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efkelley
09-08-2011, 12:41 AM
So, in setting up my POD version via CreateSpace, I went to upload my corrected interior and cover (both very minor tweaks), and CreateSpace offered me the chance to skip ordering my proof.

I looked at my screen. Blinked. Re-read it. Then ran screaming to the Order Proof Checkout. Don't get me wrong, my corrections were very minor, but the capacity for human error is infinite. I'll pay the eight bucks for the proof.

They did ask me to take a survey. They had several good questions with good radio-button answers. For instance: "Do you like having the option to skip the proofing phase? A: Yes, B: No, C: Irrelevant, as I always order a proof."

The most interesting question to me was "Would you be interested in proofing digitally?" I would be interested in hearing more about that, depending on how accurate the digital version matched the print version. I could review digitally, make all my tweaks and corrections, then order one physical proof. If it saves time/money, I'm all for it.

How would others here feel about digital proofing? In fact, does anyone have any experience with it? What pitfalls might we run into?

Hiroko
09-08-2011, 01:44 AM
Ooh. Sounds nice; I've seen print proofs be way more expensive than that, and the thought of a printed copy to fill with fixings and whatnot sounds delightful. Seriously.

What's the big difference between a digital proof and the original book's file? (Then again, for that matter, what's the big difference between the print proof and the original file? :P) I guess seeing it in another environment could show reveal more mistakes/error. Depending on the price, I'd probably get a digital proof. It couldn't hurt.

Diana_Rajchel
09-08-2011, 03:51 AM
A digital proof would be a godsend, but I think I'd still order a physical copy before I even considered releasing my work!

Gillhoughly
09-08-2011, 04:24 AM
One of my friends went for 2 proofs. The first ironed out initial problems, the second because she redid the paging and uploaded a whole new file and was being paranoid. (Which proved to be correct, the book had formatting probs.)

But she skipped buying a 3rd proof, having fixed the last problem that CS found.

She likes the option to skip the proof ordering, but will always order at least one.

There's a learning curve involved using any POD service that gives the author that much control over the product. Take your time to make it look just as good as any book you find in a store.

Besides, the proofs can serve as either a gift to a friend or a promotional giveaway, providing you warn the winner the copy will have errors.

efkelley
09-08-2011, 11:03 PM
What's the big difference between a digital proof and the original book's file? (Then again, for that matter, what's the big difference between the print proof and the original file? :P) I guess seeing it in another environment could show reveal more mistakes/error.

That's the question, really. The digital would have to be perfectly representative of what you'd be getting in print.

Yes, seeing the actual pages in front of you does a good job of bringing out the errors. Also, strange things can happen. The spine art might be off, you might have an extra white page in the front matter, the headers and footers might be skewed, so on and so forth.

99.5% of the time, it'll all match up. But there's always that 0.5% chance of OH GOD MY EYES! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1Y73sPHKxw)

AllisonK
09-08-2011, 11:13 PM
I took a chance and skipped my 3rd proof as well. By then, the changes were very minor (and only on the cover - the interior was fine), and I didn't want to wait nearly a week at that point (it was late in the week, so the proof wouldn't have gotten to me until early the following week) just to look at one tiny cover image change. It worked perfectly, and I was glad to have the option.

That said, I'd never skip the initial proof. My first proof was formatted fine, but FILLED with typos and other errors I hadn't caught all the other times I proofed it (there's something about reading on paper that makes those stand out more). But a digital proof for subsequent minor changes would be very nice, and I hope they implement that before I'm ready to upload my second book.

JFBookman
09-09-2011, 04:00 AM
Digital proofs have been used by book printers for quite a while. Here's what happens: You send in your PDF, which they run through their own pre-press system. They then create a new PDF and send it back to you.

Now, usually the PDF is going to look exactly like the one you sent. Sometimes (like with 48hourbooks.com) they will also include on the proof other things, like which is the gutter and which is the outside edge of the pages.

These proofs are useful to make sure the file has been processed properly and that all the pages are in the right place and facing the right way.

On the other hand, most authors, when faced with a printed proof of their book, will start to notice lots of errors that they never saw, no matter how many times they looked at the book on their screen.

At Lightning Source, if you are a new account you have no choice: you must receive and approve a physical proof.

I agree with the other comments that getting that first proof is critical, and you should study it carefully. Later in the process, if you have only made tiny changes, you should feel confident going ahead without a proof, and this would be the ideal place to use a quick and cheap digital proof just to make sure the changes were made.

I actually wrote a long article about how to check your book proof for CreateSpace. It's here:

A Guide to Reviewing Your Book Proof (https://www.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-1481)

Hope that helps.

efkelley
09-09-2011, 05:13 AM
That's a good article, JF. Solid advice.

Old Hack
09-09-2011, 10:21 AM
I'd take advantage of every single error-checking stage that there was if I were self-publishing my work. I'm surprised that people don't, but then I am a bit obsessive about it.

M R Mortimer
09-09-2011, 01:46 PM
On my second book, I seriously considered it for the second proof, but I simply couldn't bring myself to skip a physical proof. I had dreaded imaginings of skipping it then finding I had sold a hundred copies with somebody else's naughty pictures in the middle! ROFL. Living in Australia and having six week deliveries, it was tempting. So I spent up big time and paid the thirty bucks for three day delivery. Then waited weeks for the thing to arrive.... They were kind enough to send an extra copy in apology free of charge.

In the end the proof was fine and I had nothing to change, so I could have skipped it, but I once met a cruel man who's name was Murphy....

Carmy
09-10-2011, 04:58 AM
I have never skipped a proof. Something happens when you see your work in book form and typos jump out far too readily. I would rather have a proof to check before anyone else reads the book and guffaws over my typos and other errors.

Be patient and don't rush things. It never pays off, however many people you've had proofread your book.