I thought I would give a few tips on how to go about proofreading work effectively. Nothing too in-depth (or pretentious), just a couple of bullet points to get those of you freelancing, in-housing, editing your own work, editing your granny’s work, editing your dog’s work, etc, more confident in what you are doing.

There is no right way to go about copy editing and proofing. Everyone has their own plan, shtick, but as long as it is thorough and efficient, then you are onto a winner.

The below are a few things to chew on:

  • Always make sure (if relevant) that you adhere to ‘in-house rules’. If a publisher wants colour spelt as color…then do it.
  • Utilise, if editing in Word, the comments tab, as authors appreciate feedback as they read.
  • Keep an eye on the paragraphing. Sometimes this gets overlooked in an edit, but not breaking it up in the right place, or indenting where necessary is something an editor should keep an eye on.
  • Continuity is paramount! For long works (i.e novels), keeping tabs on continuity is tough. The author may mis-spell a character’s name on Page 430, when the rest of the time it is correct, or suddenly make their heroine left-handed instead of right. Keep a notepad of major continuity points (usually place or character related) and refer to it when necessary.
  • Chapter headings should always begin on a separate page from the end of the previous chapter. Neater, more professional. An editor can help with this, and is usually thanked profusely for doing so.
  • If editing in Word, keep a close eye on words not picked up by spellcheck but are completely out of context, due to mis-spelling (i.e I wood rather go here).


That’s all for now folks, but I shall delve again into the world of proofing no doubt.

Proofing and Copy Editing Tips