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You’ve written your book, edited it what feels like a million times, and now you need to proofread it one last time before sending it off to be distributed to the world. Please, do not skip this step! Nothing makes me close a book faster than seeing simple errors that proofreading should have caught. Some editors do proofreading as they go (I do, because I can’t help myself!), but not all will. So, after making those final edits, give it one more thorough read-through looking for errors. Here are five proofreading tips to make the process a little less painful!
This is especially helpful if you tend to be a skimmer, or if you are so sick of reading your own writing, that you find yourself skipping words. Reading text out loud makes you focus on each individual word, which helps you catch those minor errors, such as using “if” instead of “is.”
Do not always trust spellcheck.
I cannot tell you how many times spellcheck has wanted to change a word or phrase to something completely ridiculous. For instance, I was editing a book, and the phrase used was “where is your camera,” and spellcheck suggested “where your camera is” as the correct usage. Who are we here, Winston Bishop?! (If you don’t get that joke, stop what you’re doing and go watch New Girl on Netflix. Come back in a few days when you’re done binging. Then, we can be friends). The point here is that spellcheck does not always get the context right.
Change the font and size of your manuscript.
If you are sick of looking at your own work and are not catching errors, try changing the font and size. I almost always use Times New Roman, size 12, but if I’m proofreading my own work, I’ll increase the size. Just a small change can make it look different enough that the errors stand out.
If all else fails, print it out.
I hate to tell you to print a manuscript that is probably 200+ pages, but sometimes, you gotta go old school pen and paper. The worst part about this (besides all the paper!) is that you still have to make the changes to your digital file, which is double the work.
If even these proofreading tips make it seem like too much, or grammar just isn’t your thing…
Hire it out.
Your sanity is worth the cost! Many proofreaders will do a sample for you, to see if you are compatible. I offer a free ten-page proof or edit. Contact me for a sample!
Once your manuscript is complete, if you are looking for an agent, check out Two Daisy Media, where I am an intern!