Books written by Ray Sullivan

Monday, 27 February 2012

Editing Digital Life Form

It only took a couple of days to plough through Digital Life Form in print form – being on holiday helped, but actually enjoying the story was a boon too.  I admit to being biased; I write the kind of stories I like to read and I’ve a very soft spot for this particular one anyway.

First, the good news – the paperback proof sent by Createspace held up well.  The only criticism I would level is that the front cover has got a permanent curve outwards but the rest has stayed as good as new. 
The review of the book pulled up twenty-five points I wanted to address, although when I revisited them later I disagreed with my earlier evaluation on three.  Probably next time I go through I’ll think that some of these should be edited after all, but my gut instinct is that if it teeters like this on the review, it’s really probable that it isn’t a big deal.
The main issue was that in a small number of sentences the speech apostrophes were missing, misplaced or surplus to requirements.  I’ve been through the electronic version of this book  several times, once on my Kindle after publication, and I missed these.  I’m fairly confident that I’ve trapped them all now. 
The other issue was around the use or not of a capitalised word after a question mark in speech.  For example, Microsoft Word really likes this:
‘Is that a question?’ He asked.  However I prefer ‘Is that a question?’ he asked. 
I expect that Microsoft has engaged a top flight English language specialist or two in advising on how it flags grammar issues, so I would expect that the former is technically correct.  I also expect that most readers don’t give a hoot on either approach, but would really appreciate a consistent style being applied if they care about anything.  I’ve gone with my preference throughout.
And there was one typo I discovered (‘of’ instead of ‘on’). 
All in all I don’t think there was a single error that I spotted that would have left the reader wondering what was being said, by who, or why.  But some of them would have been a distraction and that is a real issue – when we read fiction we like to immerse ourselves to the degree that we’re not aware of reading, but are just living a life inside a story – throw in a typo or a jarring piece of prose and we’re back outside staring at the page or eReader screen, critically aware that we’re reading a book.
So the editing was worthwhile and the changes will be uploaded to the Amazon and Smashwords sites as well.  In fact I’m sold on the benefits of having my books printed by Createspace as a proof before uploading as eBooks – clearly reviewing on screen traps a lot of issues but you can’t beat reading your book in print to trap the little blighters.
Digital Life Form is being re-uploaded to Createspace with edits in place, page numbers and header applied.  Hopefully, by the end of my holiday in the Lake District it will be available to be bought through  It's being pitched at $8.00 plus postage in the US; I'll be making copies available for UK readers once I know the exact author price - if it's the same as the proof copy price then I'm expecting to be able to sell them at £5.00 a copy plus postage, complete with a dedication and autograph if desired at no extra cost.
Like I said at the top of the blog - I'm biased about this book, but trust me, it's a really good yarn and there's a lot of humour embedded in the middle of a race for life.  For the new traditionalists, it remains available as an eBook through the usual channels.

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