I’m discovering that reviewing my own work takes a different kind of discipline from writing it. While writing the first draft, I kept reminding myself to stay on target and finish the draft without worrying too much about polishing it. Now that it’s done, I have to go over it all with a self-critical eye. This means checking for inconsistencies and errors in content, looking over my spelling and grammar, and seeing how it looks in an EPUB file generated with Calibre.
To see how it appears on an actual handheld device (and because it’s so much fun to see my own book in iBooks), I’ve copied it to my iPod and discovered that the same text sometimes doesn’t appear in the same font in the Calibre viewer and in iBooks! This has to be because of the different ways they handle CSS, and it’s very annoying. In one case the font changes in mid-line on the iPod just because I changed style. This feeds back into the book not only in my trying to fix this problem, but in my downgrading EPUB as a preservation format.
So I’m now “meta” in my constant habit of fussing with file formats. Still, I need to review the book and get it out to first readers. To do this I’ll create a checklist of each chapter and mark them off one by one as reviewed. Otherwise I’d just wander around the book and probably leave important parts untouched.
I’ve hired Jean Rossner as a proofreader, and I’m sure she’ll keep the book from being the embarrassment it would have been without professional checking. Today I read an article by Kristine Kathryn Rusch explaining the various kinds of editors with attention to how self-published writers deal with them.It’s very helpful, and I’m intrigued to find out (if it’s true) that proofreaders don’t even check spelling and usage any more but leave that to “copy editors.” This sounds to me like a case of job title inflation, or maybe difficulty in finding competent proofreaders.