Sunday, 23 August 2015

Editing & proofreading - a review of Nicola Rhead

Upon publishing my first novel some two and a half years ago, it became clear to me what a gargantuan task it is to proofread your own manuscript to an acceptable standard. However many times you read at it and convince yourself that it is finally error free, you can be certain that issues will remain. Even if your own English and Grammar skills are spot on, you are simply way too close to your own work to give it a fresh and impartial read. And because you know your book so well, it is impossible to avoid falling into the trap of inadvertently skipping overly familiar portions of the text, however thorough you believe you are.

No author wants to see the dreaded words ‘…poor punctuation and grammar distract from an otherwise enjoyable read’ in a review of their work. And although few reviews for my first novel THE STAR AGENCY mentioned grammar or mistakes, I was even more determined with book two in the series to ensure that it was watertight in that department. So the second time round, I decided that as a minimum requirement, I needed a proof-reader to vet my work. Having checked out several, I eventually came across Nicola Rhead who appeared to offer exactly what I needed, those being great testimonials - which can be cross verified on Amazon by downloading book samples - and a reasonable price.

A number of weeks before my manuscript for THE VOYAGES OF THE SEVEN was due for completion, I dropped Nicola a line to enquire about her availability, and I received an almost immediate response with a very reasonable quote. A month or so later, once the manuscript was ready, I emailed Nicola once more and submitted my novel. From that point forward, the process was nice and simple. I received progress reports throughout the process, and eventually the final manuscript on the promised date.

Viewing the final manuscript revealed how thoroughly Nicola had vetted my work. Not only were a number of errors flagged up (many of which I would never have spotted), there were many helpful notes and suggestions included which really helped me polish the final manuscript, many of which might even be deemed editing choices rather than just proofreading notes. This to me is going above and beyond the call of duty. I know that any proof-reader should be considered just an extra pair of eyes, rather than a definitive this book is now perfect. However, I could not find fault in anything Nicola had done for me.

I never preach to authors saying that they must pay for editors and proof-readers, because that decision depends on so many factors, price being at the top of that list. Some people simply cannot afford it and I understand that totally. You do what works for you and your budget. However Nicola’s services worked well for me and I am happy to recommend her work to the cost conscious author requiring a great professional service. 

Many thanks Nicola.

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