C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

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Editing tools and typo tips

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When you’re checking your manuscript, use your word processor’s Spellcheck. Some editors turn up their snobby little noses at Spellcheck, but it can flag problems you might otherwise miss. Nobody’s perfect and problems will always appear once you’ve published your book (yes, in both traditional and self-published books). Don’t take every suggestion; Spellcheck isn’t always right. It’s a tool, not a panacea. You can also use Find and Replace to look for problems Spellcheck misses: its, it’s, there, their and so on. Spellcheck doesn’t replace editors and they don’t replace thinking. But you’ll catch more using it.

To the rude editor I met at the conference who said she never used Spellcheck: Yes, I’m saying that was arrogant and, just like the rest of us, you’re not nearly as smart as you think you are. Or funny. And you need to work on your social skills. (Now I’m worried that I’m projecting.)

I don’t edit blog posts obsessively, but when I’m working on a book, I have several websites up on my browser: Chicago Manual of Style, Wikipedia, and dictionary.com. I also use Autocrit for more input.

For me, yesterday was single quote day. I wrote parts of my books with Open Office, so I had to go through the manuscript and make all my single quotes curly…and curly in the right direction. I was cross-eyed and HULK ANGRY by 5 pm.

PentecostSelf-publishing guru and author of Pentecost, Joanna Penn, has a great suggestion to deal with typos: Publish your ebook first. Your readers will let you know (politely or not) about your book’s typos. Corrections to the ebook are easier than correcting your printed book. Corrections to print books are called “second editions.” Great tip! For more information from Joanna, check out this very useful interview. I loved this inspiring interview and it helped me calm down after Curly Quote Day. Well…much later, after the photo below.

Me after Curly Quote Day

Filed under: Books, DIY, Editing, Editors, getting it done, grammar, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Writers: Dump your preconceptions (and your word processor)

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Just a quick note to say I’m back from The Writers’ Union of Canada Toronto symposium on the state of publishing. I’ll be going through my notes and giving out reviews and information a bit at a time in coming days as I unpack my notes and cogitate. The conference was packed with information to act upon. Sorry for the tease, but I’m busy setting up a new browser (Opera) and a new file management system (Dropbox) tonight. (Both are free and come highly recommended by a guy you should bookmark,  get to know, subscribe to and read assiduously: Ross Laird. More on that in a moment.)

I met  some nice potential clients and made a couple of new friends. Since last year’s experience  at two writers’ conferences I realize I’ve been impatient for people to catch up with my worldview. At one conference a publisher displayed a pathological resistance to e-book reality. At the next conference I met my first e-reader power user who pledged never to buy a p-book again. I’ve been harping on the change from vanity publishing to self-publishing and all that entails ever since. So it was that I became cynical about this weekend’s symposium. I was so used to the sound of my own voice saying “the future is now” — voice in the wilderness that I am — that I didn’t think anyone was catching up. In most ways, the Writers’ Union certainly has caught up and is forging ahead with the new publishing reality. (I’ll address how they haven’t changed in another post soon.)

The Nugget You Need Tonight

Tech guru Ross Laird opened his first lecture with this:


Note that he didn’t say it will be some day.

His message was strong: stop looking backward because the future of reading is on devices. Choosing self-publishing is to embrace a startling degree of freedom, fun, adventure, work and independence. Scary cool, huh? It was relief to hear someone articulate what I’ve been saying (although he’s more tech-oriented, glib and has slides.)

There is much to chew over from the symposium, but for tonight I’ll start you off with this link:

Read Ross Laird’s article on why you shouldn’t write on a word processor.


Tomorrow morning’s post:

How I Edit

I promise you’ll find this useful.

I’m deep into a heavy edit for a client this week but I’ll throw out some more gems I picked up at the symposium in coming days.

There is a lot of stuff happening all at once for me, this blog, my writing and my editing. It will take some time to get to it all.

Happy days.

It’s all scary cool.


Filed under: blogs & blogging, Books, DIY, ebooks, Editing, getting it done, publishing, Rant, self-publishing, Useful writing links, , , , , , , , ,


Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

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An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

You can pick this ebook up for free today at this link: http://bit.ly/TheNightMan

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