Beginner PP advice

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Are you considering Post-processing, but feeling intimidated?

Don't be! It is easy--much easier than proofreading, since you can use your usual tools. There is an excellent Post-Processing FAQ; this is just a short summary for beginners.

The minimum that you need to post-process is

  • a text editor with which you are comfortable;
  • a spell-checker (usually included in the text editor);
  • a way to view the page images (through your browser if you don't want to use any other programs);
  • gutcheck: a program you will need to install, which detects several common inconsistencies and misprints not detected by a spell-checker.

Choose an easy fiction book (ideally with no footnotes, no images, no poems and no special features): these are frequently advertised in Projects for new PP'ers and BEGIN projects suitable for new and experienced PPers .

Then do the following:

  • spell-check the entire book;
  • read the book (optional, but strongly suggested; and if you have chosen a book that you like, it is rewarding), marking all possible misprints;
  • check the marked misprints, as well as all the * left by the proofreaders;
  • remove and resolve the page separators and the chapter headers;
  • replace the italic markup with low-line characters (_), bold markup with =, uppercase anything inside <sc>, and change <tb /> to 5 spaced asterisks;
  • rewrap the lines to a uniform length;
  • use gutcheck to discover and resolve the last possible problems.

Remember that you have a safety net: your work will be verified before posting. If installing gutcheck scares you, a mentor might help you with that step. And you can always return the book to be post-processed by somebody else.

You'll find very soon that specialized tools probably will be useful. These tools have been developed for you, and you can learn more at PPTools and How to download and install Post-Processing Software. Use them if you like, but much of post-processing can be done without them, if you have the time and patience.

As you prepare for your first Postprocessing Verification, please read this: Getting your PP Project Ready for PPV.