Top Ten Common Grammar Mistakes

The famous American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne once said that “Easy reading is damn hard writing”.
There are always some common spelling and grammatical errors that pop up to disturb the flow and comprehension of any story. Identifying and fixing these usual suspects will put you ten steps ahead of the writing game.

They’re, their and there

  • They’re is short for they are. “They’re English.” (“They are English.”)
  • Their is the possessive of they. “I like their English accents.”
  • There indicates a place. “They live there.”

You’re and your

  • You’re is short for you are. “You’re right.” (“You are right.”)
  • Your sits before a noun (word) to show that it belongs to it. “That is your opinion.”

It’s and its

  • It’s is short for it is. “It’s raining.” (“It is raining.”)
  • Its denotes ownership. “A leopard can’t change its spots.”

To and too

  • To denotes distance or movement. “I went to the movies.”
  • Too denotes something in addition to. “I too want to go to the movies.”

Then and than

  • Then denotes time. “We went to dinner, then we went home.”
  • Than compares. “Nike is better than Adidas.”

Who’s and whose

  • Who’s is short for who is. “Who’s that?” (“Who is that?”)
  • Whose denotes ownership. “Whose jacket is that?”

Let’s and lets

  • Let’s is short for let us. “Let’s go to the park.” (“Let us go to the park.”)
  • Lets is a verb. “He lets me use his computer.”

Loose and lose

  • Loose is a noun, as in “loose cannon” or “my belt is loose”.
  • Lose is a verb, as in “don’t lose the race” or “don’t lose your phone”.

Affect and effect

  • Affect is a verb, while effect is when you’re talking about the noun (word) itself. An experience can affect you deeply, while the experience had a great effect on you.

Alot and alright

  • A lot is always two words. Always.
  • Alright as a word for ‘satisfactory’ has grown in popular usage, as opposed to all right, which means ‘everything is fine’. To be on the safe side always use all right.

Does your book need a proofread before going to print? Blitzprint can help. Contact us today for more information.


Formatting 101 in Microsoft Word 2016

A few years back, we posted on formatting guidelines in Microsoft Word 2010. The latest version is Microsoft Word 2016. Not much has changed, but those few changes are worth noting. Here is a Formatting 101 guide for Microsoft Word 2016, complete with picture snapshots to guide you through each step.

STEP 1: MARGINS

We always suggest a minimum of 0.5” for margins, and using a mirror margin to set a gutter edge of 0.25”. A margin is the blank space on the top, bottom, left and right side of the page. If you want an image to go right to the edge of the page, you will need to set a bleed, which is not something you can do in Word. The gutter is an additional bit of space that is added in so that the small amount of space that is lost to the bind is not noticeable. Setting up mirror margins sets the gutter so that it always falls at the centre of the page.

Set your margins by following these steps:

STEP 2: HEADERS

Though sometimes confused with titles, headers are actually the type that is at the very top of the page, often justified to the left or right, depending on which side the page falls on. You can easily set headers in Microsoft Word 2016, and you can even have different odd and even headers.

Set your headers by following these steps:

STEP 3: PAGE NUMBERS

You can easily set page numbers in Microsoft Word 2016, and you can have a different first page, and odd and even pages with page numbers as well. You can choose to have your numbers start at different points and you can choose to have Roman Numerals for your preface (pages before the first page of your story).

Set your page numbers by following these steps:

STEP 4: INSERT PICTURES

The saying goes that a picture paints a thousand words. Pictures and images can add a lot of aesthetic value to your book.

Insert pictures by following these steps:

STEP 5: SAVE TO PDF

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system. It captures all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print, or forward to someone else. PDF files are created using Adobe Acrobat , or similar products. The benefits of using PDF are that everything your print provider (that’s us) needs is there and embedded fonts mean fewer issues. Save to PDF when you’re finished in Word. If you need to make changes, do so in Word, then save to PDF again.

Save to PDF by following these steps:

And that’s that. Here endeth the (formatting) lesson. We hope it helped. Proper formatting can seem tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be formatting like a pro in no time.


The ISBN: What, Why, How?

The ISBN. What is it? Why do you need it? And how do you get it?

INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BOOK NUMBER (ISBN)

An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) identifies a title and its publisher. ISBNs are issued by individual agencies in every country that adheres to the standard. In the United States, you can acquire your number through www.isbn.org. In Canada, ISBNs can be acquired through Library and Archives Canada.

The 13-digit ISBN number helps:

  • Identify the specific title
  • Identify the author
  • Identify the type of book they are buying
  • Identify the physical properties of that particular book
  • Identify the geographical location of the publisher

You are under no obligation to get an ISBN; however, marketing your book will be difficult without one, as industry sales and distribution systems depend on them.

It’s simple and free to sign up. Register through ISBN Canada, or if you don’t have internet access, you can use the Library and Archives Canada mailing address. It takes about 2 weeks from time of registration to receive your ISBN(s).

CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION (CIP)

Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) is a voluntary program of cooperation between publishers and libraries, and a free service in Canada. Unfortunately, CIP service has been discontinued for self-published materials. Library and Archives Canada recommends that authors of self-published books consider approaching their local libraries or bookstores about opportunities to promote their works.

LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA

After your first print run is complete, and if you registered for an ISBN, it is important at this point that you send in a copy of your book to Library and Archives Canada. This is called a legal deposit and confirms the information that you provided for your book and completes the registration process. Legal deposit applies to publications produced in Canada regardless of medium or format, including, for example: books (monographs); serials (journals, periodicals, magazines); sound, video and spoken-word recordings; multimedia or instructional kits; CD- and DVD-ROMs; microforms; cartographic materials; and online or digital publications.

At Blitzprint, we always recommend our clients register for an ISBN. Better to have one and not need it, than to need one and not have it. For each client, we will create, free of charge, a barcode from the ISBN to insert on the back cover of the book.

For more information about ISBN, CIP and copyright protection, visit ISBN Canada.


What Else Goes Inside a Book?

Aside from the story itself, here are a few additional suggestions you will want to consider adding inside of your book.

Title Page – It’s always nice see a clean title page when you open a book.

Copyright Page – This is where you can include your ISBN information, CIP data,  publisher/contact information and a statement very similar to the following:

“All rights reserved–no part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or by any information storage or retrieval system except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review, without permission in writing from the publisher.”

Read More+


Common Mistakes Made by Self Publishing Authors

Each day I have the pleasure of helping authors take their final step in the journey of being self published – getting the book printed. For some the process takes weeks, others take months and some can stretch beyond a year.

The biggest factor is Preparation. Are you really ready to print?

At Blitzprint we are a digital printing company which means we work with digital files that we then send to our printing machines (think off it as a giant printer) The files that we can send to our printers must be in PDF format. Before we can get to this stage we need to make sure your file is “print ready”.

So let’s start from the beginning:

Read More+