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Quick Editing Tip: An Easy and Effective Way to Proofread

As I mentioned in my previous post, iUniverse sent me the proofs for Imminent Danger last Thursday. As such, I have spent the entire weekend going through the proofs and making sure there aren’t any typos, odd formatting, random blank pages, etc.

I thought I’d share my proofreading method with you, since it worked out pretty well.

Step #1

Print out your book. Since this is your final proof before the book is printed, make sure you print it in its final format — e.g., two novel-sized pages printed on each 8.5×11 sheet.

The reasoning here, of course, is that if you just print out your book as a normal Word document, it doesn’t have the feel of a real book, plus you won’t be able to check that your novel formatting is correct.

Step #2

Get a red pen and a bunch of sticky notes.

Step #3 (this is the most important one)

Starting on the first page of your book, read backwards up each page, going paragraph by paragraph.

At the proof-reading stage, you’re no longer making big changes to the book. Everything is where it should be. Now you’re just looking for typos. And by reading the paragraphs backward, you’re removing yourself from the story and just concentrating on the text. I actually tried reading the entire book backwards, paragraph by paragraph, but flipping the pages was annoying so I started at the beginning instead.

Step #4

Whenever you find a typo, or just a small something you want to change, correct it with red pen and put a sticky note on that page. Then continue reading.

Step #5 

Once you’re done reading the entire book, go back and look at your suggested changes. You might not agree with some of them once you’ve had a chance to think them through. Remove the sticky note from discarded changes pages so you aren’t confused later on.

Step #6

Open up your manuscript file and make those changes! Do a quick scroll through of the document to make sure you didn’t mess up any formatting by adding/deleting things.

Voila! My foolproof proofreading method.

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Categories: Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

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