Author Feature

Translating Complex Science for a General Audience

The following are the words of Neeti Sinha, Archway Publishing author of “Physical Laws of the Mathematical Universe: Who Are We?”  Learn more about about Neeti on her blog The Magnified Universe. To keep up with Neeti’s latest work, like and follow her on Twitter or Facebook. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Discovering a Passion

Neeti2I have always found science fascinating. My passion for the pursuit of knowledge started very early in life. During elementary school I began considering the complexities of our existence. I would wonder how we remained tethered to the earth while it zipped constantly in the sky. An insistence on communicating advancements to all audiences is a new aspect of scientific research and development that wasn’t part of the curriculum when I was in graduate school. Society is far more scientifically aware and curious than it was only a few decades ago. Thus, researchers can no longer huddle up in cozy alcoves sequestered from rest of the world. Rather, we scientists have a duty to spread our findings to the public in meaningful ways.

Writing for the General Audience

A scientist can unknowingly carry the same potential as a journalist. This was a revelation which dawned on me as I contemplated writing a book focusing on the intricacies of physics and mathematics. A couple years later, I had in my hands an initial manuscript of my book. Eagerly, I sent out copies for review. Given its general scientific content, I was curious about what readers from non-science backgrounds would feel.

This is where I found myself confounded. The theories and concepts I find utterly beautiful didn’t seem to strike a chord with general readers. This is in no way their own shortcoming. Though from different backgrounds, many readers are eager to understand the ways of the universe and find joy in doing so. I imagine this is somewhat the same as how I relish the fineness of music, yet know nothing of how it is constructed. Non-industry readers weren’t able to fully enjoy the message of my book because the science didn’t translate.

Translating Complex Science

To explain what I mean by “the science didn’t translate”, see the following statement:

All non-trivial zeros of the zeta function have real part one-half.

Researchers and educators within the field find this mathematical phrase alluring. Known as the Riemann hypothesis, the expression itself has become a cliché. As trendy as it is, the hypothesis is quite complex in how it arrives and what it implies. For a reader from a different field, the statement is nothing but jargon. Not only is the hypothesis confusing for a general reader, but it’s quite far from aesthetically pleasing.

The explanation of this hypothesis requires dissection and sub-dissection of all the elements, followed by a sewing of multiple ideas into one smooth story line. Only after careful treatment can any beauty emerge from the Riemann hypothesis in the general reader’s view, an entire book could easily be dedicated to the process.

Learning on the Go

Neeti3After receiving the first round of feedback, I became dedicated to reconstructing my book with a more understandable tone. Following the most helpful suggestions: I cut large sentences into smaller ones and trimmed down on ultra-technical wording. I scaled down the scientific concepts I was hurling, even though it was difficult. The book got better, but it still wan’t “there” yet.

Based on reader’s comments, the key struggle my book seems to face is intelligibility of the writing. The concepts read confusingly because they are complex and abstract, but I love it that way. Therefore, simplifying the content is easier said than done. Watering the science down beyond a point seems like dampening the beauty of it all. This is why I’m still working out exactly how I intend to depict more clearly the reflections of our universe.

It is a struggle, but I am trying.

 

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

 

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self-publishing tips

Essential Elements of a Great Story

Some stories are timeless and transcend genre boundaries. These stories reach across barriers of time and age. All of the greatest stories have certain things in common, and in the post The Five Essential Elements of a Great Story, Archway Publishing looks at some of these key craft components.

Five Essential Elements

  • Protagonist – There’s a reason the Harry Potter series bears his name.
  • Antagonist – Do you remember the name of the man who threw the harpoon, or the name Moby-Dick?
  • An Inciting Action – World War Z was a phenomenon, largely because reader new right from the first page that something incredible had happened.
  • Conflict – Would Sherlock Holmes have worked as well without the foil of Moriarty?
  • Resolution – Readers invest in the stories they read; you have to reward them for that investment.

Learn more about each of these five elements in The Five Essential Elements of a Great Story!>>>

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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Editing

4 Creative Editing Techniques

Regan Platt is an offline marketing intern at Author Solutions, the world leader in supported self-publishing. She is currently a senior at Indiana University where she studies English. Regan is in Indiana University’s Liberal Arts Management Program, an honors level interdisciplinary program that incorporates Kelley School of Business courses with a liberal arts education. 

1. Color Coordination7a7f3aa7e1daa2c78e3342a28fac4acd

How to: When you’re working on a puzzle it helps to know what the big picture looks like. This is how you can think about color coordination. This editing technique begins with printing out a copy of your manuscript. Sometimes it is best to only print one main section if your piece is lengthy. The next step is to categorize the printed section into different categories.

For example, if your piece is about three friends (Lucy, John, and Chris) the categories may look like this: Chris and Lucy scene, Lucy alone, John and Lucy scene, Chris and John scene. Lastly, you will assign a color to each category and highlight that section with its specified color.
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self-publishing tips

The Different Types of Editing

Editing Advice from Archway

“Terms in editing can be confusing,” claims the post The Different Types of Editing, from Archway Publishing. “When hiring an editor, always speak to him or her about exactly what the editing includes.”

This advice is excellent because sometimes even experienced writers are confused about the differences between copy-editing and developmental editing. Other types of editing like line editing and mechanical editing sound—and can be sold—as if they are the same thing. Continue reading

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Publishing

Why I Self Published by Virginia Stringer

From time to time, Archway Publishing turns over its blog to its authors, giving them the opportunity to share stories and perspectives about their individual self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Virginia Stringer, author of “Just Maagy”.  Connect with Virginia on Facebook and her website. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

My book is “Just Maagy“. It started out as a fifty-minute children’s play but then turned into a short story that wasn’t so short. It was ignored for a few years and then it found its way to my face again and took on a life of its own spawning a six-book chapter book series over the course of eleven years. Then it became my fourth child!

In fact, the main character, Princess Melania Abigail Alice Grace, are my daughters and granddaughters in a manner of speaking.

SKU-000932177Maagy, as her father calls her, is a spoiled little brat who readers meet on her thirteenth birthday, when she throws a tantrum because there is no more spumoni ice cream for breakfast. Like I said, my daughters and granddaughters.

Maagy is strong willed, exceedingly smart, cunning and perceptive. She is also stubborn leading her father to give in and allow her to attend school outside the palace, where she begins to understand the meaning of true friendship. However, life is always full of twists and turns and Maagy is not spared.

When I decided to share Maagy with the world, it was a huge leap of faith and a gut wrenching choice, thinking of her out there on her own. I began considering my publishing options. I spent a considerable time researching literary agents, but found their websites and their entire business to be unfriendly and not at all encouraging to new writers. The overall theme was, “If you want to get published, you’ll have to go through me and hope your book parts the Red Sea, because that’s the only way you’re getting to a publisher’s desk! Oh, and we’ll rewrite it to suit us and you can kiss our grits!”

That attitude did not go over well with me! I was not about to put my life’s artistic accomplishment in the hands of literary agents to chop and “commercialize” it into their dream!

I spent a weekend, crying, uttering a few choice words and almost hit “delete”! My husband talked me off the ledge and said, “Why don’t you self publish? You’ll have all the control and no one will mess with your art.”

Writing is an art form…

So giving over my work to someone else to cut and edit, in my opinion, is like a museum curator saying to a painter, “I’ll put blue in place of red, change the man to a woman, remove the mountains and then hang it in my gallery!” I couldn’t live with that.

However, no one can ever edit his or her own work, effectively!

Just MaagyI have a group of “readers” who function as editors. They give me content feedback, ask questions and point out typos and mistakes. They are all well educated except for the children who read for me and come from different backgrounds and professions. All are avid readers and will give me honest critique, without telling me I have to change this or that if I want it published. They do not interfere with my artistic process, but do speak to me from an outside perspective, which is vital to knowing how my work will be received. They are teachers, financial advisers, actors, poets, scientists, friends and family members about ten to fifteen, in all.

The big difference is I have the final say, as to whether I heed the advice. In most cases, I take the suggestions to heart and make revisions… some minor and some major!

Every new and old writer needs readers!

So… I looked up “self-publishing” and Archway was first on the list. Simon and Schuster Publishing is the parent company, lending credibility, before I even went further and spoke to a human, which, by the way, the literary agencies did NOT offer.

Having expressed interest through email, a real person called in less than 24 hours! The conversation was informative, enlightening and friendly!! All of my misgivings were put to rest and I asked for a week or so to mull it over. I was not pressured, “sold” a product or made to feel unimportant. A week or so later, the very friendly voice was back and I asked a few more questions and mulled some more.

Overall, I am pleased with my decision to go the self-publishing route and Archway has been fabulous to work with at every step of the way. The support services and staff have been exceedingly helpful, though, not inexpensive. However, I consider it money well spent!

In fact, I am publishing the entire Maagy series at present count, six books  through Archway Publishing!

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub and Like the Archway Publishing Facebook page.  

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Publishing Expert Tips

A Pre-Publishing Checklist

You’ve finished your book – congratulations! You’ve likely focused most of your efforts on the book block itself paying careful aChecklistttention to the plot of your novel, or focus of your non-fiction work. You’ve edited, re-edited or enlisted the help of a professional editor to ensure that the text flow. But before you hit submit, it’s important that you review some of the less prominent, but equally important parts of your work.

Below is a checklist developed by the Archway Publishing team of those other aspects of your work that you should review before submitting for publication.  Some of these may not fit your book, but it’s still good to take a look.

FRONT MATTER- all material in a book that precedes the text proper, as the title page, copyright page, table of contents, dedication, and preface.

  • Half Title Page- a page carrying nothing but the title of a book— as opposed to the title page, which also lists subtitle, author, publisher and similar data.
  • Title Page– the page at the beginning of a volume that indicates the title, author’s or editor’s name, and the publication information, usually the publisher and the place and date of publication
  • Copyright Page- the page in a book containing information about the current edition, usually on the back of the title page. It often contains a copyright notice, legal notices, publication information, printing history, cataloguing information from a national library, and an ISBN that uniquely identifies the work.
  • Frontispiece- a page displaying an illustration at the front of the book.
  • Endorsements Page- these may also go on the cover
  • Dedication- an expression of friendly connection or thank by the author towards another person.
  • Epigraph- a phrase, quotation, or poem that may serve as a preface, as a summary, as a counter-example, or to link the work to a wider literary canon.
  • Table of Contents- a list of the parts of a book or document organized in the order in which the parts appear
  • List of illustrations or maps.
  • List of Tables.
  • Foreword- a short piece of writing typically written by someone other than the primary author of the work, it often tells of some interaction between the writer of the foreword and the book’s primary author or the story the book tells.
  • Preface- an introduction to a book or other literary work written by the work’s author.
  • Acknowledgments- an expression of gratitude for assistance in creating a literary or artistic work.

Another valuable resource to review before submitting your manuscript for publication is the Archway Publishing FAQ page. It contains tips and definitions to commonly-used publishing terms.

Best of luck as you begin one of the most fulfilling adventures of your life –your publishing journey!

-AWP-

 

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Editing

The Importance of Using an Editor

By Joel Pierson
Professional Editor and Self-Published Author

Just because something is written doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right.  It’s very difficult for authors to edit their own work.  For one thing, they’re so close to the material, their eyes sometimes see what should be on the page, rather than what’s actually on the page.  For another, most authors aren’t thoroughly familiar with The Chicago Manual of Style, the industry-standard stylebook for book publishing.  Fortunately, the editors in our Editorial Department are, and they’re ready to help.

Joel Pierson has edited hundreds¬—perhaps thousands—of books during his career.  He is also the author of six self-published books in The Messenger Series. You can visit his author website at www.joelpierson.com.

Joel Pierson has edited hundreds¬—perhaps thousands—of books during his career. He is also the author of six self-published books in The Messenger Series. You can visit his author website at www.joelpierson.com.

Beyond proper spelling, style encompasses grammar, punctuation, formatting, treatment of text, capitalization, use of italics, and such subtle details as when to spell out numbers in words and when to use numerals.  An editor can make those corrections, freeing authors up to focus on the telling of the tale.

Authors sometimes think that their word-processing program’s spell check and grammar check features will prevent errors, and sometimes this is the case.  But consider this: Reverse two letters in a word, and you’ve got “The loins roared.”  This is something that wouldn’t be flagged by spell check or grammar check.  Nor would sentences like “They quacked in fear” or “She startled the car” or even “The angles will rejoice.”

No software, no matter how sophisticated, can replace a human touch when it comes to editing.  Language is filled with subtle nuances, some of which are governed by The Chicago Manual of Style, others of which vary based on style and situation.  An editor strives for clarity as well as impact on the reader, and that requires a careful reading of every word of the book.

Punctuation can often be troublesome for authors.  An em dash is different from an en dash, and there are instances where one is preferred over the other.  Commas also lead to confusion.  They’re a bit like salt—how much you use can depend on your personal taste.  But there are some circumstances where commas are very necessary.  In the sentence, “It’s time to cook Grandma,” without a comma after the word cook, it’s Grandma who ends up in the entrée.

In addition to grammatical edits, the Editorial Department offers Developmental Editing for eligible manuscripts.  This three-step service begins with a book-length set of queries and suggestions involving big-picture issues.  For a work of fiction, these include plot, characterization, dialogue, and pacing.  For nonfiction, they include presentation, fact-checking, and use of visual enhancements like charts and graphs.red pen

Some common corrections made by the Editorial Department:

  • Incorrect spelling of a book’s foreword as “forward.”
  • Incorrect question mark after the word asked: “Who is there,” he asked?
  • Misuse of the word literally: It literally killed me.
  • Confusion of it’s and its: It’s a good movie, and I like its soundtrack. (Correct as shown.)

Writing a book can be challenging; following the rules and guidelines of grammar even more so.  But with the help of a professional editor, authors can take comfort in knowing their words are in good hands.

-AWP-

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