A lot of authors know the great importance of good proof reading but they often think that this is soley the job of the editor. But, becoming better at proof reading as an author can have multiple benefits.
Your writing will become tighter and more concise. You will be more mindful of what you are writing leading to better quality work. And, of course, you will be turning in more accurate work to your editor saving them time, and saving you money.
If you think proof reading skills can’t easily be improved, then you would be wrong. There are a handful of tried and tested ways of markedly improving your proofreading. I am going to cover the main ones below…
1. Read It Out Aloud.
You will be astounded at how the simple act of reading your book paragraphs out aloud enables you to easily spot spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. It also enables you to identify sentences that are too long, as you will be struggling to catch a breath if the sentence is too long. So, we highly recommend reading out aloud to improve your proof-reading skills.
2. Change Text To Unfamiliar Font.
This one might sound peculiar, but bear with us. Changing the font to an unfamiliar font will force you to pay closer attention to the words than if you were reading them in the same font you used when you wrote them. This added attention will make it more likely for you to spot any errors in the text.
3. Print It Out.
This is exceptionally important. We have a fundamentally different relationship with printed media than we do with text on a screen. When you read something on paper, you are not fatigued by staring at a screen and are not distracted by the internet or the other apps on your laptop/computer.
So, assuming you consume the printed writing in a non-stimulating, non-distracting environment, this will lead to you more easily being able to pick out any mistakes in the text.
4. Use Your Finger Or A Ruler.
Using your finger, or even better, a ruler, will allow you to better focus on the precise text you are reading and reduce the chances of you getting distracted by the text around it and it will also allow you to better stay on track. Both of these things will make it easier for you to spot any grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes.
5. Keep A List of Mistakes You Make Often.
Make a list of the mistakes you make often and keep referring back to it as you are proofreading so it stays top of mind, this will allow you to spot these common mistakes more quickly and easily.
6. Read It Backwards.
This sounds strange, but it really works. Reading the text backward, will be forcing your mind to consume it in a way that is unfamiliar to you and you will thus have to exert more focus and effort to read it, likely reading it slower and as a result making it easier for you to spot any spelling, punctuation and grammar errors in the text as well as things like double words.
7. Use Advanced Spell Check Software.
Using advanced spell-checking software like Grammarly is a really good idea too, it spots more syntax, grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors than the built-in word processor checkers.
However, even the most advanced spell-checking software will still not pick up 100 percent of the errors, so you will need to have good proof-reading skills to spot the mistakes that the software misses, following the above 6 points will go a long way in improving these skills.