We have recently made some changes here at Happydesigner, and we are pleased to advise that we now provide a proofreading service which is included in your book creation package. Below are some details about proofreading, and why it’s so important, but also how you can now access a skilled proofreader as part of your Happydesigner experience.

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A lot of things may spring to mind when you think of a proofreader. Possibly someone with a stern, Miss. Trunchbull-type face who will tell you where you’re going wrong with a clap of her chalk dusters and a snap of the cane. Or perhaps you imagine a more scholarly type, hunched over a typewriter and battling against a constant sniffle in their garret. The truth is, a proofreader is very much like you and I in that they want your work to be the best it can possibly be.

Do I Need a Proofreader?

The simple answer here will always be “YES”! It is so hard to be objective about your own writing, and asking a friend or relative, or even partner, to check it over won’t provide you with the same honesty, expertise and advice that a proofreader will give you. Some people might think this is a good thing; after all, who wants a complete stranger reading your work and trashing it? Don’t worry! A proofreader isn’t there to like your story. They aren’t looking at whether it’s something they’ll enjoy themselves, a good proofreader knows a good story will always have an audience.children's illustrator

If you have written a story, or a poem, or even a short tale, you can bet there are parts that could be made even better. Whether it’s by adding a few commas, or changing a word here and there, there’s always something that can be added (or taken away) to make your story that bit better. A proofreader knows your work is precious to you, and we understand that you want this story to be the best it can possibly be; we want that too!

What Does a Proofreader Do?

Essentially a proofreader will read your work and let you know what needs to change to make the story read in the best way it can, whilst checking all spelling, grammar and punctuation. The story is the main thing here, and getting that to work is key. It is scary getting another person to read your work, and it’s scary thinking that you may be told it’s all wrong and needs to change. Don’t worry, this won’t happen. Elements of the story may need changing to make the story work, or there may be parts that don’t make sense in their current form. A good proofreader will be trying to tease the best parts of your story out of you. You’ll find that most proofreaders are also writers, so they understand how exposing it is to reveal your story, and how vulnerable it can make you feel. That’s totally normal, and understandable.

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Don’t worry if you throw away lots of words before you find the right ones

The proofreader will do what they can to make you comfortable with your own story. However, it’s your story; we will let you know where things may need work, but we will leave it to you to do this where we feel it’s right to do so. We can work around the story until you tell us that you’re happy with it. Most stories don’t need as much as the writer thinks they do; writers are always overly-critical, as we all are when it comes to our own work. The most important thing you need to do during the proofreading process is to keep an open mind. If feedback is given and you don’t agree with it, question why you don’t agree. Ask yourself how the changes affect your work, and perhaps even try it out. If you still don’t agree then just don’t change the story! We want it to be the best you can make it.

Will You Change My Story Too Much?

A proofreader isn’t here to change your story. We are very keen on making sure the author’s voice is heard in their own story, and that you are happy with it. We will make comments and suggestions when elements of the story don’t look right, or aren’t working – we call this “scanning”. You may find that your proofreader tells you the story isn’t “scanning” well, and it usually means that the words aren’t working in their current order. This typically happens with rhyming stories. For example:

Tom and Jill found a cat,

It wasn’t very happy as it was sat on a pretty big and hairy mat.

The cat wanted to be cuddled, and given lots of hugs,

But it also liked scratching and playing with its own paws.

This is quite clunky and long-winded, and not all of it rhymes well or seems to fit. You may be told that this paragraph isn’t scanning well. We may make a suggestion as to how you can help it to scan better:

Tom and Jill found a large cat,

stretched out on a big and hairy mat.

The cat liked to be cuddled and given lots of hugs,

but it often scratched their hands and broke all their mugs!

As the story has changed slightly we would not make this change for you, but we would advise on rhyming etc. But as it’s your story, we will expect you to edit something like this yourself, although we are happy to help if you need more support.

If we find spelling errors we will normally change them as we go, and the same for punctuation etc. When it comes to the story making sense, each proofreader will feed back to Sarah in time for your Monday chat. You will discuss the changes that need to be made in that conversation, and how is best to proceed with those changes. This is your chance to bring up any questions you have or issues you need help with, as well as any clarifications. 

How Can I Find a Proofreader?

You are already in the right place. Happydesigner provides free proofreading with all book projects! So you can tick that off your check-list! Proofreading is absolutely key in this whole process, and part of this change to how we work is to make sure that we are producing books that we are all proud of. There’s nothing worse than receiving a printed book that we have all worked so hard on, only to find there’s a spelling error, or it’s missing punctuation. On a professional level from our side, we want to make sure all books are leaving here proudly bearing the Happydesigner name, looking the best that they can be. On a personal level from your side, we want you to be really proud of what you have achieved. 

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How Does it Work?

So, once we have chatted through the book creation processes and learnt more about your project, we will quote you a price for your book, which will include for proofreading. We have a team of dedicated proofreaders who can read your story and make sure it is where it needs to be in terms of spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as making sure the story makes sense, that there aren’t any glaring errors etc. Then, once it has been checked and you are happy with it (which may take a few proofreading sessions) it goes to the final check stage, where our professional proofreaders will make sure it’s absolutely top-notch and ready to print. This will be done once the story has been illustrated. Changes cannot be made to illustrations or the story at this stage, but any minor errors (missing full-stops, one letter missing etc) can be edited. Then the book can be sent off to print!

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And that’s it, off your book goes! But we will have kept you informed and comfortable every step of the way, as well as making sure you understand the process. At your weekly check-in you will also have the chance to raise any questions or queries regarding the manuscript and story. As always, if you have any questions now please do drop us an email or contact us on here!