What are Galley Proofs?

gallery proofsThere are many steps within the publishing process, one of these being the printing of “pre-first editions,” which include galley proofs and advanced reader copies.

Pre-first editions are any versions of the book that are printed before the book is officially released in stores and online (we discussed advanced reader copies previously). Galley proofs refer to advanced, preliminary versions of a soon-to-be-published book; these proofs are meant for the author and/or editors and proofreaders to review and either approve or suggest changes.

Galley proofs are incredibly important for both the author and the publishing house. These proofs offer a tangible document to edit. They offer one final look at the book before it goes into production to be sold. During this stage, editors, proofreaders, and the author themself will be able to preview the book and confirm that it’s accurate, error-free, and ready for publication.

Before the Book is on Shelves

When a publishing house acquires a book, there are several steps before the book is published. It doesn’t happen automatically! The manuscript will be edited several times through by several different editors before the galley proofs will be printed. When a galley proof is printed, the manuscript should closely resemble how it will look when it’s officially published and on sale. Galley proofs are incredibly simple, without any graphics on the pages, fancy type, or formal formatting. They like won’t have an elaborate cover; they may have a placeholder cover. They may even be unbound. Galley proofs (these can also be referred to as “uncorrected proofs”) don’t need to look like a sellable book; what matters is the manuscript is there, with wide enough margins to allow for comments, questions, and thoughts.

Galley proofs add an extra level of security: this is the author’s and editors’ last chance to catch any misspellings, grammatical errors, or other issues within the book before it’s printed to be sold in stores and online.

Galley proofs are different than advanced reader copies. While they’re both pre-first editions of the upcoming book, advanced reader copies (ARCs) are for promotional purposes while, as previously mentioned, galley proofs are for editing and proofreading purposes. Galley proofs are printed before advanced reader copies are printed. Since advanced reader copies are sent to reviewers, booksellers, and libraries, they need to be error-free and representative of what the book will look like in its final printed form. ARCs come later.

Where The Name Galley Proof Came From…

Now you know what a galley proof is, but where did the name come from? When did publishers start printing galley proofs?

The term “galley proof” comes from the days of letterpress printing, circa 1600s. Back then, the printing process was painstakingly hands-on. It wasn’t as easy as it is today! The word “galley” is derived from the metal trays into which type was laid. The type was handset using either wooden or metal blocks and then placed into the galleys. This small proof press would then produce single column pages for the author to review. Therefore, these pages became known as “galley proofs.”

Digital Printing vs. Offset Printing

Why still print galley proofs? It may seem easier to do this digitally nowadays, and some publishers do! Others may offer both digital and physical galley proofs. Some publishers may only print physical galleys. This will vary publisher to publisher. Some editors work better with a physical manuscript in their hands; there’s something that is lost when you view a book digitally; when it’s printed, you’re able to easily envision the end product.

No matter what, each publisher will produce galley proofs in some shape or form, whether printed or digital. This allows the author and editors the opportunity to visualize what the book will look like once it’s completed.

The DiggyPOD Process of Printing Galley Proofs

Just like traditional publishing, there are different steps to the self-publishing process. We aim to make these steps easy for the self-publisher. Once the book is formatted per our specifications, our team goes to work.

When an author self-publishes with DiggyPOD, we’ll send them a digital version of a galley proof. Once they send us their PDF files, our prepress department will run them through an extensive quality check. During this step, we’ll check for any formatting issues.This is crucial to ensuring the book is going to print properly. Most prepress checks take between 45-60 minutes for each book order. If there is a formatting issue, we’ll contact the author right away. After our prepress department gives the files the OK, we’ll send the author an online proof of their book.

This online proof gives the author the opportunity to review their book. If everything looks correct, then the author’s work is done!

Once we receive the author’s approval, the manuscript is sent to the printing and binding department. It will soon be delivered to the author, ready to be sold in stores and online.

Galley Proof Printing for Book Publishers

DiggyPOD isn’t just for self-publishers, though. We’re proud to provide impressive books no matter who prints them – and this includes larger publishers and companies! Like printing advanced reader copies, printing galley proofs with DiggyPOD is environmentally-friendly, cost effective, and easy.

Traditional publishers, who operate on a massive scale, can’t always produce small runs of books without losing money on operation costs. Often, these companies have to print thousands of books in order to break even. Since our Print on Demand machines were made to produce small quantities and large quantities alike, we can easily accommodate galley proof orders. Our POD technology can print small runs of books without the use of expensive chemicals or plates. DiggyPOD doesn’t have to print thousands of books in order to break even with production costs.

No matter the job – big or small – DiggyPOD prints beautiful books for an exceptional cost.