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Galley proofs are done!

The last step before a manuscript goes to press is to proof the galley pages. These are the book’s pages laid out in InDesign, all typeset as it will look in the printed product. It’s quite exciting to see the PDF, because it actually looks like a book.

I had about three weeks to proofread. I wanted to do the same system as I did with my memoir 10 years ago. For that book, a former professor of mine offered to read the manuscript out loud to me as I read along. The process worked so well. We caught many errors. As much as you try to be careful, with tens of thousands of words there are bound to be a few mistakes. To my knowledge, my memoir has just one mistake (I can never remember what it is — it’s not glaring, but something escaped our eyes).

This time around I enlisted the services of two people. Nick is a former book editor, so he has tons of experience proofing galleys. We were THOROUGH! Nick read it out loud to me, but in addition he was crossing off the words as he went along. Our eyes see what we want to see, but the extra step of putting your pencil on every word helps to spot those troubling homophones or words that may be missing. Bruce, a former newspaper copy editor, also read a copy. I am so thankful for two sets of expert eyes! I highly recommend that this is how everyone should proof galleys. I bet I put in about 25 hours into this process.

Here are some mistakes we found. You can see how these could be easily missed on a quick read! Nick and I almost missed the “one on hand.” Even if we had, Bruce had caught it.