Category Archives: Working with an E-Publisher

finally . . the submission

The final stages of the approval process have been completed, including the marketing text for the cover.  All the edits have been approved and the marketing text has passed muster. The only stages of the process remaining include a properly structure final submission, approval of a cover design, the scrutiny of a proof reader, professional indexing and final approval of the finished book.  In order to submit the manuscript for layout in book form (eBook and print format), it must be packaged properly.

A manuscript is composed on pages that are 8.5 x 11 inches, but a book is published in various formats. The print version of my book will be 6 x 9 inches. To complicate matters further, the margins of a manuscript are not the margin dimensions of a finished book. The individual charged with formatting a book for publication requires some freedom to prepare the book layout. My submission will consist of  two folders; one folder contains a single clean copy of the manuscript and a second folder which contains a separate file for each graphic or photograph to be included in the text.  All photographs and graphics, should their be any, are cut from the manuscript and a place holder is inserted to indicate where each belongs.

My manuscript also includes some tables and text boxes. I was given the option of formatting them myself or having it done by the layout pro. I have opted to have them formatted for placement by the layout pro because I am certain to make a hash of it. After all the work and expense of getting to this point,  a highly professional looking finished product is the only possible outcome for the author.

The cover design is another matter which I have turned over to the pros. They will do their best to come up with a cover design that is attractive and appealing, and I simply have to approve it. Throughout this process I have taken my lead from the experts. I am a writer, not a layout expert. When you choose to self publish and pay for a package deal, the expertise of the publisher is what you paid for so you should exploit it to the max. Tomorrow, when I click the send button on an email that has my files attached in submission format, I do so with confidence and certainly a degree of excitement.

The next phase of the process is up to me. There are lots of books for people to chose from in this world and no book sells itself. Unless you already have a public profile of some note, the first time author is an unknown entity in a very crowded and competitive space.  I have written for a target audience and I need to reach out to them. My next post will discuss marketing planning and structuring an Author platform.

Until the next post I remain your faithful blogger . . .

L Alan Weiss (Larry) 

Soon to be published author of Through a Lens of Emptiness

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Manuscript editing completed–now what?

My last blog post followed receipt of the Quality Edit review of my manuscript which presented few things to be addressed. Since then, I have listened to the entire text twice more (using my beloved text to voice application) and made the required corrections. There were still a few areas where the prose lacked flow and there were a few word choices had to be reconsidered. I am just about ready to send the whole thing back to the publisher for the next phase of the process.

At the same time the Quality Edit material was received, a copy of my marketing text copy was included, and that was really a good thing. I had written the original marketing text to accompany the initial manuscript submission more than one and a half years ago. As you might imagine, much had changed since then. Needless to say, a complete revision of the text was necessary.

Marketing text refers to the copy that appears on the back cover of a paperback or the first section of an eBook web advert. It needs to be short and sweet and consists of; an Author Bio of no more than 50 words, a brief one liner Keynote tag line,  a list of Keywords to attract the target audience to your title,  and no more than 200 words for a Back Cover overview. Compared to a work of about 66000 words, this is a trivial amount of copy, but those words were the most difficult to write, and in some ways the most important.

The Author Bio needs to be a quick portrait of the author portraying both qualifications and character. The Keynote tag line needs to be a real zinger that captures a potential reader’s imagination. The Keyword list needs to reflect the content of the book as a reflection of the interests of the target audience. The Back Cover overview is meant to be a “teaser” or “movie trailer” like device designed to capture a potential reader’s interest and encourage them to look further into a book’s content and encourage a purchasing decision.

The other considerations relevant to this phase of the publication process are decisions on whether to pay a professional proof reader and to have the book professionally indexed. This adds some costs, so you have to consider their value. The proof reader reviews the PDF proof copy of the book prior to, a tedious and critical task to be sure, and for a moderate dyslexic an impossible task. An index may or may not be required, but my project is a work of creative nonfiction and has some content the reader may wish to reference while reading, or for future reference. I’m certain to employ the proof reader. Professional indexing is something I need to consider further.

Although I am unable to release any content of a book in the pre-publication stage, I’m sure the title can be mentioned: Through a Lens of Emptiness: Into the Void and Back Again in Search of Understanding. I’m still deciding about including a subtitle or not. I might even alter the word Understanding to Self. Anyone reading this blog is welcome to comment of the subtitle dilemma.

I won’t mention the name of the publishing house that will publish my work until it is actually published, but I will continue to update those following this blog on my progress. I’m thinking about a blog post re: motivation verses motive for self-publishing.

Until then,

Larry (L Alan Weiss)

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Conference Day – October 4, 2013

Today was conference day. When you work with an e-publishing house, a number of individuals contact you from time to time. I finally had a contact from the editorial office rather than anyone in a sales capacity. I enjoyed this conference more than any in the past months, because I received affirmation that I was on track re: following up on the suggestions and critique of the developmental edit. Since beginning the rewrite process, every attempt has been made to take the editors comments to heart and follow the guidance they offered.

Since I am a novice writer (author wannabe), my first draft suffered from a number of rooky errors, all of which emerged in the DE (developmental edit). My writing style was dry, dry, dry.  My first draft was full of redundancies, superfluities, and content sequence problems. The thread of my theme disappeared from time to time, only to reappear later out of context. Although sections of the text were well and intelligently written, the impact of my words was lost in convolutions, contortions and cognitive machinations. I even ranted from time to time offering opinions on material that did not contribute to the essence of the book in any way. From my title to my terminal section, the silk purse containing gems of ideas I had hoped to create was still a sows ear attached to a pigs breakfast of a manuscript. Instead of getting angry, I decided to get even with myself by working smarter, not harder. It turns out that smarter was also harder.

Since I was rewarded with encouragement from someone who is actually in the editorial office at the publisher, I think it appropriate to share how I handled the DE comments and what I did to get myself back on track. Here are a few basic preliminaries re: the mindset required to take full advantage of the DE.

1. Chuck your ego out the door, shut the door, and keep away from it with deliberation. A good healthy dose of old fashion Buddhist selflessness is in order here. An ego just gets in the way of the reality of the task ahead.

2. Keep this thought firmly in mind; the developmental editor is just doing their job and the DE is not a kick in the pants, it is an honest and thoughtful critique. Think of the DE as a push from behind to help you write better than ever and reach new heights of written expression.

Now that you have the correct mindset, you can begin the task of preparing to rewrite. Yes, I said preparing. Like setting up to do any task, be it writing or painting a wall, good preparation is half the job.

3. The next step is to read your DE carefully and critically, not as a critic, but as an empty vessel awaiting to be filled with precious elixir. That’s a bit of Taoist philosophy for you in case you missed it. Taoists believe, and I have come to believe,  that the usefulness of anything is marked by its emptiness, so that it can be filled appropriately when needed.

4. As you read the DE, keep a record of the number and types of comments made. Such a record will give a clear picture of weaknesses in writing style and inconsistencies in logic within the content.

5. Make a careful list of all the major flaws in your writing and make a sacred vow to yourself never to write another sentence, paragraph, section or chapter that contains any of them.

6. Never write too much prose without checking to make sure that what you wrote: (a) is consistent with your main purpose, (b) follows from what you wrote just before those words, (c) leads from where your have been to where you are going, (d) contributes to, and does not detract from your writing, (e) holds your reader and not turn them off, (f) makes your point without being offensive (of course you cannot please everyone), (g) is not a rant, (h) expresses an opinion without being opinionated, (I) uses plan words written in as grammatically correct prose as possible, (j) is an exercise in clarity not confusion  , (k) supresses negative aspects of ego, (l) and finally avoids all the issues identified in your DE.

I do not profess to have the magic formula for rewriting a first draft, only that this is what works for me. I hope it will be helpful to my readers and followers.

PS – An open note to my editorial contact re: today’s conference.

Thank you for being so generous with your time today. It was our first contact and it was important for me to let you know what I was doing re: my rewrite. I have been working in less of a vacuum since the DE, but I still had a sense of uncertainty about the direction I had taken with my writing. You listened patiently, reassured me that I had taken the developmental editors comments to heart and revised my work accordingly, and most importantly gave me a sense of being listened to. You also gave me some supportive responses directly and indirectly, for which I am very thankful. It was a great conference.

My intent is to share the process of working with an e-publishing house as well as sharing my reactions and feeling about the process in general. I will reveal which organization I am working with only after my book is officially released. Until then, I can only wish that others have an equally good experience working with an e- publisher.

Until my next post . . .

L

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The Developmental Editing Process – Stage One Begins Today

Over the next few weeks, a free-lance editor from a pool of talent that edits  manuscripts under contract to the publisher, will work through my manuscript. By the end of this week, my manuscript file will be somewhere on the hard drive of one of these contractors. In the old days, I might have said, “in their hot little hands”, but that was then and this is now. Even though this is just one more stage in the process of shaping a manuscript into a published work, there is a sense of finality in the air today.

After another conversation with the publishing consultant marshalling me through this stage of the process I committed to the developmental package proposed (more $$$$ on the table) by the publishing house. Remember that self publishing means self financing too, so shop carefully.  Be prepared to lose your bankroll, based on the chance that sales of the final product will never cover your expenditures. Neither time nor money can ever be replaced, once spent. Writing a book will take your time, and financing the process will consume some of your money.

The reader may be puzzled at the phrase “a sense of finality in the air” being used to describe an ongoing process. While this may seem like an erroneous comparative descriptor, in my mind, it makes complete sense. Let me explain.

* First, when ever you put money on the table without knowing if you will ever see any of it again, images of a croupier racking in the chips comes to mind, and a sense of finality enters your soul.

* Second, I invested some more time in applying changes to my manuscript suggested by way of a copy-edit, done by a friend at no cost to me. This enabled me to forward a revised manuscript to the editorial office with some important correction already made to the text. Every time a writer completes an edit of their work, there is a sense of finality that comes with completing anything.

* Third, I received an email from the editorial office that my manuscript had  been launched on the first stage of the editing process that would take a few weeks to complete, so for a while, what happened to my manuscript was in the hands of others and out of my control. There is a sense of finality that comes when we say goodbye to the product of many hours of work, even if it only for a short while.

My publishing consultant left me with some sage advice at the end of yesterdays conversation. He advised, that once I submitted my manuscript to the first stage of the process, I should put my work away for the time being. He advised, that responding to the results of the first stage of editing would be much easier if I distanced myself from the text for a while.  The goal of this creativity abstinence regimen is to free my mind from the content of my work. At the same time, I could free up my creativity, so I could be my most productive self during the next phase of the manuscript development process. I have done exactly as he has suggested.

While I await completion of the first stage of the process that started today, I intend to write about the struggle to get outside oneself in order to be objective about your own writing. It should be interesting to see if I can develop the ability to be intimately involved with my work and remain remotely objective at the same time. Until the next post………..

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