MediaShift’s Anna Lewis talks proofreading in this article originally from Completely Novel.
If you are self-publishing, then proofreading your manuscript is a really challenging task — and you’ll kick yourself if you find a mistake after you’ve told everyone about the book. No matter how many times you’ve read through your work, it’s amazing how often errors can sneak through to the final stages. The problem: You’re so familiar with the text that you see what you think you have written rather than what you actually wrote. For this reason, at the very least, it’s good to ask a few friends to help you proofread.
Don’t forget to carefully proofread the cover, copyright, and title pages as well as any indices, tables of contents, and dedications — mistakes in these areas happen surprisingly often.
So, short of hiring a professional proofreader, what else can you do to make sure your book is as close to perfect as possible? Here are some tips:
1. Put your writing aside for a while. This allows you to see it again with fresh eyes that are more likely to spot errors.
2. Look at your weaknesses. Do you regularly misspell or repeat words? Do you make particular grammar or punctuation errors? If you are aware of these weaknesses, take extra care to search and spot them.
3. Read your work out loud. If you read aloud, your ear might catch errors that your eyes may have missed. Alternatively, you can use text-to-speech software.
About the Reviewer: Cate Baum
Cate Baum is a filmmaker and writer of self-published book “The Bull and The Ban” (under the name Tosko) and contributed to "Ole!", a book about 21st Century attitudes to bullfighting with Ernest Hemingway's grandson John and New York Times writer Edward Lewine. She is also editor and co-founder of Filmmaking Review, the sister site to Self-Publishing Review. She is married to SPR founder Henry Baum and lives in LA.