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How to Edit a Book Stage 3: 5 Proofreading Tips

Book editing is a lengthy and arduous process. In previous weeks, I’ve shared tips for the first two parts of how to edit a book, structural and copy editing. Proofreading is also a necessary step before book publication.


What is Proofreading?
Proofreading is the final step of book editing where the editor takes a last look over the whole manuscript to identify spelling errors or grammatical mistakes. This is done after checking for a narrative arc, judging the believability of the story and making sure the book has a clear motivation and plot. Here are 5 tips for proofreading, the final stage of the book editing process.
How to Edit a Book: 5 Tips for Proofreading
1. Take Your Time
Proofreading is a lengthy piece of learning how to edit a book. Take your time on each page, making sure there are no problems. Have you ever read a book with spelling errors? A few mistakes can ruin a whole novel’s credibility in the eyes of a reader.
2. Read Out Loud
Reading your work aloud can help you pick up on spelling errors and awkward sentences. Mark Twain, a famous proofreading advocate said, “When you think you are reading proof, you are merely reading your own mind. Your statement of the thing is full of holes and vacancies but you don’t know it, because you are filling them from your mind as you go along.”
3. Set Goals
Editing a whole manuscript can be daunting. Set small, achievable goals like a certain number pages each day to help make the process more manageable.
4. Change the Text
Tricking your mind into thinking your written work isn’t your own is a great tip for how to edit a book. Try changing the color or size of the text before you begin proofreading.
5. Get a Second Pair of Eyes
It’s hard to edit work you’ve written because your mind tends to fill in missing words and skip over grammatical mistakes. When you’ve done all you can on your own, ask a friend, relative or another writer to look at your manuscript with a fresh pair of eyes.
Slowing down, reading aloud, setting goals and altering text are all great tips to help you through the book editing process. Sometimes having a second editor look at your work can help catch mistakes and make your novel flawless. If you have any other tips for proofreading, please share in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Lauren Nelson

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