Proofreading & Editing Recommendations

While we do a technical proof of the layout as part of the formatting service we offer, we don’t do copy editing/proofing. The danger in proofing someone else’s work is that often times, what may appear wrong to me is exactly what the author intended, so as a practice we never change what format or convert. Here’s what I suggest (which is always in flux based on client feedback).

One thing most writers agree on is that you can’t be trusted to edit your own work.

Editing is a very subjective role, and I’ve found that one author will love an editor that another author hated. The workload an editor has, as well as the deadline to complete the work, will often impact the quality of work.

I find that Word, Google Docs, and Grammarly all catch different errors and you may find it a worthwhile effort to turn a chapter through all three just to see the difference.

  • Writer’s Digest offers a service through their pool of editors at $2/page.
  • You could also try one of the digital proofing tools like Grammarly which I really like (more below).
  • You might also want to check out the Hemingway editor.
  • A client told me about WhiteSmoke, but I haven’t used it yet.

Some final thoughts:

  • Proofreading can’t be rushed! If you rush an editor, the quality of work their work will be impacted.
  • When you advertise for an editor, often the only responses you get will be people who are available, and you have to ask yourself if they are good, why are they available? Referrals are always the best way to go.
  • You can always release your second edition at a later date, but always put your best work out first, because you run the risk of a bad review that will stick with the book even after you fix the problem. You may have great content to offer, but lack of editing may become an obstacle to many readers.
  • I always recommend an author get a printed proof because so many errors don’t become evident until you see it in print, I believe it really has to do with how the brain works.


Grammarly is quickly becoming an indispensable technology for all writers – I can’t imagine the hours of rework that we could have avoided if every author used Grammarly BEFORE sending us their manuscript to format!

Here’s a video I made for a client to show it in action.

There’s also an MS Word Add-in (if you are on a PC), but only use it when you go into final proofing because it removes the undo function!

If you are on a Mac, you’ll need to copy & paste into their web editor.

Hope that helps!

~ Brian

The Self Publish Pledge

The Self-Publish Pledge

I’ve been working with self-published authors since 2009. This ‘pledge’ essentially sums up what I wish all authors knew before they published. I’ll go into each of these areas in more detail on an upcoming webinar.

I ______ (state your name), agree to abide by the following:


  1. To hire an editor (if not a professional editor, a group of trusted friends or colleagues).
  2. To print a Bound Galley/Advance Reader Copy and have at least 2 other people review it.
  3. To publish a Kindle edition without an ISBN to give advance readers a page to post their review.
  4. To wait until I have positive feedback to assign an ISBN and release it for sale in print.

Title & Cover

  1. To hire a professional cover designer.
  2. To check Amazon to see what other titles already come up on Amazon when I search for my title.


You need to consider pricing at IngramSpark first because of the additional markup involved in selling through a distributor (Ingram). In the case of KDP, there is no distributor because your books are only sold on Amazon and Amazon owns KDP.

  1. For print, I’ll determine my pricing using the IngramSpark book pricing calculator.
  2. To set the wholesale discount to 50% and allow returns (at IngramSpark).
  3. To never let KDP assign me one of their free ISBNs (doing so prevents you from utilizing IngramSpark to sell to other retailers & libraries).


  1. To request an LCCN from the Library of Congress.
  2. To setup metadata for my ISBN with Bowker and confirm that it is valid at


  1. To hire a professional interior designer and confirm the conversion from my source manuscript was accurate!
  2. To setup my eBook directly with the 3 major marketplaces and avoid third-party aggregators/distributors which limit my marketing options.

I will go into detail on each of these in an upcoming webinar on NAIWE. You can also read more tips & recommendations on the AuthorDock Q&A board.

My best,
Brian Schwartz