Crowd Sourcing

Crowd sourcing is the technique of deconstructing work and sharing it amongst a number of people. This is ideally suited to a task such as blind proofreading. Blind proofreading involves checking a manuscript for typographical errors prior to printing. Traditionally, this was the last check prior to the actual print run, and traditionally it wasn’t ‘blind’. This term was introduced when proofreaders no longer compared the proof with another clean document, but instead used their own experience to spot and correct errors.

So why should you, and how can you crowd source your manuscript?

If you are confident that you have corrected the major editorial errors but want to ensure that easily missed spelling, word misuse, punctuation or other typographic mistakes are corrected, a proofread is an economical way to achieve this. Perhaps you intend to address these corrections before editing to speed up that task, as a clean document will make the editor’s job easier.

You may commission a single proofreader to complete this task, but several pairs of eyes will usually spot more errors. Our suggested practice is to divide your manuscript into sections of around 25 to 50 pages each, and send each section to two different proofreaders. This may mean you have a dozen or more proofreaders working on your manuscript at the same time. The fact that they work concurrently speeds up the proofreading process significantly because it’s much faster to read 50 pages than it is 300. It also means the proofreaders are less prone to tiredness.

Proofreaders can be asked use the ‘Track Changes’ feature in their word processing software to ensure you can see the corrections that have been made. You may then approve or reject them.

You will receive two independently scrutinised versions of each section from every pair of proofreaders and that will allow you to create a clean and fully proofread manuscript.

The total cost will be roughly the same as employing two proofreaders (or the same proofreader twice) to work on your manuscript, but this way is quicker and more likely to result in a perfect final copy.

To implement the crowd sourcing approach, see our list of professionals here, but don’t hesitate to ask if you need further guidance.