Don't get me wrong, I love Post-It notes...
... They’re great. Arthur Fry and Spenser Silver, I salute you!
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.
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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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