The Telemachus Press Blog


One of our authors recently sent an inquiry.  He asked, “What is a ‘black manuscript’?”  As I wrote about black manuscripts in a previous blog, let’s not revisit that subject. 

Note the placement of the single quote mark and the double quote mark around the words ‘black manuscript’ in the preceding paragraph.  The author could have stated, “This is a ‘black manuscript.’”  There are differences.  The single quote mark goes inside the question mark, but outside the period.  Why?

At this point, a classic grammarian would discuss weak versus strong punctuation.  A simpler explanation:  The question mark in the first paragraph does not cover the entire sentence; therefore it is inside the double quotation mark.  The single quote mark sets apart an expression.  Some might say, “Who cares?”  The reality is a lot of people do, and that’s why the universe created editors.  When the universe is especially kind, it sends you a particularly good editor. 

I edited/proofread (many times) my brother’s first novel (Odd Jobs, Ben Lieberman, Telemachus Press, 2011).  To listen to us on the phone, yelling at each other about commas, you would have thought we hated each other, or at minimum, that we were totally nuts.  A few of Ben’s reviews mentioned the lack of grammatical errors.  I offer one:  “I find it hard to believe that this is a first novel. I would even find it difficult to believe that this is a first "published" novel. The action is tense and the various scenarios believable enough to be interesting and exciting. There were no grammar gaffes noticeable to draw attention away from the story as is often the case with even widely read (and sold) e-book authors. A definite plus in my opinion. I await further adventures of Kevin and Sev, as this definitely read as the first in a series.” jrick, February 29, 2012. (The emphasis is mine – KL)  

Will someone buy your next book if they find grammatical errors in the first one?  If they loved your story, yes, no doubt they will.  But, if errors detract too much, a reader might not be so inclined when there is so much to choose from in a reader’s world these days.  Ask yourself the question, “If something of yours is worth doing, isn’t it worth doing it right?”


Posted in: Editing Services