A Proofreader’s Checklist

Proofreading can be scary at times because it carries so much responsibility.

The proofreader must deliver a product that is as perfect as humanly possible.

In some businesses, the proofreader is the last person to touch a document, making the final changes before it is published.

Like editing, proofreading can require a light or a heavy hand, depending on the subject matter and the complexity of the text.

Some drafts require only minor fixes – typos, missing punctuation, misspellings – while others require extensive fact-checking in addition to correcting grammatical errors.

The Writers for Hire team has worked through a few kinks in its own processes, and shares the results here.

These tips, which focus on generally accepted best practices, are intended to ease most – but perhaps not all – of the anxiety sometimes surrounding the proofreading process.

1. Begin with a Discussion.

The proofreading process should begin with you, the proofreader, and the editor or client talking through how the project will proceed.

At the outset, you should agree on the preferred style guide and any deviations from or in-house exceptions to the preferred guide.

Most companies use a preferred style guide.

The Associated Press (AP) Style Guide, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Chicago Manual of Style are the most common.

Despite the preferred style, some documents may require adherence to different guidelines, such as a client’s own style guide.

  • Project-specific guidelines could include:
  • Using European date format (day/month/year)
  • Using 24-hour clock time (0930 versus 9:30 a.m.)
  • Using only words or only symbols for monetary units
  • Abbreviating or spelling out titles
  • Keeping industry-specific usage, capitalization, or punctuation
  • Using specific transliterations or spellings of foreign names and places
  • Making exceptions to AP style, such as using the Oxford comma

But, of course, these are only a few of the various elements that you, the editor, and your client must agree on up front.

Otherwise, you could end up in a vicious cycle of editing each other’s changes back and forth.

2. Print and Read Out Loud

Proofreading the hard copy of a text and pronouncing or mouthing each word can catch many more errors than reading it on a computer screen.

Reading each word out loud identifies missing and repeated words – a very common occurrence.

Checking for consistency in formatting is also easier when you page through a printed document.

  • Other mistakes this best practice helps identify include:
  • Incorrect subject verb agreement
  • Incorrect antecedents
  • Complex sentences that are confusing or too long
  • Commonly misused homonyms and other words (their/there, its/it’s, and affect/effect, for example)

3. Check the Facts

Not all drafts require fact-checking, but for those that do, this is a critical step in proofreading. At a minimum, you should fact-check the following:

  • Official country names and names of individuals, places, and organizations. Enter each into Google to confirm the correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
  • Ages, birth dates, and death dates. Check for errors such as someone turning different ages in the same year, or an event involving someone before they were born or after they died.
  • Dates of events. Check all references to a specific day and date in a specific month and year to make sure they are accurate.
  • Captions of photos and graphics. Make sure they match the text exactly, paying close attention to names, dates, places, and subject matter.
  • Math in tables and graphics. Check what you can calculate using simple math, such as percentages and totals.

4. Look for Internal Inconsistences

Consistency in longer documents can be especially challenging because of the human tendency to read what should be on the page instead of what is there.

As you read, make a list of items to check for consistency against the agreed guidelines. Such a list might include:

  • Formatting, grammar, and punctuation of bullets, headings, and subheadings
  • Capitalization and use of titles
  • Use of first names, last names, or both
  • Capitalization of captions
  • Chronological consistency
  • Use of colons, semi colons, en dashes, and em dashes
  • Formatting of dates and time
  • Symbols or words for numbers and currencies

5. Use the Spell Check and Find Functions

The Spell Check and Find functions are very helpful, but a proofreader cannot rely on them to catch everything.

“ABC Spelling and Grammar” in Microsoft Word, for example, automatically identifies misspelled words, sentence fragments, and common grammatical errors, but it also can suggest changes that are wrong in the context of a document.

Spell-checking will, however, catch all unusual names and terms – because it doesn’t recognize them.

After you have confirmed that the spelling of a word is correct, click the “Ignore All” option.

If spell-checking catches another version of the word, then that word is spelled different ways in the document.

When proofreading on a PDF, use CNTRL A (to highlight all) and CNTRL V (to paste all) into a Word document.

Word will identify misspellings, but it also will catch words that aren’t misspelled because of the way it cuts and pastes in.

This is still better than no spell check at all, however!

Along with spell-checking, the Find function helps ensure consistency by checking for all instances of style choices in spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, and punctuation.

Searching for specific word and editing choices is easier using Microsoft Word’s “Advanced Find,” which has several options, including “Match case” and “Find whole words only.”

On a PC, click “Find,” then “Advanced Find,” and then “More” to see all the search options:

The “Navigation” pane in Find offers the choice of searching “Headings,” “Pages,” and “Results.”

Searching “Results” returns a list of results within their surrounding text; this option could be useful when checking for consistency in long, complex, documents.

On a Mac, be sure that your Standard Toolbar is open. Do that through “View” at the top, then scroll down to Toolbars > Standard:

The “Advanced Find” can be accessed from the top right “Search” box:

Click on “List Matches in Sidebar” to call up the “Find and Replace” window down the left-hand side of your document. Insert the word you’re looking for into the “Search Document” field:

Choose the gear icon to access a pull-down menu of advanced search options:

Once you’ve entered all your changes, spell-check the entire document a final time to uncover any glitches that escaped your attention.

Take Your Time

Proofreading takes time.

If your client only has a limited amount of time – or budget – to complete the proofreading phase, be sure to find out what the most important elements are, so you know how to focus your time.

And be sure to let the client know if the expectations aren’t reasonable. A rushed proofing job inevitably leads to further corrections

End with a Discussion

Once you are done proofing, be sure to review the changes you made with the editor or client, and discuss any remaining areas of concern that require your attention.

If the document contained tracked changes and comments, bracketed text, or highlights, make sure to remove them if you have addressed the issues.

If not, insert your own comments and raise them with the client or editor.

What Kind of Editing Do I Need?

“Can you edit this?”

It’s arguably one of the vaguest requests heard in the world of editing and publishing.

That’s because there are multiple types of editing, and they often mean something very different to each party in the editing relationship – the writer and the editor.

A basic Internet search of “types of editing” can send you into a flurry of terminology controversies and confusion.

As an example, the Grammarly blog breaks apart developmental and substantive editing into separate definitions, while the Institute of Professional Editors uses another term for developmental editing (structural editing), and lumps substantive editing into that category.

The list goes on and on.

The growing popularity of self-publishing, has only served to contribute to the confusion.

Whether you’re an author seeking to self-publish a book or a corporate communicator finalizing a marketing brochure, determining what level of editing your project needs and effectively communicating expectations to your editor is key to a satisfactory process and end result, says Wintress Odom, owner and editor-in-chief at The Writers for Hire.

“I cannot tell you how many times we get a piece of copy and are asked to, ‘Just proofread it,’ or, ‘Please edit this,’” Odom says. “Most of the time, our clients have a very specific idea of what this means to them, but a lot of people don’t realize that those terms are used vastly differently by different people, so you really have to clarify, or you could get something back from an editor that was not what you expected at all.”

So how do you, as a writer, navigate the editing portion of the process to achieve your desired result?

Let’s explore the types of editing, consider overlapping terminology, and look at some ways to ensure you get what you want out of your editor.

Editing and Proofreading Are Very Different

First, let’s clear up some editing basics.

Editing is a process that shapes and modifies your manuscript or piece of copy to prepare it for publishing.

This can mean many different things, as we will go into below, but it typically involves fundamental changes to aspects such as flow, grammar and consistency.

This can mean many different things, as we will go into below, but it typically involves fundamental changes to aspects such as flow, grammar and consistency.

Proofreading, on the other hand, is a final step to review your copy as it will be printed, with the intent of catching any mistakes that may have been made during editing.

While proofreading is considered part of the overall editing process, having your piece proofread is not the same as having it edited.

Levels in the Editing Process

Most editing authorities use somewhere between three and five levels of editing, including proofreading as a final step in the process.

Let’s review the main categories and some of the terminology you may encounter.

1. Developmental editing

Developmental editing (also often called structural and substantive editing) is the most intense level of editing and could involve vigorous rewriting, so you may also see terms such as heavy editing or content editing used. This is a bigger-picture overhaul of your manuscript for style, structure and flow.

For nonfiction, you need developmental editing if your material is lacking logical flow.  In fiction, you may need developmental editing if you need assistance improving plot and/or character development.  Developmental editing will typically include reworking:

  • Book organization and topic flow.
  • Big-picture transitions.
  • Overarching stylistic choices.
  • Plotline and characterization (fiction).

2. Line editing

Line editing is sometimes lumped in with copy editing below, but it’s a more detailed, sentence-by-sentence edit.

Line editing isn’t focused on the big-picture aspects of the book as in developmental editing, but it may include sentence rewording to address areas such as:

  • Flow or pacing issues.
  • Removal of sections that may not fit.
  • Improving sentence content, style and voice.

3. Copy editing

Copy editing is also a sentence-by-sentence edit, but more technical in nature, focusing on cleaning up your copy to prepare it for publishing. If you are happy with the organization and flow of your piece and think it is ready for technical polishing such as grammar and punctuation, this may be the right level of editing for you.

Not all editors agree on what copyediting entails, but common services might include fixing:

  • Errors and inconsistencies in style (like the Oxford comma or hyphenation consistency)
  • Errors in dates, URLs, page numbers or other pertinent details.
  • Repeated facts.
  • Internal contradictions within the piece.

4. Proofreading

If you speak to a writer, proofreading often includes fixing typos and grammatical errors, as well as all or several of the items listen in copy editing (above).

However for a publisher, proofreading is very different.  Proofreading for publishers occurs only after final layout, and is intended to catch any errors made during the layout process, such as:

  • Missing words or sentences.
  • Odd line breaks or picture formatting.
  • Missing pages or page numbers.

Determining Which Level You Need

As you can see, even within these four categories, there are many overlapping and interchangeably used terms within these levels, and your editor may break them down differently.

In his work with indie authors, Friedlander finds it useful to simplify by dividing editing into two areas of need – the information and the copy.

“If you think your book has problems with the way it flows, it isn’t quite complete and you’re not sure how it compares to other similar books … in the market, then consult with a developmental editor about what you need to shape your book,” he says. “If you’re already over that part, you know what should be in the book, you’ve written books before and you’re satisfied with the way the information flows, then talk to your editor about preparing the book for publication with a copy edit.”

Odom agrees that a consultation with your editor detailing your needs is the best approach.

The key is understanding the general terms out there, and clarifying what that means to your editor as it relates to your specific project.

To help guide your conversation, Odom recommends asking yourself these questions:

  1. What are my goals with the editing process?
  2. What are my biggest concerns?
  3. Am I happy with the book’s overall chapter organization?
  4. Does the logical flow need help (i.e. does it make sense)?
  5. Does the stylistic flow need help (i.e. is it clunky to read)?
  6. Am I comfortable with an editor rewriting large portions of my manuscript?
  7. Would I prefer that the editor stick to fixing egregious errors, leaving the manuscript essentially as-is?
  8. Do I want my editor to fix style inconsistences (such as writing out numbers or consistency in capitalization choices)?
  9. Does the editor need to fact check for me? If so, what types of facts (e.g. spellings of places, historical dates, specific magazine quotes)?

It is true that the editing process can be confusing.

With an understanding of the nuances and variants that go into editing, though, you can arm yourself with the necessary tools to make the relationship with your editor a successful one.

This will, in turn, result in a more successful outcome for your project.

The Death of the Apostrophe Society

As self-proclaimed grammar nerds, we at The Writers For Hire are disappointed to share that the Apostrophe Protection Society has officially been shut down. (Never mind the fact that we did not even know that such a society ever existed until we came across this article from the Evening Standard.)

The society, which was founded in 2001, was the brainchild of retired British journalist, John Richards. Richards originally started the society in hopes that it would help ensure that the “much abused” apostrophe was being used correctly.  Throughout his career as a journalist, he had seen countless mistakes when it came to the use of the apostrophe. He hoped that by forming a society to protect it, he would find a few like-minded people who shared his desire to see this punctuation mark used correctly.

As it turns out, he found more than just a handful of supporters. Not long after starting the society, Richards was receiving hundreds of letters of support from around the world.

Now, I am sure that you are wondering why it has been shut down after only 18 years if the society has received so much worldwide support.

Well, according to Richards, even with all of the support from grammar nerds around the world, “the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won.”

It seems that, at the age of 96, John Richards has resigned himself to the fact that modern society (for the most part) “no longer cares about the correct use of the apostrophe in the English language.”

Proofreading Always Counts

Proofreading Always Counts

In 1904, dressmaker Lena Himmelstein Bryant opened a boutique in New York City. When she opened her business account at the bank, the clerk misspelled her name… and Lena simply rolled with it.

She went on to create something of a dynasty in women’s retail, establishing more than 800 plus-size clothing chains known as Lane Bryant.

If not for a similar situation, we might be googoling things on the internet today. Here’s the story: When the founders brainstormed a name in 1997 for this massive data repository, they settled on “googolplex,” one of the largest describable numbers. They simplified it to “googol” – but then accidentally mistyped it when checking the availability of that domain name.

And so Google was born.

Unlike the other two successes, our brilliant NASA engineers didn’t quite fare so well in 1962.

It turns out that a simple typo in an equation sent the Mariner 1 way off course in its mission to scope out Venus. Mission Control had to abort the trip – and manually blow up the spacecraft – 5 minutes into the flight just because someone forgot an elusive “overbar” above a character.

“The most expensive hyphen in history” (according to British sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke) wound up costing about $80 million dollars and prevented us from gaining some understanding of our nearest celestial neighbor.

So apparently proofreading really is rocket science.

Many of us have experienced unfortunate typos, some expensive, some downright funny. Everyone – yes, even a professional writer – benefits from having someone review your writing. But everyone – yes, even a professional writer – is human. Which means we need to expect some amount of human error, even in the most meticulously proofed manuscript.

A Standard Rate?

So, just what is a standard error rate for proofing?

Here’s where hard science flies out the door. Opinion abounds regarding best practices for proofreading and successful error rates, but there’s really not a lot of fact-based evidence on a standard to assess quality proofreading.

Take Amazon, for example. One of the powerhouses in self-publishing and book sales, the online retailer claims to employ a process to flag ebooks for too many typos. They state, “While we are not able to disclose this specific formula, please be informed that an average sized novel … will trigger the quality warning with 10-15 typos.”

That said, Amazon’s process may not catch a lot of things. Their program will not count contextual errors such as “What have you to got to loose?” or a miskeyed proper name like “Tim” Sawyer.

Even the venerable New York Times openly admits to making mistakes. The news outlet has a page on its website that lists corrections per day. Granted, many are factual errors rather than proofreading errors, but they report the occasional typo.

But attempting to nail down an estimate of proofreading success in catching errors remains elusive. Multiple reports include the claim that the industry standard for a professional proofreader is that they should identify 95% of errors on a first pass.

For argument’s sake, let’s say a proofreader corrected 5 items per page in a 300-page manuscript. That would total 1,500 corrections. At the 95% accuracy rate acceptance criteria as listed above, the actual number of errors would have been about 1,580, 80 of which would have been missed. By adding a second proof, with those 80 errors left (95% of which should be caught), the manuscript should then get down to 4 errors.

Sure, this math seems legit… until we consider that to claim that there is an “industry standard” is near-impossible: In order to calculate how “good” the proofread is, we’d have to know how many errors there were in the first place. And knowing that going in feels akin to seeing the future. It might be the only validation to skip the proofing process and rush out to buy a lottery ticket.

6 Tips for catching the most errors during proofreading:

  1. Don’t proof onscreen.
    The human eye functions differently when reading hard copy versus something onscreen.
  2. Go through multiple rounds of proofing.
    Akin to “measure twice, cut once,” a second or even third round of proofreading can often discern typos missed in the initial pass.
  3. Have different readers.
    Everyone will focus on something unique.
  4. Use a checklist.
    Know what to look for, unique to each piece: common errors, data specifications, anything that’s might trigger a typo.
  5. Refer to the style guide.
    If the assignment calls for very specific usage, be sure the requirements are available for all proofreading.
  6. Don’t proof your own work.
    We’re often too close to the writing to really “see” it.

The P’s and Q’s of Proofreading

Proofreaders don’t get enough credit – and a lot of people don’t spend enough time proofreading their own work.

Proofreading is about more than just making sure to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s. We’ve put together a list of helpful proofreading tips to make sure that your documents come out as close to perfect as possible – every time.

  • Keep your spell checking software, but don’t get too comfortable. Spell check is a beautiful thing, and a lot of times it can save people’s you-know-whats, especially if they don’t have a lot of time to proof their work. However, spell checking isn’t magic, it’s not always correct, and it won’t pick up on words that are misused. How many times have you typed “Through you may think…” or “You schedules are attached…”, or something similar, only to have your spell check fail you?
  • Print it out. You can’t read properly on a screen. Your mind will make little leaps in logic, automatically filling in missed or misused words. Working from a hard copy makes a proofreader’s job easier. Feel free to get out a pen and just go to town if you feel like it.
  • Read it out loud. That’s right, you may look a little crazy if you happen to do this in a public place. Reading it out loud (or at least whispering to yourself) will force you to slow your pace and get into the rhythm of the language – and that, in turn, will illuminate any mistakes. If you stumble as you read to yourself, that’s a good indication that you should work on the syntax of that line.
  • Get a fresh pair of eyes. There’s no room to be shy – having a friend or colleague look it over and give you feedback is a valuable source of information. Friends can normally pick up on inconsistencies that you may overlook.
  • Double check things you don’t think need to be double checked. This includes very fine print and standard forms like addresses, boilerplate introductions, dates, contact information, and even company letterhead. It’s easy to gloss over these items because they’re often used – but a good proofreader knows that sometimes mistakes happen in the strangest of places. A misspelled name on company letterhead is embarrassing, and an incorrect phone number won’t land any sales.
  • Pay attention to the extras. This means charts, graphs, pictures, titles, page numbers, and even numbered lists. Make sure the numbered bullets are sequential, that you haven’t gone from A. to C. in your outline, and that all of the graphics are right side up and properly labeled.
  • Proof proper names and headlines or titles separately. It’s easy to make mistakes in headings because proofers are usually so focused on the body of the copy, so go back and proof these in a new round. Proper names go in this category too because it can be easy to skip over the spelling. I’ve seen “Michelle” turned into “Michael” or “Mitchell” too many times – and believe me, it doesn’t make your audience think very generous things about your intelligence.
  • Clear your mind. Having a hard time focusing? Editing and proofreading require a keen eye and major amounts of concentration, but it’s also a pretty monotonous job. If you can, refresh yourself by putting a little distance between you and whatever you’re proofreading. Read something else, or try sleeping on what you just wrote before proofing.

Do you have any tips that you find useful when proofreading your work? Let us know!

The 108 Most Persuasive Words In The English Language

It’s a long known fact that the secret to persuasive writing isn’t in the adjectives, it’s in the verbs.

Copywriters know power verbs sell and convince.

Internally, we have a list of 108 verbs that we’ve been using for a good decade, and we recently thought we should share it with proper credit to the original author.

We found that although the list is being recirculated (and in many cases claimed as original by several different authors!), the original author is, in fact, nowhere to be found.

So, if anyone knows who wrote this, we’d love to know!

With or without the original author, it’s still a great list…here it is!

The 108 Most Persuasive Words In The English Language

According to legendary advertising man, Leo Burnet, “Dull and exaggerated ad copy is due to the excess use of adjectives.”

To prove it, he asked his staff to compare the number of adjectives in 62 ads that failed to the number of adjectives in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and other age-old classics.

Here’s what he discovered:

Of the 12,758 words in the 62 failed ads, 24.1% were adjectives.

By direct comparison, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address contains only 35 adjectives out of 268 immortal words – only 13.1% adjective-to-total-word ratio.

Winston Churchill’s famous “Blood, Sweat and Tears” speech rates even lower and has a 12.1% adjective ratio (81 adjectives from 667 words).

Burnett found that similar ratios applied to great works such as The Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Conclusion: Use more verbs, not adjectives.

Verbs increase the pulling-power and believability of ad copy.

That’s why it makes sense to keep this 108-VERB “CHEAT-SHEET” close-by whenever you begin to draft your next space ad, sales letter, Website, or email campaign.

Still unsure how to incorporate these verbs into your marketing campaign? Or, perhaps, you just don’t have the time?

Then consider hiring a team of professional copywriters to do it for you! Talented advertising and marketing writers can take mediocre content and use power verbs to turn it into engaging copy that meets goals and produces results.

Are There Any Synonyms for Synonym?

Whoever created the English language must have had a wicked sense of humor. Why else would they have used “monosyllabic” to describe a word with just one syllable? And why isn’t the word “long” actually long?

Perhaps the most interesting of these questions is: Why are there no true synonyms for “synonym?”

This great article from Mental Floss poses that very question. And while it acknowledges the fact that there are some words, such as “metonym,” that come close to having the same meaning, it seems that “synonym” does not actually have a true synonym.

Adding yet another dimension to the discussion, the article also mentions that there are arguments for the possibility that there are no true synonyms at all.

This is just the kind of philosophical language puzzle that we at TWFH just love! So, check out the article, and let us know what you think. Do true synonyms exist? And if they do, what is the synonym for synonym?

The Great Oxford Comma Debate

It is one of the greatest debates in the English-speaking world… To Oxford comma, or not to Oxford comma.

While it is technically a grammatical option in American English, there are many people who feel very passionate about the Oxford (or serial) comma. In fact, this silly little comma has been the topic of debate among The Writers For Hire staff for many years.

Now, if you are reading this and wondering, “what is the big deal?!?” you may find this article from Business Insider to be helpful. The article explains what the Oxford comma is and gives three great examples that illustrate why the Oxford comma is important.

The article may not solve this great comma debate, but it is definitely entertaining!

Commonly Used Printing and Publishing Terms

To a first-time author, few stages of the book-writing process are as overwhelming as publishing and printing.

You’ll make decisions about everything from cover art to paper quality. You’ll have to decide which printing option is right for you and your readers. You’ll need to have opinions about whether you want a prologue or an appendix — or both.

You’ll also have to learn some industry jargon along the way. Need a starting point? Check out this list of commonly used printing and publishing terms:

  1. Appendix

    A section at the back of a book that contains relevant “extra” materials that don’t really fit anywhere else. Items that might go in an appendix include things like copies of original documents, letters, maps, family trees, graphics, or lists of recommended reading.

  2. Binding

    This refers to how the pages and cover are put together. A few common types of binding include:

    • Perfect Binding
      Also known as a “soft cover book,” a perfect bound book features a durable (but flexible) cover and is held together with a heavy-duty adhesive. Most mass market paperbacks (the paperbacks you find in bookstores or grocery stores) feature perfect binding.

    • *Most paperback books are perfect

    • Saddle Stitching
      This is a slightly misleading name because there’s no actual stitching involved. Instead, pages and cover are folded and stapled along the crease. Magazines, booklets, and short manuals often feature saddle stitching. Saddle stitching is very inexpensive.

    • Hardcover
      As the name suggests, these books feature hard, sturdy covers made of cardboard, fabric, or even leather and are often wrapped in a protective dust jacket. Hardcover books tend to be pricier to print than other types of binding.

    • Spiral Binding
      An inexpensive option that features a plastic or wire coil. Because spiral-bound pages can lay perfectly flat, this is a great choice for more “interactive” publications like workbooks or guidebooks.

  3. Draft

    A draft is a working (as in, not final) version of a book. In most cases, a draft is a Word document. Drafts go through multiple rounds of editing and revisions before they become final.

  4. Dust Jacket

    The removable paper cover that protects a hardcover book. Most dust jackets have a cover illustration, a book synopsis on the front inside flap, and an “About the Author/About the Company” blurb on the back inside flap (In case you were wondering, you don’t have to have a dust jacket. There are other options, such as casewrap, that look just as nice. They’re often more affordable, too.).

  5. EBook

    Short for “electronic book.” eBooks are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional publishing. eBooks look exactly like traditional books, but they are designed to be read on tablets or dedicated eReaders (like the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes & Noble Nook). Many self-published authors prefer eBooks because they are much less expensive to produce than traditional paper books.

  6. Editing

    Unlike proofreading, which focuses on small grammar and spelling errors, editing is all about the big picture. Editing typically includes things like rewriting sentences for clarity, deleting unnecessary paragraphs, rearranging sections of a chapter, or adding details to make your writing more interesting. You can edit your draft yourself, or hire an editor to help you improve your writing.

  7. Foreword

    A short introduction that appears at the beginning of the book. A foreword can be written by the book’s author, but it’s often written by someone else, such as an industry expert or a respected author.

  8. Galley

    This is a sample copy of the book once it’s been through the layout and design stages. The galley copy provides a final opportunity to review or make changes before the book goes to print.

  9. Matte Vs. Glossy

    You’ll most likely have to decide between these two options when you choose a book cover or dust jacket. A glossy finish is super-shiny and a tiny bit reflective. A matte finish is low-shine and typically non-reflective.

  10. JPEG

    Pronounced “jay-peg,” a JPEG is a common format for compressing digital photos. If you plan to include photos in your book, you’ll likely need to convert them to JPEG format. Working with older photos? No worries. You can use a scanner to convert them to digital.

  11. ISBN

    Short for the International Standard Book Number, the ISBN is the unique number and accompanying bar code assigned to all commercially published books. A book’s ISBN contains a variety of information, including the country where the book was published, the publisher, edition, and more. The ISBN is also used by bookstores and libraries.

    *Traditional publishers (and most reputable self-publishers) assign an ISBN to all books they produce.

  12. PDF

    A PDF is another common digital file format. Unlike a bare-bones Word document, a PDF looks exactly like a printed page and will include design elements, graphics, custom fonts, and more.

  13. Print On Demand

    A type of publishing option where books are printed individually when they are ordered. This is an economical alternative to traditional publishing, which typically requires you to print a few hundred books at once.

  14. Prologue

    An introductory section that appears before the main book. In a non-fiction book, you can use a prologue to provide context or background information, or to explain your relationship to the subject matter. In a fiction book, a prologue might be a short vignette that sets the scene for the main story. A prologue is written by the book’s author.

  15. Proof

    In publishing lingo, “proof” means a pre-print sample of a book. Typically, your publisher or printer will provide you with a proof to review before your book is printed. This is your last opportunity to do a thorough review and catch any typos or formatting issues before your book goes to print.

  16. Proofreading

    Proofreading means going through a final draft to correct small issues such as missing punctuation, typos, or grammar and spelling errors.

  17. Publisher Vs. Printer

    What’s the difference? In most cases, a publisher handles all aspects of your book, from layout and design to printing, sales, and distribution. (Depending on what kind of publisher you’re using, a publisher may handle marketing and publicity, too.) A printer does exactly what the name suggests: They print your book. Printers don’t normally offer additional services like graphics, design or marketing.

  18. Self-Publishing

    Self-publishing is an increasingly popular option, and with good reason: It’s easy, it’s faster than traditional publishing, and it’s a great choice if you’re writing for a smaller audience and/or you want to retain complete creative control over your book. What’s more, many of the leading self-publishing companies produce beautiful books that rival their traditionally published counterparts. Our pick for self-publishing? CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon.com.

  19. Table of Contents

    A table of contents appears at the front of the book and lists each chapter or section.

Word Tip of the Week: Compare Documents to See Revisions

When several people are working on a document, it’s almost inevitable that someone will eventually forget to use Track Changes.

Luckily, Word includes another way to see the revisions between two versions of a document.

Don’t comb through a document looking for changes! Instead, use the Compare feature:

1. Make sure both versions of the document are open in Word.

2. In the Review tab, click the Compare button.

3. Choose Compare in the dropdown menu.



4. Under Original document, choose the previous version. Under Revised document, choose the latest version.



5. Click OK. Word will display a side-by-side comparison and a list of revisions.


Got another Word problem? Maybe one of our other tips can help.