Uncommon Sense

June 4, 2021

Ever Wonder What Proofreading a 550 Page Book is Like?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 1:38 pm

If you have, you probably are stranger than I thought you were.

The photo shows what a printout of the layout on this book looks like. The stack is twice as high as the book will be thick because there is one page printed per sheet of paper where the book will have two pages printed on each sheet. But still. . . .

The painful thing is this is my book and it is a collection of posts from my archery coaching blog. So, I wrote those posts once before (or twice, if they were adapted from a magazine article), then I had to read them to see if they were fit to go into this compilation, then I had to edit each one (350+ of them), then I had to lay out the book, adding photos, captions, photo references, etc. And now I have to proofread the layout.

You know the saying that a lawyer who represents himself in court has a fool for a client? Similarly in writing: a writer, shouldn’t edit his own work, certainly not copy edit it, and well, proofreading is something we do do. All publishers want authors to proofread the final galleys so that is there are any mistakes they can blame the author (no, not really, but it is a quality control measure).

The problem is that our publishing company, Watching Arrows Fly, has a staff of two. And the other one don’t wanna do no stinkin’ proofreadin’.

Mind you, I have always been a “do-it-yourselfer,” but . . . I am tired.

“Call it a day, you should.” Shut up, Yoda!


  1. This is a task I have done many times, both when working as a publisher and in terms of reading the page proofs of my own books (so that the publishers can throw liability for error on to me, as you say…). When working as a publisher I used to hire (and assess) proof-readers – mixing and matching their strengths to get the best line-proofing and proof-editing mix.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Matthew Wright — June 4, 2021 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

    • Ah, you cheated! I was just trying for a bit of sympathy from the non-authors! :o)


      Comment by Steve Ruis — June 4, 2021 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

      • In what way did I ‘cheat’? Be specific please.


        Comment by Matthew Wright — June 4, 2021 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

        • I wasn’t being serious. I know of only one published author who follows me. Obviously is you write books, you proof them and do not think that is any big deal. To people who do not write books (and I work with a lot of first time authors) the process is mysterious.

          Please do not be offended at my my playfulness.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — June 4, 2021 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

          • I still don’t understand what you mean by ‘cheating’, which is a specific term of implicit dishonesty that I can’t correlate with ‘playfulness’ on your part. I proof my own work. When publishing somebody else’s I hire a proof-reader. It’s due process and I work professionally. But there’s no point debating the issue, I’ve unsubscribed and hope that resolves the matter.


            Comment by Matthew Wright — June 5, 2021 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

            • I was tired, I “misspoke,” and I apologize. Please don’t make anything out of it other than it being a mistake on my part. I did not mean to besmirch your reputation or you as a person.

              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by Steve Ruis — June 6, 2021 @ 9:44 am | Reply

  2. Gads, I had enough of that when I worked for the magazine. We had some brilliant programmers writing for us but they seemed to have trouble stringing two sentences together sometimes.


    Comment by grouchyfarmer — June 4, 2021 @ 10:36 pm | Reply

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