Not every writer chooses to hire a professional proofreader for copy-editing. But I’m not just talking to novelists or journalists: I’m talking to website owners as well!
The content of your website has every reason to be as accurate as a published book or hard copy magazine – it’s the window to your world and it really matters. Reasons cited for not bothering to have work proofread are valid and varied:
“I can’t afford an editor.”
“True, I make a few mistakes, but not enough to need one.”
“That’s just my style, it’s the way I write.”
“I’m going for a casual, more talky style.”
“Nobody will notice – most people aren’t as picky as you.”
Probably the most common reason for hoping to do without an editor to copy-edit is the cost issue. But careful consideration has to be given to the value to be gained in the long run; after all, a financial investment is nearly always speculative – looking to the future return on one’s money.
Consider this: if you were browsing a bookshop and spotted evidence that a book wasn’t properly edited, would you pay good money for it? Likewise, if you have seen badly written or poorly translated information on a web page, can you honestly say that you happily went ahead and bought something from that site?
Poorly copy-edited material can make a reader seriously question the quality of that publication or product or the business promoting it. Read here how a missing comma, an apparently minor punctuation error, can cost more than just an editor’s fees!
Here is an example of the super-easy Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word; all suggested changes are clearly highlighted for you to accept or reject, and see your text instantly polished to a high quality article: Track changes example.
And look at it this way: using an editor may be the difference between getting your work traditionally published with a reputable publishing house, and paying for self publishing. There are so many books vying for space on bookshop shelves, that a badly presented, unedited book is not likely to sell well.
Reputable self publishers are few and far between and some will charge far more than an editor for copy-editing, leaving the writer with an expensive book that no one will buy. Isn’t that a false economy?
It is worth investing in having your book professionally copy-edited, otherwise, after the first one, if it’s riddled with mistakes, no one will buy your second one!
Likewise, however professional and high-tech your website appears, if the information on it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of spelling and grammar, you may wonder why you get thousands of hits, but no sales.
It is worth every penny you spend to employ a good editor to get your copy-edited, and remember the old adage: If you pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys!