“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning and took out a comma. In the afternoon—well, I put it back again.” Oscar Wilde
Proofreading is the art of correcting copy in the proof stage; that is, after it has been laid out and is otherwise ready for publication. The proofreader’s single-minded mission is to catch every error that slipped past the author, copyeditor, and designer (and trust me, there will always be a couple)—the proofreader is your last line of defense. You may think that “proofreading” means “a light copyedit”; if that’s the case, you’ll find what you need in the Copyediting section on our Editing page.
Proofreading (Standard or Blind) is performed when editing is complete and the document has been readied for publication. Little Fire can proofread in a variety of formats: MS Word, Adobe Acrobat (PDF), InDesign, WordPress, or good ol’ hard copy.
In the process of verifying that all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed, I scour your layout to verify that all indicated editorial and typographic changes have been implemented and that no typos or gremlins have reared their ugly little heads in the process. Utilizing your preferred style guide, dictionary, and style sheet (if you have one), I perform the following tasks:
- Note typos, misspellings, and transpositions
- Highlight items that do not comport with style guide/style sheet
- Check typography for correct font & size, bold facing, italics, kerning, glyphs/diacritics, word/character spacing, and leading
- Mark bad word breaks, stacked hyphens, etc.
- Tag widows and orphans
- Verify accuracy of folios, cross-references, and jumps
- Confirm credit lines (for photos/graphics)
Standard Proofreading involves a word-for-word comparison of marked-up copy against page proofs, while Blind (aka Cold) Proofreading is performed without access to the marked-up manuscript.