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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Work Flow for Formatting and Editing—October 2012



Some of you have expressed interest in the formatting and editing process I use for my work. It’s long and repetitive, and can be considered boring, but it’s an essential part of the indie process—at least for me.
Firstly, I edit every day by going over the work completed the day before so I can reposition myself in the story and pick up any errors made. This process is continual throughout the writing. This process is essential for me as I work on more than one project at a time and need to ‘re-set’ when I change from one to the other.
When the story is complete, I try to leave it to one side for at least a fortnight before going back and doing one or two edits. I am hoping to add at least one Beta reader to this process. At this time, I have usually commissioned the cover art, depending on the artist—some require a longer lead time than others.
This break from the manuscript helps me to come back to the edit with some distance between me and the writing. This process of distance is also helped if I have started my next project. When the initial edits are done, I use the formatting process to further tighten my work.
I format my work for Amazon, using Kindle and CreateSpace (large and small print versions); Smashwords; and DriveThruFiction. This does not mean the initial format must be done five times. Kindle, Smashwords and DriveThruFiction all require a similar format in their source documents. It is only after that things change.
My process is roughly as follows:
1.      Prepare the back blurb (Don’t forget to include both a long and short version for Smashwords.)
2.      During writing I try to remember to add QQ before and after any italics I want to use, and BB before and after any bolding not in a heading, as this is easy to search for using the ‘Find’ function;
3.      When I’ve finished the last edit, I go through and check I haven’t missed’ placing any QQ or BB markings. This acts as my first inadvertent edit.
4.      I start the formatting process by checking for the following:
a.       all tabs are removed (Find ‘^t’, Replace with nothing),
b.      there are no spaces before paragraph returns (Find ‘ ^p’, Replace ‘^p’—do this at least twice; three times is better),
c.       there are no double spaces (Find ‘  ‘, Replace ‘ ’—do this at least twice).
5.      ‘Nuke’ the manuscript by copying all of it and dropping it into Notepad;
6.      Copy it out of Notepad and put it into a fresh Word document, which is then saved as Word 97-2003;
7.      Go through the document and add the following:
a.       Page breaks;
b.      Centring;
c.       Bolding;
d.      Add spaces after titles and scene breaks (spaces, not line returns);
e.       Bookmarking of chapter or story and poem titles, and the Table of Contents;
f.       Hyperlinking of chapter or story and poem titles to the Table of Contents;
8.      Go through the document using Find to identify the italics and bold markers and format italics and bold as required. This acts as the second inadvertent edit.
9.      Go through the document and update the character and world notes with all the details I will need to remember in subsequent books and stories. This acts as the third inadvertent edit, especially as I’m checking character and place details in subsequent areas of the novel for consistency as I go.
10.  Go through the document and do a final, focussed edit. (Focussed edit 1)
11.  Save the document.
12.  Do not go to the next formatting step for these markets at this point and do not upload these manuscripts.
13.  Go to CreateSpace and download the appropriate template for small print version. (You will need your own account
14.  Make a copy of the latest version of the document and go back through and add the italics and bold markers (inadvertent edit four).
15.  Repeat steps 2-4.
16.  ‘Select all’ the CreateSpace template and change the font to Times New Roman as this is easier to read than Garamond.
17.  Add the title and front-piece work (dedication, acknowledgements, art and cover credits, author name.
18.  Add the chapter or story and poem titles to the contents page.
19.  Remove ‘Pge’ from the contents page to avoid forgetting to do so in the later formatting stages.
20.  Remove the chapter number from beside the ‘About the Author’ heading.
21.  Add the author name and book title to the relevant sections in the template. If doing large print increase the font size of these and the page numbers to size 16—be careful to go through the page numbers and make sure all of them are affected as the template is divided into sections which each need to be changed individually.
22.  Copy and paste each chapter individually, leaving the font size for the titles and increasing the font to size 12 for the text—this is easier to read than size 11. For large print, increase the chapter font to a minimum of size 16, and the rest proportionally larger.
23.  To through each chapter as you paste it and add in any italics or bold, removing the markers as you go. (Inadvertent edit 5)
24.  Add the author details.
25.  Go through the document in one final edit before upload. (Focussed edit 2)
26.  Upload the formatted CreateSpace template to CreateSpace;
27.  Go through the revision process with the CreateSpace document open, making any changes you need to as you go. If you make changes, upload the document again and repeat the revision process until you don’t find any more changes to make. (This will also give you inadvertent edit 6 and Focussed edit 3)
28.  Format the CreateSpace cover art to the appropriate specifications if you have not already done so.
29.  Create the cover and submit the small print version for review.
30.  Select and download the CreateSpace template required for you large print version.
31.  Repeat steps 13-28.
32.  Wait for the CreateSpace approval comes through for your document. Go through the review process. Do not skip this step. You will be surprised at what you might have missed. Be prepared to update your manuscripts once more and then to undertake the review process again. Repeat until there is nothing more that needs to be changed.
33.  When you are ready to release the document for sale on CreateSpace, do so.
34.  Take the latest CreateSpace version and save it as a working document.
35.  Go through and mark your italics and bold.
36.  Repeat steps 2-7 for your Smashwords/Kindle/DriveThruFiction source version. Pray you don’t find anything else you missed.
37.  Save the final document as three documents: one for Smashwords, one for Kindle and one for DriveThruFiction. Remember to observe file-naming conventions for each market. (DriveThruFiction, for example, has specific instructions).
38.  Format the covers to the specifications for each site, and add them to your source files.

39. Add live hyperlinks to any titles listed in the  'Other Works' section (usually placed under 'About the Author') in each respective document. Make sure you do these for the individual market the document will be uploaded to. Do not put Kindle links in your Smashwords or DriveThruFiction documents, for example, or vice versa.

40. Take the Smashwords document and save it for upload.
41.  Take the Kindle document and do the final format using the mobi-creator tool as per the ‘Building your Book for Kindle’ guide. Save it in preparation for upload.
42.  Take the DriveThruFiction document and PDF it. (I subscribe to the Adobe PDF on-line program for this purpose.) Save the PDF in preparation for upload.
43.  Upload the appropriately formatted documents and covers to their respective markets.
44.  Continue work on your next project.

NOTES: You should always edit separately prior to beginning the formatting process, even though there is room for more editing built in. I cannot describe how annoying it is to find yet one more thing you missed that you really need to correct before releasing it to your readers when you’ve just about finalised the process. However, you owe it to your readers to give them the best story possible, and that means getting the story as right as possible before you release it. Ideally, you should have a professional editor go over your work, or at least one Beta reader, prior to formatting. Don’t expect them to catch everything; not even those who edit for a living can guarantee that. It is up to you to be as thorough as possible when preparing your manuscript for release.

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