Professional writers and novelists don’t work alone. They almost always rely on early readers, editors and proofreaders who turn their manuscripts into polished products.
But what about executives and entrepreneurs? Consider the last report, marketing collateral or page of web copy you wrote or reviewed. You probably spent hours getting the messaging right, but how many more did it take to check for typos and grammar mistakes?
Researching product messaging and positioning is a good use of time for an entrepreneur. And they should consider how their website looks and feels. However, diminishing returns sets in when they spend hours pouring over the result looking for errors and typos.
A writer can work on another project or book while their editor reviews a manuscript. And an entrepreneur can move onto another business area, such as product development or hiring, if they outs ource the writing process correctly.
How To Work With Other Writers
Typically, a developmental editor fixes the structure of a document, report or book. A copy editor revises sentences and paragraphs for tone and clarity. A proofreader addresses spelling mistakes and grammar errors such as misplaced apostrophes. Depending on your writing skills, you could employ the services of all three or just one.
You could even hire a copywriter to compose all of your marketing materials, including ebooks, social media, creative and web copy. A good copywriter will charge thousands of dollars, but you should expect a professional, polished deliverable.
If you’d rather produce copy in-house for a lower budget, you can still outsource the final parts of the project for a modest amount. PaperTrue is an example of a company that provides copy editing and proofreading services. Based in India, the company employs over 100 editors and works with writers, academics, entrepreneurs and executives around the world. The company charges approximately €35 to edit 1,000 words of copy for clients.
CEO Neha Vaidya explained up to 10% of PaperTrue’s clients “need their marketing material, their annual reports, their business proposals, their websites proofread, corrected for tone, for clarity.”
A professional editor should return your marketing collateral or web copy marked up with amends that don’t change the intention of the piece. In other words, research shouldn’t go to waste.
“One of our commandments for our editors is ‘Thou shall not change the meaning of a sentence,'” says Vaidya. “We return a clean file where we have implemented all the changes, and it has some comments in it. And that is a tracked file, which shows you all the changes that we have made. And we leave it up to you to either accept or reject some changes.”
While writing a book this past year, I spent hours poring over The Chicago Manual of Style. Looking back, this wasn’t a great use of time. Even if you’re not writing a book, a typical report often includes facts requiring citations and graphics that must be formatted correctly. Although not fun, consistency demonstrates professionalism.
Again, you can shave hours off the workday by hiring someone who understands how to cite and reference sources correctly.
“Even if you’re great at English, you know how to write well, you know how to format…you will always need a second pair of eyes,” says Vaidya. “You could have missed out on something. We’re human beings, after all.”
Typos and grammar mistakes are embarrassing. Believe me, I’ve made more than my fair share over the years. Although it’s never fun getting an email from a client, boss or reader about one, errors are relatively easy to fix. Sometimes, all you need is a little help.