Once editing is complete and typesetting is underway, many authors begin to think that the editorial component of the publication process is done, but that isn’t the case. The truth is that proofreading is an essential step in ensuring your best work goes to print. Here are just some of the reasons why proofreading is so important.
1. Typesetting errors and changes
If you’re an author, you’ll know that a lot of steps and professionals are involved in preparing a book for print. This means that there’s room for errors to be introduced after editing is complete.
When your book is being typeset (when your words are placed onto your illustrated pages), accidental spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and spacing issues can pop up. Or perhaps the layout of your book has changed since it was edited, meaning that different punctuation choices are needed to ensure clarity and accuracy.
A proofreader’s job is to look for the small things in a ready-for-print book. Your proofreader will notice typos, errors, spacing problems, and other newly introduced mistakes. Your proofreader will be able to leave notes in your book for your typesetter or book designer to refer to as they apply all necessary changes to your complete project.
Proofreading is a last chance to double-check your story and make sure that your work is the very best it can be before it reaches bookshelves.
2. Design problems
So proofreading is just about spelling, grammar, and spacing? No! In order for books to be clear, professional, and easy to read, they need to be designed well. Book design is a complex process, so it’s important that its finer details are checked, checked, and checked again to make sure that there aren’t any problems.
Your proofreader will look for design issues that could compromise clarity, quality, or readability. They may point out uneven margins, unclear text placement, hard-to-read fonts, poor paragraph spacing, text-size variation, text placement issues, and more. Professional proofreaders are trained to spot all kinds of design inconsistencies and catch them before they go to print.
In proofreading, your whole book is taken into account as a complete product. Your proofreader sees your project just as your readers will and can help ensure that the quality of your reader-ready book is great.
3. Layout and formatting issues
Layout and formatting are tricky steps in the publishing process, which means that there are a number of errors that can occur. Have you ever seen a book with text that wasn’t straight or illustrations that were warped or incorrectly placed?
Proofreaders work with files just before publication, which means that they can advise of any layout or formatting issues that may have arisen, giving you and your book designer time to resolve problems before readers find them.
4. Extra text
Chances are, your typeset book contains some text that your original manuscript didn’t. Perhaps you’ve added a word or two to some of your pages, or maybe you’ve written a new dedication, acknowledgments section, author biography, illustrator biography, copyright page, or something else.
All the text that appears in your book has a role to play in making your book look clean and professional, so in order to put your best foot forward when publishing, you need to ensure that all of that text is checked and corrected.
Proofreading is an opportunity for an editorial professional to look over any newly added content and advise you and your typesetter or designer of necessary changes in time for fixes to be incorporated.
Did this blog post teach you something about the importance of proofreading? Let us know what you’re working on in the comments!
At Wildflower Books, we offer a range of editing and proofreading services. We specialize in children’s fiction, from picture books and YA novels, and have helped many authors create fantastic books. If you’d like to learn more about your editing options, we’d love to hear from you. Send us an email today!