We’ve talked before about the difference between editing and proofreading, two very different processes that often get confused by authors finishing up their first books. Editing involves major revision on the levels of both craft and language, while “proofreading” is just that—reading over a “proof” ready to be sent to the printer to catch any final mistakes. And just as important as understanding the major difference between the two is understanding the necessity of getting both done for your book.
I often see authors coming in with a first draft and insisting they just need a proofread. When you’re at the stage where you need proofreading, your book should only have five or ten typos hidden in it. There should be no grammatical errors, no questionable word choices, no limp run-ons…and no overdone metaphors, underdeveloped characters, dropped plotlines, etc. You probably need to have at least a few pairs of eyes (and at least one of them an editors’) on your book to catch all these major problems, and you may have to go through a few stages of revision to get to the point where you feel your book is “finished”—and even then it’s preferable to have a copyeditor make a pass through to correct all remaining sentence errors and stylistic issues.
But copyeditors are human, and may miss a few of those typos—or may make suggestions that inspire you to make last-minute additions, changes, or cuts to your book. So it’s always a good idea to get a proofread done before sending it to the printer. You don’t want the reading experience to be spoiled for an alert reader by the presence of a few entirely avoidable mistakes. For your own sake, and for the sake of our bookshelves, put out the best-quality work you can.
Interested in learning about how BookFuel can help you edit your next book? Contact us at email@example.com to find out!