Its always a difficult decision to make: hire a professional proofreader or take a chance and hope you checked it over properly yourself. Errors in your English will make a well written piece of writing sound silly at best: at worst your work won’t make sense and your reader will quickly give up trying to decode your poor grammar.
There are many people, such as English teachers, journalists and general linguistic pedants, who can be useful allies in fixing any mistakes you may not be able to see after re-reading your own work a thousand times. Drafting friends or relatives in to help can save you money if you’re on a tight budget, or if the book is only for the eyes of other friends.
However, there are upsides to paying for your proofreading. Professional proofreaders are specially trained: they will give your text the perfection which it deserves. They understand the nuances of language that can turn your work from pedestrian to perfection. In a market which is saturated with skilled writers fighting for the attention of the publishers and the public, grammatical or spelling mistakes could make them judge your work prematurely. A text for sale in general circulation will need to be word perfect, and professional proofreaders are the people who can make that happen. The cost overall will be nothing compared to the readers you would lose by trying to sell them a poorly spelled book.
So the moral of this particular blog post is simple: use your discretion to make a sensible choice about paying for your proofreading. If you want to make a market success out of a book, then a professional proofreader’s services will be required to ensure your work looks correct. There are plenty of ways to save money in promoting and publishing a book but poor proofreading could cost you your readers’ respect and return custom. On the other hand, a book written purely for personal use is less likely to come under the same level of scrutiny- asking a friend could be the answer you need.
If in doubt, consult your publisher. Here at Honeybee Books we can recommend you a proofreader if you decide on one, and will be happy to advise you on your decision.