Skip to content
Home | Blog | Should you hire a short story proofreader?

Should you hire a short story proofreader?

Whether your short story should be proofread is down to what you want to do with it. A short story proofreader corrects errors and inconsistencies before you publish it.

So ask yourself: Do you want to publish your short story professionally (in a magazine, anthology, or in a writing portfolio) or are you just writing for pleasure?

If the answer is the former, you might want to look into your options.

Put down your pen, you need more eyes on your short story before publishing it.

Why should my short story be proofread?

If you’re submitting to magazines or writing competitions, getting your short story in the best possible shape will help you win over the editors or judges. For many, it isn’t cost-effective to hire a short story editor and a proofreader, so hiring one or the other is important.

Once you’ve already gone through several drafts of your short story and had it critiqued by other writers, a proofreader will clean up any remaining errors. This means any judge or editor won’t be distracted by formatting and punctuation errors, so they can focus fully on your story.

If you’re submitting to an anthology, editing your short story is more important, as a proofreader will be hired by the anthology editor once formatting has been done.

When organising a short story anthology yourself, make sure to schedule a proofreader for the stage between formatting and publishing. You’ll need to tell them what style consistencies to keep across all stories and whether to leave the author’s spellings (such as UK vs US English) for each story.

If you’re writing for pleasure, whether or not you publish online, proofreading is entirely up to you. You can always get it proofread in the future if you decide to go down the publishing route.

How much does it cost to proofread a short story?

The cost of a short story proofreader can vary depending on word count and the individual proofreader. Some proofreaders, like myself, encourage bundling multiple short stories together so you can get more for your money, as the majority of proofreaders have a base rate.

For instance, my base rate is £20 for up to 3000 words, so if you give me a 1500-word story, you’re paying more than you would if you sent me two short stories. Take advantage of these bundle offers to save money if you’re a prolific writer!

How long does it take to proofread 5000 words?

When contracting a proofreader for your short story, expect the turnaround time to be a few days. Just because someone can proofread within an hour doesn’t mean they should.

Ideally, a proofreader should go through a text at least twice, preferably on different days.

When I proofread, I analyse the text and do my first proofreading sweep on the first day. Then I perform another proofreading sweep on the second day, when I’ve had time away from the text so I can pick up anything I might have missed. For short fiction, I usually try to proofread it a third time before I send it back to the author too.

This means I’ve had 3 different chances to find inconsistencies and errors, and on the third sweep I can read the clean version of the text, so I can see what the author will receive.

WordPress Cookie Plugin by Real Cookie Banner