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Can I proofread my own text, or do I need to hire a proofreader?

This is an excellent question. There is no definite yes or no answer; it all depends on your circumstances. I will share reasons for both options so you can make an informed decision. After all, whether you go the self-proofing route or hire a professional proofreader/editor, you want your text to be perfect before publishing.


Nowadays, word processors have built-in spelling and grammar checkers; the problem with these is that they don't pick up all errors, and they tend to flag things that are unnecessary or wrong. Even though certain editing tools, such as Grammarly or ProWritingAid, tend to work better than Microsoft Word's Editor, relying on software alone and accepting all recommendations unquestioningly (because you believe the program knows best) is a mistake.


You'll find that most editors steer clear of AI tools as they often introduce errors; they cannot proofread for consistency (hyphenation, capitalisation, and abbreviations), ensure your house style is adhered to, or check if your formatting is correct. For example, when I tried Grammarly on a text, it recommended introducing a comma. When I accepted the recommendation, it changed its original suggestion; it wanted me to delete it! That is not to say that spelling and grammar checkers are not helpful tools; they can be! They will likely flag those easy-to-miss errors, like fewer vs less, that many people overlook.


So, from the top of my head, these are the reasons for hiring a proofreader and for proofing your own work.


Reasons for hiring a proofreader:

  1. Quality: your text will be cleaner (more grammatically correct and fewer typos) when hiring a proofreader to check your text compared with self-proofing. A proofreader can also enhance the clarity, coherence, and readability of your work without changing your voice. A cleaner text is better received than a text with spelling and grammatical errors as it distracts the reader from the message you are trying to convey.

  2. Sales: if you are putting your text up for sale or your text is supposed to aid sales, it's worth investing in proofreading services as clean texts are, generally speaking, better received. If you publish a novel, for example, you want readers to leave positive feedback because they both loved the storyline and managed to immerse in the story fully. A positive reading experience is challenging when multiple errors are present, such as grammatical mistakes, plot holes, or inconsistencies. These flaws can distract readers by pulling them out of the narrative; the result is often a negative review that can harm future sales.

  3. Time-saving: outsourcing proofreading means you can use your time more profitably. If you are in charge of a business, you may wish to spend your time on more profitable tasks instead of proofreading for hours. If you are self-publishing, you may want to take a break and focus on your family. Or you may have another story in the works and want to continue writing without being held back by the proofreading process.

  4. Tunnel vision: it is difficult to spot errors and irregularities in your work as you know what you are trying to convey; you may have worked on your text for hours, months, or years and know it inside out – this is when errors slip through the cracks, and a fresh pair of eyes is needed to find the flaws that readers may stumble over when reading your finished text.


Reasons for proofing your own work:

  1. Cost-effective: hiring editorial professionals can be costly, and your manuscript (or other type of text) may not yield the results to cover these costs. Proofreading your text using spelling and grammar checkers doesn't have to cost you a penny; it only costs time. You can invest in the pro version (all spelling and grammar checkers appear to have a free and paid-for version), in which case you pay a small amount compared to hiring a professional.

  2. Small scale: if a handful of people read your text, or you do not intend to sell your work, it's probably worth self-proofing, as the cost of hiring editorial professionals may not warrant the investment, and self-proofing can still enhance the quality of your writing.

  3. Quick turnaround: proofreading your text instead of hiring someone to do the job for you may result in a shorter time frame for completion. Your project's deadline may not match the time it takes to find a suitable proofreader who can fit you in ASAP and meet your deadline. However, if you have a proofreader on call, they may be able to squeeze you in and do the job quicker than you would be able to – food for thought.


Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments so I can add it to the article to aid other readers.


For a proofreading quote, email me (info@ready2publish.co.uk) or fill in the online contact form, and I'll get back to you ASAP.


Which one will you choose?

  • 0%I will hire a proofreader

  • 0%I will proofread my text

You can vote for more than one answer.


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