The publishing process: proofreading

Gambit page proofsLook, my page proofs are here for Assassin’s Gambit! Developmental editing and copyediting are done. The cover is done too, sort of, but it’s not final so I can’t show. Now it’s on to proofreading.

People complain about (traditionally) published books being rife with errors. I’m not sure where this complaint comes from, to be honest. I come across an occasional error, and I think there may be some sloppily converted ebooks out there with a lot of errors resulting from the conversion process, and for anyone who’s paid good money for a book like that, my sympathies.

My pet peeve is the non-word “alright” slipping into published books, even bestsellers. Name of the Wind, I’m looking at YOU. State of Wonder, I’m looking at YOU. I suppose it’s inevitable that “alright” is going to end up a real word eventually, even though I despise it, and you will never, ever find it in one of my books. (The correct form is “all right.”)

But as for typos and such, a lot of care is taken to make sure those don’t slip into the book. Gambit is currently being proofread by three people, myself and two in-house proofreaders. It’s a little under 400 pages, including the promotional material at the end, and I’m proofreading 70 pages a day in two sessions of about 35 pages (so my eyes don’t bleed). I keep sessions short so I stay alert–the whole point is not to miss anything! In my first 70 pages I found two actual errors and one thing that’s a continuity problem between book 1 and book 2. Some errors are introduced in the copyediting process. Most are from the original manuscript.

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11 Responses to The publishing process: proofreading

  1. I know what you mean about the eyes bleeding – it really feels like that. Some days I think the goal of not missing anything is the quintessential impossible dream – all we can do is keep trying.

    • Amy Raby says:

      I think that’s why the other 2 proofreaders are needed. I’ve seen my manuscript so many times (although never in this format at least!), I just can’t see the mistakes as well as someone who’s never seen it before.

  2. Jessi Gage says:

    LOL about alright. That’s one of those words that I just love. And it’s house style at Lyrical (my publisher) to use it, though I suspect there are rules for when all right is used instead. In my mss, though, it tends to be alright, which is what I write in the first place. I know you hate all those alrights, my wonderful CP!

    • Amy Raby says:

      GAH! I am not kidding, that would be a publisher dealbreaker for me, if they forced me to put that monstrosity (“alright”) into one of my books. I know that 30 years from now–maybe sooner–it’ll be in the dictionary and accepted. But I hate that (non-)word with a fiery passion. It will never, ever appear in a book with my name on the cover.

  3. I’m just experiencing chills seeing your book title and author name in that format and font on the paper. So cool!

  4. Steve says:

    First, seeing the proofs is very very cool!

    Second, the only thing that bugs me more than “alright” is “can not”. It’s one damn word, dammit! Except “can not” is already breaking into grammar sites as acceptable while alright hasn’t made it there yet. I weep for the future. Well, okay, I don’t weep for it so much as gnash my teeth at it and shake my cane at it and tell it by god to use those words correctly!

  5. *high fives*

    I’m another one who despises alright. All right?

  6. Dr Jack says:

    I here you! I have 61 pages waiting for me today.

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