Last night I finished working on the copy for my book, at approximately 2.30am. This must be what it is like to be a workaholic - there's a comment that will make my ex-Nielsen colleagues chuckle.
Why was I up so late? Well, I was almost at the end of the final task before being ready to upload, I had worked all evening with the World Cup as a backdrop and I didn't want to go to bed so close to completion.
What I was actually doing was going through the copy for the last time, making all the changes that the proofreader found - and there were a lot. I am completely convinced now that hiring a proof reader is essential if you planning to put out any sort of serious publication.
My document, whilst looking OK at first glance had many problems that needed resolving. Whilst it wasn't full of spelling errors there were many small punctuation errors such as use of commas that were picked up on. Then there were all the inconsistencies in things such as times - for example 4:00pm vs 4.00pm vs 4pm. It seems that the accepted British usage is a full stop as opposed to a colon - there's something I didn't know. The other thing I seem to be quite weak on is hyphenation and where to use it. e.g. which would you use here: overprotective, over protective or over-protective?
And there's also the case of saying the same thing twice e.g. "They chorused in unison". Well if they chorused, it would be in unison so you don't need both words.
It's very hard to choose a proofreader. There are some on the internet who charge several hundred pounds. At the other end of the scale my Dad met a bloke in the pub a couple of weeks ago who offered to do it for twenty quid. Like most things, it's a case of finding a happy medium and luckily I did.
I chose my proof reader or rather he chose me through Twitter. He was keen and interested and it goes to show - never underestimate the power of social media. He was reasonably priced and able to deliver in under a week. So I gave the job to him. He went over the document with a fine tooth comb and did a very professional job. His name is Matt Rance and he's known as the "Proof Professor". You can find his website here: http://www.proofprofessor.com/
So - that's the content all sorted - and I am very pleased with the end result. We then come to the thorny question of the cover. This is another area I tend to underestimate the importance of. I like to think that my writing will be good enough that the cover won't matter, but I know that's not true. People do judge a book by its cover and always will do.
The next blog entry will have two pictures on it for you to look at:
I've also got a Q&A interview lined up where you can learn more about what the book is about. I'm also setting up a facebook page for the book for the same purpose - look out for an invite coming your way soon.