Here is a list of what to look for when editing and formatting a book.
Formatting checklist for a paperback book:
- Same style and size of headers, footers, and page numbers throughout.
- Chapter headers on even-numbered pages match the actual chapter headings.
- Pages are numbered correctly and the style is consistent throughout the book (except for switching from Roman numerals to Arabic numbers).
- Look for strange page breaks, line breaks, changes in alignment, changes in font style or size, inconsistent indents, and inconsistent vertical spacing.
- Check the page references in the contents and index.
- Match the contents entries with the chapter headings.
- Consistent heading and subheading styles.
- Check that all references to pages, figures, tables, equations, etc. are correct.
- Consistent bullet formatting.
- Examine page borders, figures, equations, tables, captions, and textboxes.
- Quickly thumb through the book to verify the vertical justification.
- Manually deal with hyphens, widows, orphans, and rivers when editing is complete.
Editing checklist for a paperback book:
- Inspect the title page carefully.
- Match the title and contributors on the cover, spine, title page, and copyright page with published information.
- Check copyright page and front matter carefully.
- Spelling and grammatical mistakes, and word confusion (like homophones).
- Repeated words like the the (can also search on the word processor).
- Punctuation, like proper use of -, –, and —.
- Storyline, plot, character development, chronology, etc.
- Quotes face the right way.
- Inappropriate changes in tense and person.
- Passive writing that may function better as active writing.
- Too many –ly adverbs.
- Too much use of to be (is, was, been, etc.).
- Useless words and redundancies.
- Overused words.
- Long paragraphs, good variation in sentence length and structure, readily flowing text.
Chris McMullen, self-published author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers