by Cait Collins
Whatever happened to proofreading? I get emails from business associates that are full of errors. Business letters are conversational instead of professional. Even books contain typo’s. Be honest, social media has contributed to the sloppy presentations. I might send a text message to a sister asking “R u going…”, but I would never text my manager saying “Flat tire. B in when fixed.” Poor grammar and casual conversation is not the image I want to portray in my business communications. A few extra minutes to confirm my correspondence is grammatically correct and in the proper business style will protect my image. I will also ask a co-worker to “snark check”on emails written when I’m upset. Again, protect the image.
By the same token, I would not send a manuscript to an agent or editor without careful proofreading. Because I’m close to the work I might not catch every misspelling or misused punctuation mark. So I rely on my critique group and beta readers to check me so that the final product is the best I can provide. Failure to properly proof the submission could result in rejection of the manuscript. But worse, in my opinion, would be acquiring a reputation for being lazy and careless.
When we complete the edits on a chapter or an article, why not take a few minutes to print the pages and read the work out loud to check for errors? Often it’s easier to hear the mistake than to see it. The writer should employ the proofreading method that works best for him in order to develop a reputation for being both accurate and professional. While a clean submission is no guarantee of a contract, it will up the odds in your favor.