Writers Tricks of the Trade Volume 7, Issue 4 Winter 2018 - Page 29
T HE I MPORTANCE OF P ROOFREADING
Proofreading is one of the most important things a writer can do. Submitting work with multiple er-
rors is like going out of the house with your shirt buttoned wrong, wearing two different shoes or
simply looking like a slob. Did you really think no one would notice?
Publishers want compelling, well written work and the content represents the bones of your crea-
tion so it is extremely important. However, like it or not, the way a paper looks definitely affects the
way others judge it and you as a writer. Let’s face it. You've worked hard to develop and present your
book or article. Why risk letting careless errors distract from what you have labored so hard to create.
Shouldn’t you dedicate a reasonable amount of time to paying attention to the details that help you
to make a good impression?
A publisher friend once said-- "AMEN. As I review submissions, a terribly sloppy manuscript gives
rise to the thought that one) it would be too much work to fix this MS and two) what would it be like
to work with such a negligent author? Is that the first impression you want?"
In my opinion, now that the art of texting has spawned “creative spelling,” it is even more im-
portant to make sure that pieces submitted for the net or print have been proofed. Imagine how easi-
ly that could have read “been proffed” if I hadn’t checked. Would I have seemed like a competent
Believe me. Those errors are all lurking there, just waiting to detract from your work: the mis-
spelled, extra or missing letters, actual missing or extra words, sentences that go nowhere, para-
graphs created in the middle of a sentence. Yep. They hope you’ll just slide by them and if you do, the
person you submit your masterpiece to might also slide by the whole thing.
Unfortunately, a lack of editing in some self-published books and articles is just as obvious as lack
of proofing. What does it say about a book when there are spelling errors all over the back cover, or in
the acknowledgement or the dedication. It practically screams, “this is a loving hands at home book.”
Those are the things that often make bookstores shy away from the self-published author even
though the book might be fantastic and perfect in every way. It is a perception fostered by those who
rush to print without going through very necessary steps. Don’t be a sloppy author.
Spelling errors are sometimes very elusive. The eye sees what it thinks it sees. Have you ever done
those tests where only the first and last letters of words are correct, but you can still read the entire
paragraph or page? Your mind fills in the proper letters despite the fact that what is on the page is
wrong, wrong, wrong.
You can’t trust your spell check tool to catch everything. It won’t know if you are using the wrong
form of a word. As long as words are real and in its dictionary they will pass with flying colors. One of
the best tools is a friend who is a great speller and also a nitpicker. Like homing missiles, they will find
every inverted i and e, every e that should be an a and every missing or
W RITERS ’ T RICKS OF THE T RADE
P AGE 21
W INTER 2018