Proofread Book Returned to Designer for Final Changes

By Paul Gipe

The proofreader dropped the marked up manuscript in my lap the Friday evening of Memorial Day weekend—all 550 pages of Wind Energy for the Rest of Us.

Yes, it was on paper. I don’t know if that’s the way it’s still done today, but that’s the way this book was done.

A stack of paper that tall is daunting. Of course, there’s no one to blame but myself in this case. I knew it was going to be “too long” when I started it.

It took all week to get through the proofread copy. With something like this you just have to plod along, one day at a time. Even though the manuscript had already been through one very careful editor, it’s amazing the mistakes the proofreader found that had been missed before. And there were all those irritating grammar decisions to make that required consulting the Chicago Manual of Style and Google. Let’s just say that there’s not always universal agreement on some of these things.

At this stage in the book production cycle, there are still quite a few glitches to sort out. When I imagined one photo on the left and one on the right that’s how I wrote the caption. The designer might reverse their order or choose to put one photo above the other. That requires changing the caption accordingly and with 428 figures there’s a lot of captions to check.

And there’s always the problem with the numbering. With that many figures, including dozens of sidebars, there’s ample opportunity for screwing up the order and the numbering. That’s why we have editors and the proofreader caught several that had made it through all the previous steps.

Some of the 118 tables in the book also had errors that needed correction. Many tables required more formatting than in the draft to make reading them easier. Plus, there simply were some errors that I or the designer made. (Often my own, unfortunately.)

I also made some last minute changes to the text, for example an update on US federal tax credits. I deleted some entries that were no longer extant—a book takes so long to produce that some of the companies doing business when I began were long gone by the time the proofread copy was finished.

Finally, I reached the end, boxed it up, and shipped it off to the designer—overnight, insured. This was a hard copy after all and the only one. If it was lost in transit we’d have to repeat this step. It arrived safely and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Once the designer makes all the corrections, he next sends it off for indexing.

For now the book is again out of my hands and I can turn my attention to editing the advance reviews.