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Author Guidelines

WHEN THE EDITORIAL WORK HAS BEEN COMPLETED on a manuscript, and the details of design and production have been settled, the manuscript is typemarked and sent to the compositor. The conversion of manuscript to book takes place in a series of production processes that typically include

Composition, or setting in type, followed by

Galley proofreading;

Make-up, breaking the type into pages and positioning the illustrations, followed by

Page proofreading;

Prepress, converting art and type copy to film, if they are not already in film;

Plating, burning the type and art images onto the surface from which the book is printed;

Printing, offsetting the inked image onto large sheets of paper in increments of, normally, 16 or 32 pages at a time; and

Binding, a series of processes that include folding the large printed sheets, gathering the units (signatures) in order, sewing and trimming the signatures, and putting on the covers.

When and how fast these processes occur depends, among other things, on your speed in handling proofs promptly and efficiently.

General Procedures


Meet the scheduled dates for the return of proof. Your project editor will tell you as far in advance as possible when you can expect proof and how soon you must return it. If you foresee difficulty in keeping to the schedule, let us know at once.

Proof will be sent to you in batches, and you should return each batch to your project editor by or before the deadline he or she has established. Your project editor will tell you what priority mail you should use to return proof.

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In reading proof against copy, concentrate on accuracy of typesetting and content. The compositor's proofreaders, and ours, also read for such technical matters as spacing, alignment, and imperfect type. (See Proofreading Sample 1 for a list of proofreading symbols.)

Keep your alterations in proof stages to a minimum. Revision, rewriting, and verification should have been attended to in the manuscript, and only essential changes are acceptable in proof. Of course, no manuscript was ever perfect, and substantive errors that are detected only in proof will have to be corrected. These alterations should be made in a way that minimizes the cost and delay occasioned by resetting. (See "Copyfitting.")

Increasingly, to achieve speed and economy in production and to take full advantage of new processes in typesetting, the manuscript goes directly into page proof. This trend reinforces the need to have the final manuscript as nearly perfect as possible.

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Galley Proof

Master galleys

The first proofs you see may be galley proofs. Ordinarily, you will receive in batches a set of galleys that has been read and marked by the compositor's proofreader, along with a duplicate set for your records. You should check proof against your copy of the edited manuscript and make your corrections on the galleys. Keep in mind that while you are reviewing the galleys, a proofreader whom we have hired is reading the master galleys against the manuscript. Your project editor will then transfer your corrections onto the master set.

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Duplicate galleys

Be sure to mark all corrections on your duplicate set of galleys and retain it as your record of changes made. If you prefer to make a photocopy of the galleys, let your project editor know so that you receive one set of galleys instead of two.

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Answer all queries addressed to you ("AU" indicates "Author"). Here is a typical proofreading query: / ? It asks whether there should be a comma at the point indicated. If you agree that there should be a comma, merely cross out the question mark. If no comma is wanted, cross out the entire query.

You might also find queries on galleys that refer you to a specific page in the manuscript. Do not neglect these queries. They call attention to editorial questions that arose in the final stages of copyediting and that require your immediate attention. Whatever your response to the question, make the appropriate change in the galley text--or do not make it--and cross off the query on the galley to show you have seen and responded to it.

Avoid ambiguous answers to queries: "OK" can mean "It's OK as set" or "OK, make the correction."

Queries in the galley proof that refer to cross-references are simply reminders to carry the queries over to the page proof. They require no response at the galley stage.

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Figure placement

Figures (illustrations) are usually noted by the compositor's proofreader in the margins of galleys at the place where they are to appear when pages are made up. Check such notations for accuracy.

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Returning galleys

When you finish your review, submit corrected galley proof to your project editor. Keep the duplicate proof, with changes noted, for your files. So that your corrections can be interpreted clearly, do not cut up galley pages. (See "Marking Proof.")

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Page Proof

Master pages

Like galley proof, page proof will come to you in batches. Read the page proof carefully, paying particular attention to (1) lines affected by corrections in galley proof, (2) the placement of illustrations, and (3) the captions for the illustrations. If the galley stage has been skipped, then pages will be proofread by a professional at the same time you review them.

Make only absolutely necessary corrections, such as fixing typographical errors that everyone else has missed. Changes affecting line length as well as page length should be avoided. If you must make such changes, make every effort to copyfit; that is, compensate for the change by adding or deleting words with the same number of characters in the affected line. That way, a change in a line will affect that line only. (See "Copyfitting.")

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Figure placement

Ordinarily, you will see separate proofs of the line art and photos before pages arrive. In page proof, figures and type will have been merged electronically so that you will see illustrations in position on the page. Check the captions and illustrations for accuracy and correct placement.

As for corrections to the illustrations themselves, it is less costly and time consuming to make such corrections before figures are merged with type. However, if you find errors in the illustrations, simply mark them on the page proof along with those in the text.

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Fill in page numbers for as many cross-references as you can. If some cross-references refer to pages you have not yet received, send the information later to your project editor. Don't delay the return of proof for a few missing cross-references.

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Page depth

To avoid awkward breaks in page make-up, facing pages might be one line shorter or longer than the standard page length. The proofreader notes these variations, but you need not tend to them unless you are asked specifically to add or cut material. (The request will say, "AU: Make a line" or "AU: Delete a line.")

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Returning pages

Return the marked page proof to your project editor. Keep the duplicate proof marked with your corrections for your files.

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Marking Proof: Galleys and Pages


Use standard proofreading symbols. (See Proofreading Sample 1.) When you are marking proof, every correction that you mark in the type area must have a corresponding symbol in the margin; otherwise, corrections might be overlooked. (For examples of properly marked proof, see Proofreading Samples 2 and 3.)

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Make corrections in a color that stands out from the black type. Indicate the point of correction within the type area with a caret (^) or a line through letters or words. Then put the appropriate symbol in the nearer margin, beside the line in which the correction occurs. Do not write the actual correction within the type area.

To indicate more than one correction in a line of type, place the marginal marks in order, left to right, and separate them by a diagonal slash.

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Do not draw a guideline or an arrow from the point of correction to the marginal mark unless the relation between them would not otherwise be clear. Such lines should never cross each other.

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To insert a letter, word, or phrase, mark a caret (^) at the proper place in the text, and write the insertion in the margin alongside the line. To change words, draw a line through them in the text, and write the substituted words in the margin.

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An insertion too long to be written horizontally in the margin may be typed at the top or bottom of the proof. Or it may be typed on a separate 8.5-by-11-inch sheet, identified as an "insert," labeled with the proof number, and paper-clipped to the proof sheet. Mark plainly in the proof margin where the insert is to go. Never tape or paste substitute copy directly over deleted lines of type. Do not obliterate type in any way. The compositor must see what is coming out as well as what is going in.

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Author's Alterations

Margin for change

Just as the compositor is responsible for errors made through failure to follow copy (printer's errors), so the author is responsible for changes he or she makes after the manuscript has been set in type (author's alterations).

Your contractual allowance for author's alterations is 15 percent of the cost of the original composition; corrections in excess of that amount are chargeable against your royalty account. You will be notified by your sponsoring editor if you must be billed for such charges. In such cases, we will warn you as soon as we can see how author's alterations are running. Making alterations is much more expensive and time consuming than are the original composition and art rendering, and alterations become progressively more expensive at each stage after copyediting (author's alterations to the copyedited manuscript cost nothing). For these reasons, and because excessive author's alterations can upset the production schedule, our mutual interest lies in keeping them to a minimum.

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Try to make corrections in such a way that the fewest number of lines will be affected. By counting characters (letters, punctuation marks, and spaces), you can often balance insertions and deletions to minimize the amount of copy that will need to be rerun. Also try to limit the number of insertions you make in a paragraph. In most instances, it is more efficient to add one insertion of one or two sentences than to insert multiple changes of individual words throughout a paragraph.

A long insertion can most economically be made as a separate paragraph or as an addition at the end of a paragraph. Such insertions can be made in galleys but not in page proof, where you risk destroying the make-up of the whole chapter, if not the whole book.

Proofreading Sample 1 | Proofreading Sample 2 | Proofreading Sample 3

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