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How Do I Find a Great Editing and Proofreading Service?

As they do with many other important decisions, people are increasingly turning to the internet to find an editing and proofreading service for their documents, and there is no shortage of options.  With so many providers available, first, how do you find an editing and proofreading service you can trust, and second, how do you find an editing and proofreading service that will give you outstanding value for your investment?  While the internet provides new opportunities to help in the decision, several traditional methods continue to be a rich resource for discerning customers.

Do I Have to Look in New York or California? What About Texas?

One of the great advancements the internet has brought us is making available the best talent everywhere, no matter where it is located.  Traditionally—and this is particularly true for those looking for novel editing, book editing or other manuscript editing services—New York and California have been considered the top destinations for finding the best editors and proofreaders.  Because of this, many new authors and others looking for an editing and proofreading service for their important documents, faced with the overwhelming task of narrowing their options, are limiting themselves to only those two areas.  While there are many great editors and proofreaders living in New York and California, savvy individuals and businesses are recognizing that they can find the same—and sometimes even a better—level of editing and at a cheaper cost simply by expanding their search.  They know, for example, that DLA Editors & Proofers, located in Houston, Texas, provides some of the best editing and proofreading services available anywhere.

Should I Not Just Hire a Freelancer?

At first glance, freelance editors and proofreaders may appear to be a great option for getting the best editing and proofreading service at the lowest cost.  There is no doubt that there are certainly those opportunities out there, particularly for those willing to take the extra time to find a good match.  The choice to hire a freelancer, though, is not as obvious as it may seem at first.

Freelancer editors and proofreaders generally fall into three categories.  In the first category you have talented editors and proofreaders just starting out, who are charging discounted rates while they look to build their client list.  These are where the best bargains can be found, but they certainly come with risk.  Without an established client list, how devoted are they to editing and proofreading?  Do they do it full-time or only part-time?  How reliable will they be in completing your project on time, and what will be the quality of their work?  Without experience to back them up, it will be difficult to find answers to these questions until after you have spent at least some of your editing budget.

In the second category you have editors and proofreaders claiming to have years of experience, but who also charge a discounted rate.  This should immediately raise a red flag.  If they have the experience they claim, why are their rates so low?

The third category of freelancers are those who do have extensive experience, and who charge high rates for their work.  Many times their clients hire them because they believe either that the more they pay the better the work will be, or that the only way to find high-quality, reliable editors is to look for the most expensive ones available.  However, this option is not without its concerns.  What happens if your chosen editor gets sick?  Will your project be completed by its deadline?  What happens if another client comes along with a more lucrative project?  Will yours be pushed back while the other receives your editor’s full attention?

At DLA Editors & Proofers, we provide a solution that addresses all of these concerns.  Our editors are talented, experienced, full-time editors who work exclusively for us, and they all provide outstanding, high-quality work.  When one is sick or on vacation, another steps in to ensure the project is completed on time and with the same high standards.  While our prices are not as low as those of the discounted freelancers, they are significantly more affordable than those who charge high rates.

What About Hiring an Editing and Proofreading Company?

Interestingly, while hiring an editing and proofreading company may seem like the obvious choice, it is not always the case.  Unlike DLA Editors & Proofers, most editing and proofreading companies do not employ full-time, in-house editors.  Instead, they rely on freelancers to do their work.  There are two significant concerns with this.  The first is the wage the freelancers are paid to do their work, and the second, which is related, are the standards they use for selecting which freelancers to employ.

Think about the first concern, and take it through to conclusion.  Let us say for example that you hire an editing company to proofread your 50,000-word manuscript.  You have decided to hire them because price was your primary concern, and they were willing to do it for only $450—by far the cheapest price you could find.  Have you considered, though, that to proofread your manuscript well would take a proficient, experienced editor 25 hours to complete the work? Consider also that the only reason any company is in business is to make money.  Let us say that as an exception, the company is generous and agrees to pay the editor one third of the fee you pay, or $150.  If you divide that by 25 hours, you realize the editor is being paid only $6.00 per hour.  What qualified editor would be willing to work for such a low rate?

This concern brings us logically to our second.  If no qualified editor would be willing to work for such a low rate, what really are the abilities of the editors the high-volume companies are using to proofread your manuscript?  As with many of the concerns raised in this article, the writer often realizes his or her mistake only after having spent his or her money.  While he or she may have initially saved by paying only $450, the writer is now faced with having to hire a second editor—and for an additional fee.

What Are the Characteristics I Should Look for in a Great Editing and Proofreading Service?

When deciding which editing and proofreading service to hire, consider asking the following questions:

  1. Where is the service provider located, and how can I verify their location? Could I drive by their office, for example?

  2. Do they have a phone number I can call to get answers to my questions?

  3. Is their website professionally designed and secure?

  4. How many years of experience do they have?

  5. Do they edit full-time or only part-time?

  6. Do they charge enough to be adequately compensated for their services?

  7. Do they offer free sample edits of their work?

  8. Do they offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee?

  9. Are they registered with the Better Business Bureau?

  10. Are there reviews about them posted on any third-party sites?

  11. Are they transparent about their pricing and what is included in their editing and proofreading services?

  12. Will they keep your documents private?

As with shopping for any other service, you should make sure you ask the right questions to know that what you will be receiving is what you are expecting.

Posted in  Professionals
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