I have been copy editing and proofreading my new book (Slaying Goliath), which will be published by Knopf on January 21, 2020.

On July 12, I received the full manuscript from the Knopf’s copy editors.  They had gone through it carefully and questioned words, sentences, facts, footnotes.

I spent a week reviewing their comments online, using track changes and answering their queries. They did a great job and caught some mistakes that I had missed.

After that week, I thought I had a complete manuscript.

I could have sent it back at that point, but I decided to print out the entire manuscript and read it on paper.

I spent another week reading the paper version, and it was as if I were reading a different book.

I saw sentences and paragraphs that were repetitive and could be deleted, and I deleted them.

I saw nuances of meaning that needed to be spelled out more clearly.

I saw ways that I could move paragraphs and sections so that the narrative would flow more smoothly.

I cannot explain why reading the print version was so very different from reading the online version.

But it was.

Is it the illusion of perfection that the online version gives? Is it something about cognition?

I really don’t know but I do know this: There is a difference.

If you are a writer and you want to get it right, if you want to make sure the meanings are what you intend, if you want to understand how the reader will perceive what you wrote, read it in print.

Then enter your corrections online and hit “Send.”