Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We did our best!

I picked up a book today titled Stories of Service, which consists of a bunch of articles about and from people who serve others, be they crisis counselors, volunteers, advocates, etc. I bought it because I admire people who can reach out to help those who can't help themselves.

The book, subtitled Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Northwest National Service Symposium, was published at Portland State University.

There are 2,100 copies of the first edition in print, according to the title page.

When I opened the book, I noticed just above the date of May 2003 were the words,

This book was proofread. We did our best.

This made me smile because I know how difficult it can be to proofread. When I worked at a publishing company in LA many years ago, the company had four full-time proofreaders. One would read the edited manuscript word for word while another followed along with the proofing copy. When finished, they sent it back to editorial where any errors were corrected. Then, the corrected copy went back to the second set of proofreaders who mimicked the first crew. When they finished, and any changes were made, the editor gave it one last look.

The completed work went to the printer who sent back a blue line. This went to the editor who, despite approving the work of four proofers, almost always found something wrong -- a typo or a misspelled name, or an incorrect date, or a missing end quote.

Everyone who worked on the publication did his and her best but it seems as if some little error seemed to slip through. (And sometimes, we'd still find something wrong in the finished, printed copy.)

So even though we know how important it is to proofread, proofread, proofread, unless we are perfect, our manuscripts won't be, but if we do it diligently, we can always know that in our hearts  ...

We did our best!