Proofreading happens once your manuscript has been typeset. Ideally, a proofreader will compare the final manuscript against the typeset page, word by word. This ensures all the words are there, all the punctuation is there, that the pages are in the correct order. It’s also a good way to find typos. The proofreader will also check pagination and heads against the table of contents and will catch production errors. A proofreader does not make substantive edits. If he or she sees something previous editors might have missed, the proofreader will query it but will not make the correction.
A cold read is a type of proofread. In a cold read, the proofreader looks at the typeset pages cold, with no manuscript to check against. A cold read is done just before publication in order to catch any last-minute errors. A cold reader is a fresh set of eyes and often catches things missed in previous rounds of editing.
My proofreads look at every element on the page; heads, images, captions, tables, page numbers, footnotes—all are examined. I have a background in both editorial and production, so I know the errors that can creep in during both the production and editorial processes. I know how to communicate with the person doing the typesetting. I speak their language, so time isn't lost in clarifying instructions.
Personally, I love doing cold reads. I love coming to a project with fresh eyes, being the last person to check the pages before they're sent out into the world. It's a big responsibility and a challenge, and I enjoy it.