Commonly Confused: Know vs No

While not as common a mix up as other homonyms, I still see this one quite frequently. This particular word swap is a matter of spelling, context, and usage.

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Know implies a context where one’s comprehension, understanding, or awareness is being discussed.

“Do you know where my hairbrush is?”

Are you aware of where my hairbrush is.

No implies a context where one is disagreeing, negating, or refusing whatever is being discussed.

“That’s a no on going to the store today, Cameron.”

They are negating their plans to go to the store.

Sometimes your brain thinks one word, and your hands type another. It’s okay. As long as you conscientiously read through your work, you can avoid this homonym confusion.

Post SignatureHave a funny Know vs No typo story? Share in the comments!



Editorial Discussion: Managing FAQs From Your Clients

Editorial Discussion

Now this might seem like an no-brainer topic, but let me just say, sometimes telling an author something is not enough. You don’t how many times I’ve given explicit instructions on how to get to the project information form on my website, but I still get e-mails from authors telling me that can’t find the link–despite the fact that there is a direct link on my Pricing & Payment page, and I often include the link in the body of the e-mail I send authors.

The thing is most people either skim e-mails, or don’t really try to remember all the details, because they can always just send you an e-mail and ask, right? So, I think it is important for any business-minded individual to know two ways of fielding questions before they even get asked, and having a quick and easy way to respond your clients’ queries.

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The Importance of Beta Readers: To Pay or Not to Pay?

As you guys know, I have recently opened The Ribbon Marker Editorial Services, and I offer a variety of services, from book reviewing to content/developmental editing. My current, most used service is beta reading.

For those of you who don’t know what a beta reader is, a beta reader is the first person to take a look at your manuscript who is not a caring loved one. A beta reader is there to represent the reader’s interest and conflicts with your manuscript, such that they give the author a preview of possible problems that readers might have with their story. Their feedback gives authors an opportunity to improve things before their book is for sale and their reputation is on the line. Betas don’t necessarily have to have editing experience, but they do need to know enough about the genre for them to tell you what works in your book, and what doesn’t.

So what makes for a good beta?

A good beta reader is:

  • A reader of the genre  – being a reader of the genre means that the beta has already done the background research of what readers of that genre like, and what they never want to see.
  • Open-minded – in a continuously changing industry, where books straddle genres and sub-genres, you need someone who can see the possibilities for manuscript blurring lines and testing boundaries. Just because your book isn’t a classical contemporary romance, it doesn’t mean it couldn’t spawn a new sub-genre or theme with in that genre.
  • Critical – you don’t want a beta who says “the book was great and I really liked your characters”. You want a beta who will say, “While I like Stacy and Ben, I thought that Ben was too permissive to really be the alpha male that Stacy had hoped for the entire book (and her entire life). Particularly, I feel like he really needs to be more outspoken in their arguments. Ben is a guy who really knows himself, and he wouldn’t let Stacy just steamroll him into letting go of the argument.” Notice, there is a difference between critiquing (insightful but polite analysis), versus fault-finding and being judgmental (rudely listing all the thing wrong in the manuscript and then hatefully questioning the authors attempts).
  • Reliable – you want a beta who will actually:
    1. Read the manuscript
    2. Give constructive criticism
    3. Get back to you in a timely manner
    4. Keep you appraised of their progress
  • Supportive – at the end of the day, you want a beta who wants to help you make your book into the best version of your book that they can, from the reader’s perspective.

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Which to use, professional or colloquial language, when writing in the publishing industry?

This topic has been of great importance in our house for many years now. My sister, who comes from a primarily sciences background, feels that when writing, no matter who you’re writing too, you should always use professional language. I, on the other hand, feel like being in the publishing industry allows writers to use a colloquial writing voice.

For example, when you write or read a review, would you prefer to hear a very clinical review of the book, or would you rather hear somebody’s truly impassioned, but more informal, opinion of the book? Personally, I find that impassioned reviews tend to be  more indicative of how good a book is. If a book is good enough to make someone want to rant for 5 1/2 pages, then chances are it’s either really polarizing, or it’s one hell of a good book. On the other hand, I understand why my sister would feel that any sort of professional work requires a level of seriousness and objectivity. Both styles communicate the same information, but the intensity in which the information is communicated is very different.

Professional writing has its place. I would never send off a cover letter for an internship or job written in the same way as I do on my blog. However, I think that when you need your personality portrayed to others, it is more effective to use a colloquial style. I also think that the style you choose also depends on the subject matter you’re writing about. For example, if I was writing a paper on how cells divide, I wouldn’t really need to use a colloquial style, because it’s a fact, cells only divide in such and such fashion. However, if I want to talk about my opinion of the book, I have to start using words like I, myself, for me, and other words or phrases that personalize the reading experience to me, because I am not exactly like the next reader, therefore I might have different opinions.

Even from the readers point of view, reading a book that’s full of stilted professional language makes the content feel even more dry than it is. That’s why a lot of people don’t spend their free time reading the New England Journal of Medicine, unless they have to do so for work (or are total science geeks :D). I would rather pick up a copy of Gena Showalter’s book, and have people talk like they do every day.

At the end of the day, this is just another example on how different personalities prefer different styles. That’s why one person has never honestly stated that they like all books written by all authors. Authors portray their personality into the books they write. They have a type of book that they like to write (e.g. Urban fantasy, young adult, etc.), or they have that certain types of characters that they like to repeat. Mary Calmes, is an excellent example of this. She really likes the alpha male character who is in a position of power. She did it once with the Change of Heart series, with Logan being the semel (tribe leader) who has this power over other tribe members, and who has the power to do  the partial shift, which none other than his equal can do (a reah by the name of Jin). She also did it again in the A Matter of Time series, where Sam is a law enforcement officer (ending up being Supervisory Deputy Marshall Sam Cage), and comes from a household where his father is the alpha male that makes all the final decisions. That’s why when readers like Mary Calmes’ stories, they can pick up any one of her books and just enjoy it. You find so many reviews on Goodreads that say, “I love all of Mary Calmes’ books and this one didn’t disappoint”, because her type of writing style appeals to a particular reader personality.

 Which writing style do you prefer? Which do you use in your line of work? Which style do you think is best when in the publishing industry?

What made you want to be a part of the publishing industry?

When I realized that my graduation deadline was in the not-too-distant future, I had a massive panic attack. Graduation was no longer this far away date I was looking forward to because it meant no more assignments, no more all night study sessions for exams, and no more attending lectures. Instead of feeling that way, I got really, really, scared.

I was afraid of not knowing what to do next. When you are in school, it’s simple: don’t fail, and make sure you make it into the next grade or course. However, there is so much uncertainty after graduation. It’s a time of reassessing your career path. Are you really sure you know what you want to do with your life?

Continue reading “What made you want to be a part of the publishing industry?”

WordPress Newbie

Hello everyone!

My name is Ketshedile, but you can call me Kate (easier to spell and pronounce). I am obviously new to WordPress, but I look forward to spreading my blogging wings on here.

My blog will mostly be about my favorite hobby/soon-to-be profession: reading. I love to read. Harry Potter slash fan fiction, gay romance (most of which are also paranormal in nature), and urban fantasy are my favorite genres.

I am working on making pages for my favorite fan fictions, as well a book lists for my favorite authors/books under the aforementioned genres. As I read a lot, it’s going to take me a while to finish those up. I am determined to at least update one new favorite read per day (fingers crossed).

I am also going to have pages for Anticipated Reads (aka my to-be-read pile), my foray into writing, and my job hunt/experiences on becoming an editor. My blog will also include updates of what I am doing, random streams of consciousness, and any thing that I think might be of interest to other people.

Be patient with me, as this is my first ever blog (and WordPress scares the daylights out of me).

Signing off,