A lovely way to edit

Over the holidays, I’ve been learning how to de-format and re-format text for uploading onto Kindle, because I’m going to publish Happiness Matters and Making Miracles myself (with a lot of help from my editor, cover designer and typesetters…).

One Saturday afternoon I decided to sit down and learn how to do formatting, as per instructions in Chris Longmuir’s book – see my previous blog post – and I finally got a handle on the process by about seven o’clock the same evening. Enough of a handle, at any rate, to be able to relax , want to keep learning and to marvel at the ingenuity and precision of the process.

As an added bonus, in the process of learning how to upload books in different file formats, I discover that uploading any of my work onto a kindle is a wonderful way to proof read it, the flat screen clearly exposing any typos, page glitches and blanks that I can then set my hand to sorting out.

I may have read a piece a thousand times, but it never ceases to amaze me what the eye does not see. E-book formats give us the chance to read a book as if for the first time, and to quickly highlight issues that we simply can’t see while at the keyboard: a superfluity of commas, for example, or an over-use of one phrase…. Amazingly, these jump of the virtual page, demanding to be noticed when read on a kindle.

If nothing else, I am grateful to have learned that this is an excellent way to review and crit work.

Having thought about it some more, I don’t think I will do all the formatting myself. I am now paying more attention to how other books are set out by professionals, and appreciating the value of detailed exactitude, and I would rather ask a professional to take that on, and continue learning about the process gradually without the added stress of deadlines and so on: it is invaluable to know how the process works, more or less, so that I can see where and how it fits in the overall process, and understand what I have to do in any particular case, but not so that I can feel I immediately have to become very good at it. Professional skills take years to acquire, so why not ask a professional?

Thanks for reading!

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