Thursday, September 22, 2005

From Tibor Re: Proof reading of my columns

Tom Whom It May Concern:
I at times ask, at the top of my columns, to please proof read what you
plan to use. This is because I have noticed that almost no matter how
often I read over my columns, I do not manage to catch all the
typographical errors (and, of course, spell checks do not manage this
either, for a variety of reasons).
I have heard back only from one person who receives--although in fact
never has used--my columns, admonishing me that it is my responsibility to
do such proof reading and my asking for this help is unprofessional, etc.,
etc. I am not a prominent enough columnists to have the kind of experience
that would give me full confidence about this matter but it does appear to
me that proof reading and even copy editing are received by many writers
from editors. Certainly publishers of my books have nearly always done
this, with the exception of cases when camera ready copies were used to
print the book (yet even then the publisher often provides a penultimate
proof reading). Newspapers often employ proof readers. Most people I have
had experience with along these lines seem to appreciate that writers who
try to proof read often get sidetracked by focusing yet again on the
content and meaning of what they write, thus risking missing the typos
that others can find more readily. Indeed, as a reader of much fiction and
non-fiction from some of the most prestigious publishers, I often catch
typos in the finally published works.
So, all I can say is that if you find it unprofessional of me to request
help with proof reading, just drop me from your list. Otherwise, thank you
very much for putting up with the inconvenience of needing to do a final
read through.


Tibor R. Machan

Machan teaches at Chapman University, Orange, CA, and is a research fellow
at the Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA. He advises Freedom
Communications, Inc., on libertarian issues.

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