I finished the first draft of “The Alien Visitation Chronicle” probably a couple of weeks ago. I did a quick and dirty edit/proofread of the whole thing. My husband also read it, pronounced it a lot of fun, and found a couple of errors.
Then I wondered how I could do a better job of proofreading it. A friend who read my first novel (“Millie’s Adventures in Time”) said that she found a lot of errors in it. She didn’t say how many. Her idea of a lot could be two or four. Who knows. And she didn’t make note of them so that I could fix them. Dang. Anyway, it kind of scared me a little because I had read that first novel more times than I could keep track of and thought I’d done a good job of proofreading it.
So, in the middle of the night while agonizing over the whole issue, I came up with a plan: I would read it backwards. I started doing that just recently. It’s a pain, but I can see how it would help me to find errors.
Then my husband asked the question: How do professional proofreaders do it? Guess what my search turned up? They read it backwards. That’s the number one tip for doing a good job of proofreading. How about that?
The next tip was to do only that. Don’t try to edit at the same time. Figured that one out on my own too. But it’s hard to do. I find repeated words that I’d like to change, or awkward passages that are hard to understand. But I have to say, reading the manuscript backwards does tend to make me less aware of the editing aspect of it.
Another tip was to print it out. They say the best way to spot errors is from the printed page. Also, with a printout, you can put a ruler under each line and thereby increase your focus on it. All good tips, but I don’t think I have enough toner and paper to print this out. So I’ll make do with reading it on the computer monitor.
I hope that this next novel will be released without errors, but maybe it’s not humanly possible to catch them all. I find typos in traditionally published novels all the time.
After I finish with this, I plan to read my paperback copy of my first novel and make note of all the errors and then fix them. That’s the beauty of print on demand with Kindle Direct Publishing. You can actually fix the thing so subsequent copies are better. I think that’s wonderful.