Monday, 20 October 2014

Happy with your proofreading?


I've been thinking a lot about proofreading recently. This is because I have been getting my short story collection, Room in Your Heart, ready for publication next week. Considering my stories have all been published in national magazines, I had thought that I had submitted them error free... how wrong could I be!

Once I'd uploaded the collection onto kindle, I checked again and four sides of A4 later, I realised how much had been missed by both me and my lovely husband (who proofreads for me). My writing buddy, Tracy Fells, looked at the stories again - she'll be reviewing my collection soon, so look out for that - and found more!

I thought that would be it, but when we were preparing the book for print publishing with CreateSpace we found more! I now know what an amazing job our magazine editors do before our stories are finally printed in their publications.

It also made me realise how absolutely essential it is to use a professional proofreader for a longer piece of work - such as a novel... fresh eyes and all that. If anyone has used a proofreader who they are pleased with, please feel free to add their names in your comments.

Shame a proof reader wasn't used for this children's book. I was glad, when I looked at it with my granddaughter, that she can't read yet - or it would have been a pretty ropey lesson in punctuation and she wouldn't have been happy about that. Can you spot all the errors?

 
Finally, I will be holding a launch party here on my blog next Monday and I would love you all to join me... and invite your friends!
 

 


28 comments:

  1. Yes, proof reading is a painful process for the self-publisher. Well done! I'd have had to throw that children's book in the bin I'm afraid.

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  2. Oh dear, learning the hard way - still, you can take down and re-publish. I can recommend a couple of good proofreaders @wendyproof @GeoffreyDWest and @ProofreadJulia (that's 3!) - LOTS of cowboys out there who don't actually know when punctuation is wrong and just check for the obvious! Not getting things professionally proofread is a mistake I made at first, and it cost me. I think short stories, in particular, HAVE to be error free, because they really stand out. Good luck!

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    1. Luckily I caught them before publishing, Terry, but yes, at least they can be taken down and edited if someone spots anything. Thanks for the links.

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  3. Proof reading is one of the most tedious jobs and we absolutely can't find all our own mistakes! Looking forward to your collection, Wendy.

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    1. I just found out as someone on FB just told me I'd missed out the 'r' in fresh on this post! (have now changed it)

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  4. I have always been glad that I took a proofreading course years ago. It has proved invaluable and I really enjoy the task. I feel quite a thrill when I track down a mistake lurking after the umpteenth check.

    I'm looking forward to your collection and wish you great success. x

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    1. Thank you, Joanna - I know lots of people have done the same but it's exciting for me being my first.

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  5. Helen Baggott proofread my two self published novels - and did a much better job than the publisher of the other one. I'll definitely use her for the next one.

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    1. Oh, that's interesting, Patsy as I've recently re-tweeted a post of hers on Twitter.

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    2. Learn't? I think I've found at least one error in many of the books I've read. Looking forward to your launch on Monday.

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    3. Thanks, Maggie - it's pretty shocking isn't it!

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  6. That book is shocking!

    But your book launch is exciting :-) x

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    1. Can you believe it was every page, Teresa - my daughter had to tell me to calm down!

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  7. What I always need is a good editor. It's a kind of safety net, even if you do end up being told to remove all your favourite bits!

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    1. I know. I think my PF editor is great!

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  8. I find it almost impossible to proof-read my own work unless I leave a long gap between writing/editing and re-editing! I just read what I know I meant to say and can miss typos and punctuation errors.

    Good luck for the launch!

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    1. It's amazing how the brain can play tricks on you isn't it, Lindsay.

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  9. So hard to spot your own errors isn't it. Look forward to your collection Wendy! x

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    1. It's impossible to find them all, isn't it, Sue.

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  10. I can highly recommend JCH Editorial (website is jcheditorial - dot - com). Jenny offers both proofreading and editorial services at very reasonable rates and does a great job. Looking forward to dropping in on your blog launch party, Wendy. :)

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    1. I shall make a note of that as well as the other people have been suggesting. Thanks and look forward to seeing you next week!

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  11. My comment somehow disappeared so hope this one sticks! Great post, Wendy and thanks for the mention. I think every writer needs a proof reader. But shocking how many errors slip through to published books too.

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    1. I've just read a traditionally published book where two different people's speech are on the same line. Thanks for spotting my bits and pieces!

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  12. Your post was of particular interest to me because I have just completed a proofreading course and know how difficult it is to spot mistakes in one’s own work. I hope you don’t mind me offering my opinion, but if I were to proofread this one, for example, I might point out a couple of suggestions:
    • In the penultimate paragraph, 'proof reader' should be one word, just as it appears in the preceding paragraphs, and not two.
    • Also, in the same paragraph, the commas after 'glad' and 'granddaughter' are not necessary as this is a restrictive clause and essential to make sense of the overall sentence.
    It just validates your point that we all need proofreaders to oversee our work, myself included.

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    1. Hey, you're good Julie! The first was an error but I wouldn't have known the second was wrong.

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  13. Hi Wendy, a perfectly timed post. I sat down yesterday and started to proofread the 2nd draft of my first novel. I should be excellent at it. The amount of school reports, policy documents and letters I proofread in my last job should have provided with enough expertise. But no! It is a whole different ball game when proofreading your own work. (don't tell anyone, but this is actually the 3rd or 4th check - sshh) The amount of 'their' instead of 'there' is unbelieveable and I should be thrown into detention for the rest of my life. I put it down to touch typing and hammering the keys too quickly. 'Their' is a lot more comfortable to type than 'there'. :) Oh well, back to it. Lots of luck Wendy.

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    1. I'm going to use that excuse from now on, "sorry, it was more comfortable to write no than know."

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