Submitting your newly completed novel to a publisher can be a scary prospect. But knowing how to make sure you have a professional-looking manuscript is one step in the right direction to getting a contract.
When submitting your novel to a publisher or agent, you want to give it your best shot, so make sure their first impression is a good one. For a busy publisher, a messy manuscript can indicate a messy story, and you don’t want to put them off from the start.
After months, or even years, of perfecting your manuscript, it will have become really familiar to you. When you open the document to work on a scene or to play with a few sentences, you know what you expect to see.
But you sent your manuscript to an editor, and it has just landed back in your inbox.
Now what should you expect when you open it?
Usually we never take much notice of the style and order of the pages that come before and after the main text in a book. But if we want to self-publish our own book, we need to know how to do this, and that can be confusing and overwhelming. Getting it right will help your book look professional and credible.
This is a basic guide to all the pages you can have in both a fiction or non-fiction book. There are some variations in house styles, though they are all very similar. The description below is based on the New Oxford Style Manual.
The title of this blog post may sound a bit like an oxymoron – how can fiction be fact?
I recently edited a manuscript where the character was sunbathing on a sunny winter’s day and got sunburnt. I happen to have grown up in the area where the novel was set, so I knew that there is no way I would be outside in my bathing suit in winter – even on a sunny day – and there is also no way I would get sunburnt if I was.
After months (or sometimes years) of putting everything into writing your book, it would be tempting to finish, hit save, and never look it again, hoping it's perfect. But not even the most experienced authors can do that.
There is still a lot of work to do between writing the final word and having the book on the shelf.
Recently, there seems to be a rise in the number of people preferring to self-publish their books. But if you've never written, let alone published, a book before through a traditional publisher, you may not be aware of all the steps (or how to do them) that go into publishing a book.
So, what do we need to do to make our book the best it can be?
It is tempting to write a novel, hit save, and send it off to an editor or publisher without ever looking at it again. It must be perfect, right? You have just put your heart and soul into it.
But not even the most experienced author can do that.
There are a few steps to take before you send your novel to an editor or publisher, and one of these steps is to use beta readers.
Is it Charles' book or Charles's book?
And is it right or wrong when we see signs in supermarkets selling banana's and apple's?
And finally, if the Jones family own a house. Whose house is it? The Jones’s house, the Jones’ house or the Joneses’ house?
Let’s go back to the basics to work it out.
Is it colour or color? Behaviour or behavior?
Most New Zealanders know that New Zealand English (NZE) uses colour and behaviour, following British English (BrE) spelling.
So, are there any differences between NZE and BrE spelling?
Is it I burned the toast or I burnt the toast?
What sounds the most natural to you? Is one more correct than the other? Does one sound more old-fashioned than the other?
And, which one is correct for New Zealand English?
The Māori language is one of the three official languages of New Zealand. Its official name is te reo Māori.
We often use Māori words within English writing, but there are a few points to remember to ensure that the Māori language is used respectfully and correctly.
Before I start, just a note: this is intended as a basic guide to using Māori words and names within an English text. For more detailed information, see the external source list at the bottom of this article.
Marja Stack is a copy-editor and proofreader based in New Zealand. Her business, Clearlingo Editing and Proofreading, caters to all writers of fiction or non-fiction books. For more information or enquiries for how she can help you make your book shine, please see her website: www.clearlingo.co.nz.
New Zealand English Series
*NZE: How to write numbers
*NZE: How to write abbreviations
*How to punctuate dialogue
*NZE: hyphens, en dashes and em dashes
*NZE: How to write times and dates
*NZE: Is our spelling different?
*NZE: Burned vs Burnt
*NZE: Using Māori words in English text
*NZE: -ise vs -ize endings
*NZE: Single or double quote marks
*NZE: Punctuation inside or outside quotation marks?
The Editing Process
*How to self-publish your book in New Zealand
*When is my book ready for publishing?
*Types of editing
*5 things to tell your editor
*The revision and editing process
*What are beta readers?
*What to expect when you get your manuscript back
*How to order the pages of a book
*Fact checking fiction writing
*Formatting your manuscript for submission
*How long does it take to edit a book?
*Why I belong to editing associations
* How to write recipes for cookbooks and blogs
*How to use Tracked Changes in Word
*How to use basic Word Styles
*How to fix common formatting errors in Word