Guest Post: Proofreading Tips For Authors that Self Publish

Most of you know I advocate proofreading your book before it’s published.  If your book has misspellings, punctuation problems, grammatical errors, or other issues  – readers will see it as unprofessional.  I’ve stopped reading a book because it had so many problems.  It is no surprise I didn’t buy book two or three.  A good proofread could have kept me as a reader and possibly generated recurring revenue from future book releases.


Spell check should catch this, but it won’t catch everything.

Publishers have an editing process that usually include 1 to 2 revisions, line edits, and page proofs.  As a self-published author, your goal is to make your manuscript/book as clean as a traditionally published book.

OK, off my soapbox and onto the actual post 🙂  Louise, owner of Quality Proofreading (a company that helps publishers, editors and authors get it right) offers the following advice:


A man with a bear behind.          A man with a bare behind.

Both are correct, but which one is right?

You’ve spent hours, days, weeks perfecting back stories and creating characters who have become friends. You’ve developed the plot and created unexpected twists. Your reader is transported to another world of your creation. You need to ensure that your reader is enveloped in the book, not distracted by unfortunate misplaced commas or word usage.

From my experience, here are some tips that will help when getting your book ready…

  • Use an older form of Word (2000 or older). This seems to create less glitches in an ebook format.  Note from Mike P.: If you use a newer version of Word and have any conversion glitches, you can use the “save as” feature to save into an older format.
  • Keep fonts simple. Times New Roman is probably best.
  • Ensure the least amount of spaces and returns as possible. The cleaner the copy the better.
  • Run quick find and replace searches for those annoying little words such as its/it’s and lets/ let’s.
  • Ensure you’ve nailed all those address commas by searching for key character names and endearments.

The most important thing to do before putting out your book is to ensure it has been read. Choose trusted friends who you know will be honest. Each will probably pick up on something new and bring a fresh perspective. If you use a professional proofreader, this should be someone that you can work with and trust with your creative output. I get to know my authors and their style and ensure that I look after their treasured creation.

Like this article?  It was written by Louise Darvid.  Louise is a proofreader based in England who works with self published authors, publishers and editors from the US and the UK. As well as finding errant typos, Louise ensures clarity of expression and accuracy of usage while at all times respecting the unique style of the author.  Facebook: Twitter:



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