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Image by Bruno van der Kraan

Icing on the cake. White foam in the waves. That extra bit that makes it just right.

Proofreading is the lightest form of editing. It’s no less meticulous; if anything, a proofread requires greater attention to detail to catch any leftover mistakes from previous edits. Spacing, forgotten commas, widows, and other such little things are checked in this round. Small does not mean less important. I take proofreading just as seriously as I would a deep edit.


BE WARNED: Many writers assume that what they need is a proofread, when in fact their book needs a thorough copyedit. I’ll be frank about that up-front. I’ve had to stick Band-Aids over festering words before, but I’m not doing that with you. You only get a proofread if you need a proofread. If you need something else, we’ll take out that antibiotic cream and get started.

For example, here’s a sentence that needs to be proofread:

Lyle couldn’t believe he’d forgotten his sister’s birthday.

Oh? What’s that? You don’t see any mistakes?

Haha! That’s because most of the sentences in a proofread don’t HAVE any mistakes!

If your sentence looks like this, it needs a copyedit:

Lyle was to busy stuffing his face with broccoli and peppers—to notice his

sister is glaring at him.

Yeah. That’s no proofread. Not sure which your book needs?

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