Tag Archives: Editing

The Final Steps – Working with an E-publisher

The Final Steps – Working with an E-publisher

My last blog post in this series focused on the topic of indexing and cover layout. I had chosen to purchase the services of a professional indexer and cover layout specialist rather than attempt those tasks myself. I’ll address the cover polish first, and then the index.

I had already signed off on the block design for the cover by the time I had written my last post, and I still find it gives the book an attractive and professional feel. The only problem with the cover is found in one sentence of the text. Although I provided most of the text, the cover editor added and subtracted a bit to the text that appears on the flyleaf or the back cover, and that’s where the problem lies. One sentence has four key verbs contained within, the first is in the present tense, which fits with the tense of the whole. The second, third, and fourth verbs are in the past. Ugh! I missed that when I reviewed the text.

I have emailed the appropriate support person in the editorial department to see if the tense can be adjusted. Since I already signed off on the cover design, I’m not sure it can be altered, although it should be a simple matter to address. The tense issue is a very small one in the grand scheme of things for two reasons. First, only a very picky reader is likely to notice, and secondly, this is predominately going to be sold as a print on demand or an eBook. It’s not like I will get much shelf space in Barns and Noble or Indigo/Chapters.

This small issue is just that, a small issue. I just wanted to point out that it exists because the final text was prepared by a cover polish expert. Expert or not, he or she is just as likely to miss a small error like this. The error exists in the hard copy of one paragraph of the cover text because I abrogated my responsibility to a ‘professional’ with sheer abandon. Within lies the error. Hopefully, a change will be made to rectify the issue. We shall see how responsive the editor will be to my request. I’ll let you know.

The index was completed and forwarded to me by PDF file as usual. It looked pretty good and gave the reader a good idea of the range and scope of the content. I assessed the quality of the index in substance and layout by comparing it to the index in a few works of non-fiction, and it compared favourably. I happen to be reading Hawking’s A Brief History of Time at the moment. The index in Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity, and Contentment is not demonstrably different in appearance and usefulness as compared to others, even Hawking’s book. So when it comes to indexing, go pro and spend a few $$.

The next step will be to review and approve the Galley Proof of the printed version of the book. When it arrives, I will post my comments.

Until the next post, as always, I remain your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss (Larry) – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity, and Contentment

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

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Working with an E-Publisher The Final Steps #1

Working with an E-Publisher – The Final Steps #1

This is the next in the series of blog posts related to working with an E-Publisher. The process has reached the production and printing stage after thirty-one months. The final stages revolve around entering the proof reading changes, reviewing the block design proofs for the cover and inside of the book, reviewing and accepting the proof reader’s changes, another review of the text and cover to make sure everything is correct, accepting the final cover and inside designs, indexing, reviewing and approving the index, and final review of the Galley Proof for problems. I am required to accept and sign off on each step.

The ‘quality edit’, which was performed on the last version of the manuscript was submitted after corrections were made, along with a corrected version of the text that would be printed on the back of the book. This is the version that was submitted for layout to fit the 6×9 format plan for the finished book. Once formatted, the block design proofs were reviewed by a proof reader. The book cover was also designed and my suggested text was polished. Once complete, the inside block design proof, proof reader’s corrections, and cover design were sent back in PDF format.

When the PDF files with the block designs for the inside matter and the cover were received, I also received a list of the proof reader’s findings and had to review and accept each suggested change. Each change was listed on a form which was indexed by the page number, the paragraph number, the sentence number, along with the suggested correction and a reason for the change. That file, along with the accepted changes were sent back to the publisher, the changes were made, and the PDF files were sent back for my review. Any changes that I felt still needed to be made were entered on a form in the same manner as the proof reader had provided.

I received the PDF files of the cover and inside matter once again. This time, I needed to verify that the final changes I wished to be made, had been made correctly. Once again, I needed to state explicitly that the changes had been made as requested. Following that acceptance e-mail, and before the process of set up and printing could move forward, I officially signed off on the block designs. The publisher can get on with the remainder of the process now that my approvals are official.

I’ll describe the remainder of my experiences as my project moves toward the final published work. However, before this post concludes, there are a few important reminders.

· The publisher provides support all along the way, but the author bears responsibility for the quality of the final product.

· The amount of support from the publisher depends on the publishing package you purchase. Make sure you know what services to expect based on the package purchased.

· Make sure you review your manuscript carefully at each step of the process. If you are less than diligent in your review, costly and embarrassing mistakes are inevitable.

· Use the best writing support available. These include a top quality word processor and a quality grammar checking service. I used Word 2013, Grammarly (available at www.grammarly.com ), and also a high quality text-to-voice software package. As stated in an earlier post, the text-to-voice software allows the author to step back from his work and be objectively critical, listen to the rhythm of the language, and listen for the clarity of meaning in the language written for others to read.

· Always save backup copies of your work.

Until the next post, your faithful blogger, L Alan Weiss (Larry) – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness.

www.lensofemptiness.com Release date TBA

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What A Difference 33 Months Can Make

I started to review my blog posts and was horrified at what I saw; not by the content, but by the technical aspects of the writing. After several rewrites of a manuscript containing approximately 66000 words, extensive editing and finding the correct technology to support my dyslexia, I read my posts with eyes and brain wide open. There is nothing like 33 months of writing and rewriting to sharpen one’s editing skills.

The only encouraging finding is that grammar and word usage have improved with time. Nevertheless, many of my blogs were written on the fly, thus proving once again that haste makes waste. The waste in this instance is the waste of the power of language. The upshot of all this introspection is an overwhelming urge to edit all previous blog posts. I may even consider deleting a few of them.

Its time to get to work, so if you will please excuse the brevity of this post, I have some ‘fixing’ to do.

L. Alan Weiss – author of Through a Lens of Emptiness

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What to inlude, what to cut, and what comes next?

I tried writing this post on a Blackberry Z10. It is possible, but only when no other technology is available. I’m back to the tactile keyboard for now.

I just finished a copy-edit (to the best of my ability and with the help of grammarly.com) on the fist completed sect of my rewrite. As I stated in a previous post, my intention is to follow the suggestions of the developmental editor closely. If material is considered superfluous, it is cut. Whenever the editor suggests that an idea needs more support or requires clarification it is done. The most time-consuming aspects of the rewrite process is keeping the content sequenced correctly and copy editing.

One has to give serious thought about how to begin a section of the book and what needs to be included. I’m discovering that some of the supporting content suggested by the editor, actually shows up in sections of the book other than the one I am working on at the moment. I looked back on my planning sheets prior to writing and discovered that many of my problems resulted from deviating from the plan and not asking myself the correct questions.  Reflecting on those planning sheets suggests a different approach might have been useful.

The next time I generate a plan for writing a work of non-fiction, I will include the following processes:

1. Establish a content development line, analogous to a plot development line in a novel.

2. Each time an idea or topic is included on the development line, the following questions should be posed:

a. Is this the next logical idea or topic that should appear in the book?

b. What do I need to know to write about this topic or express the idea?

c. What do I want the reader to understand from what is written?

d. What information or clarification do I need to provide to the reader?

e. Have I considered my audience as I am writing a section?

f, Am I leading my reader painlessly from paragraph to paragraph and sub-section to sub-section?

g. Have I included all that is necessary and cut out all that is superfluous?

3. Keep referring back to my plan and keep track of where I am.

4. Be consistent in following my plan, but don’t be married to it.

I think this checklist of questions would have been useful in the preparation of my first draft. If anyone reading this blog has a comment on the list of guiding questions provided, or anything they would like to add, please comment.

Until the next post . . .

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Developmental edit recieved – dealing with the fallout

As I write these posts, my goal is to inform the reader about the nature of a developmental edit and communicate the scope and range of my reactions and responses.  I want to relate the experience of a newbie writer going through the process of developing a manuscript to its full potential as accurately as possible. Six days ago, I received the result of my developmental editor’s review of the manuscript, and it was certainly an eye opener. I spent about eleven months producing a manuscript that essentially has to be taken apart and reassembled, and requires a fair amount of rewriting and rethinking .  Before beginning my narrative on the developmental edit, it was necessary to carefully review the comments and suggestions of the editor.

Initial reactions to the editors comments and suggestions ranged from discomfort to relief. The discomfiture comes from thinking about how much more work lies ahead before a manuscript becomes a book and a writer becomes an author. The relief comes from the quality of the editors comments and suggestions. I received a thorough editing effort, full of clearly presented well documented suggestions to guide me as I rewrite and restructure my work. The editor took time to carefully describe and explain what had to be done. The main issues to be addressed are logical sequencing of content , clarification of ideas, ensuring language is used to its full advantage, ensuring that words and formats are used consistently throughout the manuscript and ensuring that ideas were fully supported and documented. The results of the edit were fair, thorough and made sense, and a bit daunting.

My writing tools were rusty from disuse, to say the least. My knowledge of English, its grammar, syntax, rules for punctuation, and ideas about writing styles came from one freshman English course and whatever information about writing remained from high school many years ago  (the mid-1960’s). Until now, anything that I wrote was directed toward a specific audience or to fulfill the requirements of a specific assignment.  This was a first effort at writing for individuals who are not obliged to read anything I write. If I want to attract a readership, I need to get down to work.

In addition to all the structural and qualitative information provided by the editor, there was another important idea conveyed within the edit related to the task ahead. My job was to rewrite and restructure the manuscript into a thoroughly reader friendly and unambiguous written work . The first order of business was to rewrite, or more accurately, write the preface. The original preface for the manuscript submitted was not a preface at all, just my idea of what a preface should contain. I had done nothing to inform a reader about why the book was written and for whom it was written. I had done nothing to engage the reader in my writing or with the content to come. I spent five of the last six days writing a preface that I can use. The next post focuses on my efforts to produce that preface. Until then . . .

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