Friday, July 9, 2010

Proofing Page Proofs of the Fortune Book

The page proofs for The Adventures of Elizabeth Fortune came in this week. Here, the moment of truth. Was the editing really topnotch? Did the layout go the way it was planned?

This is the second printing of this book, the first done more than 10 years ago by a company long out of business. I utilized the original print copy files and did a bit of tweaking—such as putting in the several paragraphs of dialogue and other text that had become "lost" in the first printing. No, not edited out; lost. The editor even called me to ask if I had made some changes in the text (didn't tell me what they might be). Editor didn't have sense enough to look at the original and plug in the "lost" text.

You might be wondering why I didn't I see this when previewing the first edition. I didn't get to preview the first edition! The publisher was pushing for a deadline, and assured me all was in order. "No time to send blue lines. Don't worry."

Humpf! That'll teach me.

Hence, when these second-printing page proofs arrived, I decided to scrutinize them. I began with the lost sections I had put in place. Everything fine. Then I started from the bottom of the last page and painstakingly worked my way to the front, not just of the text, but the front matter and the title page. I've found that By perusing the manuscript back to front, there are fewer chances of seeing what you know should be there when it isn’t. You are looking at groups of words and punctuation, not really reading. I found misspells and other things wrong, and verified, by looking in a copy of the book, that these errors had, indeed, gone out in the first printing.

Again, the importance of proofing is confirmed.

The proofs have been corrected and sent off. The Kindle edition of this book had been from the same text copy, so I made the corrections and republished that. I must say, however, that I have no belief that the book is error-free. Someone will surely see what they consider a misplaced comma, a bad transition, a goofy word choice. But without my proofread, I couldn't say I tried my very best.