Nancy Peske 2010 March
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March 2010

One of the most common grammar glitches is confusion over the abbreviations i.e. and e.g. In fact, most copyeditors will replace these with the more recognizable English terms “that is” or “for example” to avoid any confusion. If you do want to use them, here’s a simple explanation and way of remembering which is which:

i.e. is an abbreviation for the Latin term id est, or “that is.” You use it to restate what you just said using different words.

I like the old black-and-white “women’s” movies, i.e., the ones featuring actresses like Bette Davis and Katherine Hepburn as strong, single women.

You can substitute “that is” or even a colon to get the same idea across. An easy way to remember the meaning of i.e. is to remember the “i” and think of it as “In other words.”

e.g. is an abbreviation for the Latin term exempli gratia meaning “for the sake of example.” You use it before a list of examples that is not complete.

I like the old black-and-white “women’s” movies, e.g., Bringing Up Baby, Jezebel, and The Philadelphia Story.

An easy way to remember the meaning of e.g. is to remember the “e” and “g” and think of it as “for EGgsample.” Again, you could substitute “for example” or a colon to get across the same point.

At the moment, I’m in the early stages of ghostwriting a book based on a manuscript with only bits and pieces of ideas that are salveagable and notes from conversations with the expert. So, I’ve been using my favorite tools for editing a lot these last few weeks: color coding in Word and scissors and tape.

First, I type an all-caps header above each paragraph or section that describes the main idea in short. Then, I color code these paragraphs or sections based on what chapter they’ll probably slot into. For instance, Chapter 1 is coded turquoise while chapter 2 is coded navy blue (in Word, you can go beyond the main colors and actually access a color wheel that gives you many hues; I don’t like to use a color on color background, which is another option, as it’s very tiring on the eyes to look at). When I’ve coded a big manuscript or section of notes, I simply cut and paste into chapter files: All the turquoise text goes in c. 1, all the navy in c. 2, etc.

Next step: Print out in doublespace 12-pt type and grab the scissors and tape. Cut up sections and put them in order, fastening them with tape, and penciling in headers and transitions that come to mind. Eventually, I end up with a long scroll that I can use as my template for constructing the chapter. Sections that are simply ideas, not crafted text, I just read and rewrite as I go.

Will this process work for you? Try it and see!

How much does it cost to create a book? A New York Times article spells it out:

However, I quibble with the estimates of .78 per eBook and 1.00 for traditional book for marketing (in theory, you have to send out physical copies of the book for the latter which runs up the price). What are publishers getting for that money? Are they merely setting a budget and doing what they’ve always done, try to get magazines and newspapers (rapidly dwindling media) and Oprah (soon to move to cable and perhaps not even have her own show) to do the marketing for them?

Also, let’s talk overhead. New York book publishers have certainly cut back on lunches (as any author will tell you, these days you’re lucky if your editor invites you to the house cafeteria–ah, when Michael’s was the norm!), freebie books going out, and the like. But they’re also paying rents and taxes in NEW YORK CITY, a very expensive place. The more virtual it all gets–the fewer book designers, the fewer editors with office space in midtown–the more it’s hard for publishers to justify their overhead and cry poor.