Thursday, 27 January 2011

Proofreading... still.

Well, progress is being made.  Eighteen chapters out of twenty-five are now covered in red scribble and twelve of those updated on the old 'puter.  It's surprising how many changes you can make every time the book gets a read-through!

Yes, this is pretty hard work, but if the book is better for it afterwards, the effort is well worth it.

While it's going on, time is constrained for everything else. I'm not exactly surrounded by piles of dust, but some everyday household tasks have been let slip a bit, so there will be a lot of catching up to do at the weekend.  The garden could do with some TLC, but that has been due more to the weather than proofreading.

And yes, I'm going for a walk this weekend...

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Proofreading II

Have completed ten chapters out of the twenty-five.  There is plenty of red ink, but everything looks better for it now I've updated the files.  Well, I hope it does anyway.

I admit that I envy those people who can proofread on screen.  I think it depends on how one learned to do these things whether hardcopy proofreading is a better way or not.  Many of us have a tendency to miss things on the screen we do not when holding something tangible.

Or perhaps that is just me!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Proofreading

I'm ploughing through my first book, proofreading it.  As it is almost 200 000 words long, this is no mean feat.  Perhaps it is something of an ordeal.  As most people have no doubt guessed by now, I'm a British writer, but as my e-books are also getting e-published for the American market, I'm going through everything with a toothcomb.  And it's not just American spellings that need to be inserted.

All of us have our own writing style.  Sometimes you like certain words and they reappear again and again... and again.  "Doubtless" is one that seems to crop up far more than it needs to in my writing and there are others.

Don't fall into the trap of assuming everything is OK with the book.  Look out for words that are repeated over and over, and sentences that can be shortened.

Keep your book easy to read, books are always more fun that way.  Unless of course, you're writing a technical manual, in which case you have a specific target audience.

Anyway, back to the proofreading.  Eight chapters out of twenty-six done and counting...

Be well all.

Formatting

Almost every writer hates having to reformat a book.  The old days of hammering out words on a typewriter and cursing double spacing are over.  These things can be done with a click of the mouse.  And then a scribbler can experiment, because it is so easy.  Paragraph indents or spaces between?  10 point font or 12 point font?

Every time you change something, Word leaves something behind on the file.  Nothing nasty of course, but our paragraphs are left with all sorts of different styles.  This doesn't matter when you print out your work, it can't be seen.  The words shine on the page and look exactly how you want them to.

But this is a nightmare for many e-readers.  The books show all sorts of strange and weird contortions - if they even show some of your formatting at all - and the reader has to spend time changing everything to suit himself.  You have made life more difficult than it needs to be.  And the reader will not forget you, or thank you.

But there is help at hand and, best of all, this help is free.

Smashwords (link at right) founder Mark Coker has written a free e-book for all frustrated formatters everywhere, called The Smashwords Style Guide.  This can be downloaded to your computer, there is no need for an e-reader.  As I said, it is a free guide and comes highly-recommended from me.

Happy formatting!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Setting out in e-publishing.

All right, the first post on e-publishing, or epublishing.  As many a frustrated author can confirm, getting into print is an all but impossible task.  Self-publishing can be fraught, particularly as few book shops will stock your book unless it has been published in the mainstream.

E-publishing is one way to break the trap.  If you're prepared to self-publish, then you may as well e-publish.  Costs are lower, marketing is under your control, the layout and cover design of your book is firmly in your hands.

Too good to be true?  Perhaps.  One reason I began this blog is to share the joys or otherwise of this new (ish) way to get your book in the hands of the public.

There are three major players in the market: Amazon, Lulu and Smashwords.  Check out the websites and see the ebooks that are available.

The next post, will deal with formatting your ebook.  There is a great resource to help you achieve that because, like me, I expect your book is probably formatted for printing on dead trees, rather than for the ebook market.  Best of all, that resource is free!

Until next time, be well and happy writing.

Today's Walk

Well, that was a pretty blowy and wet walk!  Parked at Morfa Mawddach and, although this is not a very long walk, it was wet and windy from the start.  Crossing Barmouth Bridge was an interesting experience.  Above Barmouth, a pair of sheep were watching me like I was an idiot and, as they were sheltered in the lee of a building, I figured that they were very probably right.

A very short walk, though the beer afterwards was more than welcome!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

First Post!

This blog will eventually concentrate on my writing, particularly the Ilvenworld novels, and for posting photographs from my many walks.  For the time being however, I'll be keeping tabs on preparing a book for e-publishing and the tribulations of all the obstructions I encounter.

E-books are the way forward and I strongly encourage fellow-authors to explore this route.  I'm just starting out, so hopefully these comments will be left to help others who follow.

I'm looking forward to the struggles ahead.

Be well all.