From experience, I know that especially self-publishers save when it comes to the proofreading of their text. That’s understandable, because a professional editing costs quite a lot of money and the correction by friends is there a low-priced option. What speaks for a correction by friends, what against? Or in other words, what can friends do and what not?
First of all, it makes sense to tell your friends exactly what to look for when proofreading. As a rule, friends only read the text once, focusing on either spelling, grammar, and punctuation, or content and style.
If you ask your friends to read your manuscript from a stylistic point of view, think in advance how you would like the corrections: Is it enough for you when your friends mark the jobs in question or should you also make suggestions for rewriting them? The latter is a lot of work – and can sometimes overwhelm friends.
The main advantage is that proofreading by friends costs nothing. In addition, friends are often ready to get started right away. Besides there are all sorts of disadvantages:
As a rule, friends only do a proofreading, which is not enough to really work through a text. For this he must be read at least twice.
Friends are rarely one hundred percent saddle-fast in spelling, grammar and punctuation.
The comments on style are usually limited to the marking of corners and edges with friends.
Sometimes friends do not dare openly speak critically.
Especially with literary book projects, friends do not have the necessary experience to assess the quality.
If several friends have split their very long text, different standards are applied to proofreading.
If you have your book manuscript proofread by a lecturer, this has several advantages:
The same person reads the text in terms of grammar, spelling, punctuation, style, and content – at least twice.
The editor has more patience than your friends.
You do not have to have a bad conscience because you pay the editor.
An editor is a foreign person you hire. So you or he knows only your text and not you. For the assessment of the quality of a manuscript or for its processing, a tunnel view is very conducive.
She or he is professional and the quality of the text is in the end significantly better than if it was read by friends proofread. After having consulted with you, the lecturer also intervenes more deeply in the text: changing passages, sharpening or reformulating thoughts, tightening the text – all this is what you / your job is.
But professional proofreading also has disadvantages:
It costs money.
Maybe the editor of your choice does not have time right away.
In my eyes and from my own experience, the proofreading of a book manuscript by friends is only sufficient if the book is published by a publisher and makes a professional editing. In all other cases, feedback from friends can be an important step towards a good book, but nothing more. Professional is now professional and lecturers and editors understand their craft. They make your text fit for publication. And often they make a manuscript so fit that it is accepted by a publisher, which many first-authors dream of.