From A Proofreader’s Point of View
Kim and I were recently chatting about a manuscript she was working on. I say was because after the first three pages she returned the documents to the author. “WHY?” I asked. “What happened?” “Too many errors.” She replied, “Apparently the space bar had not been utilized at all.” Kim is a no nonsense kind of girl. She is also much more than her title implies. She will happily proof a book, point out gaps and offer her advice but she is not willing to re-write it. “I can’t, I’m too busy.” She says. I know most proofreaders leave the flow and opinions to the editor but not this gal, she puts her whole heart in to whatever she is working on.
We continued chatting and I asked, “Was the writer upset that you sent their work back?” She said they were initially but after she explained that the book was just not ready (and why) they were fine and she expects to get the book back and ready for proofing in the near future. I continued with, “Did you charge them for the few pages you read?” “No because I knew in a glance the book was not where it needed to be.” I had to ask for a couple of reasons. One, Kim is an independent and decides her own rate and level of acceptance and two; she donates her expertise from time to time. While I had her answering questions I thought I might pick her brain a bit more.
Since I already know that she loves to read I asked, “What do you enjoy most about your job?”
“I like being the first one to read a book, there is a certain amount of guilty pleasure in knowing that I saw it first. I also love that my job allows me to work from home.” I could hear her grinning.
“Do you ever get lost in the story you are working on?”
“Yes. There have been stories that I have had to read twice. Those tend to be the ones that need the least amount of guidance and corrections.”
“What is your biggest peeve when it comes to proofing? Do some authors annoy you?”
“No. The authors are fine. The biggest peeve I have is with myself such as closing a proof when I think I have everything saved and find out I didn’t.” I think I heard her growling.
“What is the most important short piece of advice you could offer to a new writer?”
“Do not jump around erratically when you’re writing. Stay on track. I can proof you and help you fill in the gaps but no one can tell your story better than you. Take the time to tell it well and please use the space bar.”
For those who don’t know Kim is a seasoned proofreader working with Simpklu. She offers Kim’s A la carte at $1 per page with no minimum and no submission fee; she also works pro bono for struggling Indies when time allows. No wonder she stays so busy.
Thank you Kim. We appreciate your simple and honest approach as well as your generosity.