Final Proof! Are we on the same page?

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Final Proof! Are we on the same page?

Final Proof! New Year, New Direction. I have a new and exciting debut author client (who you will learn many exciting things about next week) and who, to be honest, was just another client … to begin with. You know the ones who come to you by referral, (if you are a book designer and/or typesetter), and they already have their entire book cover designed.

Ooops, I changed my mind

Now these jobs, I normally don’t mind as they are usually a quick 10 hour’s work and boom, job done. Problem lies, however, when they decide they want to change their cover after they see the layout of the book.

So okay, hang on, your job should be simple (no cover) … so just typeset their book, make it beautiful, pick up all those errors the editors and/or proofreaders never do (what’s up with that? I always ask for the final proof?) … and send their beautiful first draft back. And here in lies my first problem.

How exactly do all these “editors and proofreaders” earn a living when I get all these errors? I hear from clients about how extortionate these fees are that they have just paid, now I feel guilty asking them for more money, yet end up doing their work … Really?

Usually, you get a few amendments, sort them, send second draft, get it approved, upload it, professional resize the cover and spine (as designers never design to spec as they have no clue how many pages), upload it, get them to buy proof copy if print, and once that is approved (and only then), use the approved print copy to amend and re-create the ebook.

Quote Please

Publishers, editors, proofreaders and Authors come to me and ask for a quote. The very first thing I say is … let me see your final proof, so I can see how much work there is. This by the way is also what I say in nearly every email I write to them.

“Yes, yes, it’s the final proof” they say. Okay, so I finally get this “final proof copy” and low and behold, I strip it down nuclear method, throw it over into a standard paperback 6×9 template and boom, I have page numbers.

Nuclear method – copy the entire document over into a new .txt document to remove all nasty hidden characters, then copy that text into your fresh 6×9 MS word template. This method will take out most of those “mac” characters that stop you from uploading to some of the more “fussy” digital and print platforms (otherwise known as the “meatgrinder”). Thankfully, it does keep the speech marks, which is the important bit, but it does mean you can start with a clean(er) document.

Okay, so before I go ahead I need to add those missing pages, the title page, the copyright page, the dedication and contents page … oh and don’t forget those well-known authors who have their major reviews already, they need pages too.

We then get to the back pages, and we add the About the Author page. Okay, we are set up … we now have our basic layout, created a mirrored page book, have margins set, set the indents and flicked through to see how many chapters there are.

Yes, yes, it’s the Final Proof!

Now while this is all going on, I am already aware from scrolling through that there are loads of red or blue squiggles from word.

I have however allowed for additional amendments in my fee, as there are always  amendments (“final proof “or not) when they finally see their professional book layout. (even though some end up changing the entire book … but let’s not go there.)

These could also of course be the dreaded mac to windows conversion. The extra work that goes into these projects is seriously unbelievable.



We’ve gone from initial contact to quote (which to be fair can take at least 2 hours), for which I don’t get paid … but they don’t realise how much work goes into actually giving a proper quote.

The clues are also in the emails you have sent, and received replies to … you know your client is on ipad or mac when your beautiful html email signature rudely comes back to you in a reply … totally stripped with those social media icons you once had, showing as image attachments! ggggrrrr … you already know this is going to be a lot more work than you bargained for!

Then you see those dreaded colour coded MS document error squiggles that are showing up when you have copied the nuclear document over into word … never mind the gems you find when you release the show/hide demon in Microsoft word!

But wait, it get’s better … this journey continues next time.

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