Your book is almost ready to be published, but wait! Have you checked it for any sneaky typos or formatting errors? If not, it’s time for proofreading.
There can be a lot of confusion around what proofreading is and isn’t, but in simple terms, it’s checking the final version of a file for typos and errors before it goes to print. The proofreader “marks up” the file to show the changes needed, which might be in PDF format or in Word using “tracked changes”.
Proofreading is the last step in the pre-publishing process and is done after editing, and sometimes after design. It doesn’t involve making substantial changes or improving the wording of a document; it’s simply checking for typos, errors, formatting issues, etc. Think of your proofreader as the final sieve for errors.
While it’s tempting to say that your book will be typo-free after proofreading, there’s probably not a book in the world without a typo or two. Even books published by Penguin that have been checked by a team of proofreaders will have the occasional error. Why? Because proofreaders are only human, and the human brain isn’t designed to pick up errors (you can find out why here). Machine attempts at proofreading (such as Grammarly) are even worse. However, experienced proofreaders eliminate numerous errors and typos, even if a few slip through the net, so it’s well worth having an eagle-eyed proofreader check your final file.
Our expert proofreader can proof in Word or PDF, so you’ll get either:
How do you know which to go for? If you think there are only a handful of errors, then PDF proofing is fine. But if there are likely to be changes on every page and tens or hundreds of errors, it’s often better to proof in Word, then do a final check of the PDF to catch any last-minute errors.*
*Why? Because the designer has to make each change in the PDF, so PDF proofreading involves the proofreader’s time and the designer’s time, meaning it’s more expensive and time-consuming.
Proofing can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the individual book and the word count. The cost of proofreading also depends on the word count. The longer the book, the higher the cost. The cost for proofreading per £1000 words is:
*If you opt for Word proofreading and only need a few changes in the final PDF, then it’s free as long as there are less than 20 minor proofreading changes in the PDF.
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At The Book Shelf, we specialise in nonfiction books that make the world better. We empower our authors to write life-changing books for their readers. We’ve worked on over 500 books with authors around the globe—from first-timers to New York Times bestsellers to non-native speakers and everyone in between. If you want to change your readers’ lives, we want to help you achieve that.
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