I’ve gotten far enough long with both my Hope poem book and Dove (Tod Leben’s 100+k novel) that I’m in proof stage.
It’s so nice to have a decent format done on a decent draft.
In two weeks – give or take – I’ll have the final decisions on what I what to do further. Do I like the covers? Do I like how I formatted things? Is anything in need of fixing.
Proofing a book is something you should do 99% of the time. It gives you a very clear understanding what the book will look like published.
I rarely proof more than once. I understand how to make books work. I don’t need several proof copies to know my succeed.
I will suggest getting a proof copy for every updated draft until you’re certain you’re ready to hit publish. Don’t be afraid of doing that. You don’t want to hand the world a crappy book. You put blood sweat and tears into the words, don’t lax on the final product.