Why Self Publishers Need A Proofreaders Checklist

After your book is sent to your printers, any changes that you wish to make are very costly. The trick is to make sure that all errors are fixed and that you're absolutely happy with your end product before you send it away to be printed. A good way to save time and money is to create a proofreading checklist.

That is, create a system with the things you need to check and write them down so every time you have to proofread something you know exactly what you need to look for and so you can tick off the list as you go.

Some of the points you should include in your proofreading checklist include:

Check the cover

The cover has to be perfect. A big typo in your title can destroy your credibility and hurt your sales, so double, triple, quadruple check every word on your cover. And don't forget the back cover! Although we are taught to never judge a book by its cover, when it comes to books we do precisely that. Check your cover and make sure it's absolutely correct.

Check the imprint page

After you have checked the front and back cover, thoroughly check the imprint page. Make sure all the details are correct, especially your contact details. Remember to also check your ISBN. The ISBN in the imprint should be the same as the barcode on the back cover.

Check the contents page

Make sure the contents page is correct and that the corresponding page numbers have not been mixed up. Mistakes that go unnoticed can prove to be a costly exercise after you have signed off on the project. Also note that if typesetters use a code to create a contents page, mistakes found on the contents page is likely to be repeated on the corresponding title head pages in the book.

Check paragraphs

Sometimes when a book is being laid out, the ends or beginnings of paragraphs can go missing or can be deleted by accident. Thoroughly check your paragraphs by comparing it to your original copy concentrating on the beginnings and ends of each paragraph.

Check photographs and diagrams

Ensure that the right image is on the right page and that it has been referenced properly. Sometimes when typesetting a page, text can be moved onto a different page from its relevant image. Also check the quality of images and that the contrast and brightness of photographs are correct.

Other things to check

You should also pay attention to pull-out quotes to ensure that they are on the right page and that they have been quoted correctly. Ensure that names are spelt right, websites are still active, and headers and footers are consistent.

In summary, developing your own proofreading checklist is a useful guide that will save you time and money. Depending on your editing process and the style of your book, you should add other points to the ones discussed in this article. Proofreading checklists are a great way to avoid making the same mistake twice, so any errors made in the past should be added to your checklist.


Dale Beaumont is the author of this article. He is an internationally renowned book publishing expert, the author of 16 best-selling books and the creator of the Get Published Secrets Program.  

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