The Best Kind of Proofer


I have made an amazing discovery. I have found the best kind of proofer. Professional editor? English literature professor? Publisher?…

No- someone who has never read a book in their life. That’s right. If you are at the stage where your book needs a really good reading and you have exhausted your “industry” resources, then find someone who is capable of reading but is just generally uninterested.

I stumbled upon this pearl when my husband, who has read two books in his life (both by force at school), offered to proof my book. At first I was horrified and I admit, somewhat snobbish about it. First of all, do I want someone who has no concept of storyline, plot or characterisation critiquing my book? Secondly- THE PRESSURE! “Welcome to books, non-book-reader man. Try this one as the very first book you’ve read in your adult life and then openly hate it- not because it sucks, but just because you clearly dang-well hate books.”

Anyway, I eventually swallowed my pride and my husband got to reading. By this stage, the book (Ruthless) had been proof read by:

2 professional editors

a Journalist/Editor

An English teacher

Approx 5 friends and…

me (like 200 times already).

Mr Reading-is-new-to-me actually found more typos and missing words then any of these people combined. It was mind blowing! The only way I can explain it is that he reads every single word and doesn’t assume anything. I on the other hand, now know that I read words that are only in my head. I make assumptions and fill in the gaps when I read.

A valuable lesson learned. If you haven’t got any non-reader friends then start looking. I suggest attending a “The film was better” club and buttering up a book basher. Suggest that they read your book so they can accurately argue with those misguided book-readers, much like atheists who read the bible. It’s a winner.

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One thought on “The Best Kind of Proofer

  1. I heard something interesting recently: the biggest compliment an author can pay themselves is to be genuinely entertained by their own work. It was said in the context of putting the work aside and coming back to it to discover it is entertaining. We need distance from the work to appreciate it and I think your example of the non-reader is a great example of someone with distance from the work. Everyone else comes packed with biases.

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