Once upon a time, I offered publishing services to other authors. It was an interesting experience, and I met some very nice people. I also learned about the misconceptions authors sometimes have about the services publishers provide.
What publishers do
Publishing services, sometimes called partnership publishing, print and distribute your book. Some may offer other services, such as typesetting and cover design, while others may not. I was a graphic designer before I became an author, so I offered typesetting and cover design. The only services I didn’t offer were illustrating and editing.
For the most part, my authors were pleased with my work. I would send them the proofs. Once the author approved them, I would publish their book. Then came the problems. Now that they had their printed copy in hand, they found typos and misspellings. And why hadn’t I caught those errors and fixed them before I published their book?
Because it wasn’t my job.
What publishers don’t do
When it comes to independent publishing, or self publishing, it is oftentimes the author, and not the publisher, who is responsible for editing and proofreading their manuscripts. This is why you need to carefully review the contract before you sign it.
As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, It Takes a Team to Write a Book, there is a lot involved in writing and publishing a book. Editors and proofreaders are also needed. They are the people who catch your errors before the book goes to the publisher.
As human beings, it’s difficult for us to see our own mistakes. This is why we need a fresh pair of eyes to go over our manuscripts. I use both an editor and a proofreader before publishing my work. The editor does most of the heavy lifting. He or she looks for spelling errors, grammatical errors, continuity errors, and to insure the author is using the proper syntax. The proofreader comes in later to catch any errors the editor may have missed. Even so, we’re all human, and there will always be those few mistakes we all missed. The goal is to catch as many as we can.
Of course, if I happened to catch an error, I would fix it and let the author know. However, typesetters simply don’t have time to read the text. They’re only concerned about how the text appears on the page, so please, don’t count on these people to look for typos and other mistakes. They’re not proofreaders.
Unfortunately, I soon discovered that it simply wasn’t profitable for me to publish books for other authors, so I no longer offer this service. However, it was still a good learning experience, so I have no regrets.