Why writers need proofreaders

I am a great believer in using people with skills and paying them for their work. However, as a first-time indie publisher, I could not afford to bring in an editor (I used writer-friends as peer reviewers instead) or a designer, as I would have wished to. But I wasn’t going to stint on a proofreader.

I can proofread my own work if it’s a short article (or blog post), but not for a 60,000 word novel. So I brought on board Jenny Drewery (jdrewery.thewriterthebetter@gmail.com) who had done my book published last year by Sense Publishers (http://goo.gl/k360PX).

And she’s done an excellent job. She is also a font of publishing knowledge, telling me that song lyrics are not covered by the usual ‘fair use’ rules. Who knew? Apparently you can use a song title without fear, so you can have your characters humming the reprise which is the song title and you won’t get yourself into trouble.

Now all I have to do is her corrections on my manuscript, without falling into the temptation of recommencing a complete re-write. It’s a tedious job which needs concentration, and, therefore, only possible in short stints. Hopefully, by the end of the week I will have a novel I can begin to formatting for Kindle.

3 thoughts on “Why writers need proofreaders

  1. Julie Fairweather

    Interesting about the song lyrics in novel form as in an assignment I produced for ‘writing for performance’ when on a creative writing degree, I included intermittent lyrics for two rival characters as part of it and questioned this with the tutor. I was informed that if it were to be performed in a theatre then the theatre would have licensing permission to use them… but I didn’t think about asking the question of permission needed to write them into the script initially – though I don’t suppose it would matter if it wasn’t actually published or performed. I am considering letting this loose as a submission so I was interested to read of your experience of it. Thanks for the useful post.

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    1. kateevans2013 Post author

      Thanks Julie, as ever, for your thoughtful response. We don’t have to worry about copyright/permissions until we let our writing go out to an audience. Generally, the question of copyright/permissions would be worked out after a submission has been accepted with the publisher/theatre, so I don’t think you need to worry too much if you’re just sending it out for consideration. However, I do know of many an occasion in print publishing when the author is responsible for clearing permissions, so that’s something to bear in mind if the quotes are integral to your plot. The point about ‘fair use’ is that you shouldn’t quote so much of something as to give away the essence of the whole. And in pop songs the ‘essence of the whole’ is given away in very few lines, so the usual rules of so many lines or a % of the whole doesn’t work.

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