Five steps to reduce your editing costs

As an indie writer, chances are you’re on a tight budget, and editing can be a major expense, in some cases the biggest expense you will incur as a self-publisher. Luckily, there are ways for you to lower that bill without compromising on quality. Editors charge either by the word or the hour, but either way the more work they have to do, the more you pay. I charge by the word, but I will adjust my fee based on a sample edit of your manuscript; the worse shape it Read More …

How to avoid embarrassing errors in your manuscript

As both a writer and an editor, I often find manuscript errors created by inconsistency in mechanical conventions. A few typical examples are: Chapter headings that use numbers (Chapter 1) at the start of a manuscript but then are inexplicably spelled out later on (Chapter Ten). All caps are used to illustrate a raised voice (“GET OUT!” she screamed.) in parts of the manuscript, but italics (“Get out!” she screamed.) are used elsewhere for the same effect. The author uses an en dash surrounded by spaces (“I wish you wouldn’t” Read More …

Styles are the foundation of best book practices

Most authors who use a word processor do not use custom styles; instead, authors are in the habit of using the default Normal style and using the tab key and the formatting toolbar to customize headings and paragraphs. Unfortunately, this is a bad habit that will come to bite you later if you want to turn your manuscript into a print or ebook. It is much better practice to control the formatting of your manuscript through styles. Styles are the foundation of best book practices, in particular ebooks: when your Read More …

Creating a custom lexicon in Word for PC

We all have certain words that we continually misspell but which are nevertheless proper words in themselves, such as typing in form instead of from. Then there are the words where multiple spellings are correct — judgement versus judgment, for example — and which thus make consistency of use difficult. One way to circumvent this problem is to build a custom lexicon that will ignore Word’s default dictionaries and treat any word you add to the lexicon as misspelled. Unfortunately for Mac users this only works in PC. The first Read More …

Third edition of The Global Indie Author now available in Canada

Well, after much trial and tribulation, the third edition of The Global Indie Author is out now in Canada. Readers can find it on Chapters/Indigo and Amazon.ca. By the way, that “Usually delivers in 3-5 weeks” declaration on the Amazon.ca website is nonsense; the book delivers in less than a week. The extended delivery time is just part of Amazon/CreateSpace’s strategy against competitor Lightning Source, which, incidentally, is covered in detail in the book. If you want to avoid supporting Amazon, buy from the Chapters/Indigo website, where the book is Read More …

Third Edition of The Global Indie Author is now available in U.S. and Europe

The third edition of The Global Indie Author is out now in print on Amazon U.S., UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. All other territories coming soon! eBooks are also on the way. As mentioned in my previous post, the third edition features a new cover, new subtitle — to reflect the truly global phenomenon that self-publishing has become — and a great deal of new content (over 80 pages). The technical chapters have been completely overhauled to deal with the complexities of image handling, the increasing frustrations of font Read More …

WordXperts, or Why you shouldn’t rely on offshore editors

A while back I received a spam email from the Indian company WordXperts soliciting my custom for their editorial services. As with Grammarly.com, I was struck by the irony of an email advertisement that only served to illustrate precisely why I shouldn’t use the advertised services. Language is not merely a system of rules; it is contextual, cultural. The meaning of a word or sentence may change depending on where it is spoken or written. As my British ex-husband used to joke, we were separated by a common language. Thus, Read More …

Grammarly.com, or Why you shouldn’t rely on digital proofreaders

A few weeks ago I received an email advertisement from Grammarly.com, the new digital proofreading software that claims to “spare you the cost of hiring a proofreader.” Ironically, the email contained several errors (in bold for emphasis) that a skilled human copyeditor would have found. The email is as follows: You know better than most that putting your writing “out there” takes a tremendous amount of courage; readers will find and comment on even the simplest mistakes. At Grammarly we know the feeling – and we’ve made it our mission Read More …

Tips for writing an effective book description

A well-written book description (also called a synopsis) is an essential marketing tool for your novel. Its purpose is to lure the reader in with just enough of a teaser that they feel compelled to crack open the cover and start reading. An alluring synopsis is the gateway into your book, yet too many authors don’t give their synopsis the respect that it’s due, and as a result they let their novel — and themselves — down. A good fiction synopsis: always starts with attention-grabbing, descriptive words. Avoid beginning with Read More …