After your book has been designed and laid out you have to wait a little bit longer before you see it again. Don’t worry it’s just being proofread. Proofreading takes about 2 weeks. A different editor to the one who edited the book proofreads the laid-out book on a hard copy called a “proof”.

What does a proofreader do?

They have fresh eyes. The proofreader isn’t just looking out for spelling errors and grammar. They’re also checking that the book has been laid out properly, that there aren’t odd spaces or missing content. The proof-reader’s job is to read the book, word for word, line by line, to make sure that nothing was missed during editing and that no errors have crept in during the design and layout process. They also ensure that there is consistency and readability in both the content (grammar, punctuation, spelling) and design. So essentially they check your writing, the editor’s and the designer’s work. They mark up all the changes using proofing symbols (shown above).

A final proof (pdf and/or print-out) is made ready for you once all of the proofreader’s changes have been made by the designer, and the designer’s implementation of those that have been checked by the proofer.

Then you’ll have your chance to review and sign-off on the final proof before printing your book. At the proofing stage, there should be no need for sweeping changes, replacing sections of text, or any major/extensive revisions being made. Anything which causes page shift has a significant impact on the entire layout and flow of the book.

Difference between editing and proofreading (and why you need both!)

Many people tend to use the terms editing and proofreading interchangeably, but they are two different actions within the publishing process, and both are essential to ensuring your publication is the best it can be. The proofreader is the last defense against errors before a book is published. What are the main differences?


  • Done on the MS Word manuscript
  • Improves language by making changes for clarity, readability and smoth narration. Corrects spelling, grammar and puntucation errors.
  • Creates a style sheet for consistency.
  • Improves the overall quality of writing by commenting on content structure and works closely with the author.
  • Marks up the manuscript for a typesetter.


  • Done on the laid-out book (PDF)
  • Eliminates spelling, grammar and puncatuation errors (that may have been missed by the editor).
  • Check for consistency using the editor’s style sheet.
  • Makes small adjustments and changes, not major structural or other changes. Not very involved with the author.
  • Check for typographical (design) errors in the laid-out book.

Staging Post will be with you every step of the way. Please contact us if you’re interested in our proofreading services and more.