Editing A Book Is Hard Work

For what seems like an eternity, I have been editing a book by Peter Claridge, titled Chennai Expat Guide. The book started out as a blog post that was meant to outline a few things that expats need to know before relocating to Chennai. It soon turned into a mammoth 65,000 words piece of writing and lost the ability to be called a blog post!

Process of editing

Being an “editor” sounds pretty fancy – it is anything but. I’ve read, re-read and re-re-read at least 6 versions of the book printed out on A4 paper and spiral bound. The process involved hand-written notes, SHOUTY CAPITAL LETTER remarks, arguments with the author about including or deleting something, and just a whole lot of patience.

It didn’t just involve trawling for typos and grammar errors, it also included having to figure out flow, order, context of the content. The book is interspersed with illustrations, photographs and true stories, so it wasn’t simply copy-editing. There was plenty of quality checking alongside many tiny decisions – bullets or numbers? Titles or subtitles? Quote or story? Tell the truth as it is or sugarcoat? Throw the book away in frustration or power through?

Every time I read the book, I found something to edit/delete/change. Then there were innumerable sample prints, where my eyes found a whole new set of errors that needed correction. I’m pretty sure there are still some sneaky typos in there that have skillfully eluded my overworked brain! And oh lord the formatting. That’s an entire post for another day.

The thing about writing a non-fiction guide-style book is that it’s never going to be enough. There’s always going to be more information about Chennai that can be added. In the end, I had to accept that the editing needed to end for the book to begin being out there!

There were times I stormed out of the room, and times I wanted to give it all up. But slowly it’s come along, and the result is pretty cool!

Chennai Expat Guide

The Chennai Expat Guide

The Chennai Expat Guide is everything an expat moving to Chennai needs to know. It’s interspersed with hilarious accounts and incidents from about 50 other expats in the city. If you work with expats, or have friends coming to Chennai to work, you couldn’t find a better present to give them!

It’s available as an ebook on Amazon, black & white print copy, as well as a colour print copy. Shipping is available all over the world, as are corporate discounts! Buy your copies here.