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.”

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There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Litho-Wrap Case Binding

In the fifth blog of the series, we will be discussing Litho-Wrap Case Binding.

Litho-Wrap Case Binding:

As we discussed last week, when you do a standard hard cover binding finish, if you want to include a printed cover with it, you must have a dust jacket. While this is a nice option, it isn’t the most durable option for the survival of your cover, and it is definitely not a great option for kids’ books. It also tends to be the priciest option.

While not the most cost effective option, litho-wrapping allows your protected cover to be bound directly to the hard case cover, keeping it attached to your book forever, at a lower price than standard case binding with a dust jacket. As with soft covers, litho-wrapped covers can have a gloss or matte laminate done on them. The laminated paper is pulled tight around a thick board, and attached to the back of said board using an adhesive, just as with standard case binds and the cloth or buckram finishes. In the same way as standard case binding, the books are then bound and attached to the case, with end sheets inside to hide where the cover wraps to.

It is not recommended to try to litho-wrap with a cover that has been embossed or debossed, as the covers are pulled tight and will likely lose their effect. Also, gloss laminate tends to be a better choice than matte, as the matte can scuff easily.

Like standard case binding, this type of cover is very resilient, and should last a very long time. Longer than even standard case binding, typically. While this used to be a more popular binding for text books only, it has become quite popular with children’s books, and is readily becoming a more popular option for other types of books, such as novels, as well.

 


There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Standard Case Binding

In the fourth blog of the series, we will be discussing Standard Case Binding.

Standard Case Binding:

Standard case binding actually has several different types of materials that can be used, but we could go on with individual blogs forever, so we will just cover the most popular options here. Common, and popular choices are synthetics like Buckram and Tanotex, and natural materials like linen and leather. Synthetics are the most cost effective, followed by cloth and then leather. The material is pulled tight around a thick board, and attached to the back of said board using an adhesive. From there, the books are bound and attached to the case, with end sheets covering the inside covers.

These materials are often adorned with the cover and spine text using either silk screening, which is the more cost effective option, or with foiling for golds, silvers, etc.

This type of cover is very resilient, and can last a long time, but does not tend to be the most appealing option to the eye. Typically, these  types of covers are covered with a dust jacket, which allows for the cover art to be included with the book, but allows for it to easily be damaged or lost. This type of bind is usually something that I would recommend for a keepsake, vs. something that will be read thoroughly, or often.

With the dust jacket, this tends to be the most expensive finishing option of all.

Next week we’ll discuss litho-wrapping.

 


There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Varnish

In the third blog of the series, we will be discussing varnish.

Varnish finish:

Varnish is a thin lacquer type substance that is applied to a book cover with an offset press. In order to have a varnish finish the entire cover must be printed offset. It is applied as a liquid, either as a flood (covers whole surface) or spot (covers only certain spots. People do this for effect sometimes), and then dries clear.  It very minimally protects against sun fading,  and general wear and tear of a book. You are likely to get frayed corners with this type of coating. If you want your cover to be embossed or debossed, however, this is one of the right finish options for you. The varnish floods into the ridges and ripples covering all nooks and cranny’s of the surface.

Varnish is available in gloss, semi-gloss, and matte. In order to get a high gloss sheen, you would need to do multiple floods of varnish.

Offset cover printing is an expensive option if you are not doing over 1000 books.

Varnish can be used as a coating for any type of book, even litho-wrapping.

Next week we’ll discuss UV coating.


There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – UV Coating

In the second blog of the series, we will be discussing UV Coating.

UV Coating finish:

UV Coating is a lacquer that is applied to a book cover with an offset press, providing a very high gloss finish.  In order to have a UV Coating finish the entire cover must be printed offset. It is applied as a liquid as a flood (covers whole surface) and then dries clear.  It effectively protects against sun fading , and very minimally against  general wear and tear of a book. You are likely to get frayed corners, and to eventually experiencing cracking with this type of coating. If you want your cover to be embossed or debossed, this is a fantastic finish options for you. It is probably the best option. The UV floods into the ridges and ripples covering all nooks and cranny’s of the surface, just like varnish, but it provides a stronger, better finish.

UV Coat is only available in a high gloss finish. Typically only one flood of UV is necessary.

As always, offset cover printing is an expensive option if you are not doing over 1000 books, and UV Coat is not available through all offset printers. Be sure to confirm that a printer actually offers UV and not just multiple coats of gloss varnish.

UV Coat can be used as a coating for any type of book, including litho-wrapped books.

Next week we’ll discuss varnish coating.


There are so many different book cover finishes – What’s the Difference? – Film Laminate

Gloss-Film-LaminateYou want to protect the cover of your book, of that, there is no doubt, but what is the best way? It depends on your cover and book, really. Over the next several weeks we will discuss the different finishes, with their pros and cons, so that you can confidently decide for yourself which coating will best suit your needs.

Single side film lamination:

Film laminate (Commonly referred to as book laminate, or single side laminate in the book world, and will likely be called this on any quotes that you receive) is a very thin layer of a poly (plastic) material that is attached to a book cover using high heat and a roller press. If done correctly, this protective coating will last you a lifetime. It protects against liquid damage, sun fading, tearing, cracking, and general wear and tear of a book. You won’t get frayed corners with this type of coating. If you want your cover to be embossed or debossed, however, this is likely not the right finish for you. The ridges and ripples can prevent a tight seal and adhesion of the laminate to the surface of the cover. With film laminate, if you experience any air bubbles, or lack of adhesion, you run a high risk of delamination, where the laminate lets go of the surface, either in spots or on the entire cover.

Film laminate is available in both gloss and matte. While the technology to create a sturdy matte laminate has come a long way, gloss laminates are still recommended for covers that have wide spread areas of dark or highly saturated colors, as matte still scuffs more easily, and scuffs are also more evident, than with a gloss finish.

Film laminate can be used as a coating for any type of book, even litho-wrapping.

Next week we’ll discuss UV coating.


Some Basics of Microsoft Word 2010 for Book Typesetting – Setting Your 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, and you can even have different odd and even ones, as well as a different first page. With that being said, you can not have your headers change throughout the book (ie. When a new chapter starts) and you can not have some of the pages not have headers. If you are wanting different headers for each chapter, or blank headers for your title page, table of contents, etc, I will suggest creating those sections separately, and then putting them all together once you have PDF’d the files.
1. Select the Page Layout tab

1-Select-the-Insert-tab

2. Click on Header

2-Click-on-Header

3. Go all of the way to the bottom of the list, and select Edit Header. You will now find yourself in your header.

3-Go-all-of-the-way-to-the-bottom-of-the-list-and-select-Edit-Header

 

4.  Select different first page, and different odd and even pages, if you want them, at this point. We recommend that you select different odd and even pages. See step 6 for more information. If you choose different first page, be sure to create your odd page header on page 3, instead of page 1.

4-Select-different-first-page-and-different-odd-and-even-pages

5. Adjust the spacing for your header. You may want to play around with this a bit, to find the right distance to allow for your current margin settings. You may also find that you need to readjust your margins at this point to allow room for headers. We do not suggest any spacing for your header smaller than 0.25”

5-Adjust-the-spacing-for-your-header

6. Choose your orientation of where your header should fall on the page now. We suggest different odd and even headers so that you can have odd page headers fall on the right side of the page, and even page headers fall on the right. This will prevent your header from getting lost in the gutter. If you do choose to have them the same on every page, your best bet is to have them be centered on the page. To choose the orientation, click into your header, and then go to the home tab.

6-Choose-the-orientation-of-where-your-header-should-fall-on-the-page

 

7. Select your text size, color and font now.  I suggest doing it in a slightly smaller font, and perhaps changing the color to a darker grey. It makes it less predominant on the page.

7-Select-your-text-size-color-and-font

 

8. Put in your text now. If you have different odd and even pages, you will have to repeat steps 6 & 7 on the next page.

8-Put-in-your-text-now1

 

9. Double click on the center of the page, and you will return to your normal text body.

9-Double-click-on-the-center-of-the-page-to-return-to-the-normal-text-body3