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Oops Detection® FAQ

New to Oops Detection?

You’ve come to the right place. Before you begin, please take a look at my article on the process of production. You might find some of your questions answered there. If you don’t see your question here, do feel free to e-mail me.

Q What is Oops Detection?
A: Oops Detection is a final-pass read. You’ll sometimes see it referred to as a “cold read.” It’s meant to be a last check for lingering typos and the editing artifacts (missing spaces, extra spaces, double words, etc.) that sometimes occur as a byproduct of using Track Changes in Word.

Q What’s the difference between Oops Detection and your proofreading service?

A: Proofreading is done after editing and is done within the manuscript utilizing Track Changes, much like editing. Proofreading checks for punctuation, grammar, and spelling as well as adherence to a style guide. Oops Detection is mainly concerned with spotting typos, usage / spelling errors, and formatting glitches as well as editing artifacts.

Q What stage of the production process is Oops Detection?

A: Oops Detection should be the very last stage of editing prepublication. It’s a last set of eyes looking over everything before you hit publish.

Q How long does it take?

A: A good rule of thumb is one business day per 20K words of your manuscript, plus another day for me to put together your report. As an example, an 80K-word manuscript would take five days ( (80K / 20K = 4) + 1 = 5 ). This is from the time we start work on the manuscript, which is not necessarily the same as the day you sent it to us.

Q Can I get it done faster? I’m under deadline.

A: Sometimes. If we do a project on an expedited schedule, previously scheduled projects still have their deadlines, so that means we’ll essentially be working on two projects at once. Sometimes this isn’t possible. If it is, though, we’ll do everything we can to meet your deadline. Expedite fees are double the normal reading fee.

Q When should I schedule my project / how is scheduling handled for walk-ins?

A: Ideally as soon as possible. Walk-ins are added to the schedule in the first available slot. Depending on what our schedule looks like, there might be a bit of a wait. Feel free to e-mail me if you have questions regarding our ability to fit you in by a certain date.

Q How are prices figured?

A: Oops Detection is billed in two parts. The first is a reading fee, which is assessed per word. The second is a flat fee per billable oops. A billable oops is an item which is in the dictionary, missing / extra words and spaces, and missing terminal punctuation such as no close quotes or a missing period. We’ll often mark things that are punctuation issues and or style choices, but those items aren’t typically billed.

Current rates are listed on the Oops Detection page.

Q Omigod, that’s expensive! Don’t you offer a flat-rate service?

A: The average Oops Detection works out to be about .0015 – .003 per word. That’s very reasonable. Keep in mind, it’s supposed to be a last check, not a full proofread. However, if your manuscript has many errors, it can definitely add up quickly. If that’s the case, we generally try to let you know before we get too far into the project.

Q Can I send you a sample?
A: Sorry, no. While I do offer editing and proofreading samples, the nature of Oops Detection doesn’t lend itself to a sample. You might have zero errors in the first ten pages of your novel and then one per page after that. There’s just no way to know. You can, however, download a sample report here.

Q Why isn’t the work done within the manuscript like editing and proofreading?
A: There are several reasons, but the most important ones are these:

  • We do Oops Detection on a Kindle. This lets us check for formatting issues if the project is sent over in a mobi format. If it’s not, I can convert it, though we can’t check for formatting issues in that case.
  • Editing a document in Word often introduces errors as a byproduct of Track Changes. Spaces get added or deleted, a change gets accepted instead of rejected, etc. To prevent this, it’s best to do those last fixes manually within your working document.

Q How is billing handled?
A: The reading fee is billed when we begin work on a project. The final payment is invoiced upon completion of the project. New clients must settle their account before the report is delivered.

Q Okay, I have my report. Now what?

A: Each error is listed as a separate line item in a Word document. The correction has been made within the report via Track Changes. Using the Find feature of Word (usually Ctrl+F), locate the appropriate sentence / error and make your correction, then move to the next item.

A note about looking for corrections: In some instances you’ll want to search for the item to be corrected. Let’s say a character’s name is misspelled–Karen instead of Karin. The item in your report might have Karen looked over her shoulder with Karen struck out and Karin inserted. In that instance, you’d want to do a search for Karen just to make sure there aren’t other instance of that error. Also, we’ll often only mark one instance of an error if it’s something that’s easily searched for–that saves you a bit of money. 🙂

But let’s say the error was Karin looked over here shoulder with here struck out and her inserted. Doing a search for here would be a nightmare. In this example, I’d recommend doing a search for here shoulder.

Q What dictionary / source is used?

A: We use Merriam-Webster Collegiate for books written in American English and Oxford Dictionary for books written in British English as these are the two dictionaries that are generally used by the publishing industry.

Q Why did you mark this word? Cambridge Dictionary spells it that way!

A: As stated above, we use M-W and Oxford. If you’d like to use a different dictionary, please let me know when you schedule your project. This is especially important with compound words, as the same word may be treated differently depending upon the dictionary used.

Q You should have assumed / realized I meant to have it that way.

A: We aren’t mind readers, and you’re not paying us to assume. You’re paying us to make sure your book adheres to your chosen dictionary and provided style guide (if applicable). If you’d prefer certain spellings / treatments of words, please let me know before we start your project.

Q Should I send along a style sheet?

A: While it’s not necessary, we’re always happy to get a style sheet. That prevents misunderstanding such as us marking t-shirt (which Merriam-Webster says should be T-shirt) when you did, in fact, make a style choice to go with t-shirt. It’s also helpful if there are certain words you want capitalized even though they’re lowercase in the dictionary, etc.

Q Money Matters…

A: Here are the answers to the major questions:

  • I invoice using Freshbooks. This will then send you to PayPal where you can then choose your payment methods and such. Please wait to pay until you receive your your invoice–it makes it easier for me to keep my bookkeeping square, and Freshbooks makes it easier for you, too, as you can track your projects and invoices as needed.
  • I accept (and prefer) PayPal. I will accept checks, but again – I GREATLY prefer PayPal. It’s quick, easy, and I can print a nifty little report to take to my accountant when April rolls around.
  • Deposit: For “Oops Detection” clients, I invoice the reading fee in advance. Invoices will be sent within 72 hours of the project’s start. The final invoice will be sent upon completion. For new clients, your report will be held until your account is paid in full.
  • Invoices will be provided for all projects.