Publishing terms made easy

The publishing industry is rife with terms that new authors may not be familiar with. Here are some to help you out:
Author’s corrections: Corrections that an author makes to proofs that alter the original text. The typesetter will charge for the cost of making these changes. Generally the printer will allow one round of author’s corrections in the original print quote.

Epson proofs and dyelines: Epson proofs are final, coloured proofs before the printers proceed to dyelines. Generally only minor changes should be made at this late stage, such as colour corrections to images or a minor typo amended. Major rewrites are neither encouraged nor generally allowed.

file000755244602 Dyelines are proofs that are sent after Epsons and used to check pagination, and tops and bottoms of columns to make sure nothing has been dropped off. Images are also checked to make sure there are no issues. However, these are not high resolution proofs, so colour correctness needs to be checked at Epson proof change.

Next post will be about my favourite: the Em and En dash.

Punctuation: Objective or Subjective?

STOP sign
Here’s a great quote from Carey’s ‘Mind the Stop’ about the nature of punctuation – “To say that no two persons punctuate exactly alike would no doubt be an exaggeration, but most people would probably agree that punctuation is a matter not only of rules but of personal taste.”
After decades of working with words, I know this to be true. The tendency in current usage is to be sparing with the comma, but be careful this doesn’t affect the meaning.

TIP: Read G.V. Carey’s ‘MIND THE STOP. A Brief Guide to Punctuation’

The Apostrophe: friend or foe?

Despite decades of study including time spent at universities, writers and journalists often misuse the apostrophe. Here are six tips:
1. Use an apostrophe and ‘s’ to form the possessive case of singular nouns (a year’s work). [For plural nouns in the possessive case, use “two years’ work”.]
2. Same goes for the possessive case of indefinite pronouns (anyone’s guess).
3. Personal pronouns do not require an apostrophe (your/yours).
4. To form the possessive of compound nouns, make the last element the possessive (daughter-in-law’s cooking or daughters-in-laws’ cooking).
5. To show joint ownership, make the last name possessive (Mark and Jane’s villa).
6. To show separate ownership, make each name possessive (Mark’s and Ben’s hats).
Tell me if you like these and I’ll post some more …


Editor: Friend or Foe?

file611236549064The relationship between author and editor is a heady brew of collaboration, the zest of the sports coach encouraging the team, the wisdom of a mentor, the knowledge of a teacher and the diplomacy of an adviser. The editor needs to bond with the author, to become immersed in the story their client is telling, but have the courage to stand strong, but in the friendliest way, when you know that word, that phrase, that structure needs to change.

The Parts

The Parts
Okay, something very simple. The eight parts of speech – here’s a reminder, folks:
1. Nouns. 2. Verbs. 3. pronouns. 4. adjectives. 5. adverbs. 6. conjunctions. 7. prepositions. 8. interjections.file6311301609831

Collective nouns

I love unusual collective nouns. A group of peacocks is called an ‘ostentation of peacocks’. A recent one I’ve collected is ‘a wake of vultures’. And of course there is the ‘murder’ of crows. Does anyone have some unusual ones they would like to share with me? file4141313948956

Weighing in on the scales

The darling semi-colon is sadly going out of fashion, but I do love a semi-colon when used in the right place. It is often misused, however; some writers aren’t quite sure what to do with it and some have a prejudice against it and shy away.

The sweetie semi is heavier than a comma, but less heavy than a full stop. It is handy for separating two sentences that could stand independently with a full stop between them, but are somewhat closely connected in sense. And when you have long lists of items, I like to use a semi-colon to separate them to make it easier for the reader to absorb the information.

The Editor’s Pie

I posted this a while ago. But thought it worth posting again.

Editor pie chartGrammatical knowledge or technique – the ‘hardware’ of editing – represents only part of the whole process. Editing is not entirely about objective analysis; subjective preferences play a role as well.

For instance, some editors loathe certain treatments of words. United States or USA or U.S. or US are just different styles; all are correct, but most editors will have a preference. Of course, a personal preference will be secondary to an existing publishing company’s house style. I have a prejudice against the em dash – I prefer its more dashing cousin: the en dash!

Then there’s the ‘inner ear’, a subtle skill that comes from experience.  I think of it as the syntax or cadence that language possesses – it has its own soothing rhythm that an experienced ear is attuned to. A good editor will instinctively ‘know’ that there’s a missing beat and they’ll recommend ways to find it.

Not to be ignored, an editor will always embrace the fact that the book is the author’s ‘baby’. Recommendations need to be gentle in delivery but firm in reasoning.

The Independent Clause

The Independent Clause
Here’s a useful writing tip:
Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause. For example:
“The early pioneers have disappeared, and the story of the early years of the country can no longer be constructed.”

Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole
For my fellow lovers of grammar, let’s talk about the difference between simple nouns and compound nouns. (When was the last time you heard those expressions?)
You guessed it: Toad in the Hole is an example of a compound noun (it’s the unappealing meal, by the way). A simple noun would be ‘chocolate’ – now that’s one of my favourite foods. Simple nouns consist of one word only and compound nouns consist of more than one word.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA