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Authors, how much do you pay your proofreader (if you use one)? I've got some volunteers, but I have one I want to pay. What's a fair rate?
 

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I'm paying $300 - $380 for a 60K word book. They correct for wrong word, missing word, misspelled word, tense shifts, and major wtf plot issues.  Prior to this, i had someone that I paid $150, but they didn't catch everything, so it had to go through multiple ppl.
 

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holly w. said:
I'm paying $300 - $380 for a 60K word book. They correct for wrong word, missing word, misspelled word, tense shifts, and major wtf plot issues. Prior to this, i had someone that I paid $150, but they didn't catch everything, so it had to go through multiple ppl.
Worth noting that the major WTF plot issues are not normally in the proofreader's bailiwick. Tense shifts are questionable. Some will some won't.
 

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Mathew Reuther said:
Worth noting that the major WTF plot issues are not normally in the proofreader's bailiwick. Tense shifts are questionable. Some will some won't.
WTF plot issues are DEFINITELY within a proofreader's bailiwick. Minor plot issues possibly not. The proofreader might not offer or be capable of correcting such issues but proofreading - in the real world - is to bring to the author's notice all problems with a MS.
 

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DarkScribe said:
WTF plot issues are DEFINITELY in a proofreader's bailiwick. Minor plot issues possibly not. The proofreader might not offer or be capable of correcting such issues but proofreading - in the real world - is to find all problems with a MS.
If we're looking at the scale of "we were somewhere and now we are on Mars" yes. But spotting holes of slight or even a moderate size is the domain of an editor. I think we agree, we just read "WTF plot" as meaning two different things. :)

Perhaps my misunderstanding of the original definition of WTF plot is an issue, but it's worth mentioning that someone else will generally need to catch things where you bobble a section and leave a modest hole. A caveat emptor for hiring a proofreader, if you will.

If you backup before revisions and you have a piece with a plot hole in it, you can send it as a test to a proofreader. (Pretty much any editor or proofreader will offer a small sample to be sure you know what they're doing.)
 

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Mathew Reuther said:
If we're looking at the scale of "we were somewhere and now we are on Mars" yes. But spotting holes of slight or even a moderate size is the domain of an editor. I think we agree, we just read "WTF plot" as meaning two different things. :)

Perhaps my misunderstanding of the original definition of WTF plot is an issue, but it's worth mentioning that someone else will generally need to catch things where you bobble a section and leave a modest hole. A caveat emptor for hiring a proofreader, if you will.

If you backup before revisions and you have a piece with a plot hole in it, you can send it as a test to a proofreader. (Pretty much any editor or proofreader will offer a small sample to be sure you know what they're doing.)
We have been using proofreaders - trained, experienced, and qualified for thirty years. They find problematic areas then editors - or the author - will correct them. WTF mean a huge error. What do you think WTF errors are?
 

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DarkScribe said:
We have been using proofreaders - trained, experienced, and qualified for thirty years. They find problematic areas then editors - or the author - will correct them. WTF mean a huge error. What do you think WTF errors are?
I was pretty clear about that. It's an indefinite statement. There is no actual "definition of" WTF as a measure of *scale* . . .

Is it a "WTF" error when an item mysteriously appears or disappears from a scene? How about if an entrance is missed? What about when the description of a character falls out of sync with previous mentions? Any of these could be WTF in your eyes. And any of them could not be.

So unless you can find me an entry in Webster's, I'll add qualifications where they seem to make sense.

In this case: some issues are technically the purview or editors and should never reach the stage where a proofreader is confronted with them.

In the instances where they do slip, it is of course a positive thing to have a proofreader who is capable of finding those things in addition to all of the issues which they ARE typically charged with.
 

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DarkScribe said:
We have been using proofreaders - trained, experienced, and qualified for thirty years. They find problematic areas then editors - or the author - will correct them. WTF mean a huge error. What do you think WTF errors are?
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D OMG, you crack me up. That was so funny.
 

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holly w. said:
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D OMG, you crack me up. That was so funny.
Yes but Holly, what does WTF mean in real world examples? Can you give a brief "this was something that slipped through to the proofreader" so we have context? I'll buy that moving from one location to a completely different location is something they should catch (and so should you, your editor(s), your betas . . .) and that would be a WTF, but what other errors are making it so far down the line (proofreading being immediately before or after layout) that qualify as huge?
 

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While what a proofreader is actually expected to do is certainly on topic, I'd like to make sure that Andrea's original question isn't lost in the course of the very entertaining discussion that has broken out.

Andrea Pearson said:
Authors, how much do you pay your proofreader (if you use one)? I've got some volunteers, but I have one I want to pay. What's a fair rate?
Thanks.

Betsy
 

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Betsy the Quilter said:
While what a proofreader is actually expected to do is certainly on topic, I'd like to make sure that Andrea's original question isn't lost in the course of the very entertaining discussion that has broken out.

Thanks.

Betsy
I pay them in pictures of their grandchildren. (My parents have MAs in English.)

I have personally taken a wide range of payment in over a decade of freelance work. (I do everything, not just proofread. And my primary focus has always been writing or revising previously-written items.) Compensation depends on the length, subject matter, etc. The fiction I've done would have fallen a bit cheaper than what Holly is talking paying, in the range of 200-300 for a work of that size.

At no point have I ever taken a proofreading job where I was required to handle issues with plot. Homonyms, broken sentences, typos, improper usage of punctuation, and other similar items yes.

Cleaning up after a writer when they botched the task of writing and their editor did not catch it was never a part of any agreement I entered into.

I'm capable, but it's not the task at hand unless you MAKE IT so.

And no matter what anyone else tells you, there are established guidelines that define the jobs of the various editing professionals. Yes, some people can double up, but the reason the tasks are split is to make each one work optimally.
 

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Mathew Reuther said:
Yes but Holly, what does WTF mean in real world examples? Can you give a brief "this was something that slipped through to the proofreader" so we have context? I'll buy that moving from one location to a completely different location is something they should catch (and so should you, your editor(s), your betas . . .) and that would be a WTF, but what other errors are making it so far down the line (proofreading being immediately before or after layout) that qualify as huge?
I do things in a different order than you guys. Editor gets the MS first and catches major mistakes and stuff that needs clarification. The Proofreader gets the finished, formatted MS. By the time she has it, 99% of the wtf stuff should have been removed. I haven't found anything that slips by her to date. She notes if location changed with no indication whether it be to Mars or the next room; contradictory statements; repetitive words; clarification on who's speaking; tense shifts; and basically any crap that the editor missed. So, she's the final person to check the MS. She's also a little bit of an OCD perfectionist, and adds other comments here and there telling me if she likes a section or not.

OP: What is included seems to vary b/t proofreaders. They tell you what it includes and will offer to mark up a sample so you can try it before you buy it.
 

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Mathew Reuther said:
I was pretty clear about that. It's an indefinite statement. There is no actual "definition of" WTF as a measure of *scale* . . .

Is it a "WTF" error when an item mysteriously appears or disappears from a scene? How about if an entrance is missed? What about when the description of a character falls out of sync with previous mentions? Any of these could be WTF in your eyes. And any of them could not be.

So unless you can find me an entry in Webster's, I'll add qualifications where they seem to make sense.

In this case: some issues are technically the purview or editors and should never reach the stage where a proofreader is confronted with them.

In the instances where they do slip, it is of course a positive thing to have a proofreader who is capable of finding those things in addition to all of the issues which they ARE typically charged with.
You seem to have some very set - and inaccurate - ideas as to what a proofreader does. By the time a proofreader gets the work it is the final pass. It is almost comical to imagine a proofreader deciding to ignore a problem because it is an issue that is "technically the purview of an editor". The next step is a print run and binding. A bit late for the editor to do anything. If the edit was done well, then there would be little likelihood of a major plot issue, but many proofreaders work directly with an author. In those cases there is a real likelihood of a major error.

I work with proofreaders who have tertiary qualification, not someone who pops up on the internet and says "I did ok in English in High School - I have decided that I am now a proofreader. If you look at the texts used by most tertiary institutions for their proofreading courses they cover all aspects of MS analysis, not just grammatical areas. This includes timing problems, technical accuracy, voice, and plot holes - among many other potential issues.
 

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holly w. said:
I do things in a different order than you guys. Editor gets the MS first and catches major mistakes and stuff that needs clarification. The Proofreader gets the finished, formatted MS. By the time she has it, 99% of the wtf stuff should have been removed. I haven't found anything that slips by her to date. She notes if location changed with no indication whether it be to Mars or the next room; contradictory statements; repetitive words; clarification on who's speaking; tense shifts; and basically any crap that the editor missed. So, she's the final person to check the MS. She's also a little bit of an OCD perfectionist, and adds other comments here and there telling me if she likes a section or not.
Awesome, thanks for the breakdown.

I think it's important to note that the way people go through the process IS different now that we're in self-pub land. There was a time when it was manuscript draft, revise, agent, revise, editor, revise, copy editor, layout, proofreader.

That's blurred now, and the order (or even inclusion of all the steps) is different.
 

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DarkScribe said:
WTF plot issues are DEFINITELY within a proofreader's bailiwick. Minor plot issues possibly not. The proofreader might not offer or be capable of correcting such issues but proofreading - in the real world - is to bring to the author's notice all problems with a MS.
Actually, one of the reasons I'm picky about which companies I proofread for is that many employers penalize the proofreader if she dares point out issues that fall outside what she's "supposed" to be looking at. (I speak from repeated firsthand experience.)

Does it make sense? No. Does it happen? Yes. People are strange.

Andrea Pearson said:
Authors, how much do you pay your proofreader (if you use one)? I've got some volunteers, but I have one I want to pay. What's a fair rate?
The "fair" rate depends on what you're expecting the proofreader to do (which can vary quite a bit, depending on your niche and situation). The description sounds like you're expecting what some call a copyedit. For such work, around $2.50 per thousand words would result in the proofreader probably getting a around minimum wage, after self-employment taxes, assuming your your grammar and such are average.

But it isn't unusual for small presses to pay nothing or a token fee that's under $100.

And then the EFA has its own opinions on fair pay.
 

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DarkScribe said:
You seem to have some very set - and inaccurate - ideas as to what a proofreader does. By the time a proofreader gets the work it is the final pass.
As I noted above, immediately before or after layout. Seems like I grasp the late stage adequately.

It is almost comical to imagine a proofreader deciding to ignore a problem...
The comical is assuming that anything is left over by that point. Major OR minor. Particularly major, and minor is not in their purview, because they are concerned with the structure of the language, punctuation, and spelling. The focus is NOT on the plot.

A bit late for the editor to do anything.
Which would be why nothing major should get that far. If people have done their jobs that will never happen. Relying on a proofreader as some kind of "oh, they'll catch it" is a bad plan, and allows people further up the line to get complacent if they know it.

If the edit was done well, then there would be little likelihood of a major plot issue, but many proofreaders work directly with an author. In those cases there is a real likelihood of a major error.
And in THOSE instance where there IS NO EDITOR they are NOT a proofreader, they are an editor who has to take all of the steps (barring, perhaps, editing to strengthen the story which just goes out the window given the difficulties that entails) including proofreading. At that point it's also unfair to pay them a proofreader wage. (If you're paying them, you pay them as an editor, and editors work more, and are paid more. Carradee's link demonstrates that fact admirably.)

I work with proofreaders who have tertiary qualification, not someone who pops up on the internet and says "I did ok in English in High School - I have decided that I am now a proofreader. If you look at the texts used by most tertiary institutions for their proofreading courses they covers all aspects of MS analysis, not just grammatical areas. This includes timing problems, technical accuracy, voice, and plot holes - among many other potential issues.
I am thrilled for you that you have been able to find people who are talented and capable. But they're not proofreaders if you're skipping your editors. They're editors you're stiffing for pay and recognition. If they are catching things that your editors are missing, then you're overpaying the editors.

Edit: mis-attributed link.
 

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I suppose it's semantics to some degree, but proofreaders are usually the last to hit the book. Finding missing punctuation, homonyms, etc. is more up their alley. They really shouldn't be finding glaring plot holes or content issues at that stage in development.
 

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Carradee said:
And then the EFA has its own opinions on fair pay.
Which if you look at it works out to around $300 for 60k.

If they are a proofreader, and you're not using them as an actual editor.

My range of 200-300 based on the ten hours at 20-30 an hour I would expect to burn on a manuscript. People who are messy are harder to get through in that time. One of the last clients I proofread for took me almost twice as long. English was not her native language.
 

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Mathew Reuther said:
As I noted above, immediately before or after layout. Seems like I grasp the late stage adequately.

The comical is assuming that anything is left over by that point. Major OR minor. Particularly major, and minor is not in their purview, because they are concerned with the structure of the language, punctuation, and spelling. The focus is NOT on the plot.
The focus is on presenting a MS without errors. Errors of any kind. You sound as though there are a group of proofreaders who are controlled by a militant union. "DON'T DO ANYTHING EXCEPT...."

Mathew Reuther said:
Which would be why nothing major should get that far. If people have done their jobs that will never happen. Relying on a proofreader as some kind of "oh, they'll catch it" is a bad plan, and allows people further up the line to get complacent if they know it.
You live in a "nothing should world"? It must be nice. In the real world many things that shouldn't - do.

Mathew Reuther said:
And in THOSE instance where there IS NO EDITOR they are NOT a proofreader, they are an editor who has to take all of the steps (barring, perhaps, editing to strengthen the story which just goes out the window given the difficulties that entails) including proofreading. At that point it's also unfair to pay them a proofreader wage. (If you're paying them, you pay them as an editor, and editors work more, and are paid more. Your link demonstrates that fact admirably.)
What link?

You still have no concept of what a proficient proofreader does and is capable of doing. The primary difference between an editor and a proofreader (a trained one) is in authority. A proofreader can find fault, but not fix it.

Mathew Reuther said:
I am thrilled for you that you have been able to find people who are talented and capable. But they're not proofreaders if you're skipping your editors. They're editors you're stiffing for pay and recognition. If they are catching things that your editors are missing, then you're overpaying the editors.
Ok, you have decided that our firm is both "stiffing" editors and overpaying them. Wow. How do you do that? With an imagination like that you should be a writer. Of course you will need a very competent proofreader. (To remove possible actionable defamation etc.)
 
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