7 Ways to Get Better Proofreading
By Paul Krantz

One of my proofreading clients once asked me, “What can editors and writers do to improve the work of freelance proofreaders (except offer more money and time)?”

Here are seven suggestions I offered:

1. For each assignment, include a detailed, up-to-date style guide specific to the publication or company. If any of the guidelines have changed or are not enforced, tell the proofer.

2. Describe the level of proofreading you need. You might offer more leeway for changes at first page proof stage and much more limited proofing of bluelines.

3. Organize multiple-page jobs into the correct order, and note any pages that are missing or copy that is not final.

4. Edit the text before handing over to the proofreader. Even with well-written copy, it is not fair to expect the proofreader to make substantial improvements without receiving the copy-editing rate.

5. Run a spell-check.

6. Whenever possible, provide high-quality hard copies sized to 100 percent.  PDFs are a poor substitute, though acceptable in a pinch. Reduced size proofs are difficult to read, and oversized printouts can be unwieldy.

7. Assign the same proofreader to every issue of a publication. This ensures that the proofer learns the conventions and quirks of the publication. In turn, this makes for a faster, smoother proof.
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