How to proofread your book before publishing
Unfortunately, not everyone is able to hire an editor when they self-publish. This means that you will have to proofread your entire book thoroughly before you publish. However, you can use this to your advantage because you have complete control over your work. Here are some tips that may come in handy when you want to proof-read your work!
Grammar and Punctuation:
No one wants to read a book that has grammatical or punctuational errors. If you do not want to go over every word by yourself, we recommend using free tools like Grammarly that identify the errors for you and provide you with the correct usage. This may not always be accurate so don’t rely on it completely.
Proofreading in stages:
The first stage can involve checking the spellings, followed by grammar and then punctuation, etc. Although this is very time-consuming, it helps to improve accuracy.
Proofread a printed copy of your book:
People tend to read differently on screen and on paper. So if you print your manuscript and read it, you might be able to identify errors that you skipped while reading the online version.
Read it out loud:
By reading the book out loud, you might hear something that your eyes missed!
Read it backwards:
You’re probably confused now. Why should I read my book backwards you ask? It’s simple. When you’re reading it backwards, you are not focusing on the flow of the sentence or the content. This makes it easier to spot spelling mistakes.
Spot overused words and phrases:
Sometimes, we tend to overuse certain words and phrases without even noticing. While reading it normally, out loud, or backwards, take notice of such words and phrases!
Readers are quick to notice factual errors. If your book is fiction, this is not essential but it does affect your credibility. For non-fiction books, make sure to fact check!
Take a break:
If you keep reading the same words over and over again, you might not spot any mistakes. So, take a break, sleep on it, and get back to proofreading after a while.
Ask friends and family to read your work:
You can also have someone else proofread your work. Find someone who is willing to be your harshest critic. Friends and family want to see you succeed and would be willing to spot errors and provide suggestions.
Find proofreaders and ambassadors:
Proofreaders read your manuscript (online or in print) before you officially publish the book and they can provide your story with feedback. Proofreaders can be friends, family or acquaintances, but perhaps even better people who can look at your story objectively. This way you can find proofreaders on Sweek, via a call or via Facebook groups. Be clear about what they get in return. Do they receive a free copy? Or just an eternal thank you? Tip: thank your proofreaders somewhere at the start of or at the end of your book; they will certainly appreciate that!
In addition to making your book better, proofreaders can also become ambassadors. You can also hire additional ambassadors who are not proofers. For example via a registration form on the website or via a message on social media. Make sure you can keep them informed via e-mail (or for example Whatsapp). You can (for example) ask your ambassadors whether they can write reviews online or share your book on social media and through word of mouth
Proofreading does take a lot of time but you can indeed use the above-mentioned steps to make sure that it is less tedious. Once you are done with proofreading, you are ready to self-publish.