Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Index as a Roadmap

What is an index, and why would you want one in your non-fiction book? A good index is a road map to information. It leads readers to all the information on a particular subject, and it also leads readers to related information that might interest them. A good index allows readers to find what they are looking for no matter where in the index they start.

You might wonder if a computer program could produce the index for your book. It can’t. It can produce a concordance, an alphabetical listing of most of the words in the text with their page numbers, but that is not an index.

The index in a non-fiction book has two audiences:

  1. The first is people who are considering buying the book: Let’s say you’re in the bookstore browsing the sports section. You see a book about coaching soccer and wonder if it discusses sports psychology, particularly the mental imaging technique. You turn to the back of the book to check the index. No index. There is a chapter on sports psychology, but you don’t have time to skim the entire chapter to see if it covers mental imaging. Maybe the book next to it will have something. You turn to the back of this one, and it has an index. You find psychology right away, but you don’t see anything about mental imaging. You put the book back on the shelf. What you don’t realize is that the book does have lots of information about mental imaging, but the index only contains the words the author uses in the book. In this case, the author always uses the term “inner soccer” when he describes mental imaging. A good indexer would have entries under both terms or would use a see reference to direct the reader from mental imaging to inner soccer.
  2. The other audience for an index is made up of people who have already read the book: Let’s say you remember reading about something in a book and want to find it again. Maybe you want to quote something, or use some bit of information in an argument you’re having with someone. Maybe you saw a recipe you want to try. You will probably try to use the language of the book to look it up, but you might not remember the exact term the author used. Again, a good indexer will think of other words the reader might use to look something up and provide entries for those words.
The whole point of an index is to guide people to the information in the book. If they can’t find that information, it might as well not be there. A good index will make most non-fiction books more usable to their readers and more likely to be purchased. A professionally written index is a worthwhile investment for any author who lacks the skills and training to write a good one. 

Tia Leschke

Professional Indexer

* * *    * * *   * * *

PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher's Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

 

The Difference Between Ghostwriting and Developmental Editing

Since developmental editors work so closely with authors to help them create great books, it’s not unusual that some authors wonder how a developmental editor is different from a ghostwriter. Both are heavily involved with a book’s content, and in terms of the teamwork, coaching, and feedback that goes on between ghostwriter and author, or equally between developmental editor and author, it requires some clarification to distinguish between these two major ways of working with writing and editing professionals.

Let’s tackle the ghostwriter first. Basically with ghostwriting, if you are a person with an idea for a book, and you possess the expertise in your field but are not particularly good at writing—or don’t have time for writing (for example, you might be a busy corporate executive, a coach with a full coaching practice, or a speaker with a full roster of speaking gigs)—you might consider hiring a writer to turn your ideas and knowledge into words. You would give the writer as much information as possible, and then the writer would get to work creating a draft manuscript for you. So, the process of creating a book with a ghostwriter is that you supply the information; the writer does the writing, attempting as much as possible to create the content with the flavor of your voice. Sometimes ghostwriters will do recorded interviews with the author in order to get a sense of the author’s voice and style.

In contrast, developmental editors do not write the book for the author. Instead, a developmental editor works with the author to develop the book’s concept, and often coaches the author through the writing process, always with an eye to the book’s purpose, its audience, and it content map (structure). Working with a developmental editor from the very beginning concept stage often makes it easier for the author to do the writing with confidence and the comfort of knowing that there is always someone there to give feedback and helpful suggestions.

To use an old analogy often applied to human endeavors—the ghostwriter catches the fish for you (writes your book); the developmental editor teaches you how to fish for yourself (helps you write your book). 

Many times, however, the developmental editor gets involved after an author has created a first draft. In that situation, the developmental editor evaluates the manuscript and considers many of the same issues involved in early stage developmental editing—for example, what is the book’s purpose, who is the audience, how well does the narrative arc of the book move the content forward, etc. If the draft manuscript needs work in clarifying or emphasizing its purpose and its narrative power, the developmental editor helps the author make the structural and thematic changes to hone the book into a compelling written work.

What is best for you as an author desiring to have a book published—hiring a ghostwriter or hiring a developmental editor? If you want it done for you, then the ghostwriter would be your choice. If you want to have the experience of creating your own words, but need someone to guide you through the process, hold your hand, and keep you on track, then you would choose a developmental editor. If you want to do your own first draft writing, a good developmental editor can also help you speed up the process of writing your book, and give you good guidance not only about the content, but also about the publishing process itself.

Ghostwriters tend to be more expensive than developmental editors, because the process of writing a book from scratch is very labor-intensive. With developmental editing, since you as the author would be doing your own writing, your developmental editor will be checking in with you all along the way, and helping you with your content mapping. So it’s somewhat less labor intensive than ghostwriting, and therefore can be less expensive.

Either path is viable and valid. It all depends on your own inclinations (do you want to experience yourself as a writer or delegate the writing to someone else?), your budget, your timeline, and your goals for your book.

Working with a professional ghostwriter or with a professional developmental editor can be a very worthwhile and positive experience. Both paths involve collaboration and a sense of teamwork. The author-ghostwriter experience is a dynamic relationship, and so is the author-developmental editor relationship. The important thing is that you, as an author, are comfortable with your choice and feel good about the end result—your book.

Sharon Lindenburger
Professional Writer
Professional Developmental Editor
Consultant and Supplier of all forms of editing

* * *    * * *   * * *

PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher’s Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

The Components of a Book’s Interior

A book’s interior is comprised of three basic elements: front matter, the body, and back matter. Each element may differ slightly depending on the type of book being published. For example, a non-fiction book will contain an index in its back matter where a fictional novel will not. This article will briefly touch on each component while focusing on the interior design of a fictional novel.

Front Matter

The front matter of a book contains some or all of the following components:

  • Primary title pageThis is usually the very first page of the book in which the title appears on an otherwise blank right-hand page.
  • Secondary title pageThe secondary title page repeats the book title along with the author and/or publisher’s name on the next right-hand page.
  • Copyright pageTypically, the publishing company will insert the copyright page into the book’s front matter on behalf of the author/self-publisher. In anticipation of this, the author/self-publisher should leave room in the front matter of their manuscript to accommodate it.The copyright page will contain the book’s ISBN number(s), publication date, copyright owner’s name, and a copyright notice such as: No portion of this book may be duplicated or used in any form, by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval), for any profit-driven enterprise, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. If the author/publisher wishes to credit any of the book’s contributors (such as photographers and designers), that can also be done on this page.
  • Quote pageSometimes a quote will be placed in the front matter if it sums up the essence of the story quite well.
  • Dedication pageOftentimes, authors will dedicate their books to their loved ones. That dedication is placed in the beginning of the book.
  • Acknowledgments pageAn acknowledgments page allows an author to provide more detail when crediting the book’s various contributors rather than just listing their names on the copyright page. Here, a heartfelt thank you can be expressed in a much more meaningful way.
  • ForewordUsually, a foreword is written by someone other than the author. Its purpose is to provide a history leading up to the story being told or explain what inspired the publication of the book.
  • PrefaceWhere a foreword is an introduction to the book written by someone other than the author, a preface is an introduction written by the author for the same purpose. An author may also use a preface to explain what methods of research were used during the creation of the work.
  • ContentsA table of contents lists the various sections (chapters, articles, poems, etc) within the book and what page numbers they each begin at.

 

Below is a group of visuals to show how the front matter might be arranged in a fictional novel. This is but one example of how it can be done:





The Body

The body of a book usually contains at least the following two components:

  • Title PagesA title page is used at the beginning of each section within the body of a book. The purpose of the title page is simply to differentiate between the sections, to help organize the flow of the work.
  • Sections
     
    Sections of a book’s body can be divided up as chapters, poems, articles, etc. It all depends on the type of book being published.

Below are two visuals showing how the body of a novel might be formatted. The second visual contains recommended measurements for your book’s margins. Again, this is but one example of how a book can be formatted and is meant as a guideline only:

Back Matter

The back matter of a book contains some or all of the following components:

  • AppendixAn appendix contains supplementary details that help to further clarify any legal, technical, and/or scientific information within the book.
  • GlossaryA glossary of terms contains a list of specialized words that can be found throughout the book along with their definitions.
  • IndexAn alphabetized index is used to help readers pinpoint the exact page(s) where they can find an important name, place, and/or subject throughout the book. Most non-fiction books will have an index.
  • Promotional ContentA great way to sell your backlist titles is to promote them in the back matter of each new release. It is best if you can provide a graphic of each book’s front cover along with the corresponding ISBN number.
     
  • Author BiographyAn updated author biography helps personalize your book for readers by giving them a bit more information about the storyteller. It is also a great way to promote past titles thereby increasing the chance of more sales.

 

Below are two visuals showing how the back matter of a novel could appear:

 



It is a good idea to use this article as a guideline when deciding how to lay out your book’s interior. Better yet, why not pay your local bookstore a visit and take a look at how some of your favourite titles are formatted? The more information (visuals) you can provide to your graphic designer ahead of time, the better. This will help the process run much more smoothly for both of you.

* * *    * * *   * * *

PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher’s Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

The Components of a Paperback Book Cover

No matter how engaging your story may be, the public is going to “judge your book by its cover” before they ever pick it up to read the contents. As such, the exterior should always receive the same professional care and consideration as the interior.

A complete paperback book cover is made up of the following components:

  1. Back CoverAs shown in the following visual aid, the back cover portion of your complete book cover begins on the left-hand side. The dimension of the back cover must match whatever trim size you’ve chosen your book to be (i.e. 5.5″ width x 8.5″ height) with a minimum 1/4″ bleed around the outside edges for trimming. It will also contain:- an author photo (optional)
    – back cover copy (to summarize the contents of the book in a compelling way)
    – room for the book’s barcode/ISBN number on the lower right-hand corner
    – room for PPG’s logo on the lower left-hand corner
    – a short author biography (optional)
  2. SpineThe spine portion of your complete book cover sits in between your back and front cover. Its height will match your chosen trim size (in this case 8.5″) while the width is determined by factors such as the final page count of your designed interior and chosen paper weight. (PPG will provide you with these specs once your interior has been designed by one of our professional graphic designers.) The spine also contains:- the book title at the top
    – author name (pseudonym) in the centre
    – room for PPG’s logo to be placed at the bottom
  3. Front CoverThe front cover portion of your complete book cover sits on the right-hand side. The dimension of the front cover must match whatever trim size you’ve chosen your book to be (i.e. 5.5″ width x 8.5″ height) with a minimum 1/4″ bleed around the outside edges for trimming. It will also contain:- the book title (and subtitle, if applicable)
    – author name (pseudonym)
  4. ArtworkYour cover artwork can wrap around the spine of your book and span the entire height/width of the complete cover (as shown in the first visual below), or it can appear on the front cover only (as shown in the second visual below). Both examples are correct. If going with the first example, make sure the artwork itself contains a minimum 1/4″ bleed all around the edges so the outside edges of the picture aren’t trimmed unnecessarily at the printer.


When deciding how you would like your book cover to appear, it is best to pay a visit to your local bookstore and view the many different examples there. What designs, colours, and fonts draw your attention the best? Write down the book title(s) and author name(s) so you can use this as a handy reference when it comes time to provide a description to your assigned graphic designer. This will help the process run much more smoothly for both of you.

* * *    * * *   * * *

PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher’s Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.