by Penny C. Sansevieri
Bowker | Mon May 20, 2013
With all of the options out there to publish, it’s pretty tempting to just point and click your way to a completed book. When print-on-demand first came on the scene around 1999, we saw a glut of books being pushed through the system, unedited, unvetted. When someone said “garbage in, garbage out,” they were often referring to self-publishing. Hence the stigma. If you’re new to indie publishing and you think that the stigma is the “us against them” idea, you’re only partially right. The history, albeit a somewhat negative one, started many years ago when authors thought their book was “good enough” to publish.
Cycle forward to 2013: We now have some 300,000 books published a year, the competition is fierce and the stakes are high. That number, by the way, comes from Bowker, which produces these statistics and readily admits that this number doesn’t include all eBooks or books that are published without an ISBN. You can imagine how high that number really is.
by Laura Dawson
Bowker | Thu Mar 28, 2013
If you’re writing nonfiction, you may want to invest in the services of a fact-checker. Fact-checkers adhere to a rigorous standard, questioning assertions and asking for documentation and citations to support those assertions.
The self-publishing service Lulu has some good tips on fact-checking here. Probably the greatest portrayal of a fact-checking department was written by John McPhee about The New Yorker.
Magazines employ fact-checkers because their publication cycles are not as severe as newspapers, and magazine articles are shorter than book-length manuscripts and therefore not insurmountable for a staffer to fact-check.
by Laura Dawson
Bowker | Wed Mar 27, 2013
A developmental editor helps you shape your book. Rather than focusing on a line-by-line edit (though some developmental editors also do this), the goal is to focus on the structural organization of the book – does the narrative flow coherently? Are there plot holes? Are terms explained appropriately for the audience?
A developmental editor will help you trim areas of your book that are too long, and punch up details that need highlighting. They are sometimes called “book doctors”.
But do you really need a developmental editor?
Most books need another set of eyes to objectively review the content. It’s a rare author who can write a perfect book without feedback. A developmental editor doesn’t re-write the book, but helps its evolution, in the writer’s own voice.
by Laura Dawson
Bowker | Mon Mar 18, 2013
Most of us, even English majors, make grammatical mistakes. The difference between a copy-edited book and one that has not been copy-edited is enormous. Copy-editing doesn’t change the substance of what you’re writing about. In fact, it enhances it – clarifying meaning, correcting distracting mistakes.
A good copy editor will adjust your punctuation and spelling, question whether or not you really want to use jargon, make sure you’re using the right terminology, and keep you from embarrassing errors of usage. He will keep your language consistent from page to page, and ensure that you capitalize names properly.