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    « What Makes a Good Memoir? | Main | The Value of a Journal »
    Monday
    Apr112011

    Editing and Design Make Your Book Look Its Best

    Are you planning to self publish your memoir or family history? Is you manuscript getting close to finished? Are you thinking about which printer or publisher to ship it to?

    Before you drop it in the mail, consider some advice from independent editor Donna Marie Williams in a recent article on the Huffington Post.

    Said Williams, “I was curious about a particular self-published book, so I clicked over to Amazon to investigate. The following comments say it all:

    • ·  "This book is the most appallingly written book ever -- there are elementary spelling, grammatical and factual errors …on every page."
    • ·  "cliched"
    • ·  "double spaced, big font, with new topics starting every couple of pages immediately following empty space"
    • ·  "Ugh. Get an editor."
    • ·  "glaring typos"
    • ·  "The most glaring thing wrong with this book is the editing, or lack thereof! There were so many run-on sentences and sentences lacking correct punctuation that reading this book became a chore.”

    All of this is avoidable. Self publishing authors are often first time writers who don’t fully understand stages of the process of producing a book. Think about making a movie. The post-production phase takes longer than the actual film shoot. An army of film editors and sound editors work on the film before the director sits down in the cutting room to produce the movie you actually see.

    If you, as an author, produce the best manuscript you can write, it deserves the same kind of professional attention before it goes to print. A developmental editor helps with planning and organizing your book. A content editor helps to reorganize and revise a completed rough draft. A copy editor corrects grammar, syntax, and sentences. Sometimes these editors are different people and sometimes they are the same person. Working with your editor, you can make sure your manuscript is the best it can be.

    But wait, don’t put the manuscript in the mail yet. Consider using a book designer to help you make sure your book looks great. Book designers use the best tools – Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign – to artfully design the book you envision.

    The work of these professionals will make a difference. We all say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Yet that’s exactly what we all do. Appearances matter. You recognize quality instantly.

    As Williams advised, “Even the greatest writers must be edited, fact checked, and proofed [and designed].Honor your readers!” Make sure that your book has the kind of quality an editor and book designer can give it.

    Your readers will thank you for it.

    Click here to read Donna Marie Williams article on the Huffington Post

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