: Basic Style Guide Sheet.docx (This Word document is set up in two columns. You can change the layout to suit you, e.g. have more or less columns or change the document from portrait to landscape. Some instructions are included, which can be deleted once read. There are also some examples that can be deleted if you don’t want to use them.)

File Naming Tip: To avoid losing files or confusing yourself with multiple drafts, name your files in order, e.g. JPA_ms_1 then before you start your second draft, copy the first file and name appropriately, e.g. JPA_ms_2
Doing this will enable you to go back and check previous edits, and keep scenes/chapters/details that may be useful in other projects. You can save these files in a separate folder, e.g. JPA_Originals

I am an Independent Australian Crime Author/Publisher. I live in Western Sydney, NSW, Australia. My books are based in Western Sydney and Sydney’s Northern Beaches. I have published one book and two novellas, both part of their own series, but the two series are designed to be read together. My books are predominantly police procedural crime thrillers and fall into several related categories. Hence, I am somewhat familiar with NSW police procedures.

I have worked in various positions in the last eighteen years, with a background in health and fitness (remedial massage and personal training), and I also studied Human Anatomy at university.

When I started writing my first novel in 2011, I was very new to writing and didn’t really understand how the book publishing industry worked. In 2013 I dropped out of university to pursue the path of writing and publishing. I completed a Certificate in Editing and Publishing, and was fortunate to find a position at HarperCollinsPublishers in Sydney, Australia, where I was trained in book typesetting (print books), which involved working with publishers, editors, designers, and pre-press during the different stages of editing and formatting of new and reprint books. This position also involved other tasks, but primarily involved formatting books and taking in corrections from editors in both Word and InDesign files. I worked at HarperCollinsPublishers from November 2013 to February 2015 (sixteen months). I left when chronic nerve pain in my hands and arms became so severe that I was unable to continue with the position.

As you can imagine, the skills I acquired during my time in traditional publishing have greatly benefitted me when formatting my own books. And as an author who is part of several amazing indie author Facebook groups (including all of the SPF groups and 20BooksTo50K), I would love to be able give back by sharing what I know. So I am planning to gradually provide tips and information that other authors may find useful when editing and formatting their own books.

I currently use Word to write my books, and I complete most edits in Word before importing the file into Vellum for ebooks and InDesign for print books.

Qualifications 
Certificate in Editing and Publishing (with Distinction) – Australian College
Certificate II in Printing and Graphic Arts (Desktop Publishing) – Kingswood TAFE

BEFORE YOU START

Is your book finished? Has it been through the required editing stages?

Proofreading is the final step before your book is ready to be published/printed. Your book should be formatted in its final stage or ready to be sent to a professional formatter. This means the correct page layout and document type that you want to publish it in. E.g. Word document for direct upload to a formatter, a pdf print proof, or an already formatted ebook.

HOW TO START

Step 1: Email me your book details and a sample of your book – approximately 1000 words from the middle of the book.
Email: megan@megandaymond.com

The sample can be attached as a Word document, pdf, or a Vellum file. If you have trouble cutting and pasting, you can send the whole document. (I guarantee your privacy and copyright will be protected at all times.)

Why do I need a sample from the middle of your book? This gives me a better idea of the amount of work required in the proofread, as most authors tend to spend more time editing and polishing the first chapters.

Book details required:

  • Book Title
  • Author
  • Genre
  • Total Word Count*
  • Release Date
  • Preferred proofread start date
  • A basic style guide and list of character names/places will also be required if you decide to go ahead with the proofread. Please see the Tips & Resources tab for a free style guide document.

*If you plan to supply an ebook or print pdf, please include the front and backmatter in the total word count, as I will proofread everything from the title page to author bio and acknowledgements etc.

 

Why is proofreading so expensive?
All stages of editing are expensive, but for very good reason, which most writers will already appreciate. Editors and proofreaders want to make your book the best it can be. The different stages of editing are very time consuming, and involve much more work than just reading your book.

A proofreader doesn’t only read your book hoping to notice any typos. A proofreader will look at every single word and check it for correct spelling, punctuation, and basic grammar, as well as consistency in word use, spelling and formatting.

Proofreading generally does not include copyediting.

In print (pdf galley) proofreading, the layout is also checked, looking for consistency in formatting style and font use, checking for orphans and widows, stacking, spacing, windy paragraphs, correct page numbering and headers.

And a proofreader will generally read your whole book more than once, even several times if necessary.

ABN: 72 692 197 561
© 2019 Megan Daymond