Note: It has been brought to my attention that I failed to note that I ultimately chose not to implement the process outlined below. This omission happened while revising the original post and was unintentional. See comments for more.
This winter past I spent a fair bit of time thinking about how best to finish the editing process of my short story collection, The Year of the Elm. In particular I considered a number of possible proofreading solutions in order to track down as many typos and errors as possible. Along with hiring an editor, doing the work myself, or using a service like Bite-Sized Edits, I came up with what I thought might be a way to merge the inherent functionality of Smashwords with the goal of open-source proofreading.
In an exchange of emails, Smashwords CEO Mark Coker graciously helped me refine the idea in a manner consistent with the Smashwords TOS, which states that only finished works can be published through the site:
9d. You further warrant the book represents a complete work:
• this is not a work-in-progress
• the uploaded file is not a partial sample or sample chapter, or is not a collection of sample chapters
• the uploaded book represents a complete story with a beginning, middle and end
Because any work (fiction or nonfiction) that is ready for proofreading should be finished in every other respect, the proofreading process falls into a gray area relative to this requirement. For that reason, I need to stress that the proofing I am talking about is just that: a final attempt to track down typos and other miscellaneous errors after the entire work has been written, revised, edited and checked by as many eyes as possible. A work that has errors on every page, or obvious mistakes in abundance, is in need of copy editing, and is not what I would deem a finished work. [ Read more ]