I’m your reader (as well as being an editor/proofreader) and what I’m looking for is a smooth and engaging experience with your words. Inconsistent capitalizing of words that normally aren’t makes me stop and wonder if this instance is different and how it relates to the rest of your story. Don’t make me stop and wonder unless you really want me to pause to absorb a new idea.
I know this may sound like I’m being too picky, but if you’re going to capitalize a term that’s not normally capitalized (because it’s one of your x number of steps to success or the name of your channeled entity), please do it all the time. You may think that you’ll remember, but trust me, you won’t. Most English-using humans don’t. Just isn’t intuitive. If you were German, you’d have internalized the capitalize-all-nouns thing from childhood, but English doesn’t work that way.
I think it’s absolutely a good idea to capitalize the important pieces in your new business advice book, I really do, but you will need to check (or better yet, have someone else check) to see that you’ve capitalized these terms throughout your book. Same for names of characters in a fantasy novel (Yarrow the Elf or Wolf the shapeshifter) or a spiritual self-help book (your Angel or Voice).
In addition, think carefully about how many terms you choose to capitalize. I’ve seen this practice overdone, particularly in spiritual inspiration books. If you capitalize too much, you will lose the impact for your most important concepts.
I get this sense of over-excitement from too much capitalizing of common nouns, almost as if I’m being tugged at or yelled at (“This Concept is so Important; it will change your Life!”). It’s OK just to tell me your story or outline your process with bullet points to create space for your ideas. A smooth read of your words and a good layout of your material will go a much longer way toward allowing your ideas to be integrated into my life than simply capitalizing everything.
End of rant, then. 🙂 I’d love to hear about your experience as a reader with this phenomenon; maybe I’m just being too anal. And your experience as a writer in deciding how to use capitalization in your work. Why do you think it’s important?
From the Shepherd’s Satchel
For Writers: A neat little article on different types of narrator viewpoints for your novel over at Reedsy. More here.
And just to show one can be a writer and editor and proofreader and love all three, this inspired article from Ruth E. Thaler-Carter over on The American Editor blog.