The final type of edit is the Proofread.
Often times this gets confused with a Mechanical Edit and as both an author and an editor, this aggravates me to no end. Most people, however, are not to blame for this mistake. You can blame your high school English teacher and often times your college professors (who should have known better).
By the time your story is ready for Proofreading, it is done. All of the other edits are complete. You are now proofreading your final copy, the Proof that has come back to you from your publisher of choice, be that an indie platform or a publishing house.
Proofreading involves making sure that the proof looks the way you intend for it to look. Are sentences broken up in odd ways? Are margins correct? Are whole parts of the page missing? Is the cover smooth and visually appealing?
Yes, some mechanical things may be found in proofreading, but that is not actually the purpose of the proof read. It is simply making sure that the final has come together well. Is the story formatted properly on the page? Does it read well in an e-reader? Is the font style clear and comfortable on the eyes for print or electronic format? Is the font the proper size for the eyes of the intended audience? Is formatting correct for illustrations and are they captioned properly?
Headers and footers should be inserted properly. The copyright pages should be formatted correctly, as should any attributions and acknowledgements. Page numbers and author/title should also be correct as should the title page.
For electronic formats, links should work properly. This includes the table of contents as well as any external links to things like author websites and social networking.
And that, friends, is Editing 101.
I’m going to return to talking about editing again soon. I’ll be offering some tips for writers having to do the editing themselves and some survival tips for those working with an editor that I have learned along the way.