The approach taken for the editing of this book is very unique. KickStarter brought in a dozen editors, and some qualified friends offered to help as well. Here is the team of editors:
- Prof. David D. Stuart
- Sharon Brooks
- Tenaya Mulvihill
- Glenda Joy Johnston-Jorgensen
- Keither Alvord
- Jeff N. Wagner, Sr.
- James Wade Brooks
- Michelle Armstrong
- Brett Alvord
- Sheri Tydings
- Karen Alvord
- Sheikh Ashiq Hossain
- Rachel David
- Tiffany Ettedgui
- Doug Brown
- Ron Harder
- Lynda Gates
Most of the editors did help edit at some level. About six did not help edit at all, but instead contributed to the project at that KickStarter “secondary editor” level to support the book. A few hoped to help but found that life was too busy to turn around a chapter quickly enough so it could move to the next round of editors. Since that KickStarter contribution level guaranteed they’d be listed as a secondary editor, ta-da! (they will also be listed in the book).
About four of these editors (so far) are doing most of heavy lifting. They are very skilled and helpful and they really contributed a lot of their time.
Writing and Editing Process
In a nutshell, the writing and editing process works like this:
First Steps in Chapter Creation
The author outlines, researches, and writes sections of chapters in no particular order. When a chapter is first started, it is first outlined into major sections. The author then reads and studies many books and online sources that pertain to that particular chapter. From this research, he outlines the chapter in a Microsoft Word document. The ultimate goal is the create a chapter that is far better than any single book or article on the subject. This not only means including useful information, but not including junk filler that wastes time. Good section subheadings allow the reader to skip information that doesn’t apply to their situation. Integrating examples, brief stories, and links to online web pages that contain lots of up-to-date accompanying information, is important because some of this subject matter can be quite dry. Figuring out how to include humor and phrasing that invokes smiles for the reader is essential. The author’s sense of humor is quirky so you get to come along for the interesting ride.
Building a Chapter Over Time
Several chapters have taken years to write because they are written in segments. During the writing, a separate document it maintained containing needed external links to this website in order to support the chapter with additional information, downloadable forms, and helpful resources. Some of these external web pages are created along the way, but most pages and completed content will wait until the book goes into final formatting and publishing. During that “twiddle your thumbs” time period, there will be plenty of time to finish the website.
Often, while writing or researching a particular chapter, a brainstorm or article will spur an idea or story for a section of a different chapter. The author estimates that for every chapter that gets completed, enough parts of other chapters that get added along the way are equivalent to a whole other chapter.
Lots of highlighted notes are throughout the chapter during the writing process. The reader will never see these colored highlights unless they are viewing a pre-release chapter version. For example, yellow is used for links to internal areas of the book, magenta for things that need to be answered/fixed/footnoted/permissioned. Eventual graphical callouts are simply highlighted in cyan at this stage. There are different types of callouts so they all have an appropriate heading such as Biz Tips, Warning, Sources, or Author Sidebar.
As a particular chapter outline gets close to being filled in, the author will eventually focus on it and complete it…mostly. Then he will turn on Track Changes in the Word document, rename the file so it has “EDITOR VERSION 1” at the end of the filename, and then email it to the first round of editors.
These editors are good at catching typos and weirdness, like a sentence that just stops in the middle (apparently the author fell asleep while typing). This first round document might still have lots of embedded and highlighted notes of things to do, such as get permission for a quote, or make a footnote of where a statistic came from, etc.
When the first round comes back to the author, he does a side-by-side comparison of the edited document with the original. At this point, the original has now been copied to a “VERSION 2” file name. For each suggested modification, he decides what changes to incorporate. If it only went to one editor in a particular round, he’ll copy the edited file to VERSION 2 and either accept or reject the modifications.
Most of the time the suggested edits are accepted because they are grammatical improvements. Sometimes the edits are rejected because the author didn’t agree with the suggestion, or it changed the flow, etc. Sometimes confusing suggestions are caused by a confusing sentence to start with, so the author rewords it for clarification.
Finishing the Editing Cycle
Once the editing cycles have completed for a particular chapter, usually between three and five rounds, the author has almost all internal comments removed and footnotes created. Other than the first several chapters that were completed (remember, the completion order is not in the order you see them in the book), the later chapters also have corresponding web pages created, QR Codes generated and embedded in the chapter along with a URL link, and footnotes finalized. The final version of the file will be renamed with “FINAL” added to the end.
Formatting for Publication
At this point, the chapter is completed and ready for formatting. This is where Advanced Publishing Concepts comes into play. The Word document will be imported into InDesign, the leading software tool for formatting books. The callout graphics will get embedded and each chapter will be carefully compared to the original Word document to ensure all bolds, italics, bulleted lists, indents, etc. are carried over correctly. QR Code images will be inserted or adjusted inside the appropriate Source callouts. The numbered footnotes (superscripts) will be verified and the headers and footers of each page will be double checked. Page breaks will be scrutinized carefully as well.
Then the document will be exported to a PDF file to go through another round of editing via the editing team, just to make sure we didn’t miss something important. Typos or content changes at this point will get added to both the Word document and by hand in the InDesign document.
Once approved, the InDesign document will be exported to a final PDF document of the chapter, and eBook formats for the standalone chapter, and a file ready for the printing presses.