Formatting Versus Editing

Formatting Versus Editing

Why explain formatting versus editing?

Aside from ghostwriting, I offer all-inclusive publishing packages that include (among other services) professional formatting and editing.

What is the difference between the two?

According to Dictionary.com, book formatting is defined as 1. the shape and size of a book as determined by the number of times the original sheet has been folded to form the leave; and 2.the general physical appearance of a book, magazine, or newspaper, such as typeface, paper, margins, etc.

 

An example of paperback formatting.

Professional formatting pertains to the creation of the interior of a book after it has been edited for content, consistency, punctuation, grammar, spelling and typos. Depending on the publishing package you choose, you can count on me to correct any issues with grammar, punctuation, and spelling. But whether or not your package includes an editorial assessment (focusing on logical flow and progression of content), your manuscript will undergo multiple layers of editing.

From there, I send the manuscript back you with the request to carefully review and inform me of any further editorial changes. This is a critical part of the process and should not be rushed, no matter how excited you, the author, may be to bring your book to the online marketplace. At best, I recommend taking two-to-three days to ensure complete satisfaction with the content. Because I approach editing in a collaborative fashion and involve my author-client every step of the way, typically there are few, if any, changes. However, if the client wishes to alter anything having to do with items including word choices, dialogue, quotes, etc., it must be done before the formatting process begins.

An example of Kindle formatting.

An example of Kindle formatting.

Once in formatting, the only changes to the manuscript should involve things like fonts, justification, consistent chapter title set-up (e.g. does each chapter begin in the middle of a page?), table of content alignment, boldface or regular type, placement of photos and the like.

When a book is in the formatting phase, I can no longer add new content. Yes, if for some reason, a word gets misspelled in the process, I correct it. If a few sentences of a paragraph accidentally get cut out, I’ll re-insert them. But the time to decide you want to write another chapter or paragraph; add more names of people to your dedication or acknowledgements pages; throw in a new quote from another source; or change anything related to the actual content is while that manuscript is still in the editing phase.

Major General Linda L. Singh says she’s learning “to go slow to go fast” in life. With respect to editing, this is sage advice. By tempering your eagerness to publish your book and taking as much time as you need in the editing process, you can expect a smooth, efficient formatting phase, resulting in a professionally produced book you can be proud of.

Need help with indie publishing? Contact me to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.

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How to Write a Quality Book Review

How to Write a Quality Book Review

Since authors spend a great deal of time and effort on their books, writing a review is one of the best ways to show your appreciation and offer constructive feedback to help them improve their craft. For potential readers, a thoughtful review can mean the difference between purchasing a book or clicking onto the next title in their search for a good read.

But what comprises a quality book review?

First, let’s talk about what constitutes a bad book review. No, I’m not referring to legitimate criticism of characters, plot, pacing, writing, or any other vital aspect of a compelling story. I’m talking about generic reviews like, “I loved the book!” or “Wow, this is excellent!” or “This book is a must-read!” that omit any substantive descriptions as to why the reviewer is offering such effusive praise.

Conversely, the same principle applies to pithy one-or-two sentence reviews like, “Awful book!” “I can’t believe anyone would write this drivel!” or “Don’t waste your time reading.”

Either way, the reviewer does the author and his or her potential readers a disservice by omitting specifics. Whether you love or hate a book (or fall somewhere in-between), here are some guidelines on how to write an effective, useful review for both authors and readers.

  1. Demonstrate You Have Actually Read the Book– sounds counter-intuitive, but I’m not advocating that reviewers should give away spoilers. However, it is possible to mention a few specifics about what you liked about the main character, themes, narration, dialogue, etc. What did you like or dislike about the protagonist or supporting characters? Why did the plot draw you in? Was the book thought-provoking? Edgy? Enlightening? Why?  Even if you select just one aspect and explain why it had an impact on you (either positively or negatively), it will demonstrate your knowledge of the book.
  2. Offer a Balanced Perspective– as I mentioned, a great deal of time and energy goes into the production of a book. Whether you rate it 5-stars or 3-stars (more on that further down the post), point out specifically what the author does well and the areas in which he or she could improve. Is the dialogue stilted but the prose captivating? Say so. Is the pacing too slow? Too fast? Explain why and give an example. Is a character well defined or one-dimensional? Offer a specific example that supports your opinion.
  3. Limit Your Review to One-to-Three Paragraphs– for maximum impact, keep it pithy. Select a few qualities about the book that stood out to you, whether it involves a secondary character, a particular scene, or the overarching themes. Again, you don’t want to give away spoilers; you want to focus on your most indelible impressions of the book. No one wants to read a lengthy, rambling review, and from a copywriting/marketing perspective, such reviews do more harm that good. The objective is to provide constructive criticism/praise to better inform the author and prospective readers.
  4. Give the Author at Least 3 Stars– here I am taking my cue from my friend and author Daniella Bova, who states at her blog DaniellaBova.com, “Authors put their heart and soul into their writing, so I will never give any book less than 3 stars. I just won’t review it at all.” Words to live by. If you really hate a book for whatever reason (poorly written, plot holes, undeveloped characters, etc.), it’s best to heed our mothers’ advice while growing up, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” In such a case, I recommend contacting the author directly and privately (if they’ve made their email public or have a public FB page where you can message them) and sharing your thoughts. By doing so, you’ll be helping them improve while saving them the embarrassment of a 1-or 2-star public review. Do unto others, as you’d have done to you, after all.

A while back I received positive feedback on a book review I posted for the book Soul Mates & Angels. The person who read it complimented me for following the guidelines I’ve outlined above, instead of posting a generic opinion. She even used it in a promotional email she sent out on behalf of the author, Betty RaeI’m posting it here as an example:

This beautiful story drew me in from the moment I began reading. Written in the first person, its tone is at once hopeful, joyful, inquisitive, and thoughtful. Blessed with a supernatural ability to communicate with angels, the main character Anita Lyn Riley struggles to reconcile the mundane aspects of her life — from high school bullies to adolescent crushes — with the knowledge that evil exists everywhere, not just in some far away places.

On a personal level, she knows what it feels like to be misunderstood and feared for being different. When we first meet Anita, she is adapting to her new public high school, having upset the religious sensibilities of the priests and nuns at her former Catholic institution with her tales of reincarnation and otherworldly visions. As the book unfolds, her journey becomes progressively more difficult as circumstances force her to take courageous stands for justice, spurred on by righteous anger.

Filled with endearing characters and thought-provoking insights, Soul Mates & Angels celebrates the unbreakable bond that exists between all humans as children of God, the power of good to overcome evil, and the unseen realm where angels and loved ones are always there to help us.

Happy reading…and writing (book reviews)!

Do you need help with self-publishing, editing, ghostwriting or copywriting?

Contact me here.

Read the reviews of my book, Water Signs: A Story of Love and Renewal, here, where you can also preview and purchase it in paperback or Kindle.

 

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“Working with Daria is a Dream!”

“Working with Daria is a dream!  I have been a marketing strategist for the last 25 years.  What I love about Daria is that she is smart, professional, courteous and extremely talented.  She is a great writer, but has no ego about it so she can easily adopt someone else’s voice.  She does great research and she is always ahead of schedule which makes my life so easy!  Plus, she is fun to talk to.  I highly recommend Daria for any writing project you have.  You wont be disappointed!!”

~ Jody Layne, SMART Growth Marketing

I highly recommend SMART Growth Marketing for your digital marketing campaigns. Visit them at www.smartgrowthmarketing.com for more information and to schedule your complimentary business coaching call.

 

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Remembering Eternity Author Richard Maddox’s Writestream Radio Testimonial

Remembering Eternity Author Richard Maddox’s Writestream Radio Testimonial

Daria is the gracious host of a wonderful radio program. I was fortunate enough to be her guest recently, and found her easy to talk to and very well prepared. I highly recommend Writestream Radio Network.

If you missed my on-air conversation with this wonderful author, click below to listen. Richard is offering his book for 99 cents on Kindle through September 27. I am in the process of reading Remembering Eternity and highly recommend it!

To connect with Richard, visit his website www.richardmaddox.com. Click here to download the Kindle version

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