Turning blog posts into books (or blooks) is on the rise, with companies like Blurb even offering specific production and print services. But the style, format and very nature of blogs brings new challenges to the editorial process.
BookMachine have been plotting for the next blook in the Snapshots series, Snapshots III, BookMachine on Publishing: The Next 5 Years. For the third year in a row, we’ve teamed up with Kingston University Press who have appointed a production team of students from Kingston’s Publishing MA course to design, typeset and proofread a selection of our best posts.
Having just finished collating, formatting and copy-editing the manuscript, here are 10 tips for tackling this new editorial territory.
1. Remove most/all of the introductory text from each post
For example, information on the author. We rework information on each writer and interviewee into a ‘Contributors’ section. Any of the material that adds meaning or context to the post should be kept/worked into the body text.
2. Unify the format
Titles, sub-titles, headings, sub-headings, layouts, and the style of bulleted and numbered lists all need to be checked for consistent use of capitalisation, fonts, point size, line spacing, indentation, etc.
3. Remove hyperlinks
And replace any references with footnotes.
4. Remove images (that aren’t integral to the text)
Images will vary in size, resolution and style (especially headshots), so remove them. To make up for this, design/source your own set of images – we use type to create feature pages out of our favourite quotes.
5. Rework any (non-specific) time-specific references
Such as ‘last week’ or ‘in July’. You can replace these with words like ‘recently’. The year could be added if the date is necessary, e.g. ‘Following its launch in July 2015…’
6. Ensure spelling and grammar use is consistent
Particularly with words where variants are common (e.g. ereader/eReader/e-reader).
7. Check the spelling and capitalisation of people and company names
Posts are often written, and proofread, with limited time. Details likes this can often be overlooked. Keep a close eye on the capitalisation of ‘the’.
Draft a list of the keywords and names for your index as you go.
Obviously, clear permissions to rework and publish with any guest bloggers, interviewees, etc.
10. Timeless vs. topical
It’s easy to focus too much on preventing your book from becoming dated quickly. But, as most of what’s currently being written about publishing will be irrelevant in a few years, we try to keep a reactionary pace to it too.