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Posts Tagged ‘transgender child’

Use – or create – a style guide for a professional finish

You may remember it: the woman athlete running with a giant sledgehammer in hand. The unnamed heroine hurls the implement at a giant screen, saving humanity from “conformity” and thereby introducing the Macintosh apple-1984-runnercomputer to the world during a break in the third quarter of the 1984 Super Bowl. While I sincerely doubt my father ever saw this ad (he was not a sports fan and seldom watched anything on TV besides the news and PBS), he was on the cutting edge, as he bought my sister and me the very first Mac Classic to aid in our studies. This was pre-pre-pre-Internet. Today we regularly send email attachments larger than the 4 mg memory of the entire Mac Classic.

So I grew up a Mac user. And it was in the book The Mac Is Not a Typewriter that I was first introduced to the idea that with desktop publishing applications, it was no longer necessary to use two spaces after a period. The reason for this is that the letters on typewriters were all uniformly spaced, meaning that a lowercase “i” or “l” took up the same amount of space in a line of type as a “w” or “m” even though the latter two are significantly wider. If you want to see this at work, check out the Courier typeface example below.

courier

In modern typography, letters take up only their actual width, so the shape of a word contributes to its readability. In documents created on traditional typewriters, every letter took up the same amount of space, so the extra space between sentences was necessary to indicate the end of a sentence for the reader. I never took a formal typing class, so I’ll admit that this was not an enormous adjustment for me to make. However, I’ve recently been doing lots of editing for a group blog by authors for authors, and I’m noticing that many, many of our authors still use two spaces after a period. I’m guessing they didn’t get the memo.

So what, right? Sort of. The thing is, since I coordinate and edit this group blog, I get to decide on the styles we use. What does that mean? It means using H2 style for every subheading. One space after periods. OK, as opposed to okay. Putting all resource boxes in italics. En dashes ( – ) with one space on either side, as opposed to em dashes with no space (—). No http:// to start web addresses. Using periods to break the segments of a phone number. You get the idea.

The particular styles matter less than consistency in applying them. If you haven’t adopted a professional style guide for your books/writing, you may want to think about creating one of your own – particularly if you write fantasy or use a language, symbols, or terminology of your own creation. IntelligentEditing.com offers an excellent post with tips for creating your own style guide.

While there’s no rule that says you must use a style guide, adopting or creating one will give your editor some standards to follow and give all of your writing a more finished, professional look.

Here’s to consistency in your work!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

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A book signing success story

At a recent meeting of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup, we discussed the where’s, why’s, and how’s of planning a live book tour. Understandably, authors report varying success with and preference/dislike for book tours. Drawbacks mentioned include the fact that they take time to plan, can be costly, and provide access to a limited number of prospective readers.

As we head into the last month of marketing in preparation for the Phoenix Holiday Author Event, coming up on daugher sonDecember 6, I’d like to share a quick story about the power that can come of a face-to-face signing opportunity. This is my second go-round at planning a big, multi-author event. The first was the Phoenix Summer Author Event, which took place back in August. One of the authors who participated in that event was Betsie Harvie. Her book, My Daughter, My Son, is the story of an adolescent’s gender transition, as experienced by mother and child.

At the age of thirteen, after years of battling depression and body dysphoria, Luca came out to his mother as a boy trapped in a girl’s body. After recovering from the initial shock and emotional anguish of losing her daughter, Betsie embraced and supported her son’s female-to-male transition. She’s battled psychiatrists, doctors, and educators for her son’s rights, safety, and dignity. As her blurb on the Holiday Author Event website describes, “Betsie is an insightful expert about what it takes to love and raise a transsexual child. She hopes her experiences and commitment to unconditional love will help others.”

The Summer Author Event allowed Betsie to do just that. A friend of mine, Scottsdale interior designer Katie Strand, told me a week or so after the event that while she enjoyed herself, she spent the first hour or so there wondering why she’d gone. She’s a reader, but has plenty of books at home and didn’t really feel a need to buy any new titles. Nevertheless, perhaps the pressure of networking and the power of my delightfully designed postcards worked, because Katie found herself at the Summer Author Event in spite of herself. And while she was there, an unexpected thing happened.

It turns out that a neighbor of Katie’s has a child who’s going through an experience similar to Luca’s with a desire for a gender reassignment. The mother is supportive, but the ex-husband father is adamantly opposed and fighting her at every turn. Katie took Betsie’s information and passed it on to her neighbor. With estimates putting the number of the population who identify as transgender at 1 percent, it’s vital that this mother no longer feels that she’s going it alone. Perhaps Katie’s neighbor would have come across Betsie’s book anyway. Maybe she might even have met her at a support group. But the fact is that a crucial connection was made at the perfect time – a connection that occurred only because of a live book signing event. Betsie will be joining us again for the Holiday Author Event.

Getting out from behind the computer to meet real people is, in my humble opinion, always a good idea. Plan carefully and set realistic limits on your tour. But meet people in person, share your book with them, and come back and tell us your stories here.

Here’s to a successful book tour!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

 

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