You have just got your first masterpiece back from your editor. It is free of all errors, and they have given you an ok. You set out to format your manuscript and sit down to read it one final time. You notice that the punctuations are off. Some spellings seem to be off too. You decide to pick up the phone and give your editor a one-to-one.
Before you rush into attack mode, make sure you read till the end of this article. Your editor may not be the guilty party, and neither are you!
Unless asked to proofread the manuscript for publishing, editors will not do so. The solution: you need a proofreader now.
What do book proofreading services do?
A proofreading service hosts several proofreaders you can hire. Most online services have credible proofreaders.
What do these proofreaders do?
Proofreaders usually have a tried and tested method for proofreading book manuscripts. From the onset, they decide what they will be looking for. Of course, they listen to your concerns too. They might have a personal checklist they share with you or keep one with themselves that they refer to throughout the process.
Proofreading is all about the minute details. These readers focus on the structure, the spaces, the punctuation, and the facts, instead of focusing on the story or the plot. They might be reading your text a gazillion times, focusing on one detail during each reading.
Some proofreaders may read aloud. This is an excellent technique to use for self-editing also. Reading aloud helps the brain recognize errors aloud, prompting the reader to stop and acknowledge them.
Proofreading is an intense job, and your proofreader may take frequent breaks. Don’t start getting panicky if your proofreader isn’t getting back to you instantly when you try to reach out. They may be in reading mode or just taking a break after some intense proofing work.
Some manuscripts like non-fiction and technical ones will take longer to proofread simply because your reader will have technical information to process. Your service will calculate the required time and tell you in advance.
Is book proofreading different from proofing of other types of content?
Proofreading a manuscript uses style guides that most other types of content do not generally care about. These style guides are comprehensive lists editors and proofreaders refer to and partially memorize.
The Chicago Manual of Style and the Associated Press Stylebook are commonly referred to across the publishing world.
There are additional stylistic guidelines for academic and industry professionals. However, for books, the Chicago Manual is usually sufficient.
Your editor should cover the stylistic guidelines during the editing process. Nevertheless, your proofreader will also refer to the guideline while proofing your work.
Is book proofreading the same as editing the book?
Proofreading is the last stage of the editing process. Your manuscript needs to look perfect. Proofreading it will lend clarity. You can ask your editor to perform this role. However, if you skip it or forget it entirely, hire a proofreader and get your manuscript spruced up before sending it to the publisher.