22 May 2019

Canine Summer Safety Tips



With Memorial Day weekend and the official start of summer right around the corner, I decided to write another article about a subject matter near and dear to my heart. As most of my readers know, I am a devoted pet owner, and I just adore my furry children.

Summertime means lots of fun in the sun for us and our four-legged family members….well, that is when the weather plays along. While long days are spent frolicking outdoors creates many priceless memories, it can also pose hidden dangers to your fur babies. However, when you follow common sense, you can ensure everyone, including your pet(s), enjoy summer safely.

Please, do not leave your pet in the car!



I have read the heart-breaking story too many times. Someone’s beloved pet was found dead in a vehicle, even though the pet parent was only gone for a short period. Even with the windows cracked, the inside of a car can heat up in a matter of minutes. Leaving the A/C running also does not guarantee your furry companion’s safety. If you are planning on running errands to places that do not allow pets on their premises, consider keeping them at home. You would not leave a human baby in the car with the windows cracked open! Then why would you do that to a furry baby? 

Hydration is key! 



Pets that spend time outdoors in the heat require plenty of water. To avoid dehydration, always bring fresh water with you and offer it to your pet at least every half hour. There are many styles of portable dog bowls available that are convenient to carry in a small handbag; some dogs even learn how to drink from a bottle and water packs.  

Pets can get sunburned, too!



Dogs and cats are susceptible to the same damage from ultraviolet rays just like we are. This is especially so for white or light-colored pets and areas of the body with thin hair, such as the nose, ears, and bellies. It might look a bit silly, but a light T-Shirt can help protect them, along with some pet-safe sunscreen. 

It's time to chill out!



The amount of time a dog can exercise in the warm weather depends on several factors: How long and often has the animal been exposed to hot temperatures, the animal's current health and fitness level, and hydration status.

In general, once it gets above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, dog owners should be cautious when exercising their dog outdoors. For most of them, moderate activity for thirty minutes is safe. When the temperature exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit, it is probably best for pet and pet parent to skip the outdoor workout until it cools down.

If your dog displays rapid or labored breathing, starts to resist walking or acts depressed, your dog may be overheating. In these cases, stop, rest, and re-hydrate. This does not mean you need to cease exercising because your dog is panting, just be mindful of your dog's behavior. Watch him/her carefully to determine if the panting is excessive or abnormal. When in doubt, take a break!

Water safety


Many pet owners enjoy taking their animal companions to the beach for a dip or a boat ride. Such activities are great ways to bond with your furry children. I love to include my pets in outdoor fun whenever possible, but not every animal is a strong swimmer. When you plan to take your pet in the water or on a boat, please consider the use of a pet flotation vest.  The ones with a sturdy, convenient handle will allow you to safely retrieve your companion should he/she get tuckered out from swimming or fall overboard. Fun in the sun can get hot, so remember to provide plenty of shade and lots of drinking water during your outings.

After an enjoyable day in the water, you might want to give your dog's coat a quick rinse with plenty of clean, fresh water and some pet shampoo. Don't forget to clean and dry the ears (especially the floppy ones) with an ear cleaning solution! Ear infections are often caused by allowing moisture to remain in the ears after swimming or bathing.

Summertime is a great time of the year for people and their pets. The activities you share with your furry companions this season will last a lifetime. Be smart, and stay safe!

by A. Piper Burgi

Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added three historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl Empress., and A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebook, and Goodreads.
Don't forget to share this post! Choose your platform below:

15 May 2019

Eight Free and Easy Ways to Support Your Favourite Author(s)



Writing a book takes many hours and dedication. Often it takes an author away from their loved ones. Most writers get paid much less than you might think; most of them write because they love to tell a story. The one or two dollars they make in royalties per book barely buys that next cup of coffee that fuels the next chapter. 

It's not a get-rich-quick scheme...it's a labour of love, and a complete stranger can pull them into the depths of despair or lift them up with just one review. It can take months and sometimes even years to write a book. It takes even longer to design the cover artwork, edit the contents and then publish it. After that most authors have to give up even more of their precious spare time to market and promote their book(s). Please give something back in return!

Of course, the best support is actually to read the author's writings. And if you truly enjoyed the book, you’ll do the author a huge favour by taking your support one step further. Without a doubt, a reader’s word-of-mouth promotion still has an enormous influence. 

But your support doesn’t necessarily require tremendous effort on your part such as writing a blog post. Some of the most effective ways to show your support only require a few minutes of your precious time.

I've put together a few short but sweet things readers have done for my writings, and I would encourage all avid readers to do in support of their favourite author(s):

1. Write a review and post it...


on your blog, Amazon, GoodReads, Barnes&Noble.com or other sites. Even if it's just two sentences. Author's thrive on feedback! You don't even have to invent a new review for each website, just copy and paste your original review....there's nothing wrong with that. On a side note: If you’re a writer, do not hesitate to use your author name when writing reviews. This can give your name extra exposure.  

2. Tweet your praise about the book!


You might only have a restricted amount characters available, but if you really love a book, it doesn't take many words to convey your enthusiasm.  

3. Post a comment about the book on Facebook...



or copy the one you just wrote on Twitter. Twitter streams seem to move on quickly, but on Facebook, news has the ability to stick around a tad bit longer. 

4. Click the “Like” button...


on your favourite author's Amazon page, Facebook fan page, their website or blog. Every little bit helps!

5. Tell your local library or bookstore about the book...


and ask them to carry it. First, it would probably be prudent to check if they have the book already; many libraries and bookstores allow you to look it up online. If it's not in stock, you can personally request the book.

6. After you finished reading your newest favourite book, pass it along,,,


to a friend or a family member, and ask them to pass it along when they’re done as well.

7. Or better yet, purchase the book as a gift for friends and family...


for birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, or any special occasion. Books make great gifts! 

8. Remember to pass on your love of the book!


Tell your friends and family members how much you liked the book and why. Word-of-mouth is still the best way to support an author! The more people hear about a certain book, the greater the chances that they'll pick up a copy of it.

I'd like to take this opportunity to send out a heartfelt Thank You to all those readers who have supported me in one way or another over the years! It means the world to me, and I appreciate every single effort you've made on my behalf!

What are some other ways readers can help support their favourite author(s)? Feel free to share your ideas in the comment section!

by A. Piper Burgi

Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added three historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl Empress., and A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.
Don't forget to share this post! Choose your platform below:

08 May 2019

Month in Review - April 2019





Now that the weather has finally warmed up, I find myself spending more time outdoors. So, I wanted to recap last month before time runs away again. So now, without further ado, here's the list of the most popular blog posts for April 2019, chosen by you, the readers:

1. Sneak Peek of  THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER - A Country Girl Empress



As most of my readers know by now, I've been diligently working on my next historical fiction piece, THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER for some time, and the third book of my Country Girl Empress series is nearly ready to hit a bookshelf near you. I can also well imagine that many of you wouldn't mind a sneak peek. Well, you won't have to wait any longer...

2. Writing a Novel: How to Add Depth to Your Story



A while back, I met an aspiring writer, named Peggy, at a local pet supplies store (I spend a lot of time there....what can I say, I love to shop for my furry children!) who asked me several questions regarding my writing but this one stood out...



With the recent influx in dog food recalls, I've received several requests from readers and fellow dog lovers to share another of my homemade dog food recipes. I decided to share my recipe for my puppy-approved Turkey Meat Loaf. I cook it frequently for my current furry friends as often as I've made it for my late epi-warriors, Lana and Darren...

4. How Readers' Suggestions Can Influence Authors



Like most writers, I get my fair share of emails and social media messages from readers. Most of these messages are encouraging. I love to hear how my stories touch readers' lives. These words are such a blessing, and I am confident my fellow authors would agree. Once in a while, I get emails about mistakes in my writing. Thankfully I work with a good editor, so I don't get too many of those messages. I’ve even added a few of those really sharp-minded people to my list of beta readers. After my manuscript has gone through several of rounds of editing, I pass it along to my beta readers who use their gift to spot any typos or glaring plot holes...

5. Book Publishing: How to Review Your Proof Copy in Three Steps



When publishing a book, the moment of truth is simply inevitable. After all, it is the moment that you have anxiously awaited and probably even dreamed about. The printed proof copy of your book has finally arrived on your doorstep! That just happened to me…my newest historical fiction novel THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER showed up on my door step just a couple of days ago. I'm just giddy with excitement...


Thank you for reading my blog! Please feel free to come by often to catch up on my latest endeavours and Happy Reading!




Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added three historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl Empress., and A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.
Don't forget to share this post! Choose your platform below:







01 May 2019

Sneak Peek of THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER - A Country Girl Empress Novel


As most of my readers know by now, I've been diligently working on my next historical fiction piece, THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER for some time, and the third book of my Country Girl Empress series is nearly ready to hit a bookshelf near you. I can also well imagine that many of you wouldn't mind a sneak peek. Well, you won't have to wait any longer. Here it is....Enjoy!

                                                                          Piper

PS: Please keep in mind that this is just an excerpt of an unpublished manuscript, and although it has undergone several rounds of vigorous editing already, it's not the polished, final product. Thank you!  =)



Chapter One

                                                                             On Holiday                                                                                                                          
The summer of 1874 was a hot and humid one, but a fresh breeze blew over the Isle of Wight. In the hallways of Osborne House reigned a lively air. Messengers came and went, carriages arrived and left, and the footmen were busy announcing the arrival of a steady flow of members of the royal family and British government.
Queen Victoria, who had been on the throne for thirty-seven years now, enjoyed in this way what she called a holiday. But in this, she didn’t differ from other monarchs, who almost without pause had to attend to their government business.  The Queen of England was an energetic, albeit rotund lady and her caustic remarks were much feared. And for the past few days, she definitely took her humor a little too far, because a certain high-born visitor had arrived on the small island, who added further responsibilities to her daily obligations, the kind that were common courtesies among the reigning houses of Europe.
This visitor to the Isle of Wight was none other than Empress Elisabeth of Austria.
Queen Victoria envied this woman, who knew how to escape the responsibilities and duties of a monarch and actually enjoy going on holiday.
The wing adjutant of the Duke of Wales, who had been virtually deaf for years, but didn’t want to miss the sight of the famed beautiful Empress from Austria, patiently awaited an answer from his Queen, who sat at her desk working through mountains of paperwork with a frown on her face.
“She just arrived three days ago, Bradford,” she explained. “She must first get settled in with her extensive entourage, and from what I’ve been told, the Empress wishes to be left alone.”
“Your Majesty,” Bradford purred, who, long and skinny as he was, pretended to be patient, and with his eyebrows arched, was quite the strange opposite of his sovereign. “Her Imperial and Apostolic Majesty is here because of her youngest daughter. The child is very ill and requires rest.”
“Yet another reason to leave them alone. However, I will not be able to avoid paying them a short, private visit. That’s the least I can do. Empress Elisabeth is here in her private capacity, and not as part of an official state visit.”
Bradford arched his eyebrows just a little further, so they almost reached his receding hairline. The Queen looked up 
“What’s the matter, Bradford? Someone steal your crown?” she mocked him. “I am certain Her Imperial Majesty will afford our courtiers and cavaliers ample opportunity to admire her. I can only hope that she won’t turn all of my gentlemen’s heads.”
Bradford couldn’t think of an adequate reply. The Queen seemed to have guessed his most intimate thoughts. The news of Sisi’s presence seemed to have spread like wildfire already throughout the country estates all the way to Scotland and was viewed as quite a sensation. It appeared to have caused a sudden influx in wanderlust amongst the country gentry as well as nobility alike, because Sisi, the Empress of Austria, was considered one of the most beautiful and extravagant women in Europe. A title which could undeniably not have been bestowed upon their own monarch.
At the same hour that Queen Victoria decided to pay Sisi a private visit, Ida von Ferenczy, the Hungarian-born lady-in-waiting and confidante to the Empress, drew closer to a small hill near the island beach. The salty air blew across the sea, and the narcotic perfume of the blooming magnolia trees nearby, spread along the coastline.
From the grassy hill, one could see all the way to the beach, where the waves crashed down in a well-timed rhythm. A truly spectacular force of nature to behold. Sisi leaned back in a lounge chair on the highest point of the hill. She did not see the roaring waves. She was asleep. As Ida von Ferenczy drew closer, she noticed that Her Majesty’s sleep was not a peaceful one. Worried, Ida stopped. She did not dare step any closer while the Empress was asleep even though she had come here with an important message.
As always, when she saw the Empress, and Ida had been in her service for many years and could genuinely claim to be her confidante, she felt nothing but admiration for her, and not just for her beauty’s sake. The Empress was now 37 years old. In the year that Queen Victoria ascended to the throne, Sisi was born in Possenhofen as a daughter of Duke Max in Bavaria and his wife, Duchess Ludovika. Sisi had a sunny and carefree childhood amid her siblings, encouraged by her lively and unconventional father. She grew up like a magical, happy bird who knew nothing of the reins of etiquette.
Her mother, Ludovika, was a sister of Archduchess Sophie of Austria. The Archduchess had taken a bold and courageous step many years ago. During the crisis of that revolutionary year of 1848, when the Viennese court had feared for its safety, the imperial family fled the capital city and sought refuge in Olmütz. The Emperor abdicated, and Sophie had convinced her husband, Archduke Franz Karl to renounce his claim to the throne. Back then, she would have had the chance to become the Empress of Austria and wear the crown with distinction. But she was smart enough to look to the future, and with the foresight of a shrewd politician, she made it possible for her son, Franz Joseph to ascend to the throne instead.
Naturally, she understood how to steer his actions from the beginning. The young Emperor, who had been raised to be a responsible and conscientious ruler, always obeyed his mother’s sage advice in all things but one.
Back then, in Bad Ischl, when he met Sisi and fell head over heels in love with the young girl. He had come to the little resort town to look for a bride. However, it was not Sisi whom he was supposed to court. The two sisters, Sophie and Ludovika, had decided on Sisi’s older sister Helene as his bride. But next to her younger sister, graceful Helene paled in comparison. The young Emperor only had eyes for the spry country girl. He was enchanted by her appearance and fell head over heels in love with her. Utterly amazed, his mother Sophie realized that her son was not going to obey her in this matter. Whether she wanted to or not, Sophie had to give her consent to their marriage, and when the beaming bride arrived in Vienna, she won the people over in no time.
The Emperor’s mother was very much in favor of adhering to the Spanish Court Ceremonial as she was careful to follow the archaic family principals. In this world of strict rules, the young Empress didn’t feel well from the beginning. She was like a shimmering, exotic bird, who suddenly found itself locked up in a gilded cage. Now she was in her mid-30s already, yet still looked young and beautiful. When Ida saw her laying there, she thought about all this and what fate still had in store for her, because Elisabeth’s life was indeed an unusual one.
Ida von Ferenczy was correct. Sisi had a nightmare. She dreamed about that horrible night in 1872 that she spent at the deathbed of her mother-in-law. Sophie had caught a cold during a capricious April night. After she attended a performance at the overheated Burgtheater, Sophie followed her need for fresh air and decided to sit on the balcony of her apartment for a little while. But she fell asleep. The cold night air did not wake her.  
The ill woman had been brought to Schönbrunn. The council of physicians discussed which necessary steps to take next. Sophie’s health temporarily improved so that everyone began to hope for a full recovery, but then her condition deteriorated. Her fever skyrocketed, and she was unconscious most of the time. The Emperor sent his personal physician. Now that the danger had taken on a more acute form, he pushed aside many of his appointments and spent much of his precious free time with his mother. Slowly the members of the imperial family gathered, along with the palace pastor.
Barely three weeks later the council of physicians abandoned all hope. They were unable to heal her pneumonia. In the night of the 26th of May, a footman appeared in Sisi’s anteroom, to fetch her. The Archduchess wished to see her daughter-in-law, with whom she had argued on so many occasions, one last time.
The clock just struck midnight when Sisi entered the death room. Sophie laid in her bed, trying to catch her breath, with her eyes wide open, she feverishly looked up at Sisi. The Empress kneeled down next to her bed, leaned over and then turned around to the two nurses, outraged.
“Don’t you have a sweat cloth? She is soaking wet.”
Immediately, one of the nuns stooped down to make up for what they missed. Sisi took the cloth out of her hand and dried Sophie’s sweaty brow herself.
Her touch woke the Archduchess. It took her a while to realize where she was, but then a weak smile crossed her lips.
“My child,” she groaned, “there are so many things for which I need to ask your forgiveness. We disagreed on so many issues, but I want you to know that I loved you as much as any of my own children. Franz Joseph adores you, and as his mother, I was always keen to make a good woman of you that is equal to the tasks of a dutiful Empress and wife. I know that you are a free spirit, a filly that cannot be held at any one feed trough. If you would have been brought up in Vienna instead of in Possenhofen, by a father who allowed you too many liberties, then things would probably have been different. But you must see that this is no way for an Empress to live and represent her country,” she sighed exhaustedly.
“Oh, Mama,” Sisi cried and sank to her knees in front of Sophie’s bed while she grabbed her feverish-hot hands. “Mama, please forgive me for all the grief I have caused you! Now, pull yourself together, Mama and get well again!”
“Oh no, my child! I don’t want that any longer. Perhaps I’ve been dead since my Max was killed in Mexico.”
And she had indeed never gotten over it. When the casket with the mortal remains of Emperor Maximilian arrived in Vienna from Mexico, his mother had collapsed. Everyone feared Sophie would end up like Maximilian’s wife, Empress Charlotte. She had lost her mind after the events in Mexico and lived in Belgium, mentally deranged. But Sophie had been strong- natured. She soon recovered and yet she was never the same again. She nearly spent all of her time in church.
Sophie smiled dully.
“Whatever once stood between us, let us forget about now. We cannot allow it to stand between us any longer, not in this hour. Do you hear me?”
In just this moment, the Emperor entered the room. He saw the two women together, the two people he loved the most, and who were, next to his children and work, the contents of his life.
“Mama! Sisi!” he cried out and hurried to his mother’s bedside. His wife looked up at him, and he saw tears shimmering in her eyes. The Emperor realized that a miracle had happened. Sisi and his mother had made their peace, but at the same time, he suspected that his mother would not survive the night.
As if Sisi had felt Ida’s gaze on her, she woke up. She saw the slender, brown-haired Hungarian lady standing close by her.
“Your Majesty had a bad dream?” Ida inquired worriedly.
“It was indeed a heavy dream,” Sisi nodded and sat halfway up in her lounge chair. “Over and over, my dreams lead me back into my past. It’s almost as if there is no future.”
“But there is a future,” Ida smiled encouragingly. “And it’s close by! We just received a message from Osborne House. Queen Victoria his coming for a visit!”
Sisi jumped up. Her dream was forgotten. She quickly found her way back to the here and now.
“Oh, my Heavens!” she cried out. “Is that really necessary?”
“Apparently it is, Your Majesty,” Ida nodded and smiled. “It appears to be an English custom.”
“We will probably be obligated to suffer through several more of those courtesy visits,” Sisi sighed and turned to stare out at the ocean. “But if anyone thinks that I will reciprocate in kind, they are sadly mistaken. Dressing in formal gowns and large receptions are plenty to be had at the Hofburg Palace and in Schönbrunn. I did not come to England to endure the same here!”
“But His Majesty specifically ordered to maintain good relations between the Austrian Empire and Great Britain,” Ida reminded her. Indignant, Sisi stomped with her dainty, lace-up boots through the grass. It was as if an already saddled horse could no longer be subdued.
“I know! I know!” Sisi nodded. “So, we shall be obedient and receive the Queen and pretend we thoroughly enjoy ourselves.”
“Your Majesty, it will pass. Does Your Majesty wish to see the Archduchess now?”
“Of course, Ida! How is my daughter today? What did the doctor say?”
A few minutes later they had reached the country house where the Empress stayed, along with Ida von Ferenczy, Countess Marie von Festetics, and the inescapable hairdresser, Fanny Feifalik.
Marie Valerie Mathilde Amalie, affectionately called Valerie, was a delicate, sickly child, six years of age, who always worried her mother with her frail constitution. The little girl, whom her mother loved very much as she was her youngest child, was the main reason for their visit to the Isle of Wight.
Tenderly, the little girl embraced her mother with her skinny arms.
“Oh, Mama!” she called out excitedly. “The horses have just arrived.”
The news was like music to Sisi’s ears because she, the passionate equestrienne, had ordered her favorite horses to be brought here. She just didn’t want to forego the pleasure of her daily riding routine.
“How wonderful!” Sisi exclaimed happily. “Shall we go to the stables now?”
Ida von Ferenczy followed them like a shadow. In the hall-like, massive stables of this country manor, the horses already stood in their straw-filled boxes, and the stable lads were busy brushing Sisi’s beloved horses. Fearless, Valerie jumped into their boxes and lightly patted the stallions and mares. Happily snorting, the horses greeted their mistress. Sisi stroked their manes, was handed some bread and sugar cubes, and devotedly fed her animals their treats.
“When you’re all grown up, you will realize that it’s easier to talk to them than some people,” she told Valerie. “And most importantly, you can trust them more than people, because they never dissemble.”
“But, Your Majesty,” interjected Ida von Ferenczy, who did not like it when she heard the Empress philosophize in this manner. Sisi just smiled.
“Well, and then there are the exceptions to the rules, and you, my dear Ida, are definitely one of them.”
Sisi had definitely experienced many disappointments within her close circle of so-called friends. The gossip-addicted ladies of the Viennese court, the intrigues of the powerful and the ones that wanted to be - Sisi had experienced it all up close, saw right through it, and adjusted her own behavior accordingly. However, it definitely had not improved her own standing within the Viennese high society, which often reached an all-time low, much to the dismay of the Emperor. This was regularly the cause of tensions between her and Archduchess Sophie.
She still couldn’t understand that there were people in this world whose character so depended on superficialities, whose lives only revolved around honors, titles, balls, and idle gossip.
Sisi was different. She did not judge people by the number of medals they wore, the cut of their robes, or the glittering of their jewels. She often preferred the company of commoners whose sincerity and warmth deeply touched her. More than once she offended the Viennese court with her preferences, and she consequently withdrew more and more from those circles. And so, the beautiful Empress, who complainingly carried the heavy burden of the crown, was a lonely woman. Her husband’s love helped her cope with many things, just as her love for their youngest daughter did, while her son had inwardly slipped away, along with their elder daughter.
The beginnings of Rudi’s upbringing still fell into Archduchess Sophie’s time. She and Franz Joseph thought to make Rudolph into a future soldier-emperor. However, the boy had inherited too much of his mother’s temperament to allow such a thing. But at least Sophie had succeeded in removing Rudolph from his mother’s influence, and it was one of Sisi’s most painful experiences to know that he had also inwardly distanced himself from her, and eventually followed his own path.
The Emperor, who was bogged down by government business, and the Empress, who carefully avoided the Viennese court, had little contact with their son. Sisi had left him in the care of his tutors and thought him in good hands.
Even here, in the stables of this English country manor, she didn’t think about him. For a short while, she was happy among her horses and Valerie’s company. She had even forgotten the impending visit of the British monarch, that was bound to throw some of Sisi’s staff into turmoil. From the clock tower of the manor, the bell rang midday. Sisi sincerely hoped that this summer would be a relaxing one.      


Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added three historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl Empress., and A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.
Don't forget to share this post! Choose your platform below:

24 April 2019

Book Publishing: How to Review Your Proof Copy in Three Steps


When publishing a book, the moment of truth is simply inevitable. After all, it is the moment that you have anxiously awaited and probably even dreamed about. The printed proof copy of your book has finally arrived on your doorstep! That just happened to me…my newest historical fiction novel THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER showed up on my door step just a couple of days ago. I'm just giddy with excitement.

Up until then, my book had only existed in computer files, hard-copy printouts I’ve used for editing purposes, and as an online digital proof on my computer screen. But now I can see my book with my own eyes, and hold a physical copy of it in my hands. Moments like these definitely have the power to move people, and rightly so. When you are almost ready to publish, and you are anything like me or so many other writers, you now feel both excited and maybe even a little frightened at the same time. But don’t hit that “Publish” button just yet!

But why would you even want to bother reviewing a physical copy of your book, when digital review copies are readily available? Putting a book together is a complicated process. It involves writing a manuscript, adding photos, lots of editing, page design, cover creation, and many other things just to get to this point. The purpose of the proof copy is to ensure that you’ve done everything correctly. Errors that were invisible on your computer screen or even in printouts suddenly seem to jump out at you. All sorts of errors can creep into our files…misalignments, extra spaces where there were none before, typographical errors, etc. And this is when a hard copy of your book can make a huge difference.

How to Check Your Book:

This is the last stage in the publishing process before your book goes public, so spend some time on this step and to do it right. Books can last a very long time, and so do the errors contained within them. Take this your opportunity to make your book as error-free as possible. I like to apply the following three step process:

1. Read Your Book


- Read the entire book, and while doing so I like to check for inconsistencies and typographical errors.

- Is the text complete? Did a paragraph get left out somewhere?

- Or did part of a sentence get cut off at the bottom of a page?

- Are the fonts consistent throughout the book?

- Do you have paragraphs where the word spacing is much looser or much tighter than others?

- If possible, have someone else who also read through it. Two sets of eyes usually see more than just one set. It is quite surprising how many errors can be uncovered this way.

2. Take a Close Look at the Book


I try to ignore the text and instead concentrate on everything else. I have a hard time with this step because I am automatically drawn to the writing. Here are the things I like to look for:

- Those pesky orphans/widows; the single lines at the bottom of a page or parts of lines at the top of a page. If I can get rid of them, I will do so.

- Running headers should be consistent and should show the proper information, such as the book title or chapter titles. Those sorts of mistakes can easily sneak up on you, so it pays to check for them thoroughly.

- Does each chapter start in the same spot on the page and contain the same elements in the same order?

- Blank pages should have nothing at all on them, not even a header.

- Page references can be another problem. If you referred to something “on page 213″ or “in Chapter 4″ is said reference still there or has it shifted somehow? Or perhaps it has disappeared altogether.

- Paragraph indents ought to be consistent throughout the book, no matter what style you used.

3. Double-Check the Cover


 The front and the back of your book cover play a significant role when marketing your writing. People do judge a book by its cover, so make it the best you can. Here are elements I like to check on:

- Does the overall design meet your expectations?

- Are the book title and the name of the author clearly visible?

- Make sure that the ISBN on your copyright page matches the one on the back cover.

- Is the price reflected correctly?

- Proofread the text on the back cover!

Don’t be too surprised if you need to upload revised versions of your book interior and/or cover several times! That’s actually part of the normal process. Of course even after proofing your book mistakes can still sneak by (it can happen to the best of us), but there will definitely be a lot less of them. It pays to check your proof, and correct your files before uploading the revised version. When it’s time to publish your book, you can be confident that you have done everything to bring the best product you can on the market.

Now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t find too many errors in my proof copy!  =)

Do you review a printed copy of your book, before it is published? What do you like to double-check? Add your tips and tricks in the comments section below!


Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added three historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl Empress., and A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.
Don't forget to share this post! Choose your platform below: