Importance of Proofreaders and Proofreading

by Jan King on October 8, 2012

This week, I will be introducing Susan to Lauren Hidden who will be proofreading her book before it goes to the interior designer.

Sometimes it seems that we’ve read our own manuscripts so many times that we just assume we must have caught all the mistakes.  Unfortunately reading our manuscripts multiple times means we are often seeing what we remember, not what is really there.

Authors are often tempted to skip proofreading steps to reduce book costs, but you will have a long time to regret that decision.  It used to be that publishers required the author and editor to proofread for content and then two professional proofers to also read the manuscript.  You would catch about 95% of the errors with that many people reading it.  Find someone who does lots of proofreading for a living – you need a “fresh eye” to find the mistakes left from all the changes made in the writing and editing processes.

It is also important to recognize that errors “hide” in headings, headers and footers and titles.  We assume those things are right and not read them again.

Proofreading is a professional specialty and proofers generally have a keen eye and a process they use to read for different things different passes through the manuscript.  They also use distinctive marks to communicate changes to the designer who makes the changes in a special software for book printing, generally InDesign.

You can take a look at the proofreading marks by clicking on the link.

A thorough proofreading should take place before the manuscript goes to the designer and again after the layout is complete and before it goes to the printer.

If the manuscript has unusual terms or capitalization, then the editor will give the proofer a Style Sheet so the proofreader can proof for the things unique to the manuscript as well.

As I hope you are beginning to see, the process of creating a professional book can be complex, but there are experienced freelancers who can help you with each part of the process.

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