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Why Authors Need Proof Copies

Hi Readers! If you missed last week’s blog post, Proof Copies for Authors, you can read it here to learn more about what proof copies are and a few of your options for ordering them. As Amazon KDP’s website explains, “Proof copies are snapshots of how your paperback would print before it goes through our quality review. You can check for grammatical errors, typos, and formatting. You can also review images or graphics to make sure they meet your expectations.” This week’s blog post is going to focus on a few of the reasons authors need proofs and why it is especially important for indie authors.

1. Proofreading.

It is important to note that proof copies are not the final version of the book. One of the reasons you would order a proof is to check the book for spelling, grammar, or syntax errors, as well as any typos. Sometimes it is easier to spot these errors when you’re reading a physical book instead of trying to find mistakes on a computer screen.

2. Finding awkward wording.

When I ordered my first proof copy, I noticed several instances where I didn’t like the way a sentence was phrased or a line or dialogue suddenly sounded awkward. I believe the more times you read your book, the more you may want to change, so it is important to know when to stop editing. I used colored tabs to mark the pages where I wanted changes and wrote my notes directly in the book.

3. Formatting.

Formatting is essential to double check before publishing, especially if you formatted the book yourself and don’t have prior experience with formatting. My husband helped me figure out the paperback formatting because he has design experience. It was helpful to see how the font size, spacing, margins, etc. looked on the pages in the paperback, so I knew how it would appear to my readers and I could be certain they wouldn’t find anything that was off.

4. Cover design.

If you hired a professional book cover designer, then you should have nothing to worry about because they will know how to correctly design the cover. An experienced book cover designer will ask you questions such as the page count, POD company you’re publishing through, and what you want on the cover. These questions will ensure your book cover is designed according to the accurate page count so the paperback wrap will cover the spine completely. Each POD company has different specifications for the cover, so if these are adhered to, the book cover should turn out perfectly fine. Thankfully, I hired Mandi Lynn with Stone Ridge Books, who has tons of experience with designing book covers (and publishing), so my cover looks awesome!

5. Final review.

If there is anything else you need to review in your book or on your cover before publishing, then making time for one last review of everything is a good idea. Amazon KDP, IngramSpark, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble Press, or any other POD company you choose to publish through is not going to double check these things for you. Therefore, it’s essential to order a proof and make sure your book is ready to be published.

As an indie author, all the responsibility is on you to ensure your book is ready for publishing. Of course, you can always outsource for certain parts of the publishing process, but you’re the one with your name attached to the book. If you recruit beta readers to read your book after writing a few drafts, self-edit based on their feedback, hire a professional editor, and then self-edit more, this will minimize the chance of your book having typos, grammar or spelling errors, or any glaring plot holes.

If you’re an author, do you order proof copies? Why do you think they’re important? As always, feel free to comment below with your own knowledge about self-publishing!

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