TTRPG Proofreading

Hi - I'm Neil,

I proofread roleplaying games for publishers, independent authors and designers.

I've been playing and running tabletop roleplaying games for the last 35 years, and I've been involved  in the industry since I founded Paladin Roleplaying in 2017.

I've always been of a bit of a word-nerd: it bugs me when I see out of place apostrophes, typos and bad layout in games, and I want to help you make sure your game looks professional and doesn't contain unnecessary mistakes that could have been prevented.

What is proofreading?

Proofreading is a final look over your game before it is finalised and/or goes off for printing in order to:

  • Correct grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • Ensure that your meaning is clear
  • Apply the house style (if any)
  • Ensure consistency in spelling, capitalisation, formatting, number style and hyphenation
  • Check design and layout
  • Flag awkward page or column breaks and end-of-line word divisions
  • Check text is internally consistent for sense
  • Cross-check internal references and links

Proofreading is not about rewriting your manuscript. I'll tidy it up and make sure that it is consistent, makes sense and looks professional, but also ensure that it is elegant and that it retains your individuality, style and voice.

As well as looking for typos, grammar and punctuation mistakes, it's important that your document is consistent. For instance, 'dwarfs' and 'dwarves' are both acceptable spellings, but you should choose one and stick with it. Likewise, words like 'recognise' are perfectly fine with either -ize or -ise endings, but it's not good to mix-and-match them within the same text. It's the same thing when there are various acceptable ways to use punctuation.

In the mechanics section of your game, it's especially important that your meaning is clear. Things that seem obvious to you might not be to your reader; if they find your rules unclear or confusing it can cause a lot of problems – in the worst case they give up and your game never even makes it to the table.

I will also check the layout of your file. Is the formatting correct and consistent? Are tables correctly referenced? Do you have uneven spacings? Are page refences accurate?

Before you get proofreading done, your manuscript should already have been looked at by multiple sets of eyes – ideally one of them a professional copyeditor. If you still have playtesting to do, material to write or layout to finalise, then you're not ready for proofreading yet. 

Types of projects I work on

I am happy to help you with anything game related! Whether that's a big chunky trad-style RPG gamebook or a little indie zine, even a one-page game is fine (no job too small!) I'm also happy to work on non-TTRPG games, for instance board games or other game or nerd culture material – feel free to get in touch if you want to run your idea past me.

I'm also happy to work on Kickstarter pages, websites, and related materials.

Style sheets and style guides

A style sheet is a document that contains style decisions on spelling choices, punctuation, capitalisation, hyphenation, etc. The style sheet records decisions about the text, and helps to ensure consistency. You may already have a preferred style guide or house style sheet – if so, I'll work to that. If not, that's OK, I'll create one for you as I work. I'm happy to work with either UK or US English.

Sample Proofreads

If you haven't worked with me before, or if you've never worked with a professional proofreader or editor before, it can be helpful to get a sample proofread. Just send me a sample of your work, and I'll proofread it and return it so you can get an idea of how I work and what's involved. There's no charge for this service, as it also helps me to get a feel for your project and quote a fair price.

Why choose me?

Most proofreaders who work on tabletop games fall into one of two categories: 

1. Trained editors who have little or no experience of gaming
2. Experienced gamers with no formal training in proofreading or editing

What I can offer is a combination of the two - high quality formal training by the Chartered Institute Of Editors And Proofreaders (the UK's leading institution), and lots of experience and knowledge in the TTRPG field.

I will always follow your brief, meet your expectations and deliver a project to your deadlines. And I will always work with you in a professional, friendly and non-judgemental manner.

Why can't you do all this yourself or crowdsource it?

Well, you can – but probably not all that well. For a start, it's almost impossible to spot your own mistakes. You already know what your document is supposed to say, and your brain will fill in the gaps and gloss over the little mistakes.

Even if you widely distribute a beta or playtest version of your game and ask for feedback, a lot will get missed. A whole load of untrained eyes doesn't equal a trained professional who knows what to look for and how to look for it!

Plus, crowdsourcing your proofreading makes a LOT of work for you, with comments coming in dribs and drabs from different people at different times and maybe even in different formats. There will be lots of repetition, some things missed completely and some feedback that doesn't make sense, or is plain wrong. You have to try and keep track, make sense of it all and put it into some kind of order. It's a lot of work.

If you go to a professional proofreader you'll get everything back to you in one document, and you or your layout designer can make all the changes at once. At that point you can distribute the pdf of your game for further feedback if you like, knowing that you've already dealt with 99 per cent of the errors.

What does it cost?

The short answer: there's no fixed price. It depends on the length and complexity of your game, and how much work is needed. If you've already employed a professional editor and/or have an existing stylesheet, that will reduce the workload and lower the price. If not, that's fine, but it may take me a bit longer and cost a little more.

I'll need to see your manuscript (or a sample of it) first, and then I can give you a price. I'll always do my best to work within your budget.

How long does it take?

Again, it depends on length and complexity. I'll be able to give you an idea once I've had a look at it. I'm happy to work to your deadlines, so long as they're reasonable – rapid turnaround is sometimes possible but incurs a higher fee.

What about confidentiality?

Your game, and any other material you send me to work on, stays completely confidential. I'm happy to sign an NDA if you'd like me to.

Want to know more?

I'm very happy to talk it over and answer any questions you might have. The best way to get hold of me initially is generally by email: contact me