The Importance of a Professional Proofread

In high school and college, proofreading means simply checking for misspellings and basic grammatical issues. In the publishing world, proofreading takes on a larger meaning. In the publishing industry, proofreading is done to ensure the accuracy of typeset pages that have been converted from author- and editor-approved manuscript.

In addition to double-checking for spelling and gross grammatical errors, a proofreader will also verify that the final proofs meet all of the following requirements:

  • The manuscript and the page proofs contain the same information.
  • Typeface and font are displayed accurately.
  • Hyphenation is used correctly, according to the style imposed by the author, editor, and publisher (Chicago Manual of Style, 15e generally dictates the main style guidelines for the book publishing industry, but there are many other options available).
  • All illustrations and tables have been placed correctly by the typesetter/page designer.
  • Permissions are in order and source lines are accurate.
  • The contents of the book are accurately recorded in the table of contents.
  • Length and vertical spacing on page spreads is acceptable.
  • There are no widows (a very short line at the top of each page), orphans (a short line appearing at the bottom of a page or a single word or phrase on a line by itself at the end of a paragraph), or unacceptable variations in spacing around elements.

In the traditional publishing world, page proofs are generally proofread multiple times: initially by a professional proofreader, then by the author, and finally by the production editor. For your work to stand up against the many others on the market, a proofread is highly recommended.

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