I already talked about how editing is hard, but what I didn’t touch on is red-lining. For those unfamiliar, red-lining is the process of taking, you guessed it, a red pen and marking up a printed draft of a document.

Sure, you can do this with Word. But there is something true about physical pen and paper. And as the son of a reading specialist, I grew up with my homework being redlined so I actually know some of the short-hand.

A sample of copy-edit marks via NY Book Editors

Red-lining was invaluable, again to read out loud and to see on paper. It’s too easy to scan documents on a screen. As the author, it is easy for our brains to fill in the gaps. We know what we intend to say, and if a sentence is unclear scanning on a digital screen risks glossing over gaps. In the real world, I experience a slower, more thoughtful reading.

Edit Backwards

As I wrote the book, the first half got all the love. I wrote the outline in sequential order. I wrote the chapters in order. And if I ever edited early, I edited the early chapters in order.

So by the time I got through all my edits, the front half probably had nearly double the number of pass-throughs as the back half. I don’t want my writing, or the reader, to fatigue. So with the red-lining I went backwards.

Backwards sentences the reads didn’t I, No.

No, I didn’t read the sentences backwards. I did read the chapters in reverse order though. This allowed my freshest edits to be in the back of the book, where they were needed most. By the time I got to the first two chapters, I was a little fatigued but I also felt more confident in that writing.

From Edits to Updates

After marking up the book, I went page by page in the digital copy. I made the edits, I found a few new ones. And I initialed every single page in the Proof, to ensure I made the edits.

I was like James Caan in Elf where he initialed a book to go to print, only hopefully I don’t have missing/blank pages.

Image result for elf james caan
James Caan playing Walter Hobbs, Elf (2003)

Do it again

I wanted proofing to be one-and-done. I want this to be out in the wild for you, the reader. But I found a lot of updates. As a practitioner in the tech world, I know the value of testing, validating, and QA-testing something before launching. (I also know the perfectionist’s curse). Because this is something physical, and updates are more complicated than a simple push, I feel the changes warranted a 2-week delay of my original deadline to ensure accuracy.

So I am waiting on my second Proof. I plan on reviewing it the same way as before, and then to hit SUBMIT. Stay tuned and subscribe below to be the first to get your hands on the book!

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