The following is a guest post by Randall Davidson.
Self-published works are not subjected to the watchful eyes of professional editors, leaving the job of proofreading in the hands of the writer. To create self-published works that look great and convey your ideas appropriately, follow these 10 proofreading tips from professional proofreaders:
- Allow some time to pass. If your self-imposed deadline allows, put the work aside for a few days or weeks before beginning the proofreading process.
- Simplify whenever possible. Look for complicated words that can be replaced with simpler ones. Also, look for long passages that can be broken down into multiple sentences or paragraphs.
- Format your text. Arrange the text as you will be publishing it. Then, look for problems with paragraphs breaking strangely across pages. Formatted text also looks different from plain text, so typos you missed before may show up.
- Have someone read the text to you. If it’s not too time consuming, have someone read the text to you. You will hear problems with word choice, transition issues, and other awkward phrases that aren’t apparent on paper.
- Look for consistency. Make sure you write in the same perspective (first or third person, etc.) throughout the work, and remain consistent with your writing style. You may have written the work over several weeks or months, but the text should seem like it was all written at once.
- Use grammar-checking software. While there’s no substitute for careful examination by hand, grammar software can catch many simple errors before you begin the final proofreading stage.
- Pay attention to graphic design. With no editor or publisher involved when you’re proofreading a work that you will publish yourself, you have to pay attention to every detail. This includes design elements.
- Get the technical things right. No matter the format in which you are self-publishing your work, make sure to check copyright and title pages as well as indices and tables of contents. No one else will check these things.
- Consider your audience very carefully. Re-read every word to make sure the information is directed at your audience, and is not just serving your needs. The work is for the audience, not you.
- Do it all again. Once is never enough when proofreading. While it can be tedious to read the same words again, it’s a necessary part of good editing.
While not a replacement for professional editing, these 10 proofreading tips will improve your self-published works dramatically!
About the author: Randall Davidson is one of the founders of ProofreadingServices.Us, a proofreading services company that offers manuscript proofreading. Randall enjoys sharing writing tips and best practices with other authors.