Publish-on-demand (POD) printing has forever changed the way authors approach book publishing. But just because everyone can easily publish a book doesn’t mean every book will meet the high standards that traditional publishers (and their readers) expect.
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency (SBPRA), an independent publishing company, has identified five major editing errors that prevent authors from having their books accepted by the publishing industry:
Neglecting to proofread the work before submitting.
Thoroughly review your work before submission. Go over it objectively, remembering that this is a marketable product. If you have a propensity to use certain words and expressions repeatedly, be aware of them and take pains to avoid them. Don’t submit manuscripts with duplicate or missing chapters.
Overlooking typographical, punctuation, and grammar errors.
This could be an endless list. Some of the most common mistakes.
- Using “it’s” instead of “its,” and vice versa
- Misusing or omitting apostrophes (Bills dad is incorrect; so is Dad’s bill’s)
- Using hyphens when dashes are required
- Inconsistently formatting numbers, dates, and times of day
- Capitalizing Every Word In A Title Or Subtitle. Standard publishing practice dictates the capitalization of only important words, not articles and short prepositions
- Confusing the spelling of homophones, such as lightning and lightening, or complimentary and complementary.
- Using inconsistent capitalization, such as capitalizing “Bible” in some places and making it lower-case in other places.
- Using US and UK spellings and style in the same manuscript, resulting in humor and color in some places and humour and colour elsewhere.
- Using “that” instead of “who” when referring to people.
Failing to Obtain Permission to Use Copyrighted Material.
It is the author’s responsibility to obtain permission for the use of all materials included in the book (not just text, but illustrations, charts, graphs). As the author, you must also ensure that all citations from other works are correctly quoted and that the sources are correctly cited.
Failing to Include All Material in a Single File.
Along with the main text, the manuscript file should include the “front matter” (title page, copyright page, epigraph, dedication, table of contents, preface, foreword, and introduction) as well as the “back matter” (bibliography, glossary, and endnotes or footnotes if used). Nobody will ever know if you intended this material if you don’t supply it with your manuscript. Adding it after the page layout has been completed is time-consuming, inefficient, and potentially expensive.
Failing to Develop a Professional, Yet Individual Style.
This is a really big one. So many authors don’t make the effort to learn how to write effectively. To compensate, they load their prose with “filler” phrases such “It is important to remember” or “I want to take this opportunity to say” instead of just beginning with the essential statement. Or they try to appear up-to-date by using slang like “What’s up with that?” or “homeboy”—clichés that are bound to sound dated a few years after the book is published.
The Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency (SBPRA) has the experience, expertise, and international network that can help authors be more successful in today’s evolving publishing industry. The firm offers book publishing services and comprehensive marketing support.