Thursday, May 28, 2009
Proofread in multiple media
No matter how many time you check your manuscript, there WILL be errors in your final printed book.
One way to minimize the goofups is to read your future masterpiece in multiple formats, including the original word processing screen, a PDF on screen, and a printed paper proof.
Let others read it, and have one of them read it out loud to you.
One problem that's almost invisible on PC monitors but can be seen in a printed book are sentences or paragraphs that are gray instead of black. Look closely.
And watch out for straight apostrophes and quote marks that really should be curly.
This is a common problem when you copy and paste from text that was intended for Web use, where curlies are seldom used. The difference may be hard to spot on a PC screen, so ZOOOOOM up to 120 - 180% of normal size to make the errors stand out.
Also watch out for unintentional hyphens that may move from the end of a line to the middle of a line. This generally won't happen with automatic hyphenating. But if you manually insert a hyphen, and then shift text around, possibly by changing the size or position of a graphic element, hyphens can wander around the page.