Today is the official release day for Every Bush Afire, a book by Kyle Peters.
I actually had the honor of copy editing and designing the inside layout of the book, so to celebrate the release of Every Bush Afire—and my first experience with being a part of the publication process—I thought I’d talk about six lessons I learned about copy editing, designing book layouts, and the publishing process while working on this project. And at the end, I’ll give my own behind-the-scenes review of the book.
Lesson #1 Mistakes Will Be Made
This was my first time copy editing and designing a book layout, so I understood that I probably wouldn’t get everything right. What I didn’t understand was just how many mistakes I would make.
I did everything from missing obvious errors to forgetting to save my work. I was also using InDesign for making the book layout, and I had very little experience with that program before taking on this project, so I had many moments of panic and confusion before I finally figured out how things worked.
Lesson #2 Ask Questions & Find Answers
If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can definitely play around and try to figure out how things work, but when you’re working for a client, you don’t want to waste time. I had a lot of moments where I was tempted to figure things out myself, so I started timing myself while I worked on something I didn’t understand. If my timer went off while I was still trying to make things work, I’d stop and look for help.
If you don’t know personally anyone with experience, there are plenty of resources online—just be sure to check and see if they’re legit.
While copy editing I had to consult the Chicago Manual Of Style for practically every other line, but sometimes even the manual didn’t have the answers so I had to ask around.
Lesson #3 Save Your Work
As I mentioned before, one of the mistakes I made was not saving my work. When you go through ten pages of copy edits just to find out later that you didn’t save it so you have to do it all again, it’s pretty painful, so SAVE YOUR WORK!
Lesson #4 Pace Yourself
There may come a time when you’re staring bleary-eyed at your computer screen, trying to find any typos or grammatical errors in the text.
Should this happen, the best thing you can do is save your work, shut down the computer, and take a break to clear your head.
It’s tempting to push yourself and get the work done as quickly as possible, but that’s how the words start blurring together and you miss obvious errors.
It’s better to take the time to refresh your mind than to take time later to explain how you missed that someone’s name wasn’t capitalized, or that “the” was spelled “teh” or something.
Lesson #5 You Are Never Done Even After The Book Is Published
So, you’ve finished the project and sent it to your client. Now you can finally close all the documents, delete all the InDesign files and never think about the project again, right?
Wrong! Keep everything that has to do with the project, and keep it organized! You never know when you’re going to get an email full of changes that need to be made—even after the book is available to be purchased.
You really have to be flexible and ready for anything when you agree to take on a project.
Lesson #6 Choose Wisely
One last thing that I learned, is that if you’re going to be copy editing or designing the layout for a book, you better hope that you like the book you’re working on.
While copy-editing Every Bush Afire, I ended up reading through the book a couple of times. Once while I was copy editing, and again when I was trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything the first time (I did).
And once I got to the layout portion of the process, I didn’t have to read through everything as carefully as I did while I was copy editing, but I did end up reading parts of it while making sure the layout looked right.
My Behind-The-Scenes Review Of Every Bush Afire
So as someone who has read Every Bush Afire multiple times, I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading and working on this book.
I think Kyle Peters did a great job of writing what’s on his heart without making his message confusing or too preachy.
I found myself laughing, tearing up, cringing with conviction, and smiling while reading through the pages.
At first, this was just another project for me to work on so I could gain experience. I didn’t start working on this book with the expectation that my heart or mind would change in any way, shape, or form, and yet somehow it did.
In a world where most of us feel alone and misunderstood, Kyle Peters wrote Every Bush Afire to talk about the fact that it doesn’t have to be like this.
God is reaching out and wants to connect with us in our everyday lives—even through our confusion, anger, and selfishness—to draw us closer to him, and show us his love in ways that we never would have expected or imagined.
If you’d like to know more about Every Bush Afire or pick up a copy for yourself, click here!
Before You Go…
What is something that you’ve learned about writing recently?
Let me know down in the comments!
Read the last blog here!