Here is a shout out to all of you self-published writers! If you are just getting started or are already deep in the process, let me recommend four of my favorite blogs for self-published writers. These four writers/bloggers are experts in their field and have many resources to help any aspiring writer reach their goals and publish.
Joel’s background is in printing, typesetting, and traditional publishing. He has taken his extensive knowledge and applied it to the expanding self-publishing market. He has won consecutive awards from Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers.
Joel offers blogs, resources, and courses on the nuts and bolts of manufacturing a book. If you need help in book covers, design, formatting, typography, this is the site for you.
Edie’s site is a plethora of information. She offers daily blog posts from various writer’s as well as her own words of wisdom. Her site merits awards from Feedspot and positivewriter.com. If you are seeking information as well as inspiration, thewriteconversation.com is the place to be. Edie also is a great resource for those following the traditional publishing path.
Michael Hyatt is the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers and very familiar with the world of publishing. Much of his advice is for traditional publishing, but he offers great wisdom and inspiration for any aspiring writer. If you are into technology, productivity, or even just general leadership growth, his website is your destination. With blog posts, audio/videos, downloadable PDF books, Hyatt’s website is an up-to-date resource.
These blogs are a great place to start if you are branching out into self-publishing. From the writing process to book design and marketing, they have it all.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…(Star Wars)
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. (Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…(Charles Dickens: A Tale Of Two Cities)
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.(George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four)
All children, except one, grow up. (J.M. Barrie: Peter Pan)
Imaginative beginnings pack a literary punch!
Opening lines grab our attention, set the tone, and leave the reader wanting more. Just look at the famous openers above. They have stood the test of time and continue to distinguish each literary masterpiece.
At the other end of those compositions are the closing remarks. They are a summation, a final note, or crescendo of the author’s work.
Dynamic beginnings and endings are the bookends of a well-crafted piece of writing.
They become the hallmark of an author’s work. I have discovered that my original opening and closing remarks rarely make it to the final draft. The refining process transforms my article. Consequently, the words I write in the rough draft change as my content and direction shift. Other than the title, these are the last components that I rewrite.
In her book Just Write: An Essential Guide for Launching Your Writing Career, Susan Titus Osborn suggests how to begin and end a composition. Because these are such critical elements for any writer, I have used her recommendations along with several others to offer possible ways to start and end your writing.
These final suggestions refer to website posts:
Dynamic beginnings and endings are an important link between the author and the reader. Beginnings introduce the subject and invite the reader to engage with the content. They are the calling card. Endings are the farewell, the memorable last words of the author before the connection is cut. Write them well and you will turn your readers into loyal fans.
(I used quotes for my beginning. The ending was a combination of summation, making a new point, and metaphor!)
What is the difference between proofreading and editing?
Editing is an overall term for polishing and perfecting a text and getting it ready to print. There are different types of editing (see my post, Master the Editing Process), each with a specific purpose. Editing includes correcting the focus, organization, and development of the whole paper, sections, or paragraphs.
Proofreading is one part of the editing process. It is the last pass of a critical eye before the text goes to print. At this point in the text’s evolution, it should be free of content and copy errors.
Proofreaders examine the printer’s proofs or other written or printed material and mark any errors. The proofreader is looking at grammar, spelling, and sentence structure or other glaring errors that need correction.
In their work “How to Avoid Costly Proofreading Errors,” Carolyn Boccella Bagin and Jo Van Doren give several rules for improving your proofreading skills. I’ve also included a few of my own. Follow these suggestions to proofread like a pro:
Still need some help? Check out ClearTips for instruction on a variety of grammatical subjects. Their website provides answers to your editing questions.
And don’t forget to use any electronic spelling and grammar checks that come with your writing software. Or you might install Grammarly onto your computer and web browser. It is my software of choice.
If you really would like to have a seasoned professional review your text, here are some listings of groups that offer proofreading services:
Servicescape.com Prices start at around $7/ page and go up according to turnaround time.
Proofreadingservices.com Prices start at around $6/ page.
Proofreadfingpal.com with prices at $.027/ word with a seven-day turnaround.
Give your manuscript the streamlined, professional edge it deserves. Happy proofreading!
Editing is actually not one skill, but many. There are several types of editorial polishing each used at different junctures in the writing process. Each of these is a skill unto itself and requires its own consideration.
If you ever consider hiring an editor, one question will be asked…What type of editing do you need? The best way to answer the question is to familiarize yourself with the different types of editing and when each is used. Let’s take a look at how you as a writer can perfect the work at different stages.
Content editing. Consider the order, clarity, readability, and accuracy of the writing. Do the sentences and paragraphs flow? If fiction, are your characters believable and consistent throughout the book? Is the plot credible
During this type of editing, we trim the “fat!” What is the “fat?” Identify those extraneous sentences, descriptions, and paragraphs that weigh the text down. Snip, snip! Using an editor’s unbiased eyes, take a deep breath and cut those from your writing.
Copy editing. Read each sentence looking for mistakes in spelling, usage, grammar, and capitalization. Make sure your writing adheres to a specific style, important when submitting to a specific publishing company. Here are some specifics:
A resource I use is The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale. At over fourteen hundred pages, it is the most comprehensive thesaurus in print.
Technology. Most word processors like Microsoft Word have built-in spelling and grammar checks. However, automatic scans won’t identify all the flaws. Even though a word is spelled correctly, it may still be misused in context.
Take a look at these automated editing tools…
Proofreading. This is the last step in the editing process. After the formatting and design work is done, edit once more for double spaces, typeface styles, or misplaced page numbers.
Write. Edit. Rewrite. Edit. Edit. Edit! Until the process is complete.
James Michener once said, “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”
Editing is hard work. Go slowly. Be thorough. Take your time. The end product will be worth the effort.
Let me offer a ten-step process to explain the simpler aspects of the software. This will not cover the many fine points of Scrivener, but will give an overall view of how the software works and streamlines the writing process.
Scrivener is a versatile and comprehensive piece of writing software. It is suited for both fiction and non-fiction writers and available at the click of a button. The parent company Literature and Latte offer a 30-day trial or you can purchase outright on Amazon. I have had the software for years, although I have only used the basic functions. Now, I am determined to thoroughly explore all of the nuances and take it to the next level.
What make Scrivener so unique? Let me share five reasons why I think Scrivener should be in every writer’s toolbox:
It comes in both a Mac and PC version although originally designed for Mac users. The developers are working on an iOS version that will be available for both the iPad and iPhone. You can start any project from scratch or import older texts. Scrivener also allows dictation with an app or other software.