The Importance of Proofreading Your Book
After It Has Been Typeset
After I line edit your book, you (or I) will insert the changes into your Word document. Then, you will supply your publisher with an electronic copy of your manuscript. You'll either send a disk or CD-ROM, or you will e-mail the document to your publisher. Next, your publisher's designer will lay out the book and send you page proofs to go over one final time before the book is printed.
Many of my clients receive these page proofs and simply read over them once. It is essential that you do a much more thorough proofing of this "galley," or you'll be unhappy with the final product.
When I proofread a client's book, I do the following:
1) Read every page of the book—line by line, word for word.
2) Check all chapter titles or numbers to make sure they are in order and in the same typeface and font size.
3) If there is a Contents page, I make sure that the chapter titles and page numbers are correct.
4) I go through every page to check headers. For instance, author's name on left page and book title on right page.
5) I go through every page to check page numbering (to make sure numbers are there and that they are consecutive).
6) I go through every page to make sure there are no "widows" or "orphans" (single words "hanging out there" all by themselves on the first line or the last line of a page).
7) I look at the ends of all lines (yes, on every page!) to make sure that any hyphenated words have been divided correctly. (For example, the word "pantomime" should be hyphenated at pan-tomime, not at pa-ntomime.)
8) If typography includes a stylistic device like italicizing the first three words (or the first line) of each new scene or chapter, I go through every page to make sure that's been carried out uniformly throughout the book.
9) Last but not least, I check the spelling and punctuation on the REALLY BIG obvious things like the title of the book, the subtitle (if there is one), and the author's name. Typos in larger typefaces tend to be the least easy to spot, for some mysterious reason.
If at all possible, I also ask authors to get me a proof of their cover or dust jacket. You can't imagine the number of authors who are shattered when they get their printed books with errors on the cover. ("Oops," they say, "I never thought about having you look at my cover!")