Best Proofreading Services You’ll Ever Find

It can be hard as an author to have someone else proofread your work, but trust me when I say having a professional proofreader look over your work before publication is imperative.

Even I, a former professional proofreader, published author, AND teacher of one of the most popular courses on general proofreading, still need proofreaders to review my writing. I always have at least two other people proofread my work before it goes out into the world.

Since it can be stressful to see your writing in the hands of someone else, you want to make sure you’re hiring only qualified professionals to be a part of your team.

However, this begs the question of what makes a good proofreader, and how do I find them for my book? Also, the more I talk with authors, the more I realize that many are confused about what proofreading really is, and how it is different than copyediting or regular editing.

Interested in learning more? We've got a whole list of information related to editing, proofreading, finding an editor, and more!

So, in this article you’ll learn:

• What proofreading is (and isn’t!)
• What’s the difference between copyediting and proofreading
• Ways to find qualified proofreaders
• How you can become a professional proofreader and earn money on the side

Note from Dave: In this article, Caitlin talks about her course, General Proofreading: Theory & Practice™, so if you see a link, know that it is an affiliate link. I approved this because I’ve personally checked out the course and talked with those who implemented it themselves and found a lot of happy users with great success stories.

So, What Exactly is Proofreading?

At its most basic, proofreading is the review of a final draft before it’s published. That means the proofreader is doing one last quality check and looking for things like typos, grammatical errors, spelling, punctuation, and formatting issues. The proofreader is the last set of eyes before the author finalizes their book and uploads it to book retailers and aggregators.

Is Proofreading the Same as Copyediting?

Short answer: No.



Long answer: There is a lot of confusion out there about proofreading versus copyediting. One of the biggest misnomers is that proofreading and copyediting are the same thing. They’re not! It's not unusual for authors to ask for a proofreader but actually need a copyeditor first. If you’re an author and you want words changed or sentence structure fixed, that is NOT proofreading — that’s copyediting.

Still confused? Let’s break down the differences!

Proofreading vs Copyediting vs Editing

Copyeditors get into the nitty-gritty of your book to make it as grammatically correct as possible. They also help with rewriting, clarity, flow, word choice, and fact-checking. Copyeditors can tell when you’re overusing punctuation or repeating certain words and can help you correct it. They can even help with organization and provide feedback on overall style.

Proofreaders are the final set of eyes that check for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and typos to polish your work. They’re taking what’s on the page (not adding or deleting anything) and making sure it’s as error-free as possible.

In theory, the copyeditor should work on a book only after the actual story, characters, and plot have been finalized by a content editor, and the proofreader should work on a book only after the copyeditor has worked their magic.

Think of it like building a house. The editor builds the foundation and framework; the copyeditor installs the floors and walls; the proofreader does the final touches and furnishes the house. You can’t furnish a house before you build the framework, right?

It’s the same when working on a book. Make sense?

This graphic isn’t to say that every author needs to have all three (or more). Many of us do NOT have the funds to be able to adequately hire so many professionals. Even Dave only hired a proofreader for his first book because he couldn’t afford an editor and a copyeditor. Instead, this graphic is just to stratify the differences in the three and help authors understand who you need if you were to hire one.

Does your book need a rock solid foundation or a paint touch-up? #editing vs #proofreadingClick To Tweet

Where to Find Professional Proofreading Service

Now that you know the differences between editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders, and you know you really should have a proofreader look at your book before you publish, how do you find one that’s qualified for your project but doesn’t break the bank?

The truth is, there are many places to find proofreaders. The hard part is figuring out how to find qualified proofreaders. Luckily, I’ve got some great resources for ya 😉

There are some agencies out there that claim to do this, however, you’ll find that they don’t let you directly work with the proofreader. That’s why it’s important you find one that you can develop a relationship with so you can work together as a team.

So, to help you find a qualified proofreader, here are a few places you can look:

Proofread Anywhere Students

Each and every one of these proofreaders has gone through my rigorous training AND passed a final exam to prove their competency. They know their stuff and are ready to work with you on your manuscript!

Here is a list of my best students, their specialty, and their website:

Proofreading Service Providers

Myriah C. BoudreauxCatholicism, Homeschooling, Writing, Music Reviews
Laura ClarkPolitics, Radiologic Technologies, child rearing
Teresa Clark
Lovinia DickensAcademic Research, Musical terminology
Rachel Jones Graphic design and website creation
Edee LemonierLiterary fiction, science fiction, poetry, short stories, essays, full-length manuscripts (75k+ words)
Nancy MaffiaLight editing, horticulture, plant identification, nature study
Jennifer NavarreEducation, writing, government, children's literature, ESL/ELL
Khelsea PurvisPicture Books, Comic Books, and Graphic Novels
Jody SkinnerMusic literature/notation, general nonfiction, fiction, university papers, spiritual growth & Bible studies
Catherine TurnerNonfiction proofreader and copyeditor for self-publishing authors, bloggers, and online entrepreneurs. Genres include true crime, entrepreneurship, online business, travel, and self-help.
Julie WellerTeaching English (high school and university)
Beth WojiskiLegal documents, newsletters, training/documentation & technical materials
Mara WoosleyWebsites, blogs, marketing materials, newsletters, short stories & research papers
Ebook LaunchEvery genre of fiction and nonfiction

Are you curious to hear Caitlin & Dave's conversation about how proofreading can help your book and you as an author?

Join their coffee chat below.

Podcast Episode: Proofreading For Your Book


I think Upwork and Fiverr sometimes get a bad rap because there are SO many freelancers on there. But it is possible to find a great proofreader if you take the time to narrow down your search. If you do decide to use one of these, be sure to check any books listed that they’ve done and look at the reviews. If they don’t have any reviews or they have worked on books that have negative reviews for grammar, then move on.

If you do decide to hire someone from here, here are a couple of articles that will help you become a Ninja at this:
10 Tips to Source and Hire the Best Freelancers Online
A Guide to Finding an Editor on Fiverr
Top-Rated Freelance Proofreaders on Upwork

Editorial Freelancers Association

The EFA is a great resource for both authors and proofreaders. The Member Directory is a great place to search for proofreaders that have the specific skills and experience authors are looking for. Authors can also post ads for their projects on the Job List and have proofreaders contact them directly to apply for the gig. You can check out both resources on the EFA’s website.

Colleagues/Word of Mouth

If you know any authors (either in person or virtually), ask them for a recommendation. There’s no better vote of confidence than someone who has already worked with a proofreader and can vouch for their skills.

Want to Become a Proofreader On the Side?

Many authors have a knack for proofreading already. Some of us are just wired for it. So, if you’re interested in learning how to not only provide proofreading service but create a side gig that helps make some side income, then be sure to check out my course, General Proofreading: Theory and Practice™.

In my course, I teach not only the skills needed to become a great proofreader, but I also teach how to find (and keep) clients. Marketing is such a huge component of any freelance business, so I make sure my students have all the tools they need to be successful in the industry. They know how to work with author preferences and can proofread your baby book like a pro.

Plus, there are a lot of benefits to being a proofreader, other than making a couple thousand a month on the side. Through this side job you can:

• Develop connections with other authors in your genre that can help you when you launch your next book
• Gain a better grasp of your genre and the different writing styles
• Get books for free in your favorite genre
• And more!

(If you want to learn more about becoming a work-at-home proofreader, watch my free 45-minute workshop. No risk and all reward!)

Ever been called the 'Grammar Police?' Embrace your inner word nerd and turn it into a legit side hustle #proofreading #grammarnerdClick To Tweet

Let’s Do This!

So, now that you understand what proofreading is and where it fits into the whole writing process, and how to find excellent proofreading service, be sure to implement this service at the right time and for the right cost.

It can really help with your book, its success, and your legitimacy as an author.

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Standardized Editorial Test

Picking the right editor for your book can be hard. We authors don’t really know how to compare two editors and see which one is better…until now. When you go to hire an editor, have them take this test sample article. Then look at our answer key and see which editor scored the best. That way you know their level of quality.

8 thoughts on “Best Proofreading Services You’ll Ever Find

  1. saad sohail

    Hello Dave.
    Off topic question.
    I came across your article about kindle keywords. But There is one thing i do not understand.
    You see the whole purpose about kindle keywords is to rank number one on amazon search results for a particular keyword, which in turn would boost your sales rank.
    I have seen a very strange phenomena on amazon kindle search results. Sometimes when i type in a specific keyword, a particular book with a very poor ABSR seems to occupy first position on the first page and another book with an extremely good amazon sales rank lands on 14th place or sometimes even on the second or third page.So my question is shouldn’t that be other way round or am i missing something?Why would a very poor performing book finishes 1st on amazon search results and a very good book lands way downwards for the “same keyword.”?

    1. Dave Chesson

      Hi Saad, so long story short, your sales rank is representative of how many books you sell per day as compared to all other books while your keyword results position is dependent on a whole big algorithm and not simply sales rank. If you are interested in learning more about how rankings work you can sign up for my newsletter and get my free rankings ebook.

      1. saad sohail

        Thanks a lot for your reply, Dave.
        I got hold of that ebook. It is beautifully written and explained.
        It answered every question that i had.Thanks once again. Your website is of great help for noobs like me.

        1. Dave Chesson

          No problem, seriously glad to help!

  2. BillinColo

    Hi Dave (and Caitlin) — Great article! (That is your normal mode, from yourself and guests.) I’m curious about why more men aren’t shown on the list. I counted a grand total of just two. Do men think this is a women`s occupation, and so do not enter it? Or, do clients make the difference? That is, do they not hire men to do proofreading? Any guesses, Dave or Caitlin?

    1. Caitlin Pyle

      Hi there! That is a great but somewhat difficult question to answer. I cannot speak to how men think (I wish I could!), and I sincerely hope that clients do not discriminate against anyone when hiring. I will say that many people do not realize they can make money proofreading, and it tends to be a hidden gem in the work-at-home world. I know many of my students are stay-at-home or homeschooling moms, which could factor into why you see more women on the list. The great thing is that I *am* seeing more men enrolling in my course every week, so that list might change soon 🙂 Hope that helps!

  3. Virginia Reeves

    Thanks Caitlin for a specific look at the differences. I’m definitely hanging onto your list of recommended people.

    1. Caitlin Pyle

      You’re very welcome, Virginia! I’m sure they’ll be able to provide you with the high-quality proofreading services you need 🙂

Comments are closed.