Some advice to new writers regarding preparation of their manuscript:
1) Turn off the automated tasks Microsoft Word uses. This is a demon that likes to fix things (and often incorrectly from the writer’s point of view) without telling you. Rely on manual changes, not automatic ones. This feature has created difficulty for more than one of my clients.
2) Always print and read the hard copy before you submit it electronically to publishers. There are errors you’ll see on the page that you won’t notice on the screen. This is especially important if you are using a template.
3) When you find an error of yours is a habit, do a search of that error. Assume you’ve made the mistake more than once. As Suzuki said, “Once it’s a mistake. Twice, it’s a habit.”
4) Always save your work frequently as you’re working (like every time you make a change) and make copies of your work in case a computer or printer goes insane. And of course, NEVER send or give anyone your only copy of a work.
5) Regarding form: Follow the publisher’s guidelines. Understand that these will differ from publisher to publisher.
6) Don’t rely on spell-check alone. Remember the famous “Ode to Spell Checkers” you read in school? If not, you can read it here: http://www.etni.org.il/farside/odetospell.htm
Book Signing News:
Today and tomorrow I’ll be doing various tasks related to my writing business, and hopefully getting in some writing of my own. Wednesday, I’ll be at Northwest High School in Justin, Texas, for a short program in the school’s library. This library, by the way, led by librarian Naomi Bates, is an award winning library. I am very excited about this trip. The school’s Website is here: http://www.nisdtx.org/nhs/site/default.asp
I’ll be back to Monroe by Thursday; in Alexandria, Louisiana, Friday; and in Monroe at the Sam’s Club Saturday, 11:00-1:00 (or until books are sold. In Shreveport, I sold out rather quickly.) Saturday night, I drive to Oklahoma to pick up my parents and bring them to spend Christmas with me. It is our first Christmas together since my brother passed away.