I just had a book published on amazon.com. "God's Umbrella: Southwest New Mexico World War II Survivors."

I had the book professionally edited. She did what I could not do. She translated the articles that are compiled in the book from Associated Press style or just good grammar and spelling to Chicago Manual of Style. She knows it backward and forward. I have a slight knowledge of it, but I'm more just a stickler for grammar and spelling.

But I did not presume that she had done a perfect job. (We're all human!) I reread the entire more than 500 pages of the book several times. Each time, I found another issue, whether it was spacing in the middle of a title, a misplaced comma or a typo.

It's now published. I sure hope I don't find something she or I missed!

With your own work, you should read it through at least once to catch spelling of names or places that the editor or proofreader may not be familiar with.

Then let the professionals loose on it. We can fix style, as well as catch pesky typos or words that you might have let spellcheck "fix." Spellcheck is not great at choosing among, for example, there, they're and their. A keen eye can catch them.

These days, as the editor of a digital only newspaper, I receive a lot of columns and news releases that were obviously written using the author's voice to "write" the submission. Guess what? Dragon, or whatever program you use, isn't perfect.

The only proven way to find errors is to have a professional editor read and reread the work and make the corrections.

Moral of story:
Reread multiple times (especially if it's your own work).

By Mary Alice Murphy

What do a copywriting client, an editor and a publisher have in common?

They all want the same things from YOU, the writer.

What does a copywriting client want besides the obvious benefits of sales and promotions?

The client wants:

• Clean Copy

What is clean copy, you ask? Clean copy shows that you care enough about your words and sentences to have them proofread and edited before you send the final draft to the publisher or editor or client.

Granted, the client or editor may want changes. And you have agreed to provide them. Make sure that any errors of spelling or grammar do not get copied to the new draft. Recheck it or have a proofreader or editor you trust make sure nothing goes astray.

The editor and the publisher also want the cleanest copy you can send them.

• Guidelines and instructions followed

Every client, publisher or editor will have guidelines for what they want to receive. You MUST follow them exactly.

What parameters might they request you match?

Word count probably stands at the top. If they want 500-750 words, do not send a 1,000-word article. Sounds logical, doesn't it? But as an editor, I can tell you that people often send something far out of the range requested.

Another important item in guidelines is format.

 If the publisher or copywriting client asks for a PDF document, send your words in that format.

If an editor asks for you to send all photos as JPGs, then do so.

You may think you know better, but believe me, follow the instructions if YOU want to get published and paid.

• Factual material

Unless you're writing a fantasy novel or sci-fi, make sure you have the details straight. When you talk about something in New York City, for instance, and you're not just making up a place for a novel, then make sure your geography is accurate.

If you are writing for a copywriting client, presumably he or she has given you the information needed for the item you are writing. Use those statistics, measurements, dollars or whatever the numbers you were given. Use the jargon of the industry. You should spend time on research to make sure the facts  and the words you use are correct.

And those are just three things that will make your editor, copywriting client or publisher happy.

These tips are brought to you by proofread4publishing.com and written by chief proofreader and editor Mary Alice Murphy, whom you can reach by emailing  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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