Resources for Editing: Style Guides, Track Changes, and Instructional Manuals

I plan on doing an entire video about these resources, a video that will be much more thorough and informative. I’m mainly putting this list here for my own reference; these are all books and software I plan on investing in within the next few weeks. Having to look up everything I have a question about when editing is tiresome and often wastes time.

As of now, here’s what I use to edit articles for my school newspaper and fiction books for Limitless and my freelance business:

PUC Chronicle

  • AP Stylebook: It’s a free book provided by the newspaper team, but the one in the newspaper office is outdated and belongs to the school. I want a 2014 one that I can take home and study; further, if I buy one of my own online, I can also sign up to take quizzes that will help me better learn the materal.
  • Webster’s New World College Dictionary: The online version, mostly. There’s a dictionary in the newspaper office when I edit, but I don’t use it; in fact, it may not be a Webster’s dictionary.
  • PUC Chronicle Style Guide: Right now, it’s just a mish-mash of information. I plan on updating it.
  • Microsoft Word Track Changes: Since all the computers on campus have the newest version of Microsoft Word, I make sure to edit the articles for the school paper every other weekend on campus. Articles are edited a number of times by a number of people, so having the mark-up feature of track changes is absolutely vital.

Limitless Publishing and Freelance Publishing

  • Chicago Manual of Style: Unfortunately, I do not have the physical copy or the online subscription, so whenever I need to consult the Chicago Manual, I have to look for stuff online or double check with other editors in the Limitless Editing group.
  • Limitless Publishing Style Guide: Most, if not all, book publishers have both an in-house style guide listing their own style preferences that’s supposed to be used in-tandem with a universal style guide (often the Chicago Manual of Style). Of course I only use the Limitless Style Guide for Limitless books. For Freelance books, I ask the individual author to choose their own preferences for certain words or sentence structures.
  • LibreOffice Track Changes: LibreOffice is an Open Office document software. It’s free to download and free to update. You can edit, read, and save your documents in Microsoft Word format. It also has track changes. I use LibreOffice to edit manuscripts since I often edit on my laptop and I  currently don’t have Microsoft Word.
  • Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (online, without the subscription) and OneLook Dictionary

Of course, I want to build an entire library of editing materials. No matter how great you are at editing or how much you think you know, this is a field where you’re ALWAYS learning. That’s why, with the money I’m now making as a full-time, stay-at-home editor, I plan on buying the following style guides, software, and instructional manuals. If you’re interested in editing, you should look into the following material as well.

Everything that I think is absolutely necessary is bold and I use a strike-out for anything I’ve already bought:

Are there any books you would add to this list?

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David Alderman’s Eight Book Giveaway!

David Alderman part 1David Alderman is a speculative fiction writer of edgy Christian fiction, a niche genre he’s cultivating with the help of The Crossover Alliance, a website he created that gathers edgy Christian fiction writers, and The Crossover Alliance Anthology, an anthology that showcases what edgy Christian fiction consists of.

Even more, he’s self-published at least a dozen novels all on his own with the only outside help being from an editor. In this big  giveaway contest, he’s going to be giving away a digital copy of eight of his books, four of which I’ve reviewed and enjoyed reading.

You can click here to enter the Rafflecopter contest!

Here are the eight books that you can win in the giveaway:

black earthEnd of the Innocence
Amazon | My Review

Black Earth -The Broken DaisyThe Broken Daisy
Amazon | My Review

Dark MasqueradeDark Masquerade
Amazon | My Review

ExodusExodus
Amazon | My review

Endangered Memories 2014 CoverEndangered Memories | Amazon

Lost Birth 2014 Cover

Lost Birth | Amazon

Drather's Story 2014 Cover

Drather’s Story | Amazon

The Crossover Alliance AnthologyThe Crossover Alliance Anthology | Smashwords

Progress Report: September 2014

Progress Report October 2014 updatedFirst things first, I want to apologize for not posting more consistently. It’s not like I have any readers who have been eagerly waiting for my posts, but, at this rate, I certainly won’t have any readers. Obviously that’s bad for a lot of the goals laid out in my master goal list. However, I haven’t stopped posting out of laziness or writer’s block. I have a number of posts lined up, outlined, and written. Yet, apart from this progress report and another huge giveaway contest hosted by David N. Alderman, I don’t intend to post anything else here at tiffanytcole.wordpress.com. I’ll get right into the reason for that in this month’s progress report, a report where I’ll also explain everything I’ve done up until now. Perhaps one day, if I get brave enough or start making enough substantial money to feel as though I can be helpful to others pursuing similar forms of happiness, I’ll create income reports Pat Flynn style.

Website Renovations: Taking My Websites to the Next Level

I’ve been making free websites with free platforms – Proboards, Weebly, WordPress, Blogger, Wix etc. – since I was a freshman in high school. I’ve experimented with bits of coding and buying domains, but that’s all. I never felt like I needed or wanted a website host, advertising or access to designers, but with these next three websites I’m planning, I want it all. That’s where Bluehost and Elegant Themes comes in. Right now I’m just saving up with the money I’m making from my day job, but I’ve already decided what themes I want. I can’t wait to use them! They’re extremely beautiful and professional, and since I’ve got big things planned for those sites and haven’t done too much with my current sites (meaning it’ll be easier to transfer all my content over to the next blog), I figure it would be a good idea to stop posting before it gets harder to move the content.

Updated Editorial Assistance

I still have a LOT more updates to integrate (a comprehensive guide to editing, a guest post series for editors to share advice, and a change of services focusing mainly on manuscript critiques and worksheets), but I’m saving all of those updates for the new website. I did make some basic updates on the current website though – mainly, the terms and conditions make sense again and I no longer offer book review services. I’ve decided that if I want to write reviews and also make money for all the hard work I put into writing thorough reviews, I’ll try to write for Kirkus Indie or something similar.

Created a Basic Mind Map for Checklists for Self-Publishing a Book and a full outline for Checklists for Editing a Book

Checklists for Self-Publishing a Book is the big nonfiction book I’m working on. It’s not some guru book. How could I be a guru of something I’ve never done before? It is, more than anything, me learning the process of self-publishing by self-publishing this book and then me sharing my checklists and everything I’ve learned. This is a test book of sorts so that I can prepare myself to self-publish my fiction books while also helping others. I plan on publishing it is an e-book and a print book. It’ll be a while before it’s ready for publication.

Checklists for Editing a Book, however, is just one section of Checklists for Self-Publishing a Book. Before I publish the whole book, I’m going to make the editing section of the book a free blog series at Editorial Assistance. I think it makes a lot of sense to share part of the book for free, and what better part to share than the editing section? Plus, since most of my content at the new Editorial Assistance will be guest posts from other editors, it’s very important I also create valuable content of my own. It all works out for a variety of reasons, but it’ll definitely be hard work.

Learned About Backlinking and Keyword Research Courtesy of Pat Flynn

These days, writers, especially writers who are self-publishing, are business people as much as they are creative people. I’m glad I’ve always thought of myself as an entrepreneur AND a writer because studying both feels separately made me realize just how much they intermingle. Your book is not just your artistic labor of love; it’s also your product. The moment you have a product you’re trying to sell, you’re an entrepreneur.

That’s why I think it’s important to learn about backlinking and keyword research. It’s almost a necessity these days for writers to have a blog. If you’re going to have a blog anyway why not think like a blog entrepreneur and also learn about building traffic and the right keywords to use to perhaps make money from ads?

I took lots of notes on the following articles/podcasts: keywordresearchwebinar.com, THE Backlinking Strategy That Works – 2014 and Beyond, Passive Income 101

I didn’t make any money my first month of starting my pursuit of happiness (nor did I expect to), but I at least learned a lot. It’s been a pretty great start 🙂

The Crossover Alliance: Anthology Giveaway

IMG_0219Today’s blog post is actually a giveaway and a guest post from author David N. Alderman. David Alderman is an amazing indie author. I’ve been reviewing and promoting his work for a while now and it’s always a pleasure. As he notes in the post below, I’ve reviewed every book in his Black Earth series.

Aside from editing, he pretty much does everything involving publishing on his own – the cover art, formatting, promotion, distribution, website building, etc. He’s a go-getter writing in a small niche that he cultivated a group for and he’s great at making his own opportunities. Even for this anthology he put together and self-published, he did everything on his own. That’s far too inspirational and helpful for me NOT to host a giveaway contest for the anthology. Even more, I asked him to share some of his knowledge about self-publishing.

I hope you learn as much from this post as I did. You can click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway or wait until the end of the post. Even if you don’t win the paperback copy below, there’s a free copy available at Smashwords.

___________________________

It’s a great privilege for me to be able to guest post on Tiffany’s blog today about the multi-author anthology I have been putting together since January: The Crossover Alliance Anthology – Volume 1. I’ve known Tiffany (online) for a couple of years now, and she’s read and reviewed all of the books in my Black Earth series, not to mention she’s supported me as an indie author since the day I stumbled upon her online a few years ago.

Speaking of my Black Earth series, the series is actually part of the reason the Anthology exists today. Back when I started writing End of the Innocence – the first book in the series – I realized I wanted to write science fiction/fantasy that had Christian themes, but real-world content. And the Christian market is very strict when it comes to having real-world content in its fiction, so I ventured out, self-published my Black Earth series, and decided I needed to find other authors who wrote in the same vein so we could network with one another and bring more attention to this fairly new and much neglected genre.

After much trial and error in trying to find a good genre to fit my work into, I ended up carving out my own niche and labeling my genre ‘edgy Christian speculative fiction’. Once I did that, I started a community for those interested in this genre: The Crossover Alliance. It was proposed to me by Mark Carver, one of the members of the Crossover and an author found within the Anthology, that we should do a multi-author short story collection to bring more attention to the genre.

Thus, the Anthology was born.

Gathering Content For an Anthology: Submissions, Guidelines, and a Panel

I started the process by putting together a panel made up of both authors and reviewers of edgy Christian speculative fiction. They were responsible for reading/voting on submissions and making other various decisions in the publication process. Then I constructed a list of submission guidelines – which was incredibly important to make sure we didn’t cross any theological or doctrinal lines with the fiction we accepted, and I put out the call for submissions in January 2014. I made it clear to everyone that the book would be made available for the lowest possible price (even free on some sites), and that any profits inadvertently made would go toward the cost of funding the Crossover Alliance website, forum and other ventures.

In regards to working with the panel, I’ll be honest and say that I almost always like to work alone. I do everything involved with my author business by myself, aside from editing which I leave to a trusted professional. But putting together this anthology – and building up the community of the Crossover Alliance – really showed me the benefits of networking with other authors who share an interest in your work and who themselves have a vested interest. It was an awesome process reading/voting for the submissions, and the guys that I worked with were all on the same page as me IMG_0249(pun intended) when it came to the type of content which we felt would really enhance the anthology and do good to the genre of edgy Christian speculative fiction.

To be honest, I was surprised at the number of submissions we had considering this was a nearly unheard of genre and an equally unheard of community. In total, the Anthology boasts seven authors and nine stories totaling 144 pages and a little over 53,000 words – the size of a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) novel.

Putting the Anthology Together

To make things easy and affordable for the Alliance, I made everyone responsible for their own edits. Since I’ve self-published several of my own books, I decided to undertake the responsibility of compilation, formatting and cover design. I did an editorial run through, checking for typos, basic grammar errors, and punctuation flaws. I used Microsoft Word 2013 to format the book – including font selection, spacing, and drop caps – all easy things to do in Microsoft Word. I was even able to add a watermark of our logo to the front page.

I used Art Explosion Publisher Pro to create the cover design. The panel voted on different elements of the design, and it took a bit of tweaking to get it just right. The original cover had a horrible honeycomb pattern to it – I was trying to go for a collage or mosaic feel – and I ended up changing it to a black and gray gradient.

The process of putting together the physical book was the same as I’ve followed for all of my own books. I used Createspace to put together the paperback version. Once it was finished being edited, formatted, and designed, I ordered a physical proof copy. The only thing I was a bit iffy on was if a spine image would work seeing how thin the book is, but it worked out surprisingly well.

Cover Design After
Cover Design After
Cover Design Before
Cover Design Before

All in all, this has been a great experience! I really hope everyone picks up a copy of the book either in paperback or digital format. You can find all of the links to available places to find the Anthology at the official web page – http://www.thecrossoveralliance.com/#!anthology/c22ov.

IMG_0101 (Resized)David N. Alderman is an indie author of two speculative fiction series—Black Earth and Expired Reality. You can find all of David’s work at www.davidnalderman.com. He is also the founder of The Crossover Alliance (www.thecrossoveralliance.com), and he participates in National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org) each year. When he’s not writing or spending time with family, you can find David racking up his achievement score on his Xbox 360, questing in Guild Wars 2, or killing opponents in a game of Half Life 2: Deathmatch on Steam.

Click here to Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

Taking Action: Big Goals, Small Steps

Shortly after I posted I’m on a Pursuit of Happiness. Are you?, I felt overwhelmed. The problem with huge master lists containing goals meant to take years or an entire lifetime to complete is that they seem larger than life and unattainable, and if you convince yourself that your goals are unattainable it’s easy to never achieve anything.

Twitter birdIf you’re like me, though, knowing exactly what you can do to make your dreams a reality and then not doing anything is the quickest way to fall into depression-fueled complacency.

Of course I recommend that everyone create and maintain a master goal list listing everything they want to achieve in the next couple of years and/or throughout their lifetime; in fact, at the end of my previous post, I ask readers to do just that and comment with a link to their blog post so I can read it and offer any advice.

However, I think you need to do more than just list and acknowledge your goals. Since listing and acknowledging only shows you the desired end result and not how to get there, which is largely what makes goals seem too intimidating to achieve, it’s important to break your big goals into smaller goals or small steps. That’s exactly what I did.

Today I’m going to share with you the small steps I came up with – not just so that I can refer to this list myself, but in the hopes that my list helps you create a list of smaller steps too.

Continue reading

I’m on a pursuit of happiness. Are you?

Pursuit of HappinessThis isn’t my first time blogging. If you Google ‘Tiffany T. Cole’ (just Googling Tiffany Cole will bring up articles about a murderer; I promise I’m not part editor, part Dexter), you can see that I’ve been sharing my thoughts all over the internet since I was a wee freshman in high school (maybe even before high school). So why have I been staring at this empty blog for weeks, too afraid to write my first post?

I’m sure it’s got something to do with self-doubt or my weird fear of actually succeeding. More likely than not, I’m afraid of asking for your attention and then having little to nothing of interest to say.

None of those fears matter now, though, seeing as how this first post already has a handy-dandy title and the words are practically writing themselves.

Unlike Tiffany Rambles, a place where I solely rambled about anything I found worth rambling about – namely school, writing, editing, money, etc. – I want this personal blog to be specifically about my fiction and nonfiction books, sharing information, and my pursuit of happiness.

Now, before I go into detail about my pursuit of happiness, let me define what pursuit of happiness means to me. I think happiness itself is too elusive and far too vague to pursue. At the most, at least in my opinion, one can be content with themselves and their lives on a regular basis, but is that happiness? Because that can very easily just be complacency. Is happiness what you feel at a party or what you feel after great sex or what you feel while eating your favorite food? Because if it’s any of those things or any thing similar, then take note of how fleeting all of those moments are. Why pursue something so fleeting? If I’m going to put all of my energy into pursuing anything, it needs to be the type of thing that will leave me satisfied for a long amount of time, if not forever.

I interpret the pursuit of happiness as the pursuit of self-fulfillment. After all, nothing makes me happier for a longer amount of time than fulfilling my ambitions and desires through my own efforts.

There’s something to be said about working hard, giving your all, and then seeing your life improve as a result.

With that said, my pursuit of happiness consists of learning how to find success in the writing world. I would love for you to come along for the journey. Even more, I want you to hold me accountable if I lose sight of my goals, and I hope you’re pursuing whatever makes you happy too so long as it’s not totally illegal and bad for everyone involved.

Here’s what I’m currently pursuing for the sake of happiness: Continue reading