Last week I was helping an author friend of mine with some final proofreading of the galley proofs her publisher had sent – she sent me and other friends approx. 50 pages each to do a final typo check and, to her dismay, everyone still found some. The manuscript had been through so many rounds of revision, editing and proofreading that it seemed incredible that there were still minor typos to be found – but, as any author will tell you, those little buggers manage to elude even the most eagle eyed amongst us…
This got me thinking about my own proofreading process (or, to be honest, the lack thereof!). Obviously, I use spell check and have beta readers (although they are mainly there for content feedback) and I do as many careful run-throughs of the manuscript that I can before I email it off to my agent. Then, whatever revisions are needed are completed and another proofreading occurs before the manuscript is (hopefully) ready to go off to publishers. If you go the traditional route, publishers also have line editors who are the last line of ‘typo defense’ and usually the process results in a relatively clean manuscript…although inevitably (as readers will always point out to you) there are still typos that slip through the dragnet and end up in the published book.
In the indie route, it’s really up to the author to make sure this ‘typo’ cleaning process is done and dusted before the book is uploaded and made available to the reading public. While there isn’t the same formal process as a traditional publisher undertakes, I assume most professional indie authors go through the same multiple ’rounds’ of editing to ensure the cleanest manuscript is produced.
I am acutely aware of my own proofreading limitations. While I am pretty good on the content editing side (and willing to take constructive feedback on that front and revise as many times as needs be) when it comes to the laborious task of proofreading I know I fall way short. The main problem is that I am too close to the material to spot typographical errors any more – and, if my friend’s experience is anything to go by, often multiple people can miss some typos even in a rigorous proofreading process. Although it’s much easier to proofread someone else’s work, when it comes to your own manuscript it can often be hard to find friends or family who are all that keen on acting as the ‘typo police’ after they’ve already read the book in its many iterations before.
So TKZers, what is your process for dealing with ridding your manuscript of all those pesky last minute typos? How do you handle the dreaded proofreading stage?