Am I likely to still find errors after your edit/proofread?

Am I likely to still find errors after your edit/proofread?

Sadly, yes.  There’s a number thrown around a lot in editing fields, which is 95% accuracy.  Even though 95% accuracy sounds high, it means that a 100,000-word manuscript could still end up with a whopping 5000 errors.  This was reportedly said by a senior editor from Gollancz at WorldCon in 2014:

“When I joined Gollancz they explained how editing works. The copy editor catches errors the author missed, the proofreader catches errors the copy editor missed, the printer catches errors the proofreader missed, and there will still be errors.”

The reason our tier-based pricing starts off at 0-5% is that the majority of manuscripts will fall within that category.  In real terms, by the time we finish editing or proofreading a manuscript, we’ll have made between 3.5% and 4.5% of revisions.  Please also bear in mind that almost every manuscript we receive has already been edited by the author three or four times, then passed on to a developmental editor, then back to the author, and the author may even pass it on to a copy editor before sending it to us.  Yet we’re still able to catch between another 3.5% and 4.5% of issues.

This is because some editors won’t include a comma after an introductory clause, or they’ll avoid using commas before “and”, regardless of context, because many believe that the number of commas used should be cut down.  Similarly, some editors will allow commas where semicolons should be used or semicolons where periods should be used to split sentences, or splitting sentences with periods where a semicolon would have added flow.  Other editors would avoid that entirely by adding a couple of words to bring the sentences into a single compound sentence.  There ARE rules, but there are also myriad contradictions and every editor will have their own interpretation of what constitutes correct.

Ultimately, the job of your editor and proofreader is to make your book flow as much as possible, to make the experience pleasant for the reader.  To give you an example of how many errors could be missed, time and again, we should look at Tolkien’s work.  If you’re not aware, J R R Tolkein was actually an editor himself… of the Oxford English Dictionary.  Despite that, errors are still found in his work to this day, even though they’ve been through countless revisions over time.  It is reported that the 50th Anniversary Edition of The Lord of the Rings had more than 300 errors fixed from the previous edition.  When it comes to the next edition, they’ll likely find another 300.

Take a look at this breakdown of The Hobbit, as an example: