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Proofreading – The Importance of Being Accurate

April 30th, 2014

Most writers would agree that proofreading is the least exciting part of writing, whether it’s a novel, short story, article or poem. The problem is that all written work needs to be proofread before it can be sent off to a publisher. Even if you think your English is perfect and you have a real eye for the small details, it’s vital that you always remember to give your work a read through before sending it anywhere – that missing apostrophe could be the difference between a sale and a rejection!

If you’d like to have a go at proofreading and test out your skills, there are plenty of practice tests and exercises online. For starters, why not try this one from the Society for Editors and Proofreaders? If you really want to test yourself, try to identify the errors before you look at the multiple choice answers below. Or if you’re looking for something you can do on your lunch break in just a few minutes, you could try this game from Proofit. This is timed, so you can keep score or even challenge your friends to see who has the sharpest eye for errors.

But proofreading doesn’t just come into play with the work you’re submitting to an editor. How many of you regularly remember to proof your query letters or emails too? It’s easy to forget about this, but keep in mind that your email or letter is the first thing an editor will see.  All of us make mistakes, myself included, but a final proof of your work is always advised – you can’t be too careful!

Editors receive hundreds of submissions for each issue, so if your message is riddled with errors, your hard work might end up going straight to the rejection pile. First impressions count – even on paper!

 

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