Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Leave it to the Professionals

Mana Mutation Menace has been sent off to be prepared for publishing so I decided now was a good time to talk about all the work that goes into this preparation. Specifically, why this sort of thing should be left to professionals. Consider this post the answer to my earlier post "Editing, Professional Help or Not" and an extension of "The Importance of an Editor"
This is the third time I've worked with BZ Hercules Editing and Consulting. They're a cover-to-cover place that has some competitive prices. For the package I've selected, there's editing, proofreading, formatting, cover design, and then the social media launch.

Editing is the first thing that's needed. This is not just fixing spelling and grammar; that comes later. This is about consistency of nouns (people, places, things), flow of the story, major problems with spelling and grammar, paragraph intents and chapter settings. There could be more things that I don't know about or appreciate. Mana Mutation Menace needs this to tighten up. Although I am an author, my knowledge and application of the rules of written language is not perfect. That's why I need a professional to cover my oversights. There were literally "thousands" of errors in A Mage's Power because I made the same mistake on every page. Hopefully I have learned from my previous two experiences and created less trouble for her.

Proofreading is next. This should come after editing as a second check. No one can get all the errors in one pass (the author certainly can't). This is for checking all the stuff that was missed the first time and making sure the editing didn't introduce more problems. To save money, I tried to do just this on A Mage's Power for the second edition. It didn't work because there were more than just proofread level problems. For Looming Shadow, I hired a professional and I did not receive the same sort of "hire an editor!" feedback from both fans and critics. Thus, I made sure to order both editing and proofreading for the entire manuscript of Mana Mutation Menace to make it as clean as possible. It's not cheap by any means because the story is long (1.75 for proofreading and editing combo over 300 double spaced pages means paying for 600) but it's worth it to create a polished product.
Formatting is also involved. I don't understand this part at all. It has something to do with aligning stuff in the manuscript, maybe something HTML or other code thing. What I'm most concerned with is the Table of Contents. Creating that thing and linking each chapter title to the chapter it refers to would difficult I imagine. It's one more thing I leave to the professionals.
Cover Design is completely outside my craft but still necessary. I took an art class in college, and I took it pass/fail because otherwise it would have harmed my GPA. Yes, my technique was bad but my creative vision was good enough. Laura from IIPX photography created both of the covers for my first two books (Travis Pennington from Pro Book Covers did the first originally, and it looks amazing too). I'm looking forward to the third one.

The first edition of A Mage's Power is what my work would look like without a professional. You can see for yourself what readers thought about that: A Mage's Power. Incidentally, would you mind checking it out further? BZ Hercules made the current edition look better than its first.

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