Category Archives: Editing and Proofreading

How to Create Your Best Novel

Kim Staflund: founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and author of the PPG Publisher’s Blog

Creating your best novel is a team effort. There is the writing portion which you will do on your own, within the solitude of your imagination and writing room. And then there is the “polishing” portion of the process which is equally important to your success and requires an outside team of professionals for best results.

Writing Your Novel

I’ll start by including one of my absolute favourite quotes about writing by Gary Provost:

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.

Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals—sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it? It’s like music, as he says. This is the kind of writing that will keep an audience engaged. It not only sings to them; but, with the right combination of vivid adjectives and visceral verbs, it can create such authentic, powerful imagery inside their minds that it keeps them turning the pages for more. That’s what you’re after.

And yet, there’s more to writing your best novel. Two more elements must be considered: character development and plot development. Here are two links that go into great detail regarding these two aspects of writing, so I encourage you to click on both and really take in this advice before sitting down to write your book:

Once your novel is written, now the rest of the team comes into play. The best advice I have for all writers—but especially the ones who plan to self-publish—is to get support. Invest in proper copy editing, graphic design, and proofreading. If you’re serious about book publishing and want to present yourself to the public as a professional author, then these things are so important to your end result.

Polishing Your Novel

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 copy edited in the very least? It may seem excessive to some, but it is a necessary investment if that author is serious about publishing and competing in the marketplace.

And 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. In fact, they’ll judge the interior, too. So, the graphic design of your book—both inside and out—should receive the same professional attention as the content itself. Hiring a professional graphic designer is always better than using a generic template builder.

Last but not least, I highly recommend you also hire a professional proofreader—a different set of eyes from your copy editor—to do the following nine-point check of the final designed book before you self-publish it anywhere:

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

These are the steps the traditional (trade) publishers put each and every one of their books through. These are the steps you should also take to create your best novel. This extra attention to detail with make a huge difference in the public perception of your book and your overall success as a result.

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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 © 2017 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Learn at Your Own Pace: Online Courses in Writing, Publishing, and Selling Books

Through Udemy‘s online learning portal, PPG can help you build on your book writing, publishing, and selling skills from the comfort of your home and at your own pace. Here are just four of the courses that can help you with every aspect of your next book project from start to finish:


ONLINE COURSE: Writing A Book: The First Draft


ONLINE COURSE: Writing With Flair: How To Become An Exceptional Writer


ONLINE COURSE: Self-Publishing Success in Bookstores and Online!


ONLINE COURSE: The A-Z Guide That Will Hold Your Hand To Making A
Career Through Blogging And Building A Successful Online Business

Check them out today. Just click on the above pictures to be redirected to the course landing page where you can enroll and start learning immediately. Good luck and enjoy.

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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 © 2017 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

New Author Ash Borodin Discusses the Writing and Editing Process

CLICK ON IMAGE TO SHOP NOW

First and foremost, I want to thank Ash Borodin and his editor, Elisa, for providing this unique guest post about the writing and editing processes for the PPG Publisher’s Blog. I smiled all the way through the below dialog and found myself nodding “yes” through much of it.

The creative process of writing a book takes on many different forms, as Ash discusses below, and the editing/ghostwriting processes require much patience and collaboration between two willing participants…

The editing/writing process

My name’s Ash and my debut novel is called The Jealous Flock. It’s about the parallel lives of unique individuals struggling to define their values and identity in relation to the major culture clash(es) the world is experiencing right now.

My name’s Elisa and I edited the Jealous Flock…

Ash: Everything I do is experimental, including this interview (which we are collaborating on live through Google Docs). I can imagine I’m an editor’s worst nightmare…

Elisa: Yes, you can say that again.

Ash: Can you elaborate on that… On second thought, actually don’t. Well, give us a rough idea of one of the challenges.

Elisa: Well for starters, having the chapters written in no particular order, so I couldn’t really make sense of the story. And using speech to text didn’t always give the words you intended, so I had to guess what they might be.

Ash: Ah, yes, I’d forgotten about that. I think I had this general master plan in my head for what the final book should be but I had no idea how to weave it all together. So initially it was more just a bunch of short stories. And then I gradually wrote some bridging stories to connect the others and from there more changes had to be made. It really was a mess. I still think it was a pretty good mess, from my point of view, it was like a band improvising, each person takes a solo and the others fit in and react.

Elisa: I also found it strange to read when it was initially in present tense, and I told you it sounded like a play.

Ash: Well, in a sense it was. And when you said that, I thought – alright I’ll make it a play then. But that was more stubbornness than resolve on my part. I think it could easily be adapted to work as a screenplay and that’s something I keep in the back of my mind if the opportunity ever arises.

Elisa: I think it might lack the beautiful descriptions you have put into the writing though, and perhaps make it more bland.

Ash: Yeah, and in part it was vanity that spurred me on to rewrite the whole thing in past tense. I didn’t want to lose my poetic vision, my voice. But finding some way between the two extremes was a real challenge for me as a writer, this being my debut novel especially. Because I wrote a lot of it live – I method acted the lines through a voice-recorder – it had that zeal, the immediacy you only get from the spoken word and some of the intimacy of conversation. To then put that into past tense, well it felt like prostitution of my passion at first. I was really adverse to it.

Now I tell people the importance of having an active reader (or an editor, really) from the beginning. Because writing is one thing, but storytelling is really a higher level of writing and that involves connecting, relating to your audience.

Elisa: Yes, it is, but it’s a hell of a difficult thing to try and convince an author that he needs to make a change like this. Authors really don’t like criticism of any kind.

Ash: Not naming any names, of course….

Elisa: None at all. And by the way, just so people know, I’m editing your writing as we speak. That’s why there are no spelling mistakes.

Ash: Ha! What people don’t know is that you just wrote ‘smelling mistakes’ and I saw it!

Elisa: Yes, okay, you caught me, but I did fix it immediately.

Ash: I think if we were to work on a book again it would be much easier this time because we’ve both mellowed a lot. For those who came in late, Elisa and I are married. And in the 3 years since we wrote the book we’ve been through a lot personally and as a couple, and I think though we blow up at times under great stress, we are generally able to plan ahead for stress and compartmentalise it a lot better.

Elisa: Sometime a good yelling match is exactly what you need to release it all.

Ash: I know, yesterday’s was great. We called each other unprintable names. A good time was had by all…

Elisa: So, back to editing… another thing that was difficult to get a handle on was that each character used first person, which was really confusing during the editing.

Ash: I think I would do that differently now, but surprisingly no-one’s complained about it yet. Yet….

Elisa: I think it actually works… now.  Now that we have each character’s name in the title of each chapter (thanks to me).

Ash: Yeah that was a necessary evil I was forced to accept as well. I was trying to be so clever in my writing that the reader would intuitively know who the character speaking was – that this was now their perspective. But it was too high a bar for me and maybe an unnecessary bar at that.

Elisa: You can’t expect the reader to do too much work themselves.

Ash: Well that was probably the final thing I relented on. I wanted it to be more work than it eventually was – for the reader. I wanted them to really pay attention like one would with a textbook or work of philosophy. But in the end the need to relate overcame the desire to be very serious.

Ash’s book is available here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01NAPZWB8

https://twitter.com/0rWouldUrather

http://ashleyborodin.weebly.com 

© Ash Borodin 2017

Consistency in Editing Style Guides: The Importance of Balance Between Precision and Simplicity

Kim Staflund: founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and author of the PPG Publisher’s Blog

Okay. I think there is now enough distance between me and the situation I’m about to discuss here to be able to write a helpful blog post on the topic—one that I genuinely hope is helpful to editors, proofreaders, and authors alike.

Anyone who knows me well knows that one of my biggest pet peeves in this book publishing business is inconsistency in editorial style. I hired my own editors and proofreaders for my first three books. Because I’d self-published these books through different publishers, each book was also edited by a different person as recommended by that company; and, clearly, each of these editors was using a different editorial reference guide because the styles of each of these books is very different.

Long story short, back in 2009, I founded Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and hired an absolutely stellar, experienced team of editors, designers, indexers, proofreaders, copywriters, and you name it, to ensure professional quality for every author who published through my company. I even took the time, with the help of my top editor, to create a PPG Editorial Style Guide that would ensure consistency in how we edited our books combined with a respect for each author’s heritage (i.e. one guide for Canadians, another one for Americans, et cetera).

I took full advantage of this incredible team to help me produce my 2013 book titled How to Publish a Book in Canada . . . and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit!; and, while the editorial style used for this book was again different from my first three books, I wasn’t worried. I was so pleased with the end result. I knew this book was not only a helpful guide that could teach authors the important fundamentals of quality book publishing, but it also served as a physical example of the lessons inside. I was thrilled!

The following year, I published the worldwide sequel titled How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It WORLDWIDE Based on Value, Not Price!. I hired the exact same team to help me produce this book; and I felt at ease with the assumption that finally, at long last, I would see consistency in the editorial style of this book to the one I’d published the previous year. After all, it was the exact same editing and proofreading team at work on what was a very similar book. What could possibly change?

There’s an old adage that one should never “assume” anything because doing so makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” This was certainly one of those times.

Once again, my fifth book was edited differently from my first four books. There were many little arbitrary changes made such as altering the spelling of things like “eBook” to “ebook.” There were also changes in the way quotes appeared. For example, in the 2013 book, quotes remained within the same paragraph and were indicated with quotation marks around them; whereas, in the second book, quotes were separated out as their own indented paragraphs without quotation marks around them.

I tried to ignore it. I tried to just brush it off and let it go. But as the weeks went on, my annoyance grew. Why the arbitrary changes? If it was considered correct in the 2013 book, then why did it have to be changed in the 2014 book? What was the point? How was it possible that an editor edited her own edit from one year completely differently the next year? WHY?

Finally, it was bothering me enough that I opened up a dialogue with my editor and proofreader about it. Editors and proofreaders are detail oriented, God bless them; and let’s just say I opened up a flood gate! In their heartfelt attempts to appease me and offer helpful solutions, they both sent me paragraph after paragraph of detailed suggestions that included recommendations of various additional editorial reference guides we might also consider in the future. WHAT? Rather than simplifying things, they seemed to be complicating them even more … at which point, I must admit, I came very close to chewing my own limbs off. They had completely missed the whole point.

We mulled through it together and found what appeared to be an amicable solution. We decided to create individualized, customized editorial style sheets per each author so that at least all the books published by an individual would remain consistent. The agreed upon intent behind these customized guides was simplicity and consistency. The sole purpose of creating such a guide was simply to indicate any deviations the editor may have made from the primary editorial reference guide he or she used to edit the book—of which there should be very few—so that the proofreader could continue with the same style. In other words, from that guide, the proofreader should be able to say, “Okay, I should use the Chicago guide for everything other than ‘such and such a detail’ where the editor deviated from it for these reasons as indicated.” The same editor/proofreader could also use this guide as a reference for future books by the same author so every book by that author was consistent in style.

It sounded like a great idea. It sounded like the perfect solution. Unfortunately, we continue to see inconsistencies in editorial styles due to many seemingly arbitrary and unnecessary changes that are made with probably all the best intentions in the world.

I love these people. I’m incredibly grateful that I met them and have had the chance to work with them for the past four or five years. They make all our books better because of their attention to detail. This is why it has taken me so long to write this blog entry … because it is somewhat a criticism of their techniques that I know will sting a bit.

If there is one bit of advice I want to emphasize most in this blog post, it is this: from the author’s perspective, simplicity and consistency is most important. And that’s who we’re working for here—the author. Yes, authors want their books to be the best that they can be. But too many changes, too many options, and too many ways to do/spell/position the same thing is far too confusing—especially when the changes are unnecessary.

Editors and proofreaders need to learn to balance precision with simplicity. When they are reviewing a manuscript, they need to ask themselves, “Are these changes I’m making really necessary? Or is it already correct the way it is? Would it be okay to leave it alone?” Remember, the more changes you make, the more work you create not only for yourself but also for the author, the designer, and everyone else all along the project time-line. It all adds extra time (and possibly even extra costs) into the project. Is it worth it? Maybe it is. But many times, it isn’t.

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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 © 2015 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Coming soon to the PPG Publisher’s Blog…

Kim Staflund: founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and author of the PPG Publisher’s Blog

I’ll begin by saying there are times when I’m just as guilty as the next person for not keeping up with my blogging. Life gets busy, as it certainly has for the Polished Publishing Group (PPG) as a whole over this past year. All that said, I’m very grateful for all this busy-ness. It means the company is alive and well, and that’s a wonderful thing.

On that note, I have to admit that busy-ness is only part of the issue here. As I learn this new WordPress blogging platform, I also find myself battling far more spam messages than I did through our previous blog provider … over 300 spam messages per week! Yikes! I’m learning which Plugins I need in place in order to combat this type of annoyance; and, once I have this all worked out, I’ll allow for our valued subscribers to begin commenting regularly again. I’ll also be posting more regular entries once again. Thank you in advance for your patience with this. (Life is a constant learning process, isn’t it?)

In any case, you can look forward to these three upcoming blog entries very soon:

And many, many more to come!

In the mean time, there are plenty of old (but still relevant!) blog entries to read through here regarding book reviews, editing, graphic design, indexing, copyright, et cetera; and you can also check out some of my newest sales and marketing advertorials on EzineArticles. Of course, you’re also encouraged to purchase one or both of these insightful books that will answer just about every single question you might ever have regarding how to write, publish, and sell a Book:

How to Publish a Book in Canada … and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit!

How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It Worldwide Based on Value, Not Price!

See you again soon! 🙂

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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/

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.

Change is the Only Constant: Welcome to the New PPG Publisher’s Blog!

Coming soon! Watch for this new book around the world in early August 2014!

Coming soon! Watch for this new book around the world in early August 2014!

First and foremost, thank you to every PPG Publisher’s Blog subscriber for your patience while we transitioned from one blog service provider to another when the former discontinued this particular product from their offering. (Such is life on the Internet.) And hello to all the new subscribers who have joined us here. Glad to have you on board!

While it’s taken me a little while to get back into the swing of things on this blog, not to worry! I haven’t forgotten you; and, in fact, I’ve still been writing much helpful content regarding book publishing, sales, and marketing to help you all succeed with your own books.

As you already know, in 2013 I launched How to Publish a Book in Canada . . . and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit! to address the frequently asked questions that are specific to Canadian individuals and businesses that wish to publish their work. This book was (and continues to be) a tremendous learning tool for many—so much so that it became a bestseller on Amazon within its first month and a half and has spawned even more questions from aspiring authors all across North America and even “across the pond” in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. You’ve asked and the Polished Publishing Group (PPG) has listened. Introducing How to Publish a Bestselling Book . . . and Sell It WORLDWIDE Based on Value, Not Price! which has been written for all the aspiring authors and business professionals who wish to produce a book that presents you as professional writers and industry experts within your fields.

Whether you’re writing a fictional novel, a cookbook, or a “how to” book, publishing a book is a business venture. All authors are entrepreneurs. And the first thing every entrepreneur should ask himself or herself is this: do I offer the best value in my field, or do I offer the best price? This is a vitally important question to ask of yourself before you begin the publishing process of your book. Why? Because, if you offer the best value in your field, you need to promote your business (and everything related to it—including your book!), using value-based selling. If you offer the best price, you need to promote your book using price-based selling. Consistency is the key to long-term success no matter what industry you’re in.

This new book, due to be published around the world in early August 2014, contains answers to pretty much every question you could possibly have about how to publish and sell a truly professional-quality book all around the world. Further to that, it contains an elementary introduction to international copyright (graciously written for us by Ian Gibson, Esq., an attorney who is licensed in the State of California) to provide aspiring authors with a solid starting point of reference that answers all of your basic copyright questions and a couple more, including, “How does working with a publisher in another country affect my copyright?”

By the time you’re done reading this book, hopefully you’ll have gained some valuable insight into what it truly takes to produce a saleable book and how to market it to your desired demographic. Better yet, you’ll have all the tools you need to get that book into the hands of those desired customers all around the world, land on a coveted bestseller list in your area, and earn a healthy profit in the process. That is my wish for you.

Sincerely,

Kim Staflund
Founder and publisher of Polished Publishing Group (PPG)

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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/

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.

Your Book Will Never Be Good Enough For You: Learning When to Let Go

In a Perfect World

In a perfect world, every author would have their entire manuscript—including all front matter, the main body, and back matter—completed before they submitted it to PPG to begin the publication process.

In a perfect world, they would also have scanned the shelves of bookstores ahead of time to know exactly what types of book cover/interior designs and fonts they prefer to use for their books, and they would have all these instructions (along with their back cover copy) ready ahead of time to send along with their manuscript. (This way, the back cover copy can be professionally copy edited along with the entire manuscript for consistency in style.)

Then authors would sit back and let the “polishing” process begin and watch their raw manuscripts take form as professional quality books. They would thoroughly enjoy the entire process and completely trust all the recommendations of the editors, designers, and proofreaders all along the way. Most importantly, they would trust themselves. They would trust that the book they have created is good enough as it is.  

But this is far from a perfect world.  

The Realities of Book Publishing

It never ceases to amaze me how many additional changes authors want to make to their books even after they’ve gone through the copy editing process. Copy editing is the very first step in the book publishing process. This is where the majority of text changes (movements, additions, deletions, etc.) are meant to take place. By the time the copy editing process is complete, the content itself should be complete for the most part. It should be where the author wants it. 

Once the copy edit is complete, the raw edited manuscript and design instructions are given to the graphic designer to create the first draft of the actual book; and then a soft copy (.PDF) version of it goes back and forth between the designer and the author to tweak it here and there. There is a very good reason why PPG only allows for two author proofing rounds that include up to five structural changes to the cover and 50 typographical changes to the interior per round. (Additional charges apply to any additional proofing rounds ordered.) It’s because we know the nature of authors to pick and pick and pick at their own work … and we are saving them from themselves by limiting the amount of picking they can do. Otherwise, it would go on forever. That is the nature of the author … of every author, I’ve learned. (And I assure you I totally understand. Not only am I a book publisher. I’m also an author of three books that I picked at and picked at and picked at to the brink of insanity.)

As mentioned above, the purpose of this back and forth process between the author and graphic designer is to allow authors further opportunity to simply tweak (fine-tune) the content now that they can see it in actual book form. The time for major character changes and text block movements/additions/deletions was long gone with the copy editing process; and now the purpose is simply to catch those last minute spelling errors and punctuation issues that were missed beforehand.  

From there, once those two author proofing rounds of the soft copy version of the book have been completed, a hard copy is ordered and sent to a professional proofreader for another once-over by yet another fresh set of eyes. If that proofreader notices anything else, those changes (which should be minimal by this stage) are completed and a final hard proof is sent to the author for final sign-off and approval.

It’s Good Enough. Trust It. Trust Yourself.

It’s an emotional process, this book publishing business. Authors’ emotions and insecurities can get the best of them throughout this process, and it can make them second-guess their own decisions all along the way. At PPG, we understand this; and our book publishing process was developed and perfected with this in mind after extensive discussions and experience dealing with authors, copy editors, designers, proofreaders, indexers, you name it. If there’s one piece of advice we want you to walk away with after reading this blog entry, it’s this: it’s good enough. Trust it. Trust yourself. (And, of course, we’re here to help. It’s what we do best. You can trust that, too.)

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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/

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.

Working With a Proofreader to Finalize a Book

What Self-Publishers Can Expect During the Proofreading Process

A proofreader’s job is to review the final designed copy of a bookafter the writing, editing, and layout (graphic design) stages have been completedto ensure it is ready for print.

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Where a copy editor’s job is to review and improve an author’s raw manuscript, and the graphic designer’s job is to arrange that raw edited text into a professional and appealing layout, a professional proofreader provides yet another set of eyes to ensure all the components fit together properly.

Proofreading is a Crucial Ingredient of the Professional Book Publishing Process

Each book is a bit different, and there may be additional components added in before the proofreader finally sees it. For example, non-fiction readers expect to see an index at the back of a book; so an experienced indexer should be hired to add that section in after the design stage of the process has been completed. The professional proofreader is introduced at the very end. This individual reviews the professionally laid-out version of the book.

A Professional Proofreader Will Complete 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

As shown in the above list, a professional proofreader is someone who is knowledgeable and experienced with both basic language editing (spelling and punctuation) as well as the technical aspects of book design (kerning, bleeds, trim size, et cetera). If the proofreader finds any issues in the layout, he or she will indicate these and send them back to the designer to make the corrections. Once the corrections are complete, this draft is sent back to the self-publishing author for final proof approval before the book goes to print.

The Final Word

As self-publishers are paying all their own production costs in order to retain 100% copyright ownership of their books, they ultimately have the final word on everything from editing to design to production … as they should! That said, with this level of creative control comes a higher level of responsibility. It is the self-publishers’ duty to review and approve their books at every stage along the way.

They, alone, are accountable for the final product; so it is important for self-publishers to go over everything themselves—in addition to the contributions of the copy editors, indexers, designers, proofreaders, et cetera—before approving anything. This will ensure they produce a professional final product they can feel very proud to display to the public.

This article was originally published at Suite101 in February 2010.

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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/

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.

 

Working With a Copy Editor to Polish a Book

What Self-Publishers Can Expect During the Copy Editing Process

The introduction of supported self-publishing has given authors more creative control over their books. They ultimately have the final say. But some fundamentals remain.

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The reality 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, a qualified supportive self-publishing house like PPG will require all its authors to go through a professional copy edit in the very least. Here is what self-publishing authors can expect along the way:

The Modern Copy Editing Process

Book publishing is done electronically in this day and age, so it is important for authors to have access to a computer, the Internet, and email. They should also have a working knowledge of Microsoft Word and use it to write the first draft of their manuscripts. Manuscripts should contain only basic formatting when they are submitted to the supportive self-publishing house for publication:

• Times New Roman font, 11 pt. size
• Left-aligned text
• Entire document double-spaced
• Only hard returns in this document should be at the end of chapter titles and paragraphs
• Insert a page break at the end of each section and/or chapter
• Insert an additional page break where you want blank pages to appear
• Type “Insert image file name here” wherever you wish to see your electronic photo files inserted.
• Italicize any words/phrases you wish to see italicized in the formatted version of your book
• Bold any words/phrases you wish to see bolded in the formatted version of your book
• Underline any words/phrases you wish to see underlined in the formatted version of your book

This clean format makes each paragraph easier for a copy editor to read and correct. The edited manuscript is then returned to the author, via email, in a similar format; however, it will contain highlighted editor’s notes that can be read and accepted or declined, one at a time, using Microsoft Word’s edit mode (a.k.a. “tracking mode” or “review mode”).

The Same Old Emotions

All authors can expect to go through a series of emotions during the copy editing process, both while they are waiting to receive the edited manuscript back and when they view it for the first time. It is the same whether those authors are working with a supportive self-publishing house or a traditional trade publisher. It is natural to feel some initial resistance to an editor’s recommendations, and it’s common to feel a bit emotional. After all, this isn’t a mere book—it is an author’s blood, sweat, tears, heart, and soul.

Recognizing this, authors should read the edited manuscript over once, and then put it away for a couple of days to give their emotions time to settle. If they do this, it will be easier to read it over again a second time with a more objective mindset. In that objective state, they can then feel free to go through each change, one by one, and either accept or decline it using Microsoft Word’s edit mode. All authors make better decisions in the objective state than they do in that initial emotional state about which changes are valid and really should be retained.

The Final Word

As self-publishers are paying all their own production costs in order to retain 100% copyright ownership of their books, they ultimately have the final word on everything from editing to design to production … as they should! That said, with this level of creative control comes a higher level of responsibility. It is the self-publishers’ duty to review and approve their books at every stage along the way.

They, alone, are accountable for the final product; so it is important for self-publishers to go over everything themselves—in addition to the contributions of the copy editors, indexers, graphic designers, proofreaders, et cetera—before approving anything. This will ensure they produce a professional final product that can stand proudly beside its competitors.

This article was originally published at Suite101 in February 2010.

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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/

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.

 

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 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.