I got an unexpected delivery today in the form of my proof copy of Rise of the Darkwitch. I wasn’t expecting to receive it for a few days, so it was a nice surprise when I came home!
Seeing my book in print (via CreateSpace) gave me very mixed emotions. Obviously, there was the inevitable: “OH MY GOD! MY WORDS – PRINTED!”
But soon after came the, “Ah. Now I see why proofs are important.” And here’s why.
Five Reasons Why You Should Order a Print Proof
- Check the font used: one of the first things I realised was that my first chapter is in a totally different font from the rest of the chapters. It’s Garamond, while the rest are Times New Roman. I have no idea how that happened, but if I hadn’t ordered the print proof, I would likely never have noticed.
- Check the cover formatting: I truly wish I was in a position where I didn’t have to do the cover formatting myself, but being realistic, I can’t afford a cover designer. I know, I know, it’s important to invest in your product. But it’s also important to be realistic. I don’t have the £250-£500 to pay someone fairly for the work. So I have to do it myself. Seeing the proof in print made me realise that I need to lighten my cover art, and also re-centre some of the text. ALSO, I managed to get the text on the spine the wrong way around. That I would never have realised unless I got the proof.
- Check the page use: I know I noticed this in my digital proof, but I let it slide, because I assumed that this thing I had online wasn’t a real thing. One or two of my chapters end with very little text on a page – between one to five words. When you see it on paper, it seems like such a waste. I can only imagine the reader would be disappointed to turn the page, only to discover the chapter ends after another word. I’m going to have to go back and edit to eliminate those problems.
- Check the margins: I’ve got a pretty good eye for detail, and I usually know when something is off. I’m 100% certain the margins on the right side of each folio (essentially the ‘front’ of a page) are off by two millimetres. I’m going to have to change that. It’s annoying and keeps drawing my eye. Talk about being lifted out of the story!
- Check the size of the book: I went with 6×9, and now I realise what I really want is 5×8. It’s a paperback in hardback size, and it seems strange. It doesn’t feel like a novel. It definitely needs to be changed.
So there it is! My experiences of having a proof paperback, and all of the things I recommend you check when you order your proof – and I can’t recommend enough that you do just that if you’re considering paperback self-publishing!