A proofreading course could be the only thing stopping you from earning £20/hour from the comfort of your own home. But why are these courses so expensive?
(If you're too busy to plough through all this wordage, why not click here for the short version, or watch the brief video presentation below?)
I’ve been proofreading and copy editing for over 20 years. As a freelancer I’ve proofread and edited everything from novels and short fiction to complex clinical data and in-depth technical prospectuses. As Operations Manager in the publishing department of one of the UK’s largest retailers, I hired proofreaders, managed them and their workload, supported them and took responsibility for their professional development.
I understand proofreading, proofreaders and precisely what a potential employer will be looking for when considering hiring a proofreader.
With all of that in mind, read on. Unless you have money to burn, that is...
Why are most proofreading courses so expensive?
Because they follow the traditional lesson-exercise-assessment-qualification route. This particular method incurs a great deal of cost for the course provider. The overheads of such a traditional training operation – administration, salaries, correspondence, materials and the sheer logistics of it all – can be very steep indeed. That’s where your £150 (or more) is going.
And the fact is, many people are only too willing to part with these exorbitant sums of money when they discover that proofreaders can charge more than £20 per hour for their services. But don't let these potential rewards tempt you into parting with more cash than you need to as you take your first steps on the road to becoming a proofreader.
Is all this expense really necessary?
No, it isn’t necessary, at all. There are two aspects of the above operational approach that are utterly dispensable: assessments and qualifications, both of which incur high costs for the training provider, costs which are passed onto you, the eager proofreader-in-waiting. Let’s take a look at each in turn.
Assessments, what are they good for?
Absolutely nothing. Most proofreading courses tell you how to proofread then assess your progress. You send course work in and someone marks it. By and large, this course work consists of proofreading exercises. These exercises are likely to take the form of out-of-copyright material – extracts from Pride and Prejudice or A Tale of Two Cities, for example – with deliberate errors incorporated into the text. You receive marks for spotting these deliberate mistakes.
But wait a minute. What exactly are these assessors marking? With a proofreading exercise, you either spot the errors or you don’t. Do you really need someone to point out the errors you’ve identified and those you’ve missed? Surely, you can do this for yourself. As long as the answers are made available to you, you’re perfectly capable of assessing your own progress.
Proofreading qualifications, are they worth the paper on which they’re printed?
I have never once been asked to produce a proofreading qualification. Not once, and I’ve been proofreading, freelance and full time, since 1989. What’s more, whilst working as an operations manager, I never once asked a candidate to produce a proofreading qualification. Nor did the Human Resources department include the possession of a proofreading qualification in their recruitment criteria when producing the job specification for the proofreader role.
But don’t take my word for it. Visit any online recruitment website, search for proofreader opportunities and see how often proofreading qualifications are mentioned. You’ll soon see just how useless these qualifications are.
Don’t get me wrong, they may come into play as some kind of deal-breaker between equally matched candidates, but that’s about it.
If I don’t need assessments and qualifications, what do I need to become a professional proofreader?
It’s remarkably simple. You’ll need to learn the meaning and application of proofreading symbols. Then, you’ll need to learn a robust and effective proofreading methodology. Armed with these symbols and this methodology, you’ll need to practice. And practice. And practice. Once you’re confident you can proofread, you’ll need to gain some experience. Once you have a little experience behind you, you’ll just need to put yourself out there, market yourself.
So, where can I find these ‘proofreading symbols’, and this ‘robust and effective proofreading methodology’?
In The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course downloadable eBook. What’s more you’ll find an abundance of advice on how to gain proofreading experience and how to approach potential employers and make yourself visible in the freelance proofreading marketplace.
As for proofreading exercises, you’ll find plenty of free regularly updated exercises, with answers, on this very website. Plus, this unique proofreading eBook points you to a near-limitless supply of challenging proofreading ‘exercises’ that will not only sharpen your skills but will also provide your resume with a significant credibility boost.
And all for just £19.99.
Because you’ll be assessing your own progress and because I won’t be trying to sell you a qualification that’s of virtually no use in the proofreading job market, I don’t have any of the costly overheads that most proofreading courses pass onto their students. I’ve simply distilled 20 years of proofreading knowledge and experience into an easy-to-digest, simple to download eBook. It's packed with tips, techniques and sound advice.
So confident am I that you’ll find everything you need in my proofreading eBook, I offer a 30-day money-back guarantee!
If, after reading my eBook, you don’t feel that it's set you on the road to confidently pursuing genuine, professional proofreading opportunities, just let me know within 30 days of purchase and I’ll refund you in full, no questions, no quibbles.
So far, I've only had five request for refunds. And the eBook has been selling steadily since 2009!
For a limited time only: order NOW and receive NINE essential eBooks ABSOLUTELY FREE! That's over 1,000 pages of indispensable material to help launch you on your proofreading career!
Most proofreading courses actually have the audacity to charge you a premium for the kind of grammar instruction you can easily find in relatively inexpensive books like Fowlers Modern English Usage. At The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course, we're giving you all the English grammar information you need, absolutely free! When you pay for the eBook, you'll find yourself directed to a download page which includes the course plus the nine great eBooks below.
OVER 1,000 PAGES exploring the finer points of English grammar, punctuation, spelling, linguistics and the role of the proofreader. Plus pages and pages of proofreading exercises (you know, the kind of thing most proofreading courses will expect you to pay through the teeth for?).
An English Grammar by W.M. Baskervill and J.W. Sewell
Covers everything you need to know about English grammar, from the parts of speech, through sentence analysis to syntax. Packed with invaluable information as well as heaps of challenging exercises to help you hone your skills, this is an essential volume for any budding proofreader.
The Importance of the Proof-Reader by John Wilson
A paper read by John Wilson before the Club of Odd Volumes in Boston. Originally published by the Cambridge University Press. Here’s a little sample, "Many intelligent persons regard the duty of a proof-reader as consisting in simply following his copy and in securing the proper spelling of words. If this,
however, were the sum of his accomplishments, many an author would come to grief.”
Stops. Or How to Punctuate, a Practical Guide for Writers and Students by Paul Allardyce
This handy guide details the uses (and abuses) of every punctuation mark: the full stop, comma, colon, semicolon, question mark, exclamation mark, parenthesis, inverted commas, apostrophe, ellipsis, dash and hyphen (and, yes, there is a difference between a dash and a hyphen).
Write It Right by Ambrose Bierce
This is a compendium of literary and linguistic pet peeves by Ambrose Bierce, the prolific satirist and journalist, author of the much-loved Devil’s Dictionary. Interestingly, some of his targets have now crept into popular usage, while others are still hotly debated. Bierce’s withering tones are irresistible.
American and British English: Key Differences in Grammar and Spelling
As a proofreader, you’ll doubtless be hunting for work online. This is almost certain to result in offers from the other side of the Atlantic. So, it helps to know your ‘tap’ from your ‘faucet’, your ‘nappy’ from your ‘diaper’ and your ‘boot’ from your ‘trunk’. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This eBook
explores everything from verb morphology and use of tenses to vocabulary and idioms. Essential.
A Spelling Book for Advanced Classes by William T. Adams
Although we live in the age of the spell checker, there really is no substitute for the human brain. These 163 spelling tests will challenge and develop even the most enthusiastic Scrabble or Boggle fanatic, with words like ‘succedaneum’, ‘hornblende’, ‘mucilaginous’ and ‘auscultation’. Fun and educational.
1001 Questions and Answers on Orthography and Reading by B.A. Hathaway
Orthography is the science and art of the letters of a language and concerns the nature and power of letters, and correct spelling. A useful (not to mention fascinating) bedrock for any up-and-coming proofreader. Why become just a proofreader when you can become a knowledgeable and captivating proofreader?
20 Proofreading Exercises
The 20 FREE proofreading exercises available on this website conveniently bundled into a single easy to download, easy to access eBooklet. A crucial part of any proofreading training course and the kind of thing most proofreading classes will fully expect you to pay for.
The Internet’s First Novel-Length Proofreading Exercise
Available to buy elsewhere on this site, this unique proofreading exercise is available FREE with The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course. Approximately 100 subtle, hard-to-spot errors have been secreted within this distractingly readable text (the wonderful 'Peter Pan'). Not just a proofreading exercise, this is a proofreading concentration and endurance test that will help prepare you for the real world of professional proofreading, whether you'll be proofreading from home or in a busy office or studio environment. Your proofreading training will not be complete until you've persevered through this arduous little proofreading test. Forget proofreading qualifications; this is all you need to prove to yourself that you've got what it takes to chase after those proofreading jobs with confidence.
All of these volumes should form an essential part of any proofreader's arsenal before they set out to defend the written word. Most proofreading courses will charge you a pretty penny for this crucial information. But not The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course.
Buy The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course right now for just £19.99!
To find out more about precisely what's in The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course, click here.
And don't forget to make the most of our free proofreading exercises, resource links and regularly updated proofreading blog.
UK or US, it’s all the same to me. Or why this proofreading course is suitable for budding proofreaders on both sides of the Atlantic (or anywhere in the English-speaking world, for that matter).
Most proofreading courses have the nerve to include chapters (or ‘modules’ as they no doubt like to call them) on grammar and spelling. This is problematic for two reasons.
Firstly, it devalues the proofreading course because this information is available far more cheaply elsewhere. If you add up the cost of most proofreading courses then assign a cash value to each page, you’ll soon discover that you’re paying an awful lot more for your grammar instruction than you would be had you simply purchased a copy of Fowler’s Modern English Usage or Garner's Modern American Usage.
Secondly, by adding modules on grammar, the proofreading course in question instantly becomes anchored to a particular landmass: the United Kingdom or the United States of America. The differences between these closely related grammars isn’t dramatic, but it is enough to make a proofreading course slightly unsuitable for one nation or the other.
By avoiding grammar instruction, The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course is able to bridge the Atlantic and teach both British and American proofreaders-in-waiting the skills and techniques they’ll need to take their first steps toward a professional proofreading career. Plus, The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course comes with a free eBooklet: American and British English, Key Differences in Grammar and Spelling, with a view to enabling those who’ve completed their training to offer their skills anywhere in the English-speaking world. And, in this digital age, the freelance proofreading market is truly international.
So, whether you’re looking for a proofreading course in London, a proofreading course in New York or a proofreading course in Hong Kong, The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course is for you.
What are you waiting for? It's just £19.99! And it could very well be the best £19.99 you ever spend!
Given that proofreaders can charge £20 per hour or more for their services, you could recoup the cost of this proofreading course with just one small freelance proofreading assignment!
Click here to find out more
about Mike Sellars, author of
"I am one of those many fools who paid a huge amount of money for a useless course.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and, unfortunately, I didn’t come across Mike’s website until it was too late. We live and learn.
If anyone is doubting this book, you shouldn’t; it opened so many doors for me. In fact, it changed my life.
I now work with clients across the globe and it was Mike that gave me the tools and the confidence to go out there and do it."
Emma is just starting out but has already created her own website, acquired a roster of clients and received some impressive testimonials of her own!
Visit her website here.
Proofreading Course Content:
(Think of each chapter as a lesson in a simple, practical syllabus, a one-to-one tutorial of sorts).
Chapter 1. Proofreading is not an innate talent. It can be taught. That’s precisely what this proofreading course promises to do. Or your money back.
Chapter 2. What a proofreader does and doesn’t do. This proofreading course gives you a day-in-the-life of the proofreader and covers the differences between proofreading and copy editing.
Chapter 3. Proofreaders’ marks and how to use them. No proofreading course would be complete without this chapter. But this proofreading course also tells you when proofreading symbols can be dispensed with entirely.
Chapter 4. Nothing gives the false impression that a skill cannot be learned than apparently impenetrable terminology. This chapter of the proofreading course cuts through the fog.
Chapter 5. Rather than being about innate talents, effective proofreading is about methodology and technique. This proofreading course teaches my own personal methodology developed over more than 20 years.
Chapter 6. What separates the amateur proofreader from the professional proofreader? It’s how they approach the supposedly corrected proofs. It’s during this messier phase of the proofreading process that serious errors can creep in. This proofreading course tells how to avoid these catastrophes.
Chapter 7. There was a time when a proofreader checked a proof (hence the job title). However, in this digital age, proofreading electronic media is becoming
increasingly prevalent. This chapter of the proofreading course explores the pitfalls and the opportunities.
Chapter 8. How to bridge the gap between proofreading and copy editing. The move from ‘accuracy control’ to ‘quality control’. This chapter of the proofreading course tells all.
Chapter 9. How to set up your proofreading business right now, for next to nothing. A proofreading course alone is useless if it doesn’t tell you how to promote yourself once you’ve acquired the necessary skills. This proofreading course doesn’t shirk this responsibility.
Chapter 10. Another thing most proofreading courses fail to prepare you for: what to do when it all goes wrong and you let an error sneak through into a completed publication. Don’t panic! This chapter tells you how to prepare for this eventuality.
Chapter 11. The proofreader’s toolkit. An inventory of a few things you’ll need in order to operate as an effective proofreader. Along with The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course, obviously!
AND ALL FOR JUST £19.99
Follow me on Twitter
As well as tweeting my own thoughts on the topic of proofreading, I also regularly retweet any proofreading contract and career opportunities I come across.
And check out our blog.
It's packed with really useful information about and insights into the world of proofreading. Take a look at the excerpts below...
There’s much more to this site than a proofreading course sales pitch!
Take a look around. You’ll find information and opinions concerning, amongst other things:
Proofreading qualifications, proofreading from home, the pros and cons of proofreading home learning and correspondence courses (and distance learning
generally), the pitfalls of a professional proofreading career, finding jobs in proofreading, how to get the most from my proofreading eBook, why college and night-school proofreading classes really aren’t necessary, maintaining your
proofreading muscle with regular proofreading training, creating and promoting an effective home-based proofreading business, how much proofreaders should charge, where to find an abundance of proofreading practice, and lots more that, with or without my proofreading course, will help you develop and polish your proofreading skills.
This website really is a boon to anyone looking to take up professional proofreading, whether you’re in New York City, London, Honk Kong, Melbourne, New Delhi or Bombay, you’ll find something here of value.
In fact, this website is a boon even if you don't want to become a proofreader. Even if you just want to learn how to proofread to assist you in your existing career, improve your career opportunities or just help you check your school, college or university work effectively, you'll find something of use here.
Bookmark this page right now! If you’re serious about proofreading, I guarantee, you’ll want to come back.
The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course website contains a wealth of
The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course: Copyright © Michael Sellars and Jeff Fullerton 2012
The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course: Copyright © Michael Sellars and Jeff Fullerton 2012