Your Ultimate Online Proofreading Guide for Better Writing

Online Proofreading Guide. Photo Credit – Flickr: tonxA proofreading guide is like a dessert menu.

It presents the third course to your creation meal that involved writing as a first course and editing as a second course.

Since proofreading is the last step you take before publishing, it’s obviously an important one—you want to ensure perfection.

It’s heartbreaking to find an error in a final document that has already been released for the world to see.

But before proofreading is the most appropriate revision procedure, there are important steps that you can take during the writing process to make sure your message is strong and direct.

Unlike the first edition of my proofreading guide, which only explained proofreading techniques, the second edition of Your Ultimate Online Proofreading Guide also establishes methods to keep your thoughts clear and organized while you write and edit. [Read more…]

The Differences Between Copy Editing, Proofreading, and Reading

Copy Editing, Proofreading. Photo Credit – Flickr: Terry FreedmanThe differences between copy editing, proofreading, and reading are commonly considered subtle.

For instance, if I happened to mention in conversation that I’m a “freelance proofreader and copy editor,” it may seem that I’m referring to the same occupation.

In contrast, if I said that I’m a “neuroscientist and farmer,” it would appear that I have two separate careers.

It is clear that neuroscience and farming are different practices that require distinct educational prerequisites, skills, and expertise.

The technical differences between copy editing and proofreading are too boring to explain, and I’ve created Revision Fairy proofreading services so that you can invest in producing a quality product without having to pinpoint the exact type of help you need before I review your work.

If you know you need to specifically hire a copy editor or proofreader, you may already know the differences between copy editing and proofreading.

If you don’t know the differences between the two activities, and aren’t seriously interested in hiring a professional proofreader, you may regard both copy editing and proofreading as just reading and making some corrections. [Read more…]

Comma Chameleon: When to Use a Comma

When to Use a Comma. Photo Credit – Flickr: duncanNothing like a little Culture Club pun to liven up an otherwise dense conversation about when to use a comma, right?

A subscriber recently wrote me this interesting question about overwhelming comma rules:

Dear Stefanie,

I write textbooks and often get pulled up for my comma usage. I was always taught that it marks a pause in the sentence but this rule doesn’t seem to work all the time.

A lot of comma usage can be down to individual taste it seems and you might be a heavy or light user. I think there may also be some US/UK differences (I am from the UK by the way).

I have consulted the Chicago Manual of Style and I see that there are endless pages on how to use commas in a variety of different situations.

To get to my point, I was wondering if you had a simple guide for comma usage that works and isn’t overly complicated to put into practice.

Thanks for your help. [Read more…]

What a Blog Without Comments Can Teach You About Managing Your Workload

Before I published content on this site, the concept of adding a “blog” to my workload was daunting.

Responding to reader comments and filtering spam is time consuming. I didn’t know if I could commit to it.

So, I created an outlet for my writing that is more like a traditional newspaper or magazine. I don’t have a comments section following my articles.

In the days of old media, you didn’t have the chance to sound off right away. If you wanted to comment on an article or feature, you had to write a Letter to the Editor.

And only a few select letters were published in the next edition.

What part of this process appeals to me? [Read more…]

5 Shortcuts for Proofreading Documents in Record Time

Proofreading Documents. Photo Credit – Flickr: jayneanddIn the past, I’ve provoked some outraged responses when I’ve written tips about proofreading your own documents.

Variations of “You simply can’t find your own writing mistakes! You need someone else to proofread your work for you!” have echoed through blog comments when I’ve addressed this apparently taboo topic.

I understand the sentiment, but I think that the benefits of working with a freelance copy editor or proofreader are obvious.

When a writer can also proofread like a professional proofreader, she is in a unique position to create a product that communicates her exact intentions. [Read more…]

12 Editing Solutions When Your Writing Isn’t Good Enough

Editing Solutions. Photo Credit – Flickr: Sharon DrummondDoubt.

If you’re a writer, the d-word plagues you daily.

Is your writing good enough? Is your writing ever going to be good enough?

Writing confidently is more than just feeling good about the thoughts that exit your brain and form neatly arranged words in a document.

To remove doubt, old-fashioned TLC has to be an integral part of your artistic lifestyle.

Here are 12 editing solutions that help you care for yourself and your writing. [Read more…]

Freelance Confessions: Confronting the Unsolicited Copy Editor

Freelance Copy Editor. Photo Credit – Flickr: doobybrainI cringe—CRINGE!—at the thought of something that I used to do.

It’s something that you may have done at some point, too.

When you first start working as a freelance copy editor, you want to make it known whenever possible that you excel at spotting writing mistakes.

On a very basic level, the ability to find and correct errors is the skill set that you need to monetize; you have to show others that you have the eagle eye that they need to fix their copy. [Read more…]

Online Writing Help 101: Business Email Etiquette

Online Writing Help. Photo Credit – Flickr: Ann DouglasIn my last post, I discussed an ineffective way to engage a service provider when you’re looking online for writing help.

To complement my report on what you shouldn’t do, it’s appropriate to outline a refresher on business email etiquette—what you should do.

When you visit my website, the Proofreading Service Menu lists the following pricing structure: [Read more…]

If You Don’t Like What I Charge, Get Lost

Photo Credit – Flickr: allaboutgeorgeA wise woman once said:

“My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. And they’re, like, it’s better than yours. Damn right, it’s better than yours. I could teach you, but I’d have to charge.”

Yes, I’m talking about the 2003 pop hit, “Milkshake,” by Kelis—the song that was once my ringtone on my old NOKIA flip phone.

Still with me?

I often discuss my proofreading services as a business. Though this may seem obvious, there’s something about the Internet that gives people the impression that what you offer is less valuable than, say, if I offered in-person writing and proofreading services.

I recently got an email that exemplifies what online business owners tend to experience. [Read more…]

Why Revision Fairy?

Proofreading Services. Photo Credit – Flickr: campraI offer online proofreading services, but I’m not actually a proofreader.

I’m not actually a copy editor, either.

My creative work with words varies.

Sometimes, I proofread.

Sometimes, I copy edit.

Sometimes, I do both.

Sometimes, I rewrite rough drafts.

Sometimes, I write original content.

The thing is: writers don’t always know what they need.

That’s why I created Revision Fairy. [Read more…]

Introducing Free Proofreading Services: Get a Sample Today!

Free Proofreading Services. Photo Credit – Flickr: ElectraSteph

UPDATED APRIL 25, 2012 —

Free samples are no longer available. Please refer to my Proofreading Service Menu for standard prices.

I don’t offer free proofreading services.

Proofreading is not a hobby for me. It’s not a complimentary service that I help you with in my spare time.

Proofreading is what I do.

But a free proofreading sample?

That’s a different story.

It’s my business to help you with your business. [Read more…]

Your Ultimate Online Proofreading Guide for Better Writing

Online Proofreading Guide. Photo Credit – Flickr: tonx

The Second Edition of Your Ultimate Online Proofreading Guide for Better Writing is now available.

Click here to download the new 2013 version.

Writing, editing, and proofreading are interconnected activities in the web of transcribed communication.

You can overcome creative standstills if you look at editing and proofreading as a safety net.

Feel free to write absurd, nonsensical musings and tangents. Don’t worry—it can all be fixed later.

However, many writers feel overwhelmed when they have to resolve rough drafts.

It’s a pain to review text that already makes sense to you.

My new free ebook, Revision Fairy Tales: Your Ultimate Online Proofreading Guide for Better Writing, covers low-stress ways to revise and correct your work. Ensure concepts that you take for granted also make sense to your audience.

You improve your writing skills when you proofread strategically.

After reading the ebook, you won’t look at proofreading the same way again.

The 30-page PDF is Edition I of a new series. [Read more…]

Hate Proofreading? 5 Fun Ways to Revise Like a Professional Proofreader

Professional Proofreader. Photo Credit – Flickr: cellar_door_filmsWriting always begins with an idea, even if it’s significantly underdeveloped.

If you transcribe words that communicate your concept, and dedicate time to making that message clear and dynamic, you eventually produce your final draft.

Writing is a mystery that you solve along the way.

Proofreading is generally considered the opposite of that.

The belief that proofreading is a science isn’t terribly helpful for writers. Many writers become writers (not scientists) because they like to be artistic and creative rather than technical.

There are special skills that you need to be a professional proofreader, but every writer can approach proofreading as an engaging activity that completes the writing process. [Read more…]

What’s the Connection Between Document Proofreading and Online Marketing?

Document Proofreading. Photo Credit – Flickr: krossbowContrary to the seemingly mundane activity of document proofreading, online marketing is a glamorous buzzword for both online and offline businesses.

Once you transcend the notion of shady Internet scams and vicious trolls, the idea of marketing a legitimate business online sounds exciting.

There are no paper cuts, awkward telephone conversations, or heavy objects to lift on the Web.

Whether you’re a small business looking for Facebook fans and Twitter followers, or a blogger developing an online writing portfolio, the Internet is a desirable place to appeal to customers.

But can you really market your product or service to an audience online and actually get new clients and customers?

The answer is yes, but you have an extremely limited time to solidify your reputation.

While an offline business may get more than one chance to make an impression, a quick page view may be all that you get in the online world. [Read more…]

Professional Proofreading Help: 21 Writing Mistakes You’ll Never Make Again

21 Writing Mistakes You'll Never Make AgainOnce upon a time, I decided to write an ebook. It was almost a year since I began my adventures as a freelance proofreader, and I wanted to create a product that would help my clients.

I spent the summer writing Revision Fairy Tales: 21 Writing Mistakes You’ll Never Make Again, and I released it on September 15, 2009—two years ago today!

If you want to improve your writing skills and learn how to stop making the same writing mistakes over and over again, help me celebrate the book’s two-year anniversary by downloading a copy.

I call the content “anti-grammar” because I think standard language rules are boring, confusing, and difficult to remember. Revision Fairy Tales contains straightforward, practical tips that help you write correctly without memorizing any grammar rules. [Read more…]

Power Proofreading: The #1 Writing Tip When You Don’t Have Time to Proofread

Power Proofreading. Photo Credit – Flickr: purplemattfishThe writing process is an artistic balance of raw text and meticulous proofreading, copy editing, and revising. Your initial thoughts need to be crafted into clear language that your target audience understands.

Since school starts back up this month, I decided to dedicate each Thursday in September to copy editing and proofreading tips for specific writing situations.

Here’s the first installment of my Proofreading 101 series.

People like instant gratification and the accelerated versions of activities: power napping, power workouts, power lunches, etc. It’s only natural that you’ll find yourself in a situation where you need a power proofreading.

Sometimes you know that your writing is not up to par, but the clock is ticking and you need a complete draft fast. For example, you need to dramatically improve your copy within the hour, and you don’t have time to hire a freelance proofreader. [Read more…]

48 Hours Only: Reserve Your Free Proofreading Services Now

Online Proofreading Services

This promotion is now over. Please refer to my Proofreading Service Menu for standard prices.

Can you believe that it’s the middle of August already?

While the end of summer is a great chance to enjoy vacations from work, it’s also the ideal time to evaluate your goals for the rest of the year.

What do you hope to accomplish during the last few months of 2011?

To help you produce impressive, flawless writing, I’m offering a special deal for the next 48 hours only. If you’ve thought about becoming a Revision Fairy® Premium Member, now is the perfect time.

This limited-time offer gives you free proofreading services with your membership. [Read more…]

The Easy Way to Hire a Freelance Copy Editor

Hire a Freelance Copy Editor or Proofreader. Photo Credit – Flickr: Thomas Hawk The variety of businesses looking to hire a freelance copy editor or freelance proofreader is a lot like the different types of people who enter hardware stores.

Some hardware store customers know exactly what they need and go to the retail outlet to purchase the proper tools, accessories, or materials.

Other shoppers have projects or problems, but they don’t know what they need to complete their tasks. They need help.

Let me rephrase that: they need a solution.

They don’t want to learn about every drill or wrench for sale. They want the single product that will get the job done. [Read more…]

Best Business Writing Tips on Revision Fairy: Summer 2011

Business Writing Tips. Photo Credit – Flickr: petter palanderFavorites.

They seem to be a staple on every social media site, Web browser, and smartphone.

Since it’s unwise to dive into any project without a healthy review of its early stages, I want to list my favorite business writing tips on Revision Fairy from the last few months.

I look forward to writing about more specific topics that answer your questions about how to produce the best business writing possible.

Summer is a time for reflection and relaxation (although I’ll likely also write a similar post in the fall), so take a look at these helpful business writing posts in case you missed them earlier in the year.

Happy Reading! [Read more…]

Proofread Your Business Blog Posts and Get More Subscribers in 5 Steps

Many bloggers’ goal is to get more subscribers.Photo Credit – Flickr: Brero

You want to communicate your message to a large audience and attract readers to what you have to offer.

In order to gain readers’ trust so that they have a consistent interest in your writing, you need to make every blog post unforgettable.

Mediocre posts perpetuate the notion that blogs are still LiveJournal musings about the incredible English muffin that you had for breakfast, rather than a serious medium for self-publishing.

A thoughtful, complete blog post has certain characteristics regardless of its length (which will vary depending on your topic).

Even if you don’t have a lot of time to proofread your business blog posts, here are five questions to ask yourself before you publish. Satisfy each of these elements to bridge the gap between writing that makes an impact and text that gets ignored. [Read more…]

Why You Won’t Find My Online Proofreading Services on Facebook

Online Proofreading Services. Photo Credit – Flickr: richliuI have 0 friends.

On Facebook, that is—because I don’t have a personal profile or a Fan page for my online proofreading services.

This admission usually generates puzzled facial expressions and a flurry of condescending questions.

“Aren’t you an online proofreader?” “You can’t possibly be serious about your online business if it’s not on Facebook?!”

Look at it this way: I’m a freelance proofreader and editor. Writers don’t like me.

When was the last time you liked someone who pointed out your mistakes?

But I’m supposed to set up a Facebook Fan page for my business that corrects mistakes and expect you to “Like” it? Hmm … [Read more…]

How Making Mistakes Gets Me Hired As a Freelance Proofreader

Freelance Proofreader. Photo Credit – Flickr: jasmeetIf you hire a freelance proofreader to catch your writing mistakes, why would you want one who makes them herself?

It seems counterintuitive.

When I began offering online proofreading services, I was afraid to write anything other than copy on my bare bones (but meticulously crafted) Web site. I thought that the only way to keep my freelance proofreader reputation spotless was to avoid producing content.

The idea that I might make a typo or some sort of grammar error for the public to see was too much to bear.

You’re probably already thinking what took me months to realize. [Read more…]

7 Reasons Why Online Proofreading Services Should Be Illegal

Online Proofreading Services. Photo Credit: CarbonNYCUsing online proofreading services designed for your small business is like getting away with murder.

For a minimal fee, an online proofreader will polish your writing, but you get to take credit for the brilliant results.

Many blog posts and articles will explain why you need a freelance proofreader. You’ve heard all the reasons.

You can’t catch your own writing mistakes. If you have one typo in a document, all your clients will hate you forever. You’re not a grammar expert.

Boring, right? A minor typo or occasional syntax error doesn’t make any difference.

But what if your content is far from professional quality and you don’t realize it?

Online proofreading services are a small business’s ally.

Here are 7 sneaky advantages of hiring a freelance proofreader that will lighten your workload and strengthen your business. [Read more…]

Video: A Punctuation Lesson via Conan O’Brien

Punctuation Lesson. Photo Credit – Flickr: whittlzSince proper punctuation and Conan O’Brien both hold spots on my “favorite things” list, I was thrilled that I recently got to combine the two in an educational video.

Thanks to the DVR, you can enjoy late-night television any time of day. I record CONAN, and I’ll often put on the show during breaks throughout my work schedule.

In March, the show began its “Fan Corrections” segment. If a viewer finds an error during an episode, Conan invites the fan to make a video about the mistake and post it on YouTube as a response to the challenge.

Last week, I found a punctuation error during Conan’s May 4 show. As a freelance proofreader, it was only appropriate that I make a video about the incident and teach Conan about proper punctuation. [Read more…]

20 Fears that a Freelance Proofreader Kills to Help You Sleep at Night

Freelance Proofreader. Photo Credit: HikingArtist.com“I’m so glad you caught that!” is a familiar remark to a freelance proofreader.

After you and/or your team of writers create multiple drafts, you don’t always have the time to check that your documents make sense to someone who isn’t part of your company’s inner circle.

How will your target audience interpret your copy? Did you fail to communicate your point? Will your writing make you look unprofessional?

Even though many small businesses don’t employ full-time proofreaders, the luxury of having a professional catch your mistakes and improve the clarity of your writing is not reserved for the big guys.

Instead of losing sleep over potential business writing blunders, a reliable online proofreader is just a few clicks away.

Hire a freelance proofreader to correct your writing and remove the 20 fears that make up the Four M’s of Small Business Document Anxiety. [Read more…]