Thursday, May 29, 2014

NOTE TO SELF: Copy edits come BEFORE the book comes out, not after

So, here’s me being completely honest on this Indie pubbing journey—I ‘thought’ I had Strange Faces completely copy edited. Well, okay, I’ll blame it on my birthday. I also blame it on the fact that I’m a big picture person. I’m more concerned with plot “working” and characters staying “in character” than a misplaced comma or an extra space before a period at the end of a sentence . 

(Did you catch that?)
But first, my birthday. I was working along on compiling some of these favorite  short stories of mine, when it occurred to me that I could have Strange Faces out on birthday, it made me sort of, kind of, a bit rushed. Not really, but sort of. Because how fun! To release this on my birthday!

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I did copy edit it, first on the computer screen and then with a red pen on printed copies. But because it was just me, it wasn't enough. It takes two sets of eyes to correctly copy edit a manuscript. I will repeat. It takes two people. At least two. My husband, who is an eBook formatter didn't get the chance to read it through for copy errors because I kept saying, "We have to get it out tomorrow!"

Here’s why it takes two people—I can read over the same sentence five times and not notice the misplaced comma. Another person can come in and see it right, away. 

(Did you catch that?)

Which leads me to my next point, the actual take-away of this rather rambling blog. There are two kinds of editing. First, is what I call a global editor, although they are called other things by other people. That’s the person who notices plot irregularitries, or characters not behaving in character ways. That’s the editor who also notices that Wednesday isn't the day after Sunday, and how did Main Character’s eyes change from blue to gray halfway through the story? She’s the editor who notes general clunkiness and plot weirdnesses.

I love global editors. They help me write better.

The second level of editing is the copy editor. That’s the nitpicker. The comma slasher. The spelling queen. The grammar guru. That’s the editor that goes over the so-called finished product and finds missed words and missed 

(Did you catch that?)

So, why am I writing about this on this particular day?

Strange Faces ended up with a few copy errors which were pointed out to me by a friend in an email who had purchased the Kindle edition. (Did you just hear that groan of utter chagrin?)

So, we go in and change them, one after the other. What else can you do? My formatter husband says this happens to every author who gets their eBooks out there. “It’s no big deal,” he says with a smile. I think he's just trying to make me feel better. 

So, my FIRST bit of advice in this candid, tell-all blog on how not to do what I do—is read the thing a gazillion times before you get it out there. 

I’ve decided that in all future books I will 1) read it over for copy errors on the computer screen, 2) and then print it off and read it over with my red pen, and then 3) put the whole thing on my Kobo and read it like I’m reading a book. 

Maybetthen Ill finddd more copy errrors..

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