self-editing


True that I’m a fantasy writer, but the title of the post first came out as “elf-editing”. No, I don’t have elves editing my manuscripts, unfortunately. 😉

Anyhow, as I’m still working on the manuscript of BoI – Fire that I plan to upload this weekend on Smashwords and Kindle, I thought I’d share some updates on the whole thing. First of all: the printed version. Considering how expensive the “European” version is, from now on, I’ll have only “US editions” in digest format. Easier for me and easier for everybody. Cheaper for Americans, and probably for the rest of the world as well. We’ll see when I order my copy to check it.

Second: I changed editor for this one, but I have to keep my style consistent, so even if she deleted all the “s” at the end of “towards”, I’ll have to leave them in – consistency, they’re there in Air, they’ll be there in Fire. Same with other words with multiple spellings. My spellchecker underlined “toward” written without “s”, so I write it with an “s” when I use American spelling and without when I use the British spelling (i.e. in the historical novel – on the back burner again until I put Fire out there, haha). So busy self-editing for consistency of style (and cutting the boring parts, that bored me anyway, haha).

Third: I’m advised to put a characters chart on this one because it’s quite complicated (did I mention I love huge casts? ;-)). I don’t know how I could put some kind of link (bookmark?) in the e-book so the reader can click and get to the characters chart… with the printed version it’s easy to flip to the end of the book, but with an e-book? Advices?

When I ordered my printed copy of Air, I read it through and through and found a couple of formatting mistakes, like a paragraph with no right alignment (which might be the rule for manuscripts, but looks really ugly in a book) and a chapter not starting on the next page + some missing ” at the end of dialog lines. Easily fixed and re-uploaded (but the signed copy will be the “imperfect” one, sigh).

Then I took it again to find an example for a guest post (I’m still awed I got a request from THEM and won’t say who they are until my post is live there, which will be real soon) and while skimming I saw a couple of missing dots (or full stops, like I was taught to call them, having started learning English in England). Uh-oh. And the novel has been copy-edited and re-read before uploading. Sigh.

So from now on, I decided one pass of edits will simply be skimming through, checking punctuation (and capital letters when needed), especially around dialog. And formatting of new scenes and new chapters.

I know typos can come out months and years later (which happened to all my manuscripts, except now they’re published, sigh!) and I will put a special care on punctuation. I hate books with typos because English is not my mother tongue and I have to stop and wonder if it’s a new word or a typo, so I really want mine to be as good as humanly possible. Reading backwards doesn’t work if the word is spelled correctly but is the wrong one.

So what to do to get those little buggers? Even pros miss them. Any tips you could share (the skimming sounds like a good idea, but I still have to try it – and it’s only for punctuation anyway)?

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7 Comments

  1. Viv

     /  09/06/2011

    “To err is human…”
    Every single book I own, including ones by really famous and highly respected authors has typos and issues of one sort or another.
    Perfection is impossible. Try not to let it worry you too much. It can send you insane.
    I am intrigued by your forthcoming guest post….. Well done, wherever it is.

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    • guest post should be next Monday… I’ll post it on FB before announcing it here, don’t want to spoil the Happiness is! 😉

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  2. Typos are sadly everywhere and are going to be there. I suggest giving the manuscript to some other people – you’re so familiar with it that your eye might skip over typos, but someone who hasn’t read it will catch these things!

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    • true I spot other people’s typos… but I sent “Air” to a professional copy-editor before publishing it! 😦 Then seeing it printed in book form, all those typos showed up… anyway, there are typos even in traditionally published books, so, like Viv says, I won’t worry too much. I did my best, and hopefully I won’t be bashed for a few typos! 🙂

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  3. Viv

     /  10/06/2011

    People who get nasty over typos usually have something else at the root of their anger but fail to see it. Likewise grammar Nazis.

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  4. to put hyperlinks in using Word first set your “bookmark” to the character table, then just highlight the word(s) you want to be a link, right click and choose “hyperlink” and then pick the bookmark from the list 🙂 There may be an easier way, but this is the one I know 😉

    I read the blasted books over and over and try to make other people read them for typo checking. Alas, most never get back to me, but then after I get the paperback I go through it and then fix more, then resubmit, then wait a few months and reread it again (after it’s published – cringe) and pick out the few I missed, fix and reupload a “maintenance” copy listing my new works in the front, while I;m at it 😉 The trouble with that is I have to stop myself from rewriting anything!

    I’d like some elf editing… especially some, oh, Legolas editing, heh-heh >:)

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    • I think I managed it, but I had to do it with Word, as Open Office wasn’t very collaborative, grr. 😦 I hope I won’t need it again, but Fire has a huge character list, and I had to do a character chart – not for me, but for betas! 😉
      I don’t mind uploading a new copy in print, but finding those damn typos in a pageless e-book is really a pain! 😦 OK, I’ll get myself an e-reader… sigh! 😦
      My vision of Legolas is stuck to the 1978 movie, as I’ve never read the book nor watched Peter Jackson movies, but I know what you mean! 😀

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