Monday, May 11, 2015
Proofreading: A Fact of Life
Sometimes when we're in a hurry, simple things can be overlooked. We forget our keys, we leave our coffee cup on the counter, the kids forget their lunch, and we overlook grammatical errors in our communication materials.
A Fresh New Look
A simple proofread by a fresh set of trained eyes can often catch those last minute typos that weary editors and copy editors may miss in their own corrections.
A proofread can catch missing sentences and paragraphs that may be out of order from other manipulations the text may have gone through in the revision and formatting process.
Proofreading may be that last chance to notice that Jimmy's name is spelled Jimmie for half the book.
Why Can't the Editor Proofread?
Editors do proofread their own work. When they send the work back to the author, they believe they have found everything they can find at that time. An editor who has gone through the developmental and copy editing process with the author may become as blinded to the story as the author when it comes to catching random typos and grammatical errors.
A developmental editor helps the author shape the story and create engaging characters. Grammatical corrections aren't performed as the work is still mutating.
The copy editor and/or line editor, (depending on how many editors with whom you work), will go over the manuscript with a fine tooth comb. If you want a quick turnaround, you can expect a few things may be missed. Even when a editor has time to do several passes there are ways that errors can occur once the manuscript leaves his or her hands.
How Can There Be More Mistakes?
When the author receives a corrected manuscript from an editor, there will likely still be revisions that the author needs to perform. Even very simple revisions can result in more errors, depending on the skill of the author.
If the author is self-publishing, he will have to put the story into the correct format if it isn't that way this far into the process. Sometimes when work is reformatted, words can be dropped or punctuation can be changed. The author should check the work himself for errors and correct them before sending the work on to the final proofreader.
The best person to proofread a book is someone new to the story. Most proofreaders don't actually read the book for the story, so they don't get bogged down in details. Some read the book like a book but most treat the book like a text book. They are looking for mechanical and technical errors.
Some proofreaders even read work from the end to the beginning to really search for errors.
A proofread is the very last service to be performed after a work is deemed complete and ready to publish/send/upload.
Keeping Your Reader Engaged
Your number one job as a writer is to tell a great story or share information.
Your next job is to be certain you are using the best presentation possible.
Readers fall out of stories or get bored with information if there are too many typos or formatting issues. Don't irritate your readers with missing words, wrong spelling, and irregular formatting.
There is fierce competition out there for your attention created by millions; from other talented artists to corporations with deep pockets. Think about how you're going to compete for that attention whether it's with your book, your website, your brochure, or your essay.
Everyone has a story to tell. Be certain that your reader can understand it. Show your respect for your reader by presenting a clean and easy-to-read document. Editors and proofreaders can shine up your product to its full potential and give you the confidence to share it with your audience.
If you'd like your story, book, website, email, or any other document proofread, please see our rates and email us. sephgiron @ gmail.c om