All Business – Updated 10/1/22 – Topic: Proofreading

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Hello and welcome to the newest section of the blog: All Business

            The purpose of this segment is to information, entertain, share experiences, and/or provide insights into the world of authorship from a variety of topics and points of view. Whether you are more of a hobbyist or write professionally, you will hopefully find the information presented here to be useful, humorous, or stand as a cautionary tale.

            Any author may participate (email me if you are interested in contributing at srovens@yahoo.com). If you have an idea for a topic or wish to see something specific presented, please let me know as well.



All Business – October 2022

Written by Sue Rovens

            Stating the obvious here, but volumes have already been written on the topic of editing. They’ve been done by more established and more qualified people than me. Add in the blogs, professional classes, week-long seminars, and multitudes of speaker series, and you might wonder why I’d even offer my two cents on the matter.

            I’ve come to find that while editing generally has some common themes and processes, each writer approaches their own manuscript a little differently when it comes to personal corrections. Therefore, I’m sharing mine. I’d love for others to share theirs as well.

            Editing a manuscript is too large a concept to be taken in all at once. We understand that the process of editing can take just as long (or longer) than writing the actual book. The topic itself deserves a great deal of attention and discussion. And while these articles aren’t meant to be a stand-in for professional teaching or scholarly content, they might serve as reminders, introductions, or helpful supplements.

A general breakdown of editing:

            Please keep in mind that this graphic is only one of MANY that can be found on the internet. What I’m sharing here is how I go about proofreading, which is the bottom section of the graphic above.

            Normally, I edit the manuscripts of my novels around eight or nine times. I also have other people editing/Beta Reading in between my own developmental, structural, and copyediting passes.

            While I am always on the lookout for misspellings, missed punctuation, typos, and grammatical errors, I set aside one round of edits to address ONLY these specific issues. I blow up the font to around 180 (or more) and read everything out loud (to myself…and the cats if they happen to be in the room).

            I’ve caught more errors this way than any other. It’s amazing how many mistakes slip by even after reading it countless times. I normally consider my manuscript “done around edit number seven, but I will read through and scan another time or two for any incidentals that might have slipped by the other times. After I send it to my layout person, I still have managed to catch errors. She allows me three rounds of corrections (without charging more), and I normally utilize two of those rounds.

            We’ve all read books by professional authors who have the backing of a major publishing house and editing team – and still find the occasional mistake or typo. It’s extremely difficult to catch everything. However, it’s critical to do everything humanly possible to rid your work of such blunders, even if it means eyeballing every single word in a larger-than-life font.

            There are times when the wrong word will not be caught by a computer program. For example, the word “too” and the word “two” will not necessarily be highlighted as problematic. Both words are fine in and of themselves, but which one do you need? The number or the adverb?

            Between reading out loud, blowing up the font, and staying extra vigilant on terminology and word choice, I’ve found that I have far less errors in the manuscript when I finally send it off to my layout person. When it’s ready to upload to Amazon, I feel 99.9% confident that I’ve done all I can possibly do to produce a work that is error-free.

            How do YOU proofread/edit your own work before publishing it?

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September 2022

Written by Sue Rovens

Swag.

The word itself has a variety of connotations, but in our case, I’ll be referencing what we all know and love, which is, according to the Merriam-Webster website, “The freebie swag, sometimes also spelled schwag, dates back to the 1960s and was used to describe promotional items. According to our files, early swag was everything from promotional records sent to radio stations to free slippers for airline passengers. In short order, this particular meaning of swag broadened and soon referred to anything given to an attendee of an event (such as a conference) as a promotional stunt.”

Why would authors care about such a thing? Aren’t we supposed to be more concerned about selling our books rather than worrying about excess trinkets that might end up in the garbage anyway? I believe the answer is twofold – yes and no.

No, we shouldn’t lose sleep over pencils and pads of paper. But, authors, especially indie authors who don’t have a large agency at their back, need to be in the business of getting and keeping people’s attention. Sometimes that means providing “an extension” to our brand/books. Once a reader turns the final page on our hard work, what prolongs our name in the reader’s mind?

If people enjoy what we’ve written, the work itself goes a long way to help establish repeat business. But how many readers take the extra step and leave a review online or tell their friends about it? I’ve seen some numbers, and they’re not promising – 0.5 – 3.0 % of Amazon readers will post a review. That’s not many.

Swag is not just fun to hand out, but it can be seen as a tool. While our books are, of course, priority, the act of selling OR giving away that little extra at the point of purchase can help solidify our “brand”/name, and serve as a reminder of a good experience long after our book has been read and put on a shelf.

In my experience, I’ve found that people enjoy receiving swag. Every time I sell a book (during events), I always include a bookmark. One side features a picture of the cover from the book they’ve purchased, while the other side has my blog address. I believe the addition of my address is important, because this not only provides a further connection to my work, but also gives them an (otherwise unknown) opportunity to discover all the other author interviews I have listed as well. The circle of reader/writer has a chance to grow exponentially.

I used to put my bookmarks (and business cards and pencils) out for anyone to take during events. I know many folks still do that and if it works for them, that’s great. However, I ended up losing money and the ability to connect with readers when I did that. I found that some people would feel “obligated” to take a bookmark/business card because we briefly engaged in conversation. I certainly didn’t want to stop them, but I feel that most of those items ended up in the ‘circular file’ – thrown away.

I also had some folks take handfuls of pencils (which hit financially) because they wanted them for their own projects/school/kids. I’m all for taking freebies from tables, but they were carrying off almost half my stock at one time (and weren’t interested in my books at all).

While it’s true that swag is there for the taking, I now err on the side of practicality and cost effectiveness. Sometimes I’ll put out candy, but I don’t consider that “part of my business model”. It’s only when I go online, order stock, and pay the dreaded shipping cost, that I choose my table placement carefully with said products.

I’ve also found some reliable websites that I’d like to share with you. I can vouch for them that, as of this writing, I’ve never had problems or issues crop up with any of my orders:

Vista Print – https://www.vistaprint.com

Uprinting – https://www.uprinting.com

MOO cards – https://www.moo.com

Much more can be said about the topic of swag, and I’d be happy to share more of my own experiences and thoughts on the matter in another installment. If someone else would like to expound on their side of the swag discussion, let me know. The more information we exchange, the better for us all.

Thanks for reading.

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Hello!

The NEW segment of the blog – All Business – is sending out a call for ANY and ALL writers. It doesn’t matter what genre you typically write or if you do this part-time, I am looking for YOU.

All Business will be a monthly segment that will touch on a plethora of topics. The focus will be advice, past experiences, suggestions, tips, and/or a combination of all of the above. It can be serious, humorous, or plainly factual. It’s up to you and your writing style.

What it isn’t – complete and total self-promotion. You can certainly use experiences you’ve had IN the article, but save the promotional outpouring for afterwards.

Which brings me to the next point. Normally, I don’t allow pictures of authors in the Meet & Greet. This is different. You can promote your work WITH a few photos if you do an article. It will be posted at the end of your submission.

So, here’s the plan:

When new articles will be posted: Monthly

Who can contribute: Any writer/author of any genre or professional level

What length: Fairly Open (less than 3,000 words but more than 300, but not a hard and fast rule)

Why: To share information. To encourage other writers. To help those with similar issues or provide new ideas.

Likely Staring Date: September 2022

Pay Scale: None. But authors can promote their work(s) at the end of the article and include photos!

So – I need YOU! Send me an email if you are interested in doing this. Not a lot of time now? Fine! I can schedule you months out. I’m looking for the following topics, but if you have other ideas, let me know. No hard and fast rules, as I said. And since some of these topics are very broad, you can cover whatever angle you wish.

Topics I’d like to see covered:

Table Fees

Marketing / Promotion

Being a Vendor (pros and cons)

Publishing (traditional, hybrid, small press, self-pub)

Swag

Cost of publishing/printing/editing

Scams

Genres

Fiction vs. Non-Fiction

Pitching books to potential customers (how to close a sale)

Writing to fill a word quota

Contracts / Legal matters

Getting books into stores (brick and mortar)

Editing

Beta Readers (pros and cons)

Reviews (so. many. angles.)

Cover Art (hire it out? DIY?)

Blurb Writing

Trigger Warnings

Again – these are ideas. Have something else in mind? Let me know.

Please send me an email if you are interested. srovens@yahoo.com.

Any questions? srovens@yahoo.com

4 comments

    1. Thanks, Priscilla! I know this kind of thing has been “done before” on a number of other blogs. I’m trying to come up with a slightly different angle for the column before I actually start it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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