A self Publishing Journey – part two: editing lessons and the other bits of the book

In part one – here – I told you I had had my book edited. When I started on the journey to self publishing, I realised I wanted to spend as little real money as possible. Very much a cottage industry. I also realised I couldn’t avoid two paid for items. One as the cover which you saw in the first post. The second was a proper proof read and edit. In the end, for various reasons,  three editors looked at my first book, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. They all did an excellent job. They were a friend from my MA course at Sheffield, Anna Rogala, Ben Way who I met through Dylan Hearn and Kate at Rough Seas in the Med. All have helped me.

For book two I decided to use Ben. I asked him what are the main things he is looking at when editing: this is what he said (I went for 2 – 5, but inevitably he threw in some of 1 when he spotted such errors):

  1. If requested, the first pass is a development or substantive edit looking at the story as a whole and how it moves forward. Scenes, characters and events may be moved, cut or reworked if they are not working hard enough. These proposed changes are discussed with the author, and I will suggest alterations or do the rewrite myself – all edits are ‘track changes’ in Word so the author can decide if they want to accept them.
  2. Consistency in wording and punctuation. This is the words you as an author choose to use – i.e. okay instead of OK/ok, or Lori-Ann rather than Lori Anne – and your use of punctuation: consistently using em and en dashes and hyphens, for example, or removing overused or ambiguous punctuation, such as exclamation points, semicolons or ellipses.
  3. Grammar and spelling – correcting typos, errors and formatting problems in British-English or American-English depending on author preference. Checking the spelling of brand and propriety names, etc. Also the use of accents, hyphens and the correct spelling of non-English words, expressions or places/times.
  4. Continuity issues – distances between times and places; technology available at different points of history; location of ‘real world’ buildings or events; historical events and dates.
  5. Final proof. This is done to make sure all corrections and edits have been made correctly, leaving no additional errors or structural problems in their wake. It also catches anything missed in the previous edit(s), and fine-tunes the copy. Ideally this proof will be done on the final Kindle (.mobi) or iPad (.epub) files to make sure there are no formatting problems before publication.

Let me mention point 2. The dashes and the ellipses. In my writing I often use dashes thus:

it’s a thirty day journey – a real pain – if you go by boat

Two dashes but I never use the em- and the en-dash consistently. Ben spots these.

Another error in dialogue. If someone peters out, for instance,

‘But I never realised…’

the three dots are ellipses. If you simply hit the period button it can end up looking awful on Kindle so you need to hunt out the ellipse (in Symbols on Word). Ben corrects my sloppiness.

However is someone is interrupted, using the ellipses is confusing so I use

‘But you said—’

‘No I didn’t.’

A long dash. Again in word I take it from Symbols and again if I don’t Ben corrects it. It really does make a difference and it is these small corrections that count for a lot in the final look that is so important.

These may not be your problem, it may just be me. But you will do something and you won’t spot it. If you do you’re a robot. Use an editor; believe me it is worth it.

The second point today is to mention that, when you’ve finished the book, you will still need other stuff. Irritating but essential or nice to have, you decide but every book has these pages. I’ve set them out here in the order I have them but how you decide to lay them out is your call. They are:

1. About the author

This is mine from my upcoming book: 

Geoff (not Geoffrey, save for legal documents and to his mother) Le Pard is a former lawyer, a novelist, an enthusiastic blogger (at www.geofflepard.com), someone who enjoys walking and talking at length and a lover of London. He published his first book, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, in late 2014 (you can find it here) and plans on publishing his third book, Salisbury Square, before the end of 2015.

For the Kindle version I have included interactive links. This is me: cheesy, short but definitely me. It will be the first thing you hit and it tells you (a) I have a blog where you can find out more about me and (b) I have another book. Some people have this page at the end so when you finish reading the story you are told what else to read.

2. Acknowledgements

This is in two parts: how I came to write this book and who has helped me achieve that goal.

The genesis of this book was a conversation with my daughter in 2008 when discussing how to reconcile the Bible with modern ideas of Darwinism and evolution. What if someone did just that and founded their own religion on the back of it? From that point on the idea buzzed around in my head until a cold December day in San Francisco in 2010; a young woman stopped me as she collected for a soup kitchen. In conversation it turned out the collector was coming to London the following summer. ‘If I see you, I’ll buy you a coffee.’ Neither of us expected to meet again (and we didn’t) but what if we had? From there, Maurice and Lori-Ann were born.

Several people have been involved in reaching this point and to each of you I owe a debt of gratitude. In particular my daughter Jenni and son Sam for reading and commenting on early drafts; Ben Way, my faultless editor and guide (www.benjaminway.co.uk); Sophie Collis and Sam Allen for their invaluable guidance on the science; Paula Moyer for ensuring the American elements make some sense and contributing massively to the creation of Beaumont; beta readers Graham White and Les Mitchell-Hynd for their insights; Jan Blackwell and Anna Rogala for their tolerance of my wordy prose at our regular review meetings; and, of course, my wife Linda without whom none of this would be possible. Each of them has added to this project but any failures are all my own.

Again interactive links for Kindle. Does this help; does it engage the reader? The first paragraph is something I am a little ambivalent about. The second is simple politeness

3. Copyright

You have copyright anyway (in the UK) so this isn’t strictly needed. But everyone has it. And you don’t need an ISBN for Kindle but I have added a reference on this page to it for the POD version. I also acknowledge the cover here because I want the design included in the copyright process and I’ve used this as a place to give George a shout out. Obviously he could also appear in the acknowledgements but I think he stands out here.

My Father and Other Liars

Copyright © 2015: Geoffrey Le Pard

Publisher: Tangental Publishing

The right of Geoffrey Le Pard to be identified as author of this Work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, copied in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise transmitted without written permission from the publisher. You must not circulate this book in any format.

The characters and situations described in this book are the product of the author’s imagination and any similarity to actual persons, living or dead and situations, past present or future is entirely coincidental.

For more information about the author and upcoming books online, please visit www.geofflepard.com

Cover design by George Grey (royalstondesign.com)

Tangental Publishing? You may well ask. You can work it out!

4. Dedication

Up to you. Mine will be a secret until I publish.

5. The Blurb

This isn’t in the Kindle version but appears on the Amazon page. On the POD it is on the back – George is finalising how that will look right now. This is the Blurb we have settled upon:

When British freelancer Maurice Oldham saves American scientist Lori-Ann Beaumont from a pack of journalists at a ProLife conference in San Francisco, neither expects to see the other again. But six months on, Lori-Ann is on Maurice’s doorstep, bruised, penniless and desperate to find her boyfriend, Peterson, who has gone missing in England. Maurice soon realises nothing is as it seems with Lori-Ann. Why is she chasing Peterson; why has her father, Pastor of the Church of Science and Development sent people to bring her home; what is behind the Federal Agency who is investigating Lori-Ann’s workplace in connection with its use of human embryos; and what happened in Nicaragua a quarter of a century ago that is echoing down the years? For Maurice and Lori-Ann the answers lie somewhere in their Fathers’ pasts. Finding those answers will take Lori-Ann and Maurice from England via America to Nicaragua; in so doing they will have to confront some uncomfortable truths about their Fathers and learn some surprising things about themselves.

5. The end

I mentioned I have a third book that I will be publishing by the year end. In Dead Flies I ended both Kindle and POD versions with Chapter One of my next book – a teaser. I will do the same again for My Father and Other Liars and I would hope, by the time I get around to book three I will have enough of book four to include and so on. We shall see. As with the dedication you will have to wait until My Father and Other Liars is published for that extract….

I hope including all of this hasn’t been a chore for you, dear reader. I found it hard to decide which of these pages  I wanted to include as part of me wanted to keep the books ‘clean’. But each section is there for a reason so, finally, I followed tradition. As I say, so far as I can see it is up to you what you include beyond the story itself (the exception being the ISBN for the POD version).

Next time we will have a look at what is involved in opening up on Kindle.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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18 Responses to A self Publishing Journey – part two: editing lessons and the other bits of the book

  1. New Journey says:

    Enjoying your book..Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle…just getting into it….kathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lindahuber says:

    Great post. I’m on the same self-publishing journey at the moment, and couldn’t have managed without my team of experts. Great good luck with your new book!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Norah says:

    Thanks for sharing this Geoff. I learned a lot. I didn’t know there was symbol for ellipses. I have always used the full stops. I’ll get onto that right away . . . I know about em and en dashes, though not necessarily exactly how to use them, and didn’t know about the long dash in symbols either — great advice. Thank you.
    I do like that you have provided the genesis of the idea in your acknowledgments. I think it adds interest. I was also delighted to find that family members have “real” names!!! 🙂
    I love the name of your publishing company (can’t imagine where that came from) and the blurb sounds intriguing. I’m looking forward to reading this one and expect to enjoy it just as much as i enjoyed your Sherry Trifle.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. PedalWORKS says:

    Nice post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. gordon759 says:

    And where I am concerned point 4 Continuity errors can be very important. I am one of those irritating people who know, for example, that during most of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries a penny was a value, rather than a coin. Though it can be useful, I once showed that a published ‘diary’, which had been accepted as a real historical document, was actually a forgery since it used the word Kaleidoscope several years before the word was invented.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. noelleg44 says:

    Continuity issues are especially problematic for mystery writers, I have taken to reading my final version out loud to myself over two days – amazing what I found!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Life is like . . . a game of Snakes and Ladders | Norah Colvin

  8. Autism Mom says:

    These are great tips and hacks – thank you for sharing the benefit of your experience. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Annecdotist says:

    Useful and thorough post, Geoff. I think consistency can be a hard one, as is sometimes not sure what you’re looking for. I don’t actually use my Kindle but I do think the possibility of hyperlinks is one of its advantages, so glad you’re making use of those.
    Congratulations on the blurb, it is indeed enticing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: A Self-Publishing Journey – Other Kindle issues | TanGental

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