Don't get me wrong, I love Post-It notes...
Whilst Post-It notes are perfect for leaving messages on desks, fridges, peoples’ foreheads and just about anywhere else, they are not the proofreader’s friend. It’s easy to be fooled into believing they are just that – the proofreader’s friend – because they make pretty good bookmarks, which gives them credibility as a literary accessory.
They should not, ever, be used to pass on instructions to an author, typesetter or page make-up artist. And you can blame Mr Silver for this one, if you feel so inclined. The adhesive created by Spenser Silver is intentionally low-tack. Which means Post-It notes can be peeled off, reapplied, peeled off, reapplied... It also means, of course, that Post-It Notes have a tendency to fall off.
I know why Post-It Notes are employed as instruction-delivery systems from proofreader to author. They’re really useful (or seem really useful) when proofreading a piece of artwork, say a double-page spread of a magazine, where there’s very little room to write comments and queries. But you must resist. If those little yellow stickies drop off, your amends will never reach their destination. Or worse, the Post-It Note could drop off and be reapplied in the wrong place, assigning your remarks to an entirely different sentence or paragraph. Who knows what chaos could result from an incident like that?
My advice? Either use a separate sheet of paper for queries (appropriately labelled) or use fully-adhesive white labels, the kind you use to label-up envelopes and packages.
I love Post-It Notes. I really do. Except when I’m proofreading.