Proofreading is the last major stage of the editing process. As always, reading and consistent marking remain essential. When I proofread, I read word-for-word, noting all punctuation, paragraphing, capitalization, and italics, and ensure that any editing has been correctly interpreted. I also watch for the kind of errors missed by a computer’s spell checkers and grammar bots, including looking at:
- Word breaks
- Headings and subheadings
- Page numbers and running heads
- Illustrations and tables
Though many people think they are ready for a proofread, they are actually at the copyedit stage. Unless you are a publisher or are self-publishing and have already had a copyedit and your pages are typeset (or you are going to e-publish exclusively), you are not ready for a proofread. The term proofread comes from the idea that your manuscript pages will be set into page proofs and then checked for errors, so if you aren't there yet, then you probably want to check out the Editing or even Developing page.
My rates for proofreading fall into the average range as listed at Editorial Freelancers Association. For more info, you can email me at gretchen (at) gretchenstelter (dot) com.