Tag Archives: proof

The Proof is in the, er, Reading

Magnified (8/365)

Phil: Candice mentioned on Tuesday that both our manuscript and query letter had been through a professional proof-reader. We think this is a vitally important step towards getting published.

I’ve recently donned my anorak and have been working on a bookazine . When setting out the budget for this, a chunk of the money was set aside to pay for proof-reading services. I wasn’t going to go ahead with anything that will appear in front of a group of pedants as large as the intended audience without at least a little protection from my own stupidity. I am the man with a publication to my name where a mis-spelling of the word “diesel” appears on the contents page. In a large font. Ouch.

Anyway, my reader checked all the pages sent over and I think every single one came back with suggestions. Some were worse than other but I considered each bit of red ink and most of the time applied the change it represented. The result will be a much better read than if I’d ploughed ahead without the check.

Now, I’ve read internet forum discussions on proof reading and in every one, a contributor has huffed that “some of us can proof read our own work.”

I take great heart every time I read this, for a simple reason. That is one person out of the race to be published. One person who will undoubtedly submit a manuscript that doesn’t read well, contains spelling mistakes or simply isn’t as good as it could be. Proof reading is not optional. You are far too close to the words you have written and it doesn’t matter how disciplined you are, you can’t avoid reading what you want to read, not what is on the page. Possibly the biggest source of errors is editing. I am a terror for re-writing a sentence and accidentally leaving odd words from the older version hanging around. Wordy processors make text-fiddling easy and this type of error even easier.

Just as importantly, as we have discovered, you can write bits of story that make sense to you because you know your characters inside out, but aren’t clear to the reader because they don’t. The proof read, even by a friend or relative, will highlight these.

All this is so that once our words find themselves in front of someone who could change our writing lives, or are containing in a book that has been paid for, they will be as good as we can possibly manage. It’s been a lot of effort to get this far. The cost of the service isn’t too scary high. We don’t want to fail thinking, “If only we’d had the text checked”.


Filed under Phil, Writing

Here we go again

Candice: After some time, some editing, some literary festival discussions and some cake; the first three chapters of ‘Kate and the Dirtboffins’ are almost ready to go out to unsuspecting Agents again.

Phil’s and my novel has been rewritten within an inch of its life; characters removed, plot lines reassessed, wardrobes updated and now its been through the helpful hands of Liz at Libroediting who’ve given our bad spelling, crap use of speech and general dyslexia a once over to help make this a quality document. Liz looked at the last version, and her comment about it lacking a hook really made us think.  Well this time apparently, it’s more compelling than it was before! We may not agree will all the changes she’s suggested but at least we have an outside opinion on what we have done.

We’ve also given her our newly revamped, marketised and generally much better query letter so she can give it the once over.  I’m actually very happy with that one particularly as Phil and I ripped the other one apart, whilst sweating buckets under a tree at the Hatton Arms a few weeks ago, and I now think this is something that people will go “humm, this sounds very interesting” rather than getting lost in the slush pile.

So the last step lies with Mr Parker as I am busy packing boxes on the proviso I will be moving house in just over a week.  The girl can only concentrate on so many things at one time, you know.  He’s been in the library with Writer’s and Artist’s again, working out who might like our new book.

However, in the middle of all this Liz came back and said, ” I don’t know how the publishing industry is the moment, have you considered self publishing?” Well that is interesting, the word is obviously getting further and further out there that things have changed (it also shows she doesn’t read our blog 😦  ). I went back and said yes we have, but want to give the old-fashioned,traditional route one more try.

So Phil is making notes, printing packs and stuffing envelopes for one last time before we go and see Authoright for self publishing ideas.


Filed under Candice, Writing