Tag Archives: quality editing

Now the pace quickens

In my last blog post I reported on completing the changes to the third edit version of my manuscript. Believe it or not, I listened and read the manuscript one last time before submitting it for the next stage of the process, the editorial review board. This is important, because this is the group that decides if the book merits their seal of approval. I’m feeling pretty good about the project at the moment.

This last review, reading along with the text-to-voice app generated a few minor changes to improve the flow of language. The advantage of doing so many reviews of the work arises from a familiarity with the text that cannot be achieved in any other way. Now, small glitches in rhythm, language flow and word choice stand out from the now familiar background of the text. This review process takes about six hours to complete when the text is read back at 180 words a minute for a 66000 word manuscript.

The next task is to set up my files for transfer to the person who sets the book into its final form. I will also be working with someone to set up the book cover. As usual, I’m relying on the people the publisher employs to do this. It seems that I can expect to see a completed book ready for release in two to three months.

I had a long conversation with a representative of the publisher re: planning for marketing my book. You cannot sell books without marketing them. Marketing involves a range of activity from developing a web presence, to press releases and possible speaking engagements. It takes an effort to sell a book when the author has no public profile. Ken Follett might sell many copies of an average book just because he is Ken Follett. An unknown author may only sell a few copies of a great book without recognition.

My next adventure is to develop a marketing plan. I’ll keep you up to date as this and other processes unfold

Until the next post

Larry (L Alan Weiss), soon to be author of. . .

Through a Lens of Emptiness

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Some Simple Truths – Caught Between a $ and a Hard Choice

The only certain way to self-publish with a minimum of expense is to be an expert in all areas of editing and marketing. The novice writer, who is also a newbie to the world of self-publishing, most likely thinks of copy editing as the only editing required to achieve a publishable work. The budding author who has an excellent grasp of English grammar believes he or she has the editing tiger by the tail and is sure to produce the perfect manuscript. To be sure, a copy-edit (line by line edit) is essential, but as an individuals experience of working with a self-publishing house grows, editing requirements take on new dimensions of complexity. Consider the following sequence . . .

* A writer drafts a manuscript and submits it to the publisher. (N.B. the writer has purchased some level of publishing package from the self-publishing house prior to submitting a manuscript)

* The manuscript is reviewed and  feedback provided – at this point the publisher may say the work is not acceptable for publishing, but will most likely refer your project to a development consultant.

* After a conversation (or conversations) with the consultant, various services are offered at a per/word cost, which one is free to decline – at this point the writer can either work up the manuscript based on the commentary of the preliminary review and submit the revised manuscript for review at a cost – or – elect to go with one of the many editing/author support services offered.

* The hopeful author needs to be prepared for other consultants, offering support and services, to call. A call from a marketing consultant is a certainty.

There are two simple truths for those who become engaged with a self publisher: first, the more types of editing and the more self-promotion a writer can do, the less it will cost to publish a book – second, some of the services offered have value and merit, so the writer might pick and chose which are worth the investment in $$$ required to take advantage the service/s offered.

Think about the section found at the beginning of most books (or sometimes at the end), the acknowledgements. When the author thanks the editors provided by the publisher and all the individuals who provided other supports for the creative process that resulted in a book, they are thanking a host of formal and informal editors and reviewers. Those individuals, who may be few or many, provided development edits, substantive edits, content edits, quality edits, copy edits and feedback on the writing itself. The difference between the established author and the self-published author is who pays for all that support. Money and financial backing flows to the established author before, during, and after his or her book is published. Some money (dreamed of royalties) may flow to the self-published author after a book hits the market, but the financial backing of that book is the responsibility of the writer.

The jury is out on the self-publishing process. More evidence is required to make a judgement about this process. Reading the comments and critiques of others as related to the quality or lack of quality in the self-publishing world can shake one’s confidence a bit. While there are certainly some valid complaints and criticisms published, it is possible they may originate with the individual making negative assertions in part or in whole, and not the publisher at all. With all the books that are self-published these days, one would expect more complaints and criticisms than there are. Work honestly through the process, have realistic expectations of how much support you will actually receive, put in the effort required to edit your work and one should achieve a reasonably good published end product.

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In Anticipation of the Results of a Developmental Edit

A few weeks have passed since submitting my work for phase one of a manuscript development process, a so called developmental edit. Pre-development responses from four different readers of the manuscript highlighted similar issues.

* points are often well made and supported by adequate research

* the writing is dense with ideas, perhaps too dense

* the prose is too cerebral at times

* the reader needs to be captivated rather than captured by the content

* the work as a whole has a slight disjointed quality about it that caused these readers to lose the thread of the writing from time to time

* thoughts and ideas are expressed which relate to the theme of the book but may not contribute to the sense of it

* some small sections of content are replicated or redundant

* the text does not engage the reader at all times

* many titles and subtitles do not engage the reader and need to be redone

* text formatting conventions and styles are not consistent throughout the text

* two of the four readers providing preliminary assessment of the work, pointed out a need for careful and consistent application of grammatical and punctuation rules

There were a few other comments, but this list on its own suggests that there is much yet to do.

I expect the results of the developmental edit to be much more than a list of deficiencies. The results of the edit will vary depending on the editor. A developmental editor does not usually engage in rewriting any of the text, else their work becomes more like that of a ghost writer. While one shouldn’t expect any rewriting of content to result from the developmental edit, suggestions on how to best express an idea, accompanied by concrete examples are certainly expected. In addition, it is reasonable to expect:

* suggestions related to sequencing ideas

* suggestions and examples related to transitioning from one section of the manuscript to the next, or even one paragraph to the next, are given

* suggestions related to the superfluity of some content

* suggestions related to style and word choice

* suggestions as to redundancies and repetitions in the work

* suggestions related to areas of the text that require enhanced clarity and expanded content or both

* suggestions related to consistency of expression related to certain ideas in the text

* suggestions related to refining the manuscript to the target audience

The usefulness of results from this stage of the editing process depends on the editor selected for the task by the publisher. I, as an author, have no input over who is selected and no contact with the individual providing the edit. If all goes well, the feedback received will be more substantive (more like a substantive edit) in nature. I already have the broad strokes from an editorial evaluation provided by the publisher that brought me the stage of engaging in the developmental process. I am supposed to be able to work through the rewriting process with the support of a consultant who is also a developmental editor in his own right. I will report on the quality of the first phase of the editing process as soon as I receive the edited manuscript, and keep you appraised of the support received to get the manuscript ready for the next two phases of the development process; the content edit and the quality edit.

Only time will tell how much more work needs to be done and how much real support is provided. More about substantive editing in the next post…….

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