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What Should Authors Know About Printed Proofs?

KWE Publishing Newsletter - 07/06/23

My mailbox and I are tight compadres! Why? I frequently order and send printed proofs to our amazing author clients!

This is a step some people might not consider, but it's one of the most important parts of publishing!

So, if you're not sure what I'm talking about, let me quickly define "printed proof." A printed proof is a copy of the book you receive before the book is published and becomes available to retailers. You review your proof to catch any mistakes or errors you might've missed. You must approve your printed proof before your book is published.

That means that your printed proof is the first book of yours that you get to hold in your hands!

This is one of my favorite parts of the printing process! I absolutely light up when our amazing author clients receive their printed is truly magical! After spending so much time and effort, everything feels a heck of a lot more real when you have a physical book!

As wonderful as this process is, there are some technical aspects that authors may want to know about. So, let's answer some questions we often hear from authors about printed proofs.

When do you order printed proofs?

When our team has completed work on both the interior and cover files of a book and we're ready to see the finished result, we order a printed proof.

After you review your proof, you'll share any corrections with our team. We'll make the needed changes, and depending on the extent of the changes made, we'll either order another proof for you to review or we'll submit the final updated files and submit them!

Once the files have been approved, we prepare for your launch!

How many printed proofs do you order?

Every company is different, but at KWE Publishing we factor in a couple of rounds of printed proofs to be printed and shipped as part of our project timeline. Why? Sometimes everything looks perfect on screen, but when you print it out, it doesn't look quite right…colors that looked vibrant on your computer may not be so bright on the printed page. Proofs give you a chance to see what your book looks like in real life!

For each round of printed proofs, you, the author, will receive a proof, and I'll also receive a proof to look for any possible issues, too! We encourage you to share your proof with a handful of people you trust since more eyes on your book mean there will be minimal errors in the final result!

Typically, shorter books and books with fewer illustrations won't require too many rounds of proofing because there's less that can go wrong. When we look at books with lots of images, many pages, or unique formatting, it normally takes more than one round of proofing to get things just right!

How do I know when I'm ready to publish?

Getting a printed proof is one of the most exciting parts of publishing...but approving a printed proof can be scary for many authors!

That's because approving your printed proof means your book is ready to go out into the world—and you have to stop making tweaks to your manuscript. As many writers know, you can endlessly adjust and change your writing if you don't stop yourself. Change a phrase here, remove a word there...and suddenly, you've spent way too long making adjustments that most readers probably won't notice.

Taking too long revising your manuscript well after it's been edited can also cause your confidence to waver. You might start second-guessing yourself, which is never a fun feeling.  At KWE Publishing, once we are ready to order printed proofs, authors have completed all edits...and only what I call "showstoppers" are addressed. This is not the stage to make edits! This is the stage to catch anything that might have been overlooked before your book is published.

I can't tell you for sure when you're ready to publish, but I will say that after a few rounds of printed proofs, barring anything super weird or unusual, you'll likely be able to approve your proof! Even if it's scary, remember that sharing your creation with the world is your ultimate goal! So instead of worrying about perfection, think about the progress you've made and the impact your book will have. You got this!

Your printed proof is the embodiment of all your hard work, and even if it's not quite perfect, getting a printed proof means you're close to publishing your book! Enjoy the moment because it's worth celebrating!

Do you have questions about other elements of the publishing process? Reach out and let us know; we appreciate hearing from you!

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