Always Proofread, No Matter What

This is NPR’s Don Gonyea’s “sound studio”. Mine’s similar but in a walk-in closet.

The very last step in the publishing process is sadly, something a lot of authors either skip altogether or rush through—the proofreading process. It’s tedious! You have to read through your work one more time after having read through at least a thousand times before.

Of course, a lot of authors fob off this job to someone else—which is probably for best because after looking through your book so many times, it’s unlikely that reading through it once more will allow you to find anything new. But for some authors, this is just another expense which they either can’t afford or don’t want to pay for.

As a formatter, I frequently see the results of this laziness. Too often, once an author’s book has been formatted, it looks different making it easier to spot mistakes – typos and missing or wrong words. The author will sometimes go through their newly formatted book meticulously or just skim through and find all the mistakes a proofreader would have caught.

Why should I complain about this when I get paid more for correcting all these silly mistakes? Because it’s a pain for me too to go through trying to find the correct sentence and correct it.

And if those mistakes are not caught and corrections made I can guarantee your eagle-eyed readers will find them and tell the world about them in their review. You do not want that!

There is nothing more embarrassing than having your stupid mistakes shouted to the entire world through Amazon.

So what’s a poor author to do?

If you don’t have the funds or willingness to pay someone to actually proofread for you (honestly, it’s not expensive, only 50 cents to $1 per page) you can do one of two things: find someone to do for it you for free or read you book out loud, carefully.

Usually, I do the former – I have two fans who are amazing at finding typos and are happy to search for them as they read and enjoy my book (which I send to them for free just for that purpose). With my latest release, however, I did the later. I read my book out loud and recorded myself doing so.

I’m hoping the recording is good enough that I can package it and sell it as the audio version of the book. (Happily, the book is a 20k word novella so it only took me about four hours to record the entire thing from start to finish.) But as you are reading, you can’t help but find those nasty typos, missing words, or awkwardly phrased sentences.

This is the best way for any author, loathe to spend money on proofreading, to get their book checked. Now, does this mean that there won’t be any typos in your book at all? Absolutely not! I am almost certain I missed things, no matter how careful I was. But I’m also certain that even after editing and then proofreading, even two different professionals will miss things as well.

There is no way to guarantee that there won’t be typos in your book, but reading it out loud is a great way to reduce the number down to something your average reader won’t complain about in their review.

Merry
 

Meredith Bond is an award-winning author of a series of traditionally published Regency romances and indie-published paranormal romances. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith’s heart belongs to her husband and two children. Meredith’s second favorite pastime is teaching others to write.

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