Monday, 16 April 2018

Paris in the the spring -The Importance of Proof Reading!

So, you’ve written your book, spent months, maybe years, working hard, day and night to get it out there into the wide world. 
Then there inevitably comes a moment of truth. A shining beacon that perhaps drops through your letterbox or pings into your inbox; a visual, tangible copy of your pride and joy and literary masterpiece.
A proof of your book has arrived.

Until now, the masterpiece you’ve been creating has existed only in your memory, imagination and on your PC (or Mac if you’re like me!). You’ve been editing it to death, checking the grammar, layout and typography on the screen. You have read it dozens and dozens of times. You know it inside out. No one knows it better than you do.
And now you see the book for the first time, whether it be digitally or as a paperback - you get to hold it in your hands. There’s no denying it is a magical moment. Akin to the birth of a child (no, really!). These characters are your children. You have raised them, nurtured them and now must let them go. You have carried them for many, many months and have released them from your body (albeit mentally and with less screaming and crying and begging for death like my eldest son’s Mum). 
You’re on the edge of publication. You open it at a random page or quickly flick through it as a Kindle version. It is beautiful, a marvel to behold. It couldn’t be any more perfect. 

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy (though this myth is contentious), it doesn’t matter what order the letters are in the word are, only that the first and last letter are in the right place. The remainder can be a total mess and you can still read it, no problem. This is because the human mind doesn’t read every, single letter but the word as a whole.

      Interlude break 

   …a marvel to behold. It couldn’t be any more perfect.

        And then you see it. The little, sneaky, horrible, insidious disturbance to your precious. 

        There is a typo.

And at that moment, that precise moment, you realise that you should have hired a professional proof-reader to review your work.

It is devastating. Take my word for it. I was so excited about my debut novel that I thought having read it a million times myself and had others read it, everything had been spotted.

If you remember nothing else or take nothing away from this, always remember you CANNOT proof your own work. 

No matter how much they cry, no matter how much they beg, never, never feed them… oh, hang on. That’s Gremlins.

What I meant to say was, no matter how confident you are that your eyes alone will capture everything that may be wrong in your book, trust me, you won’t and can’t.

The big publishers may have a book proofed three or four times (and even then, you will spot typos in mainstream books. Remember the ‘going for thousands of pounds’ copy of Harry Potter?) before it is released.

I know it can be expensive and take time, but it must be done and never avoided.

I felt I had let down so many supporters, readers and myself by not having my first book professionally proofread. I think the only reason I got a pass more often than not is that I wrote an okay book with an okay storyline.

I have now corrected all those errors after 5 years and it is finally the book readers deserve. But I was so annoyed with myself or letting so many people down.

The upshot of this diatribe is proofing your book by a professional is an absolute must.

It can be expensive, I agree. But it is totally worth it and so important. Readers may be patient and overlook the odd missing comma or speech marks, but anything that is enough to pull them out of the story won’t be forgiven so easily. 

There will be links to some fantastic, amazing and proof-readers available on the BNBS website soon, but for now, you could check out – 

There are also many fantastic proofreaders on social media who will be willing to help you with your manuscript. 
One Miss Siobhan Jones has been used with great success for us before, but there are so many others you can look out for.

The point is, find someone to read your book. Someone who is a professional and can give you the assurance that you need to know your manuscript is as good as practicably possible. 

Thank you fro listening and ayn spelling mistkases are my onw.

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