the word "proofread" followed check boxes that say "grammar," "formatting," and "spelling"

The Dos and Don’ts of Proofreading

The topic of copyediting is talked about at length within the publishing industry, but there is little discussion about another aspect of the editorial process that is equally as important: proofreading. Here is a quick guide to everything you need to know about proofreading your next project.

Proofreading is one of the last steps in the editorial process. The manuscript has completed all rounds of copyediting, has been XML typecoded, and has been sent to the designer to complete the interior. The book is nearly complete and just needs a final check to ensure that errors weren’t introduced during the design process and that there are no lingering grammatical errors. Proofreading is the final step before the book is sent to the printer, but there is much confusion about what is and is not covered during this stage of editing.

Here are some things to look for as you complete your next proofread:

Weird Spacing:

Be on the lookout for missing spaces between words or punctuation and places where there are additional spaces where there shouldn’t be.

Leftover XML Coding:

At Ooligan, our books are XML typecoded so that the designer knows what special treatment different words and sections should have. Sometimes parts of this code accidentally make its way into the final manuscript, so be on the lookout for erroneous code.

Discrepancies:

Double-check that everything from the final version of the manuscript has been included in the designed version. Check for missing paragraphs or words, missing images or graphics, or missing punctuation marks.

Punctuation:

As you are proofreading, check the punctuation surrounding words that are in bold or italics—do they follow the guidelines outlined in your style guide? Also be on the lookout for placement of punctuation within quotations—do they follow the guidelines outlined in your style guide?

Closed vs. Open Compounds:

Make sure that compounds are following the Hyphenation Guide for Chicago.

Consistent Spelling:

Be on the lookout for names, places, and other words that may be spelled inconsistently throughout the manuscript. We recommend keeping the style sheet for the book nearby as you proofread.

Ellipses:

Double-check that all ellipses are formatted according to the style guide. For Chicago, it is three periods with spaces: . . .

Windows, Runts, and Orphans:

Be mindful of the way paragraphs start and end. Widows happen when the last line of a paragraph starts at the top of the next page. Runts occur when the last line of a paragraph ends with a single word. Orphans happen when the first line of a paragraph is on the bottom of a page.

Here are some things to keep in mind when completing a proofread. The time for any substantial editing is over. Now is the time to look for any glaring errors that are remaining after the copyedits are completed. We don’t want to be rewriting any of the text or posing queries to the author—there shouldn’t be any substantial changes to the manuscript at this stage.

I hope this guide helped shed some light on what is expected—and what to avoid—for your next proofread.

Happy proofreading!

Asexuality Awareness Flag

Using Inclusive Language for Asexuality

October 23 to October 29 is Asexuality Awareness Week! So to wrap up this week, I wanted to explain what asexuality is and share some resources on how edit or write about asexuality in a conscientious and thoughtful way. One of the primary ways of editing underrepresented voices that you may not have experience editing is to get familiar with style guides that will “help you develop a basic understanding of inclusive, empowering, and respectful language.”

What is a style guide?

A style guide is used to guide the editing of a project. Editors will include character names, prominent locations, editorial decisions, and other elements of a text or project that they might need to refer to later in a text on the style guide. They can also be used to maintain consistency if the project is passed between editors. The goal of these guides is to ensure consistency across a project; for example, style guides make sure “grey” and “gray” are not used interchangeably. In order to make style guides more inclusive and guarantee that editors are catching moments that could interrupt a reader’s experience, editors can read guides that discuss how to treat language surrounding underrepresented identities so they can catch when these identities are not being treated accurately by authors. For examples on such style guides, try Radical Copyeditor, Disability Language Style Guide, Conscious Style Guide, A Progressive’s Style Guide, GLAAD Media Reference Guide, and Race Reporting Guide.

Asexuality: What is it?

Asexuality is a spectrum of attraction in which a person does not experience sexual attraction. It encompasses many different terms along its spectrum including demisexual and grey asexual. Being asexual does not always mean that someone doesn’t have sex or doesn’t enjoy it, but it can. Under the umbrella of sexuality, there are people who are sex-positive and don’t mind having sex and there are people who are sex-repulsed and don’t like hearing, thinking, or talking about sex. Some asexuals even experience arousal or have a high libido without feeling sexual attraction or a desire for sex.

Attraction

One helpful way to look at asexuality is to break down attraction. There are a few levels of attraction: sexual attraction, romantic attraction, sensual attraction, and aesthetic attraction. Sexual and romantic attraction are often combined in allosexual and alloromantic people (people who experience sexual and romantic attraction), but they are not necessarily the same thing. An asexual person might experience romantic attraction, defined by the Asexuality Archive as “A sense of ‘I would like to be involved in a romantic relationship with that person,'” but they wouldn’t also experience sexual attraction, defined as “A sense of ‘I would like to engage in sexual activity with that person.'” Each of these types of attraction is on its own spectrum.

Similarly, sensual attraction and aesthetic attraction do not exist on either of those spectrums. Aesthetic attraction is defined as “Non-sexual/non-romantic attraction to the way someone looks. Often described as the desire to ‘admire someone like a painting’, but not necessarily anything further,” while sensual attraction is defined as “A sense of ‘I would like to engage in sexual activity with that person.'” Keep in mind that these definitions are somewhat fluid due to the difficulty of defining these feelings and the differences of the human experience. Everyone’s experience is different, and it’s important to listen to people when they have their own definitions for their identities.

Food for Thought

Allosexual people can sometimes be careless when discussing sex because for many it is a natural part of life; however, for asexual (or ace) people, not feeling sexual attraction is just as natural. The Conscious Copyeditor links this article, under their sexuality section, about how easily ace people can feel alienated by cultural norms, especially when prioritizing sex as the “pinnacle of happiness” or saying that sex is part of being human or having a successful relationship.

If you are curious about learning more about asexuality or have questions, try exploring the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, or AVEN, for more nuance.