With everything that’s happened to your manuscript along the way, it’s important to make sure that your book was reproduced faithfully, and that the production was executed without errors – errors that can lose you readers.
Book Quality Check
As an author, why should you do a book quality check?
A quality check, or quality review, is a last chance to catch errors when your book is in its final, salable format.
A thorough quality check will ensure your book is presented in the best, most professional way possible. Poor design and errors make a book tougher and less enjoyable to read, affecting the way your book is received, and even hurting reviews.
It is important to give readers, who have paid for your book, the best experience possible. Besides catching actual mistakes, you also want your book to be as readable as possible.
For example, if the type is too small, if column width is too small for the page size, or if these elements are inconsistent, readers will put your book down – especially when it comes to nonfiction, where the presentation of content is essential not only to the appearance but to the book’s function.
Bookstore Book Quality
It is also important to remember that owners and buyers for bookstores will be looking for issues that would stop readers from buying the book – they want their merchandise to sell! This means that errors and mistakes can stop your book from even being sold in a bookstore, preventing it from reaching readers to begin with.
Here at Izzard Ink, we learned first-hand how important a quality check can be, even when you think the book has been check thoroughly for errors. Our book The Real Story of Christmas was reviewed twice before we sent it for a quality check, for what we thought was just one final, extra precaution.
As it turned out, the quality check was a good decision. It turned up several important errors, including the wrong page indicated in the table of contents, a poorly-hyphenated word, poor alignment of numbered text with correspondingly misaligned numbers, a page that ended with just a head and one line of text (an “orphan”), and a widow – a single line of text starting off the following page.
Izzard’s quality check uses a proven list of items to look for, with 99 percent accuracy, when it comes to catching errors in a book.
Book Quality Checklist
1. We check for “Widows and Orphans.” A widow is the last line of a paragraph left on its own at the top of the page, while an orphan is the first line of a paragraph by itself at the bottom of a page.
Traditional typography distinguished the two this way: “An orphan is left behind, whereas a widow must go on alone.” Widows and orphans break up the flow of the text, making it more difficult to read.
2. We are on the lookout for words accidentally inserted twice.
3. We check for the proper use of hyphens. There should be no more than three hyphenated lines in a row, and preferably no more than two, and we also avoid hyphenating a word that already contains a hyphen.
4. We make sure the titles and page numbers of the chapters are reflected accurately in the table of contents.
5. The running head, at the top of each page, might indicate a chapter or section or unit. In the quality check, we ensure the heads reflect the content accurately.
6. We check for extra (double) spaces that shouldn’t be there.
7. We ensure heads and page numbers are correct. Perhaps chapters should start on the right hand, or recto, page. This needs to be checked as well.
8. We make sure styles are employed consistently and accurately.
9. We check the spacing of paragraphs and headings to make sure they are consistent throughout the book, with no extra or missing space.
10. We compare the original manuscript to the final file to make sure nothing went missing or was changed through the various stages of production.
11. We check to ensure that the interior design of the book was properly executed. Are the chapter headings all designed the same? Are footnotes all spaced correctly? Are the fonts the ones that were requested?
A Professional Look
A thorough book quality check is a simple and effective way to check for common errors and to make sure your book reaches booksellers and readers with the best possible presentation.
Polishing and avoiding basic errors is vital to ensure that these issues do not get in the way of readers appreciating and understanding your content. Even the best possible work by the author can fail to draw in readers if too many basic errors make it difficult to read the book.
The quality check can make a substantial difference when it comes to publishing a successful book.