Thursday, September 21, 2006

Proofread your work!

I recently read a mystery published by a small press--let's keep names and titles out of this gripe. The writing was fine in many respects; the chapters were short, the pacing was excellent, the characters were sympathetic. The plot and dialogue worked well.

So why mention it? Because apparently no one proofread the manuscript. Wouldn't you think that if a novel is about a kidnapping, that someone would notice that there are supposed to be two p's in kidnapped? It's spelled wrong dozens of times, because no one thought to look up the word. Frequently the author is too close to catch these errors, but someone should catch them before the reader does. Running a spell-check program would have caught "kidnaped" or "kidnaping." Even the spell-checker is not sufficient, but it should be a writer's first line of defense.

Typos--at least typos in quantity--distract from my enjoyment of a book and from my appreciation of its author.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The cover in progress

This week, an iUniverse graphic artist is designing the cover for When Pigs Fly. My idea had been to show a silhouette of a pig or javelina flying over Arizona's Sonoran Desert at sunset. There are several children's books by the same name, so I stressed the importance of designing the cover to appeal to adults. They referred me to several stock photographs that they could work with.

I didn't much care for the pig they found, which looked vaguely creepy. So I found a more suitable one and superimposed it on the sunset. The graphic artist should be using something like the image on the right. They plan to use a Nueva font with a drop shadow for the title and my byline. This doesn't look like a children's book to my friends who've seen it, so that's a relief.