Thursday, June 16, 2016

Guest Post: Geralyn Corcillo, author of Queen of the Universe

A Kickin' Way to Edit/Proofread
by Geralyn Corcillo

Hello, Bethany! I am so thrilled to be a part of your Blogiversary celebration! You spread such fun information about all the most wonderful reading out there that it's a kick to be one of your fans as well as an author you've featured. For the past year, you have done so much for readers and writers that I feel compelled to contribute to this extravaganza to the best of my ability. For readers, I write the best darn romantic comedy I can and there is a GIVEAWAY at the end of this blog. So here is a post for authors ... or for anyone who needs to proofread any document.

Before I begin my post about a fun and effective way to edit and proofread, let me assure you all that I am a TECHNOPHOBE. I have no idea what coding is, but I know I cannot do it. When people ask me “What operating system do you use?” I am just like, “WTF, dude! Speak English, will ya?” My point is this: what I am about to tell you is technically do-able. If I can do it, anyone can do it. This post is not for the technically savvy. (I don't even know what html means!)

Okay, so here goes …
I am a terrible visual proofreader. Horrible. I graduated phi beta kappa from an Ivy League school with a degree in English, yet I am hopeless at seeing and fixing typos. And when I write I make a LOT of such errors. We'll say it is because my mind works just so much faster than my fingers and my eyes … yeah, that sounds good. We'll say that. But whatever the reason for my wayward words, I found me a solution!

Here is is in a nutshell: I listen to my manuscript as my Kindle reads it aloud to me as I read said manuscript on my computer screen. When I HEAR an error, I pause the Kindle and fix the word document on my computer. Sometimes it is a quick fix, such as adding a comma or an “s” to a verb. Sometimes the fix takes a bit longer as I work to find just the right word. (This editing technique is especially helpful in letting me know when I have used the same word too many times or too closely together.) Sometimes the fix takes even longer, as I rewrite or rethink a chunk. Sometimes I make note of a section I need to rework. I usually go through this editing process several times, updating as I go, uploading newer and newer versions to my Kindle. It works so well for me because I HEAR errors I would never catch simply by reading my manuscript visually.

I know we all have different computers, programs, writing regimens – so, any way you already know to easily set up this “Listen” method of editing is awesome. But for those of you who are not so tech savvy, here is how I do it ...

These are the step-by-step “how to” details:

1.    Write and mercilessly edit the manuscript for content. This “editing” process I am about to describe is really more for “proofreading” for typos and small mistakes as opposed to editing for content.  
2.    Since I write using Open Office, I save the manuscript in .odt format. The process I am describing also works if you write using Word and save as a .doc or .docx format.  
3.    I open Calibre, which I downloaded for free from this address:  (Among many of the wonderful things it does, Calibre converts word and .odt documents into .mobi files, which is the format for Kindle)  
4.    In Calibre, I add my manuscript in .odt form by clicking the Add Book icon at the top of the screen. If you write in word, you would add the .doc or .docx manuscript.  

5.    Then I click on the Convert Book icon on the top of the screen.  
6.    At this point, you can upload a Cover, but I do not do this while editing for this reason: If there is no cover, the Kindle will just show you the name of the document on a plain white cover, which is handy so you can easily see if your document is something like  “April 1, Edit 1” or “April 5, Edit 2” if you upload several versions of the manuscript for editing.   

7.    Then you click OK in the bottom right of the screen and wait a moment while the book converts.  
8.    It takes about a minute for the book to convert. Once it is converted to a .mobi file, I click on the icon at the top called Share and I choose the option to email the book. You can input your own email addresses, and once you input the address or addresses the first time, they will always be there to be clicked on when you hit Share. The email address I send it to is my Kindle's email address.   
9.    If you do not know your Kindle's email address, it is easy to find. Here's how: Go on to Amazon and run the cursor over Your Account at the top and then click on Manage Content and Devices.
10.    Click on Settings on the top right.   

11.    Then scroll down and the email address for your Kindle will be listed under the heading Personal Document Settings.  

12.    Make sure your Kindle's wifi is activated so it can receive downloaded books. In about a minute after “sharing” the .mobi from Calibre to your Kindle's email, your document will show up on your Kindle with all of your other books. For example, I added this blog to my Kindle to proofread, and it showed up with all the other books I bought from Amazon.   

13.    I use a Kindle Fire. On my Kindle, I open a book, tap the middle of the screen, then tap Settings on the top left.   

14.    The last thing listed under Settings is Text-to-Speech and I make sure I select On.   

15.    Once the manuscript is open and Text-to-Speech is On, I tap page one in the middle of the page and a bar that lets me PLAY and PAUSE appears along the bottom of the page. I hit PLAY.  
16.    Once I hit the PLAY arrow and the book starts reading to me, I can adjust the speed of the reading with a button that appears in the bottom right that says .7X or 1X or 1.5X etc. so you can determine the speed of the reading.  
17.     I set the Kindle on my desk next to me as I read along on my computer, where I have the manuscript open in front of me. As the Kindle reads, I listen for mistakes.  

And that is how I edit/proofread.

I often get good Reader Reviews on Amazon that mention the humor and romance in my books, but a few weeks ago, I got a review for my novel Queen of the Universe that included a snippet that made my heart sing: “Great job of writing. I wasn't tripped up once with grammatical, spelling, or verbiage errors.” Victory! Victory! Victory!

This technique of converting to .mobi and sharing with the Kindle also works wonders if ever someone asks you to read their work and they send you a word document. You can use Calibre to turn it into a .mobi and put it on your Kindle if you do not want to be bound to your computer the whole time you are reading.

Editing this way has made the final work I upload to Amazon of such a higher caliber than before. I know the journey of working as a writer involves many hours of trial and error to decide what works for you, so this is just one suggestion I am throwing out to authors in case it might work for you.

And now for a GIVEAWAY for Bethany's amazing fans … a .mobi version of the first ever work I used this editing technique on, my bestselling romantic comedy novel Queen of the Universe. I will email to the lucky winner the .mobi version of the book, complete with cover and all internal links.

I love to connect with readers! So please, feel free to tweet me at @geralyncorcillo
or contact me at .

Thank you again, Bethany, for allowing me to be a part of your First Blogiversary!

First and foremost, Geralyn Corcillo loves reader reviews! In other news...When she was a kid growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Geralyn Vivian Ruane Corcillo dreamed of one day becoming the superhero Dyna Girl. So, she did her best and grew up to constantly pick up litter and rescue animals. At home, she loves watching old movies, British mysteries and the NY Giants.These days, she lives in Hollywood with her husband Ron, a guy who's even cooler than Kip Dynamite.

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