Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Proofreading Epiphany Revealed

Proofreading Epiphany Revealed

If you don’t dread the final technical edit of your manuscript before submission for publication, perhaps you should.

If you work with a proofreader or copy editor, your level of concern about “your/you, a/as,” etc., the now extra words you missed deleting when you revised that lame sentence into a wordsmithed gem, and other gaffs that lower the level of professionalism in you manuscript may be much lower than mine is.

If, however, you are that final technical editor—along with author, content editor, etc.—for your books, you probably feel my pain.

I described a trick I stumbled upon that helped me find several of those issues earlier in my booklet, Book Creation – Volume 2 – A Science Guy’s Exploration of Publishing Resources. Today’s blog is a short and hopefully sweet description of another serendipitous proofreading tip.

When I write, I have paragraph marks, section and page breaks, and spaces between words all visible. In MSWord, you can find this icon (¶) in the top menu bar. That’s a toggle switch between showing/hiding those markings. I usually hide those marks when I’m doing the technical edit.
What I’ve found over time is that, even if I wait a week or more between my last revision and the technical edit, I’m still so close to the text, that my brain often sees what’s supposed to be in the text—not what actually is.

Try this.

Switch the page magnification about every ten pages or so while looking for technical fixes.

I’ve found that periodically changing the size of the page between 150% and 250% causes my brain to re-adjust enough that typos and extra words are much more quickly spotted. It's amazing how obvious awful most of those errors look when they pretty much fill your computer monitor!

Above is a screenshot of part of a page of the technical edit I'm working on on April 13. I've highlighted an offending extra word in red.

Next blog: Emoting on Editing

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My website is: www.crdowning.com

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Preview of my new book

Chapter 5
What To Do Before, While, And After Your Manuscript Is Uploading
The search terms you provide are essential in bringing readers to your book site
At some time during the writing of your manuscript, you need to set up an account in CreateSpace. It’s user-friendly. Go to www.createspace.com and click “Sign up” in the far left hand column. Completing all your information at this time is my recommendation.
Once you have an account and have completed your manuscript, Log in. Click the Add New Title icon, and then follow the prompts to start a new project. Below is a screenshot of that screen looks like after a project is available. What you see when you are adding a project will have empty checkboxes where you see checks below.

If you’ve never explored CreatSpace, it’s worthwhile to take some time to explore the links in the far left column. Exploring needs to head your “to do list,” if this is the first manuscript you’ve ever submitted anywhere.
After your tour of the resources available, move to the Setup column. Make sure you are prepared by having your complete title ready. The two top links attach an ISBN number to your title FOREVER.
Clicking Interior takes you to the screen where you upload your manuscript in CreateSpace—remember the file type requirements. Once you begin the upload, you must wait while their software runs a spelling and grammar check. The spell-checker is a good one, so be sure you review what they find. If you have names of characters that trigger the program, checking to ignore them will store that information and keep them from re-appearing when you make any corrections and resubmit.
The prompt while the manuscript is uploading suggests you work on your cover or go on to the next step in the process while the upload continues. Hopefully, you already have your cover in place before you upload your manuscript, but if not, you probably want to work on it then. However, I recommend you have prepared for this “downtime” differently than by planning on using it to finish your cover.
There are things you should have finished and ready to enter into the appropriate fields further down the process before you begin uploading your manuscript. There are also fields into which you can input data while—or after—the manuscript loads. Explore. See what’s available. But plan on using the uploading time for something besides staring at your monitor.
Once your interior and cover are uploaded, click the Review tab and follow the prompts. At the minimum, quickly proof your book online and download the PDF at this time. This is also the time you can order a physical proof.
The Distribute tab is where you make decisions on how and where you want your book marketed by Amazon. You’ll also need to determine your price for both print and electronic versions of the book. While a bit tedious, the prompts are clear and they programming keeps you from really goofing up.
The Description link is crucial to the successful marketing of your book. The entire next section will focus on that link. The figure that follows is a screenshot of the Description window for Idea Farming.

I suggest you follow the link “How do I use this page?” before you begin the first time.
Not surprisingly, the first field to fill is titled, “Description”—and it’s just that. What you put here is what shows up on your book’s Amazon page. Take your time. Remember this description is the only chance you get to make a first impression of your book with readers looking for material to purchase—see Chapter 6. Also consider what you have on your back cover—see Chapter 9.
Unless you’ve worked with a publisher at some time in your writing experience the next field, BISAC Category, is a mystery. Here’s what you get when you click on “What’s this?”
Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC) categories are used by the book-selling industry to help identify and group books by their subject matter. Choose the BISAC category that best fits your book.
Book buyers and sellers at the wholesale and retail level use the BISAC categories extensively. The screenshot below shows part of the list—specially, where you find the link to ALL fiction choices. Since Idea Farming is not a fictional piece, my BISAC categories will not be the same as yours.

Choose the options that provided the tightest focus on your book’s content. This is a major search pathway for bookstores and the starting point for almost all search engines when looking for books. Once you get to the “end” of the trail in this listing, the software automatically adds it to the box when you select “Choose this Category.”
Unfortunately, far too many authors skip the next optional areasdon’t you be one of those authors.
Begin by copying and pasting from your biography. If you didn’t include a biography on your cover compose one now and insert it. Chapters 7-9 describe my recommendations for completing the cover production process—including your Author’s Biography.
Arguably, the most important field on this screen is the Search Keywords field. In case you skipped the preceding sentence:
Arguably, the most important field on this screen
is the Search Keywords field.
Assuming you want to sell copies of your book, the search keywords you provide are essential in bringing readers to your book site. Very few readers just randomly scroll through Amazon’s nearly 8 MILLION titles looking for a book to read. People are with the process used in searching for specific items online. The better your keywords align with the search parameters of your potential readers…
…hopefully, you get the idea.
What should you consider before putting up your five (5) keywords?
 That’s right. Five is the maximum number of words and/or short phrases you can include in your keyword list. Think before you add them. Talk to your pre-readers before you add keywords. Pretend you were searching for a book like yours—what words would you use to narrow your search?
If your book has a target audience, that audience description should be a keyword. But, don’t put up a target audience unless you’re sure it’s a match with your books content and style—word gets out if you are considered to have misled your searchers.
Keywords for Idea Farming, the first booklet in this series, are intentionally visible. In case you haven’t read that book yet, it uses an analogy of different types of farming to describe the writing process. I think the keywords align closely to the book.
Good news is, once your book is available, you can go in and modify keywords, if you wish. While changing keywords on a whim is not the best strategy, listen to what people say about your book—modify when appropriate.
Remember the BISAC descriptors? Do not repeat your BISAC descriptors in your keywords—they are already attached to your book. You should choose specific keywords and add them here because of what your book is about.

Chapter 5 Takeaways
·      You need to open a CreateSpace account.
·      Explore the FREE and “for a fee” resources Create Space offers.
·      You will have to make marketing choices before your book is available for sale.
·      Have a description of your book and a brief author’s biography ready to post when asked in the Description stage of the process.
·      Five is the maximum number of words and/or short phrases you can include in your keyword list. Think before you add them.

Next blog: Proofreading Epiphany Revealed

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor

My website is: www.crdowning.com

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