Once you’ve finished your edit or proofread, can I go ahead and publish?

Once you’ve finished your edit or proofread, can I go ahead and publish?

Ideally, no. Just as you should have read over your manuscript several times prior to sending it to your first professional editor, and then read it over again after they’d finished it — reading and actioning all of their suggestions in the comments — you are expected to do the same with our edit or proofread. Every editor that you go through will make necessary changes to your manuscript, but will also make a number of recommendations that would improve the flow and readability of your finished product. Some may actually go ahead and make those changes, but many (like us) will simply advise you in the comments section and explain why we think you should carry them forward.

So, just as your manuscript would have been a thorough read-through every time it went through someone else, you should take our completed edit or proofread and go through every change that was made, and every suggestion that was put forward, and decide for yourself whether you agree or disagree. The worst thing any author could do would be to blindly accept any edited document, and “Accept” all changes without looking at them on an individual basis, as well as ignoring and deleting comments made by the editor or proofreader. This isn’t our book, it’s YOUR book, and so you need to make sure you’re happy with everything. I might end up introducing an Oxford comma to your manuscript (because, really, it’s the right thing to do if you want to remove any ambiguity when mentioning several things at once) and you might hate this, but if you don’t read through your manuscript and only notice it after you’re holding a physical copy of your published book, then you won’t be happy.

We, therefore, recommend that your manuscript goes through the following stages prior to publication:

  1. You self-edit your book several times until you’re happy with how it flows, based on what you want as your reader experience.
  2. You then send your manuscript to either a developmental editor (if you want someone who will make recommendations on structure and flow, and who will guide you through the best ways to keep a reader engaged at all times) or a copy editor (the person who will deal with all issues, initially).
  3. You go back through your edited manuscript and look at each change made by your editor, accepting them or rejecting them as you go. Any suggestions made by the editor in the comments area should be taken into consideration and either actioned or ignored, depending on what you feel best suits your book.
  4. Have it edited again, albeit on a smaller scale, to fix as many residual errors as possible – typographical errors, repeated words, missing words, overlooked issues – because there will likely still be issues left over.
  5. Repeat item 3 on this list, because you can’t blindly accept what you don’t know has been done.
  6. If you want to make doubly sure, send it out again for a final proofread.
  7. Repeat item 3 again. Seriously. Don’t leave anything to chance.

Only after your manuscript has been self-edited several times (at least) and passed through either a developmental or copy editor initially, then read through again at least once, and ultimately proofread… and read through again at least once… should you go ahead and publish. Professionals will follow protocol, but how your book reads is ultimately up to you.