galley blindness

I am in my second read-through of the ICE COLD page proofs, otherwise known as the galley. For those unfamiliar with the publishing process, this is the last chance I’ll have to correct any typos and errors. If I don’t catch them this time, they will end up in the final book. This book has already been proofread multiple times.

First, when I turned in the manuscript.
Second, by the line editor.
Third, by me after I made the editor’s suggested revisions.
Fourth, by the copyeditor.
Fifth, by me when I read and approved the copyeditor’s changes.

Now I’ve got the final version, and by golly, I’m still finding typos. Nothing major, mind you — just a period that should be a comma. Or a word left out here and there. Or a word repeated twice in the same paragraph. Or a paragraph accidentally split into two. Still, it boggles my mind that I could have missed these errors on all my previous read-throughs.

Reading galleys is a tedious process that requires complete focus and lots of coffee breaks. And you can’t let yourself get caught up in the plot, because you’ll miss those typos.

6 replies
  1. Jude Hardin
    Jude Hardin says:

    I’m looking forward to experiencing the process for the first time! I’m learning that a book is never really finished until you’re holding the bound copy in your hands.

  2. PackingPadre
    PackingPadre says:


    I’ve found copyediting of books – and I’ll admit it – news copy worse and worse. You do an above average job, so this is not directed at you.

    I don’t blame the authors as much as I do the publishing house copy editors and the liklihood they fell into the same trap I did as a desk supervisor with The Associated Press. That was relying too much on spell and grammar check. Proofs should be read on paper as well.

  3. marcus55901
    marcus55901 says:

    If I were an author I’d be tempted to inject some errors into the text before someone else proofed it so that I could estimate the thoroughness of their checking. That is, if the other party found 90% of my deliberate errors, I might extrapolate that they found 90% of all errors. Of course, this relies upon an assumption that the deliberate test-errors are representative of unintentional errors.

  4. whalesend
    whalesend says:

    I see a lot of typo’s with the books I read, it now becomes a game to see how many I can find. I know what the author meant to say.

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