Category Archives: Editing and Proofreading

Three Important Tips for Serious Self-Publishers

How to Ensure Your Book Emulates Trade Publisher Quality 
  
If you are serious about book publishing and want to present yourself to the public as a professional author, then there are three important things you must do….
 
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There seem to be a few book printers out there disguising themselves as book publishers these days. “Publish your book in just thirty days!” and “Publish your book for only $599!” seem to be popular search-engine catchphrases. While it is true that you can print a book in that timeframe for that cost, there is so much more to publishing it properly. Below are three crucial steps, leading up to the printing stage, that require a much greater investment of your time and money if you wish to produce a truly polished result. 
 

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Have Your Work Copy Edited By a Professional
 
The fact is, self-publishers’ books are competing in the marketplace with trade publishers’ books. Trade (traditional) publishers always have their books professionally edited. Always. This is why they can boast such high quality. In light of this, can self-publishers truly afford not to have their work edited? It may seem excessive to some, but it is a necessary investment if that author is serious about publishing and competing in the marketplace.
 
Make no mistake, not all copy editors are equal. Expect to pay a minimum of $0.025/word for a quality copy edit which equates to $750 on a 30,000 word manuscript. If you’re paying any less than that, bottom line, you’re not dealing with a professional. Time wise, you’re looking at two to four weeks for a copy edit to be completed correctly.
 
Hire an Expert to Design Your Book Cover and Interior
 
No matter how engaging your story may be, the public is going to “judge your book by its cover” before they ever decide to read it. As such, the graphic design of your book—both inside and out—should receive the same professional attention as the content itself.
 
Just as not all editors are equal, there is also a noticeable difference between a book designed by a human/mechanical template builder and one designed by a professional graphic artist. Expect to pay between $500 and $600 for your initial cover/interior combo. As long as your designer receives clear instructions and trouble-free files, you should receive your first draft within about two weeks.
 
A Qualified Proofreader Should Review Your Hard Proof
 
Always, always, always request a hard proof whenever you are publishing physical books. Electronic proofs are fine for e-books, but you might be surprised by just how different a page looks on a computer screen compared to how it looks in print. You’ll notice things on paper that you may not see in a .PDF file.
 
Not only should you give this hard proof a once-over yourself, but you should also hire a professional proofreader—a different set of eyes from your copy editor—to do the following nine-point check:
 
Interior:
 
• the front matter (such as the table of contents) is accurate and correct
• the back matter (such as the index) is accurate and correct
• headers and footers are accurate and correct
• bad breaks are eliminated
• text is kerned to flow smoothly throughout
• margins and trim size all measure properly
• spelling and punctuation is correct
 
Cover:
 
• spacing, bleeds, and trim size all measure properly
• spelling and punctuation is correct
 
Expect to pay a minimum of $0.015/word for a comprehensive proofread like this which comes to $450 on a 30,000 word manuscript. It should take around two weeks to complete.
 
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Now you’re ready to print your book … and revel in the gratification authors can only feel when, deep down, they know they did everything that was necessary to publish a high quality product.
 
This article was originally published at Suite101 in January 2010
 
 
 
 
PPG is a Canadian book publisher dedicated to serving Canadian authors. Visit our book publishing website to learn how you can publish your book today. 

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

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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/
PPG Writers Forum: http://writersforum.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.

 

A Self-Publisher’s Checklist

There are several little odds and ends involved with the Canadian book publishing process—some obvious, others not so obvious. PPG has created the below checklist to help you keep track of what needs to be done:

What PPG Will Do For You  What You Must Do For Yourself
Supplies you will require   In order to publish a book with PPG, you must have access to a computer, email, and the Internet. You must also have a working knowledge of and access to Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader (for viewing .PDF proofs of your books).
Writing your book   You can hire one of PPG’s experienced ghostwriters to write your story in collaboration with you… … or you can write it yourself. Either way, whether you write your story or have someone write it for you, it must be completed in Microsoft Word. Click here for details on how to properly format all your book files.
Protecting your copyright   It is up to you to protect your own copyright before you send your book to any publisher/printer. Please click here for straightforward instructions on how to do so.
Choosing your book publishing package   Review the list of PPG Self-Publishing Services and choose the publishing package and/or À la carte services that are best for you. From there, visit our Online Store to make your purchase and begin the publishing process.
ISBN numbers/barcodes and legal deposits You only need an ISBN number/barcode if you plan to sell copies of your book. PPG will apply for all ISBN numbers and obtain barcodes on your behalf. You will be indicated as both the author and the publisher on the ISBN application so the book is linked to the true copyright owner rather than PPG. As the publisher/copyright owner of the book, it is up to you to submit one or two hard copies of it to Legal Deposit at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) upon publication.
Filling out/managing Vendor Agreements, Publishing Agreements, and Production Questionnaires     PPG will manage all Vendor Agreements with work-for-hire vendors (such as graphic designers, editors, ghostwriters, copywriters, indexers, etc.) on your behalf. Our agreements are designed to ensure: you receive the high quality service you are paying for in a timely fashion; and you maintain creative control and copyright ownership of the book/artwork that is being designed for you. It is up to you to read the PPG Publishing Agreement & Production Questionnaire in full so you understand the partnership you are entering into with PPG and our work-for-hire vendors.
Submitting Your Manuscript     Your manuscript must be written in Word.doc format and submitted to PPG via email. Please click here for more specific details.
Editing PPG will arrange for one of our qualified editors to copy edit your raw manuscript before it is sent to a designer for typesetting. You will have the opportunity to view the edited version and give final approval before it moves onto the design stage.  
Fact checking and indexing Non-fiction readers expect to find an index in the back of your book. They also expect your information to be completely accurate. You can hire fact checkers and indexers through PPG to help you with this.
Interior design PPG will arrange for a qualified graphic designer to typeset your book’s interior based on the input we receive from you on the above-mentioned Production Questionnaire. (We begin by designing your book’s interior because the spine size of your cover is determined by the final page count of your book.) In addition to answering all the questions on the above-mentioned Production Questionnaire, you are required to send your interior files to us in the manner indicated on our File Prep and File Transfer webpages.
Cover design PPG will arrange for a qualified graphic designer to create your book cover based on input we receive from you on the above-mentioned Production Questionnaire. In addition to answering all the questions on the above-mentioned Production Questionnaire, you are required to send us any related graphics/files in the manner indicated on our File Prep and File Transfer webpages.
Copyright page     PPG will insert a pre-designed copyright page into your manuscript before it is typeset. (All we ask of you is that you leave a blank page in the front matter of your manuscript to accommodate that copyright page.) It is up to you to proofread this copyright page to ensure the ISBN number(s) and all other information is correct.
Proofreading Once your book has been written, edited, and designed, a professional proofreader will review it one last time to ensure each of the book’s components fit together properly. All editors, designers, and proofreaders will do their part to help you polish and perfect your book along the way, but you are ultimately responsible to ensure it is completely correct before signing off on the final proof. It is recommended (and wise) for you to read everything over one more time before signing your final proof approval—not only your recent corrections, but everything—even after the professional proofread has been completed.
Printing hard copies of your published book  It is only possible to order hard copies of your book(s) through PPG if you are subscribed to receive our POD distribution service. Hard copies of your book(s) will only be printed if ordered through the PPG online store. If you would like to receive hard copies of your published book, it is up to you to purchase them either through PPG (at your special author discount) or from the printer of your choice. We do not include hard copies in our publishing packages as that would drive the price up unnecessarily. It is best for you, in the long run, to obtain quotes from various printers and go with the best price you receive. (We can recommend a few great printers to help you out with this.)
Complimentary & Promotional copies      It is customary for the publisher (in this case the “self-publisher”) to send out one complimentary copy of their book to each vendor who helped them publish it (i.e. the copy editor, designer, indexer, proofreader, photographer, illustrator, etc.) as a special thank you. It is also common for publishers to send promotional copies to other individuals/organizations who agree to promote the book on their behalf (i.e. publicists).
Review copies   It is up to you to research the book reviewers in your area and send them each a complimentary copy of your book. (This is not mandatory. It’s just a suggestion you may want to consider.)
Library copies   As a self-publisher, it is up to you to produce and submit a flyer or small catalogue of your book(s) to all the libraries you wish to appear in. The only way libraries learn about new titles is through the flyers/catalogues they receive from publishers.
Distribution Your book(s) will be available for sale through LSI’s online distribution channels and our very own online bookstore for as long as you are subscribed to receive our POD online distribution service. As an added bonus, we’ll also submit your book files to Google Books at no extra cost to you! Click here to see examples of how your book could appear on Google Books, Amazon.com, and the PPG Online Bookstore! You are responsible for the distribution of any additional copies of your book that you purchase on your own.
Royalties You will be paid royalties on all of your PPG books that are sold through the PPG online bookstore and/or through PPG’s online POD distribution channels (as detailed in the PPG Publishing Agreement). You won’t receive royalties for any copies of your book that you purchase at an author discount through PPG for resale by yourself, nor will you receive royalties for any other copies of your book that you have printed elsewhere for resale by yourself.
Sales and Marketing PPG will continually strive to drive more and more traffic to our website, online bookstore, forum, and blog; and we will also include a brief write-up about your book in the “Coming Soon to PPG!” category of this blog. It is up to you to manage all other sales and marketing of your book, but we’ll do our best to provide all kinds of ideas to help point you in the right direction.

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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/
PPG Writers Forum: http://writersforum.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 Value of Two Sets of Eyes

I once heard a greenhorn author say, “I don’t need anyone else to edit my manuscript. It is self-edited. I’ve looked over it a thousand times.” It made me cringe. The truth is, every manuscript can benefit from two or more sets of eyes. Even the best writers use professional editors to improve the quality of their books.

Why do some people resist having their work edited/proofread by a professional? I would venture to guess there are two primary, underlying reasons: one, the fear that their work may be stolen if they share it with a stranger prior to publication; and two, the fear that the context of their work may be changed during the editing process. Let’s discuss these two concerns separately….

 

 

 

  1. Fear of Copyright Infringement:

    First and foremost, the chances of anyone having their manuscript stolen and published by someone else is next to nil; however, writers can give themselves peace of mind by protecting their copyright ahead of time.

    In Canada, writers own the copyright to their work as soon as they create it. There is no legal requirement to register it. That said, copyright can be protected in a very straightforward and cost-effective way. Writers can simply seal a copy of their completed work in an envelope and mail it to themselves via registered mail. When the date-stamped package is returned to them, they should keep it sealed and stored in a fireproof container. In the unlikely event that someone else ever tries to claim copyright ownership of their work after the fact, they will have the date-stamped proof of ownership to fall back on.

  2. Fear of Changed Context (Loss of Personal Voice):

    It is important to understand that a copy editor’s job is simply to enhance a writer’s story as it is—to offer helpful suggestions that may have been overlooked or not considered at all.

    Simple copy improvements


A second set of eyes will catch those unobvious errors—such as transposed words and letters, punctuation issues, or improper word usage—that an author is simply blind to after reading the same thing over and over again (and that electronic spell checks sometimes miss).

Story development improvements

Have you ever been trained for a new position by someone who knew the job so well they unconsciously went about many of the details and neglected to discuss them with you? They’d been doing it for so long, themselves, that they were unaware of everything they were doing. As a result, you received only part of the information which made it difficult to follow the entire process from start to finish.

In much the same way, writers can sometimes see a scene so vividly in their own minds that, when they transfer it to paper, they unwittingly leave out important details the reader will need. A good editor will point this out and ask the question, “How exactly did we get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ here?” This type of commentary gives writers an opportunity to go back and fill in the blanks they didn’t realize existed beforehand.

At PPG, authors always have the last say on the editing and design of their books. A good copy editor will work with a writer to enhance the story while keeping the original voice intact, and a smart writer will take that editor’s advice.

As always, let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. (And if you see any typos in this blog, please bring them to my attention. After all, two sets of eyes are always better than one!)

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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/
PPG Writers Forum: http://writersforum.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.