Every now and then, I receive an email pointing out an error in The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course eBook or, more frequently, on this very website. Mostly these mistakes are minor grammatical misdemeanours, some are a matter of opinion, but there have been a couple of humdingers. Inevitably, the authors of these missives will ask if they’ve spotted a ‘deliberate error’ I’ve buried between the covers of my eBook as a test, an Easter egg for the eagle-eyed. As a firm believer that honesty really is the best policy, I always answer along the lines of, “No, it wasn’t a deliberate mistake. My bad.”
It might seem shameful for someone promoting a proofreading course to admit to such oversights but – drum roll, please – I’m only human. And, unless there is some kind of intergalactic proofreading organisation I’ve yet to be introduced to, all proofreaders are ‘only human’.
I've yet to meet a proofreader who didn't fail to notice the odd spelling or grammatical error, and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some extremely dedicated proofreaders from the glory days of hot metal. This is why many publishing departments try to ensure more the one proofreader checks each piece of work, and even then – even then – mistakes go unspotted. I’m currently reading a novel by Dennis Lehane in which, quite early on, there is a spelling error. When you see it staring up at you from the printed page, it seems incredible that anyone could have missed such a thing, let alone the surely
expert proofreaders at Random House. But miss it they did.
Proofreaders make mistakes. Proofreaders are human. Show me a proofreader who has yet to fall flat on his or her face and I’ll say, “It’s only a matter of time.”
The fact that I have gone to the trouble of dedicating an entire chapter of The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course to the subject of ‘what to do when it all goes horribly wrong’, should give you an idea of where I stand on the fallibility of proofreaders!
I’ll admit I’m not the greatest proofreader. When compared to the time-served proofreaders I’ve worked with over the years, my eye stands revealed as somewhat inadequate. However, my experience of proofreading is, even though I say it myself, pretty darn good. And my understanding of what makes a good proofreader and what makes for good proofreading is even better.
Mistakes, I've made a few, but I have never given bad advice when it comes to the subject of proofreading.
“I am one of those many fools who paid a huge amount of money for a useless course. This book... has opened so many doors for me. I now look on Mike as my mentor as I embark on a career. Thank you Mike.”
Emma Steel, Proofreader and International Structural Editor.
“ I thoroughly enjoyed the course and am so glad that I decided to take it... the whole experience was invaluable. My proofreading service is now well established and your course played no small part in getting it off the ground.”
Hache L. Jones, Proofreader.
“I'd just like to thank you first of all for writing such a great, straight forward eBook, and then going above and beyond what I would even expect as a customer by providing us, completely free of charge, updated versions months later!”
Rachel Gee, Trainee Proofreader.
“What can I say? Worth every penny and then some! God Bless! This a fabulous course.”
Teresa Richardson, Proofreader.
“As someone who has effectively been proofreading for thirty years, I found Mike’s No-Nonsense Proofreading Course an invaluable introduction and a very useful practical guide to many aspects of this discipline. I can wholeheartedly recommend it as the ideal starting point, and much more besides.”
Jeremy Meehan, Proofreader.
My name's Mike Sellars and I'm an experienced proofreader and the author of The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course. Click here to find out more about me.
The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course
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“As someone who has been proofreading for 30 years, I found Mike’s course an invaluable introduction and a very useful practical guide to many aspects of the discipline. I can wholeheartedly recommend it.” Jeremy Meehan, Proofreader.
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