New? Begin with lesson one.
You may believe you completed this step when editing, but take the time, and you'll find proofreading your finished and polished manuscript is still needed. You may be amazed at how many nit picky things slip through the cracks during the editing phase. Proofreading is where you go through your manuscript with a fine toothed comb to find all the grammatical, formatting, and spelling errors left in it.
Once again, there are no short cuts for this, admittedly tedious, task. Skipping it isn't a good idea at all. Modern tools such as spell check help, but you cannot rely on them to find all your mistakes and typos for you. However, there are some tricks of the trade to make things easier and maximize your efficiency.
Take full advantage of the tools available.
Something I've learned by accident when beginning with self-publishing is not all spell checkers are the same. The software used by Google Docs is different to the one for a standard Word file, and yet another pops up when you open a rich text file. Some find things others will overlook. Use this to your advantage!
Google Docs is a useful tool to use in coordinating with your editing team. You can see comments and notes from multiple betas at once, and it has a built in chat feature to make communicating back and forth easy. Once your file is polished, run the spell check operation on it. If you have unusual names, make sure to use the "add word" or "learn word" feature to stop the spell checker from flagging the name every time it is used as this can lead to fatigue related mistakes. Then, save your document as a rich text file. Open the .rtf and run the spell check again while keeping the text file open. The spell check for the .rtf will find issues the regular document did not. Correct these mistakes in both files.
Don't skip proofreading the printed version.
This is true of both before publication and with the publication proofs. You will notice things in the printed copy you didn't in the electronic file. Once you've gotten the text as clean as you can digitally, print it out and go through it with a highlighter. Mark any mistakes you see or things you aren't sure about. When in doubt look up spellings and grammatical rules, and fix those errors.
Once you've gone through all these steps, you're ready to start thinking about publication.
Thank you for joining me again this week. If you have any comments or questions, please join in the conversation below. I try to reply within twenty-four hours.
We'll resume on Monday, November 9 with a discussion on traditional versus indie publishing.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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