(Previous entries in this series: Pts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.)
Working with the page proofs of your book is a daunting task. As your publisher will tell you, the only possible changes are editorial, factual or typesetter errors. So, that sentence that doesn’t quite read right? You’re stuck with it. The additional research that came to light after you submitted the copy-edited drafts? Write it up in a journal article.
Despite not being able to significantly change the book at this point, paying close attention to the page proofs is important. There will always be mistakes that need correcting, and it’s your final chance to catch them and ask for them to be addressed.
LSU Press sent me a checklist that seems pretty standard from my experience:
- Make sure chapter titles in the table of contents and the runningheads are correct.
- Verify that the endnote numbers in the text match up with the endnotes section at the back of the book.
- Check the page numbers in the table of contents and supply the page numbers for the runningheads in the endnotes section.
- Read the text carefully for the three types of errors that can be corrected.
Understand that your published book will still have errors in it. Old Hickory’s Nephew has two obvious ones that I pointed out on the page proofs, yet they still made it into the final product. It’s unfortunate, but human errors happen.
You might find this thread on the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Research Questions forum helpful as well. It even discusses indexing, the topic of my next post.
Note: As the publication date of Andrew Jackson, Southerner approaches, this series is also nearing its end. I plan on writing 2-3 more posts following this one.
Pt. 13 is here.