Back to the Basics: The Period

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As writers continue to write, editors continue to edit, publishers continue to publish, and readers continue to read…we all know that one person in this circle of publishing life who puts their finger to the page, looks up and says, There’s supposed to be a period here.

Oh, the punctuation that puts all other punctuation symbols to shame. The period, the dot, the endless black abyss which, ironically, ends it all.

Have you ever had that writers’ block moment where you seem to forget all your basic elementary school punctuation lessons and what purpose they serve you? It’s always a little embarrassing to see that one Amazon reviewer point out the silliest of grammar mistakes. There are so many different grammar rules, exceptions, and do’s/don’ts that well…who can keep track, right? Some grammar mistakes are so small (literally) that it’s hard for the author themselves to notice, especially when they are more focused on the actual story. Today, we are going to break down that dreaded black dot for you:

  • Multiple Punctuation: For one, I am GUILTY when it comes to accidentally putting more than one punctuation at the end of a sentence. Most of the time, it’s without even thinking. Plenty of people get mixed up in this business, but let me clear it up for you: if you’re ending a sentence with a book name or company name (that includes another punctuation like a question mark or exclamation point in the title), the period isn’t needed anymore! The same thing happens with a sentence ending in an abbreviation. Begone black abyss!
  • Direct and Indirect Questions: Direct questions end with a question mark. Indirect questions end in a period. What a way to end an implied question – leave your reader hanging and wondering about the question you put before them, without even asking!
  • Proper Placement…: This part is broken up into two: proper placement with parentheses and quotation marks. The period becomes confusing when it comes to proper placement with symbols that set parts of the sentence apart from the rest.
    • Parentheses: If the parentheses are being used within a sentence, to embrace a bigger part of the picture, the period will follow the (closing) (On the contrary, if whatever content is being held within the parentheses can stand alone, then the period is used before the closing parenthesis.)
    • Quotation Marks: Ending your sentence in quoted material? The period stays within the quotation marks and not outside of them. The same thing goes if the quote ends in another punctuation. Nothing more, nothing less. Don’t use the period – it’s being dismissed!
  • Abbreviations: Since I briefly mentioned ending a sentence with an abbreviation, let’s talk about the abbreviation alone. Some have periods, some don’t. Why is that? I don’t know the answer to that necessarily, but I do know when to use a period within the abbreviations and when not to. The only time you should use a period with an abbreviation is if the letters involved are lowercase or mixed-case. But pay attention to the content of the abbreviation. Ask yourself if it’s scientific or technical. If it is, you won’t need the period. Uppercase abbreviations, like an academic degree following an individual’s name, may include a period.

Even after going over the basics of the period, thinking about where it goes and when to use it still makes me put a hand to my forehead, shake my head, and say, “Oh, the English language. How complex can you be?”

A Message From Us…

CHRISTMAS BLOG POST 12-25

It’s been one exciting year here at HRM, but we couldn’t do it alone. We would like to thank each and every one of our authors for making our job one of the best. We are also beyond blessed to work with talented editors from various audio publishers and publishing houses all over the globe who believe in our authors as much as we do. We hope you all find some time to relax this holiday season and we can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for us all. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
– Sarah

The Santa Claus of Publishing

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Jolly old Saint James Patterson has returned this holiday season to grant 300 booksellers and owners with a well-deserved holiday bonus. For the last three years, Patterson has donated money to indie booksellers, in hopes of getting more books into more hands. Information to send in forms for bookstore and sellers can be left on the website. As the forms come in, Patterson, himself, reviews the possible candidates on a one-on-one basis. To be considered, the bookstore must have a children’s section and the business must already be in business and be successful.

In 2014, Patterson teamed up with the American Booksellers Association and gathered over $1 million to the first round of recipients. In 2015, he gave $250,000 in bonuses to 89 employees – which was the same dollar amount he gave in 2016 to 149 employees. This year, Publisher’s Weekly confirmed Patterson increased the amount by $100k to $350,000 – giving away bonuses to 300 bookstore employees, especially those who have been affected by hurricanes and wildfires in the past year.

Patterson has even been quoted saying, “These bonuses are my humble acknowledgement of [booksellers’] commitment to putting books into the hands of readers, and I hope these grants make that possible.

During this holiday season, we want to thank James Patterson for helping those who genuinely enjoy their careers to continue doing what they do, as well as help young people get their hands on the books they deserve.

The Book Blogger

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Whether you’re just the classic book blogger or an author wishing to expand your horizon from writing extensively to reading extensively, book blogging has an advantage on both sides of the screen. If you’re an author looking for some more marketing exposure, there are many benefits to taking the plunge and sending your book around to some of your favorite blogs. If you are seasoned book blogger or book blogger to-be, creating your identity  and review criteria will be key components to building your audience and its success.

Book bloggers get to pick and choose the genre they want to focus on for their blog. The broader the mind of the blogger is, the better chance you have of sneaking your book on their website for a review. By doing this, you can branch out to a new fanbase or a new demographic of readers. If you’re a newer author, going to a more established blog will help your exposure. But, if you’re more experienced, granting your presence to a smaller blog will help them as well. It never hurts to be a Good Samaritan, especially during this ‘season of giving.’ If the blogger has criteria in which they review, see if you meet them and if so, move forward with handing in the application. If not, maybe consider starting your own.

Or indie and self-published authors can really utilize the book blogger or the identity of being a book blogger. An author can become the book blogger. Some authors can take the time to review other books within the genre they feel most comfortable with, especially if their own novel is of the same genre. If you, as an author, wish to grow within your craft but need some guidance, you can always use the blog as a way to review books outside of your comfort zone.