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Launch of City, in Colombo

I’m going to be at the ICES Colombo next week, July 11 at 4 30 pm, for the launch of City:  A Journal of South Asian Literature in English.

The launch is for the special edition of City which features Sri Lankan literature in English and in translation from Sinhala and Tamil.

If you are in this neck of the woods, join us at the ICES and meet the editor, Ajmal Kamal and the other contributors.

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What’s the difference between editing and proofreading?

I was following a discussion on Facebook a while back about a fellow writer wanting to know why she needed a proofreader if she already had an editor.

There are different types of editors doing different things; there are line editors and development editors while a copy editor’s job is to proof the manuscript, and only after the development and line editors have finished. Copy editing is the final stage where the copy editor runs his/her eye over the manuscript for grammar, punctuation, spelling etc.

Here’s an interesting post about editing from NY Book Editors that someone had posted in a comment.

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What’s in a Pen Name?

Some writers are confident writing under their own name while some opt for a pen name, like Mary Anne Evans who became George Eliot. There are many reasons for using pen names. Do you feel comfortable writing under your own name? Or do you think a different name would sound more exotic, more in keeping with the type of stories you tell?

I’ve never felt a need to write under a different name, mostly because my name is my identity. Although I tend to write from different perspectives and view points both fiction and poetry I wouldn’t feel comfortable using a different name. It would feel like being someone else, or like being in character. But that’s just me.

Other writers may have various considerations. It could also be quite exciting. Getting a pen name is like reinventing yourself.

Would you write under a pen name and where would you go to look for a name? What  would you consider when looking for a pen name? How do you select a pen name and where can you find names? Read this interesting article here about selecting pen names.

 

There are both artistic and practical considerations in choosing a pen name. (Image via Bigstock/Vima)

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Gatecrashing the Book Charts

Amazon has a Fake Book Problem

Have you ever come across strange books at the top 20 with no reviews or sales and wondered how they got there?  Or who wrote them? Well, maybe no one wrote them? Here’s an interesting article about how they got there. Read it here.

 

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Tell Amazon to stop taking down reviews

Amazon has started taking down reviews because they believe the reviews are done by people known to the writers. As if that’s something wrong.

Now we all know that self published writers rely a lot on reviews to get their books out there.  It’s part of the marketing strategy for most indies.

But do we know all the people who review our books? I don’t think so.

I don’t review books by people I know. I review them because I find a book interesting, or I follow an author and I like her/his style of writing and want to read more, and once I’ve read the book, if I like it, I leave a review. It’s my way of saying thanks for writing a great book.

I have ‘met’ a lot of writers on Facebook and Twitter. I’m a member of an unimaginably large number of writer groups. We discuss writing, share experiences and help each out out, not necessarily in that order. We also  have loads of fun hanging out in the community. Sometimes, if we find we click, we include those new writers in our friends list. But do we personally know all of them – no.

So when someone reads and reviews our books, it mean s/he is doing it because s/he likes our book and is appreciative of it and wants to let us know in the nicest possible way – by leaving a review.

But Amazon has started to take down reviews because in some strange logic that they only seem to understand, they assume that we have asked, or personally know all the people on our Facebook or Twitter lists.

Maria Lazarou has just started a petition to get Amazon to reconsider their decision. If you are an indie author, or if you support indies, or if you love reading, please consider signing the petition. You can also leave a comment to let Amazon know why you think their move is not a good one. To sign and leave a message, go here.

 

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The Front Matters

You’ve probably skipped through the first few pages of any book, or, if you may have merely glanced through them before getting to the story. Have you ever wondered what it all means and why the front matter is there for?  Susan Oleksiw has an interesting post about formatting where she discusses what should go into the front matter of a book.   Or read it below.

Front Matter

Recently I’ve come across a number of self-published books that all have the same flaw. The writers have hired editors and proofreaders, book designers and formatters, and cover designers. But they have still failed to get one part of the book right. And this is the arrangement of the front matter.

The extent of the front matter may vary; not every book needs a preface or an introduction. But the order in which the required items appear has been well established, and serves a purpose. The front matter leads us into the work by offering important clarifying detail. Arranged correctly, the front matter orients distributors, booksellers, and librarians, and provides necessary information in the expected place. They know where this information is located. Only, now it isn’t.

The front matter on too many self-published books has me flipping back and forth among the first few pages looking for the critical details (copyright, publisher, ISBN, etc.). The experience is disorienting. But learning the correct arrangement of the front matter is simple—just examine a book published by a traditional publishing house. All of them use the same setup, the one prescribed by manuals such as The Chicago Manual of Style. My copy dates from 1982. Another option is Words into Type, from Prentice-Hall.

The front matter consists of everything before the main text, which begins with Chapter 1, opening on the right-hand page. Traditionally, everything begins on the right hand page—opening chapter, section title (and following first chapter in the section), division title. After the first chapter, each chapter can begin on the recto (right-hand page), or verso (left-hand page), but the writer should be consistent about this throughout the book. Here is the standard list of front matter for a print book and its arrangement.

Half title (recto)

blank (verso) or series title or list of previous publications

Title page (recto) with title and author and occasionally the title of the foreword, along with the name and location of the publisher and date.

Copyright page (verso) with copyright notice, foreword or preface copyright notice, publisher and additional publisher’s information (if a special imprint), ISBN, Library of Congress Control Number (if known), jacket or book designer’s name, place of manufacture, edition. This is also a permissions page if the list of permissions is short enough to be placed here. If not, place a note here referring the reader to the end of the book for the list of permissions. This will also be indicated in the Contents. Some publishers put the list of previous publications here.

Dedication (recto)

blank (verso)

Contents (recto)

blank (verso)

Preface (recto)

Foreword (recto if the first page of text; if not, either recto or verso).

Introduction (recto)

Section title (recto)

Blank (verso)

Chapter 1 (recto)

Pagination doesn’t usually begin until the first page of text, be that a preface or foreword or introduction or chapter 1. But some publishers begin pagination on the Contents page. If the front matter is paginated, the choice is roman numerals. Arabic numerals begin on the first page of chapter 1. But some publishers begin the Arabic numerals on the title page.

If you’re putting together an eBook, you have more flexibility. You can omit the half title and blank pages, and combine some of the others. The Title page can include the dedication, followed by a copyright page with list of permissions. A series title can also go below the title on the first page.

The back matter in a book of fiction is the place for links to websites, other books, and teaser chapters for your next book.

The front matter is important for providing a lot of technical information, and the point is to make sure anyone looking for it can find it. This may sound confusing at first, but putting things in their expected order makes the entire publication appear more professional.

To find my books (with front matter), go to:

https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Oleksiw/e/B001JS3P7C

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SusanOleksiw

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/susan+oleksiw?_requestid=1017995