Typos: The Hidden Danger
Typos: The Hidden Danger

By Sara Brown

Picture this: You’re reading a recently released book. You’re really into it, it has well-developed characters, the plot line is moving at a good speed, the rhythm of the prose gives you chills…and then all of the sudden, there’s a typo.

You’re thrown. How can there be a typo in a published work? How didn’t the author catch this? What about the editor–how could a typo get by an editor?

Truth is, no one is perfect, and if there’s only one typo in a 250-page book, we can call that a win. However, it threw you as the reader; it interrupted the flow of the book and jarred you out of the world the author created.

The same happens when editors are going through manuscripts. A few typos can be overlooked and fixed by the copyeditors, but consistent typos, especially ones that are common, can be the difference between working with you on your manuscript and dismissing it to the rejection pile.

So how can you be sure that your manuscript is relatively typo-free?

Here are a few tips:

1. Read your work out loud.

2. Have someone else read it. Fresh eyes can see more than someone who knows what it is supposed to say.

3. Read your work backwards. Now you’re not just reading and getting the content, but you’re actually being forced to see each word.

4. Step away from your piece for a while. This doesn’t truly give you fresh eyes, but at least you can have a new mindset and be less likely to just skim.

5. Have no distractions near when editing or proofreading. Easier said than done, but it’s easy to lose focus, especially with something as tedious as proofing can be. Turn the TV off, keep the friends and family away, and put the phone in a different room.

How’d I do? Can you find any typos in this post?

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