Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Question from the e-mail

An exciting young adult adventure based on true events in 1880, and a great gift for your favorite teen, who may not realize that in that day many teens were considered responsible  and expected to be self-supporting.

Who killed Andrew Gates’s father? Can he fill his father’s shoes? These are the questions facing 14-year-old Andrew as he struggles to understand a world turned upside down.

With the death of his father, Andrew has to go from childhood to adulthood while fighting with the idea that maybe his father died in vain.

Question from the e-mail: I am a new author, but have worked on a newspaper for years. I read your submission guidelines closely and it seems to me they are very different from the usage standards we were required to meet at the paper. Any comment?

Answer:  Sure. It's all in the stylebook. I, too, used to work on a Daily Newspaper. Cops and courts were my beat,  and the book we followed was the AP Handbook though most of us didn't bother to look up the correct usage. If we needed to know whether to type five dollars, or $5.00 or $5 dollars, we just asked Sylvia Windsor, who had been at the paper since she was in high school and knew all the rules hands down.

With print books, the Chicago Manual of Style, is used by most professional publishers. If you sell your book to Random House, or Doubleday, or Knopf, that is what they will tell you to follow.

But each publisher, even lowly us, will have a list of exceptions any of those rules in order to avoid problems inherent in our system. For instance CMS says that "okay" is always OK, all caps, no periods, a plain initialism, like FBI. CMS says good-bye always gets a hyphen, even though you will see it printed without one by many professional publishers.

But when files are converted to e-book formats as well as print, words with all caps Can and Do Disappear without a trace. So we use okay, and never OK and we us a.m. and p.m. instead of A.M. and P.M.even thought CMS wants those to be caps too. Yes, you will see FBI in our books and TV and a few other initialisms, but we work extra hard to stay away from them, lest they disappear altogether and leave every reader confused ab  t wh t w s sup os d to fill i th  e em t  let  r spaces.

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