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How to Become a Proofreader
I actually didn’t know that people could make a full or part-time income as a proofreader.
I did not even know that there were independent proofreaders. While searching for side hustles, I discovered that there were many pins on Pinterest about getting a job as a proofreader. So I decided to do some more research.
I hope the information I provide will teach you how to become a proofreader. Even if you decide to be a proofreader as an extra side hustle, this information will prove valuable.
How to Become a Proofreader
Here are some resources that will help you start your freelance proofreading business.
1. What does a proofreader do?
To become a proofreader, you will need to know what a proofreader does.
Many people tend to confuse proofreaders and editors.
Any writing for publication be it a book, a blog post, or business documents must provide the information in a way that is clear to the reader.
For the information to be clear, there must be no spelling, grammar or punctuation errors, or inconsistency in language.
Proofreaders can proof anything that has written content, such as books, novels, textbooks, children’s books, online or university course content, website pages, blog posts, presentations and slides, newspapers, magazines, ads, pamphlets, legal documents, transcripts, court reports, podcast pages, resumes, scholarship essays, and so on.
Inconsistent writing can impact the reader and the credibility of the author.
I once read a book that was very poorly written and full of errors. The message the book was trying to convey was important, however, the grammatical and spelling errors and inconsistent language impacted me, the reader.
The irony is that I purchased three copies before reading the book. You can only imagine how I felt gifting those copies. I simply told my friends beforehand that the book was full of spelling and grammatical errors.
What Materials do People Hire Freelance Editors for?
- Books – fiction
- Books – nonfiction
- Academic thesis or journal articles
- Training or educational material
- Website or web pages
- Social media content
- Blog articles
- Business proposals
- YouTube notes
- Podcast notes
- Online course content
- Job applications
- Cover Letters
- Short story or anthology
- Grant application
- Advertising, marketing, promotional material
- Manual, reference, or guidebook
- Newsletter or magazine content
- Reports – business or technical
The only job of a Proofreader is to make sure that a document or content is 100% accurate in terms of grammar and vocabulary.
2. What is the Difference Between an Editor and a Proofreader?
Editors improve quality of writing such as sentence flow. They also remove errors and inconsistencies in a document.
Proofreading is the process of correcting writing errors, such as grammatical, spelling, punctuation and other language mistakes.
3. Do you need qualifications to become a proofreader?
Proofreading is a skill that requires advanced knowledge of the English language. If you are a person that easily spots typos and errors, proofreading may be the job for you.
While you may not need a degree to become a proofreader, certain skills are required to do the job:
- Advanced knowledge of the English language
- Excellent written and oral communications
- Ability to meet deadlines
- Familiar with Microsoft Words
- Ability to concentrate for long periods
If you don’t like reading and you are a bad speller, proofreading is not for you.
4. Proofreading Pros and Cons
There are many good reasons to become a proofreader:
- Low startup costs – Microsoft Word, MLA Handbook, the APA Manual, and the Chicago Manual of Style, etc.
- Formal training or certification is not required
- Freedom – work from anywhere, including working from home
- Flexibility – work anytime but meet the deadline
Although freelancing, owning your own business, and making money from home are good options, however, there are inevitable challenges such as:
- Finding a broad range of clients can be challenging as a proofreader unless you find someone who has recurring work each month.
- Deadlines sometimes can be tough.
- It can take time to build up a steady client base.
- It’s difficult to earn more than $50 an hour proofreading.
But then again, the more experience you get, the more reliable your work becomes, the higher your income.
5. How do I become a good proofreader?
Proofreading is a time-consuming task. Being a good proofreader requires being detailed and accurate.
To become a better proofreader, do the following:
Create a checklist – your checklist should include things such as grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation. Check off each item on the list once you have completed it.
Do an initial read – read through the document without making changes or corrections. Make a mental note or write down what stands out to you and later go back to it. The initial read lets you know where to focus when begin proofreading.
Work Smart – Don’t try to fix all the problems at one time. Doing this will cause you to miss errors. Focus on specific areas such as spelling and punctuation. This will help you find specific mistakes faster and speed up the process.
Take a break – Divide proofreading into small time blocks. Working in shorter time frames will help you stay focused. On the other hand, working nonstop can be exhausting, draining, and make it much difficult to spot errors.
Perform a final check – I cannot tell you how important it is to do a final check.
It is important to read through the document a final time after you have finished the proofreading. This ensures that you catch any errors you might have missed the first time.
6. How much money does a Proofreader make?
Proofreading income depends on how much time you spend on proofreading and how much you market yourself. Your skill level, reading speed, and rates determine how much money you make.
Improving your skill, speed, and efficiency will increase the payment limit.
One thing to remember is that: YOU are in charge of how much money you make and your success!
One successful Proofreader I have heard about is Caitlyn Pyle. Caitlyn Pyle earned $43,000 working part-time (20-25 hours a week or more) from home her first year proofreading court transcripts.
She created a course to help other people learn about making money from home as Proofreaders.
I recommend you take her course if you want to learn how to make money as a proofreader. This course will save you time and energy from searching the internet trying to learn everything on your own.
According to ZipRecruiter, as of Oct 22, 2019, the average hourly pay for a Proofreader in the United States is $21 an hour.
Proofreaders make and charge:
- Many book proofreaders charge $.02 per word
- Charge $25-$45 per hour
- Freelance proofreaders can increase their rates once they gain more experience
- Certain proofreading niche such as court transcripts, make more money than others niches.
7. What Tools Can Help You Become a Proofreader?
Below are recommended resources that will help you start a successful proofreading side hustle from home:
Books/References for Transcript Proofreading
- Morson’s English Guide for Court Reporters
- One Word, Two Words, Hyphenated?
- The Gregg Reference Manual
- The Court Reporter’s Reference of Commonly Used Words and Phrases
Proofreading & Editing Tools
- Grammarly Free Grammar & Spell Checker
- Merriam Webster’s Dictionary Online
- The Chicago Manual of Style Online
- Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips
Proofreading & Editing Books
- Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies
- The Best Punctuation Book, Period: A Comprehensive Guide for Every Writer, Editor, Student, and Businessperson
- Find the Errors!: Proofreading Activities
- Find the Errors! II: Proofreading Activities
- Phunny Stuph: Proofreading Exercises with a Sense of Humor
8. Where can I find proofreading jobs?
Many companies hire at-home proofreaders, and the pay varies with each company. Visit each company website to see the job requirements and pay scale.
You can also network with bloggers, authors, and business owners who create important documents like tax documents, court reports, and product manuals for proofreading jobs.
What are the companies that hire proofreaders?
Most of these companies require a degree and several years of experience.
To start your freelance proofreading career, look for opportunities in places like:
You can also find proofreading positions on job boards like
Bloggers are always in need of proofreaders.
Other Places to Find Proofreading Jobs
Bloggers – There millions of blogs out there and many bloggers that pay for someone to proofread their blog post and manage their website content. Networking with bloggers can lead to a potential client.
Self-Published Authors – There are millions of books out there thanks to Amazon for making it easier to publish a book. I know some people that have published books within the past few years. Self-published authors hire proofreaders to review their work. This is a great area if you want to be a book proofreader. You earn money but at the same time be one of the first to read the book.
Writers Conferences – Attend a writer’s conference, network, and market your skills. Have a list of the work you have done and be sure to pass out your business cards.
Facebook Groups – Facebook Groups is a way to grow any business. If you are in the right Facebook Groups, you are bound to find authors and business owners who are looking for your skill. You’ll have to do your research to find the right group.
Local Businesses – It seems like every business has an online presence, including small-town local businesses. The businesses have a website, social media accounts, Facebook ads, and weekly emails. They will need someone to proofread content on the sites. Why not you?
Universities –Master’s, and doctoral students hire freelance editors to check theses and dissertations, and major journal articles. Find ways to market yourself and making connections around college campuses, you will be surprised to find more editing job opportunities.
Now you know how to become a Proofreader. Why don’t you go for it?
So, are you ready to start your career or advance your freelance proofreading?
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