The Importance of Proofing

Thursday, September 27, 2018

So many times, indie authors are thrilled to be “done” writing their book! The book is ready to go to print if all the words are down on paper, right? Well, after you have sent your book to your interior formatter or book designer, there is still one very important last step for you as the author...before you upload the file to your IngramSpark account. You must proofread the book.

Types of Book Editing

To understand the importance of proofing, let’s dial out to a wider lens of the book editing and production process for creating a book. There are three major types of book editing (two of which you want to have done before you ever send your book to get designed). There is developmental editing, wherein an editor may help you with the major themes, character development, major plot points, and general flow of the manuscript. This happens as soon as you've finished writing and self-editing and consider your manuscript complete. Once you’ve got your “dev edit” done, then you can copy (or “line”) edit your book, looking for grammatical and other technical errors that need fixing. This is a step in the book editing process you'd also want to have done before you send your manuscript to an interior designer. No need to pay a designer to layout misspellings and dangling modifiers. The third type of editing is proofing.

The Importance of Proofing

Proofing your manuscript is a vital step in ensuring that you release a product you are proud ofand of the quality that readers are used to seeing! If not done, it may also end up costing you more money, in multiple uploads of your file as you catch each new error that your lack of proofing left behind. So, what is proofing and how can you use this tool to save your time, your money, and your pride?

Once you have your book properly formatted and designed for upload to IngramSpark, you now have what we in publishing call the “first pass” of the book. This means it is ready for you to look over and make sure it is ready for print. Similar to the copy-editing process, you’ll now review the formatted document. This is because sometimes in the process of transferring your text into the proper file format and trim size for production, a few things might go wrong by accident. A word could become waylaid, any diagrams your designer has created for the book might appear oddly, and you could have errors in the physical layout—an uneven text column, an “orphaned” word alone on a line that needs to be better included in the body of the text, etc. All of these issues are those that you discover in the proofing process once the book is in its final layout. And all are things you'll want to update before you upload and publish your book with IngramSpark.

Hopefully, after the first pass, you have proofed away all the errors, can have the book updated by your formatter, and then put eyes on the second pass to approve it.

Have you proofed the designed file you or your designer have laid out? If the answer is yes, you may just be ready to upload that final file and share it with the world.


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Sara Wigal

Sara Wigal is an Assistant Professor of Cinema, Television & Media and Director of Publishing at Belmont University, a unique undergraduate degree that equips students with necessary skills and knowledge to enter the book world. She serves the Next Chapter Society council which supports the programming made possible by the Nashville Public Library Foundation. She previously worked in literary PR, beginning as an assistant and working her way up to a Senior Manager role, shaping author brands and interacting with the media. Wigal has been published by The TennesseanPublishers Weekly, and Writer's Digest.