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Unread 29th May 2009, 08:03 AM   #1
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Default I think I'm good at proofreading, advice to get started?

Well, I think I've stumbled upon something I really enjoy and that can actually be profitable. I enjoy proofreading and I think I'm good at it! I'm a geek, I know.

As I Google, I see TONS of sites related, but it's hard to weed through the cheesy ebooks and training courses. If anyone has any advice or legitimately helpful sites, please let me know.

My main questions...
1. Is it profitable? What's the going rate for an inexperienced, but quality proofreader?
2. Advice on how to start getting clients?
3. I'd love to know how others do it. Can I do my revisions in Word with the revision tools? I LOVE them!
4. How do you folks pay proofreaders? By the word, page, etc.?
5. What are the most important qualities you look for in a proofreader?

I'm a registered nurse, so I could be especially helpful for any document that is medical related. Any tips or hints?

I'm super excited. Thanks for any help!

Grateful,
Amy Kay

Last edited on 29th May 2009 at 08:09 AM. Reason: Added 5th question.
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Unread 29th May 2009, 08:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: I think I'm good at proofreading, advice to get started?

Hi Amy:

Don't poke fun at yourself, if it is legal and ethical and enjoyable go for it.

As for your question. I can answer it sort of as a professional writer/author/speaker. There is always room for proof-readers but determine first are you:

A Proof-Reader or
Proof Reader and editor.

The difference would be if you are proof-reading and come across a mistake it may be agreed before hand you will do nothing but make a notation.

If you have editing responsibilities you may be asked to find the mistake and correct it, find the mistake and make a notation about it and not correct it.

The final thing you have to determine can you suggest. For example if you see a sentence that reads:

Today is nice outside. There is nothing wrong with the grammar but it obviously sounds as if a non-writer constructed the words. You may be asked to make suggestions such as it is "majestic outdoors."

As for scale, why not go right to the sources?

Call up the publishing companies (both self publishing and traditional) and see if you can speak with some of the people directly. You will find those that will be very gracious and others that feel they don't want competition. It is a game of numbers.

Don't call on Monday or Friday.

There is a tremendous forum for authors that has been really nice to me called the Author Nation.

It is free to join and you can post your question ther about specifics, as well as introduce yourself.

The people are really nice. Please give them the same courtesy.

AuthorNation.com

Normally you will be approved within a few hours.

Good luck and hope you make a million.

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Unread 29th May 2009, 08:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: I think I'm good at proofreading, advice to get started?

There are lots of people on this forum that write articles and e-books every day. And many of them need proofreaders and editors.

How much should you charge? Well that really depends on your ability and experience.

If you want to get started I would recommend posting here on the warrior forum something about how you will proofread five or 10 articles for free in exchange for a testimonial. Lots of people have done this.

Once you have a few testimonials you can begin your business proofreading materials for others.

It's possible that the people who had you do the free ones will have more things that they need proofread. They may also be able to refer people to you.

In fact I could use a proofreader for a couple projects in the next couple weeks. If you're interested e-mail me nickstraffictricks@gmail.com

Email me with your traffic questions: NicksTrafficTricks [at] gmail.com
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Unread 29th May 2009, 09:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: I think I'm good at proofreading, advice to get started?

Sent you an e-mail, Nick, thanks!
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Unread 29th May 2009, 11:21 AM   #5
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Default Re: I think I'm good at proofreading, advice to get started?

I'm an editor, as well, and often find companies looking for editors.

There are a few job boards that list help-wanted ads and they're pretty easy to find if you Google the type of job you hope to find.

The problem with most of these editing jobs is people don't seem to value the skill.

I think it's a lot like web design because people say, "Oh, I'm not going to pay someone to do that when I can do it myself."

But can they REALLY do it themselves?

We've all seen terrible do-it-yourself web sites created by people who wouldn't let go of the money to pay someone.

The same is often true for editing.

I guess they say, "I talk good. I don't need no editor."

There ya go!
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Unread 29th May 2009, 11:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: I think I'm good at proofreading, advice to get started?

Alan Mater over in the PIPS forum is a certified proof reader.

he is a very helpul guy and i am sure he would give you some pointers.

Graham

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Unread 30th May 2009, 10:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: I think I'm good at proofreading, advice to get started?

I've been doing some research, and I think until I have proved myself, I'll start cheap at $.01 per word. Is that reasonable?
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Unread 30th May 2009, 12:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: I think I'm good at proofreading, advice to get started?

Personally, I think it's way too cheap.

In most cases, undercutting devalues your services.
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Unread 30th May 2009, 12:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: I think I'm good at proofreading, advice to get started?

I started out my writing career @odesk.com. You too should try it.
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Unread 30th May 2009, 04:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: I think I'm good at proofreading, advice to get started?

Make sure you state clearly what you will and will not do. It has been my experience that many people will attempt to hire a "Proofreader" or "Editor" when what they really want is someone to take a recycled and regurgitated pile of written garbage and turn it into a work resembling something by Hemingway or Thoreau. I do not think that it is anybody intentionally trying to scam you or create more work but many people really do believe that the job of an editor is to rewrite the entire work so that it is comprehensible and factual.

One big factor you already have in your favor is the fact that you do have another job already. Be selective in who you select for clients and where you look. I have been (and am again?) in a position where I have to take what I can get or starve and like many others have said, once you charge low rates once, it becomes very difficult to get out of that rut ... and no matter how viable your expectations are, many people will not understand your justification for charging higher rates even after they burn through tens of others who cannot do the same quality of work for the same or even higher prices. That could be pride or it could be habit but it will adversely impact your effectiveness and your ability to generate a viable income as time goes on.

It is easier to come down later on for introductory specials than it is to crawl up from the bottom.

Just my two cents

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Unread 30th May 2009, 05:05 PM   #11
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Default Re: I think I'm good at proofreading, advice to get started?

Proofreading requires more than just a general knowledge of the English language or a specific area of specialty, ie: health/nursing. You can proof for grammatical mistakes, spelling mistakes and formatting problems. Next, you have to know what to do about those mistakes that you find. Depending on your client, you might make the changes and submit them for the client to approve or the client might put all his or her trust in you.

Where difficult subjects are covered, you must know the correct terminology and be able to spot when the content does not make sense. For instance, if an article referenced a particular symptom and related it to the wrong disease, you'd have to catch that. The same if the wrong treatment is suggested.

Here's a site with some info on proofreading and includes links to other resources, such as tests you can take:
Proofreading - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here's a good article on what you might expect - and a test :
14 Foolproof Proofreading Tips for Bloggers ? Copyblogger

Here's a place where you can read up and get jobs:
Freelance Proofreading Jobs - Writers Needed For Online Proofreading & Editing

Also, Google "proofreading" and you will find more tests and info.

Hope this helps.

Sylvia

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