I recently learned this valuable lesson. I self-published Immortal Betrayal almost a year ago. Before it went to print, it had been proof-read by no less than 3 sets of eyes besides mine. I think I have mentioned before that I am dyslexic so asking me to proofread something is like asking the rain to dry out your lawn. After making the corrections these three proofreaders gave me, I went ahead and published.
The 3 proofreaders I had were all friends who volunteered to do it for free and are all better than most when it comes to grammatical correctness. Although they are each very good with grammar in general, one specializes in correct punctuation and formatting, one is really good with word usage, and the third is another published author who is also an excellent source for proper spelling. To me, this seemed like a good way to get the bugs worked out of the manuscript.
I was wrong. They are my friends and I love them dearly, but they are not professional proofreaders. The only negative feedback I have had about Immortal Betrayal is the number of grammatical/spelling/typing errors that remain. This only goes to show you get what you pay for.
Now that Immortal Betrayal has been picked up by Thursday Night Press, I am biting the bullet and paying a professional proofreading agency to go over the final manuscript before I give it to them to publish. I held off doing this before because the cost was daunting. But by continuing to search, I have found a company, Skylight Editing, that offers a variety odf services, including simple proofreading, with a scale of prices. A full edit, which includes feedback on the quality of the story, plot, characters, flow, etc. typically runs about $1000-$1500 for a normal sized novel (65k-80k words). But, through Skylinght, I was able to get a thorough proof-read – which focuses only on grammar, typos, punctuation, spelling, and word usage – for under $300. This I can afford. They charge more to do it quickly, but I am not in a hurry, so I paid the lower amount for them to do it in 4 weeks. I sent it to them last weekend, so I’ll let you know the results when I get it back next month.