By: Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas
Do you proofread your book after it’s been laid out for print or formatted for e-reading? You should. Proofreading is the last stage of the editorial process and its goal is to catch any errors that the writer, editor, and book designer or formatter have missed.
Why Your Book Needs Proofreading
By this point in the publishing process, you might be thinking, “Wait a minute. What errors? There shouldn’t be any errors. I hired a
copyeditor to take care of those!”
While a copyeditor will catch most errors, they won’t catch them all. Most editors
agree that 95 percent is the industry standard. What’s more, it’s not possible for a
copyeditor to correct errors that haven’t yet been made.
Every time someone opens your book file—you, your
copyeditor, the formatter or book
designer, or your keyboard-curious cat—an error can potentially be introduced!
Have you ever inadvertently leaned on your space bar while reaching for your latte and inserted extra spaces between words? Copied and pasted a section of text and discovered you missed copying the last sentence? You know what we’re talking about, then. Because these things can happen to a
book’s designers and
formatters, and because they will receive your book after a
copyeditor works his or her magic, any errors that occur in the design process
will never be seen by your copyeditor.
All of this points to the importance of having a last look at your book, in its final environment, after it has been designed for print or formatted for e-reading devices. You need to be your
book’s first reader.
Print or Ebook?
There are lots of ways to proofread a book. How you proofread it will depend on the publishing format you choose. If your book is headed for print, you’ll need to proofread the PDF that will be sent to the printer or print-on-demand service you’ve chosen. If your book will be an ebook, it makes sense to proofread it on an e-reader.
How to Proofread a Print Book
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