Conversations: 8/11/2017

S.O.S. – Writers Need Help, Too – Part II

jump skydive

SO you’ve “jumped off the cliff” and are diligently working to complete the book that’s been humming in your brain for years! You’ve outlined the plot from beginning to end. You’ve fleshed out the characters and built intrigue into their personalities. You’ve done your research and created multiple files of information about places, things, even weather patterns. The manuscript is almost complete, but you just can’t seem to quit writing it. Something is missing. Do you put those beautifully written pages in the drawer and wait—wait for the day, week, month or year when you’ll know what’s missing and can complete it?

PLEASE—don’t file that manuscript away! You’ve already sown your heart—and many hours of your life—into those pages. Take a big breath, and seek editorial help. Yes, I’m an “editor,” and IF we’re a good match, I’d love to help you. However, the purpose of this blog is to give you a few tips in finding THAT RIGHT MATCH so that your dream of publishing this book (and future ones, too) will become reality.

  • With the speed of the Internet these days, your query to find “manuscript editors” or “writing coaches” or “writing consultants” will give many options. Warning: beware of those who call themselves superstar editors. Their fees will match their opinions of themselves.
  • If your manuscript is a specific genre, search for “best” or “excellent” editors in that genre.
  • Personally, I prefer to talk with prospective clients either in person or by telephone. This first “consult” should always be FREE. If someone wants to charge you for that time, it is a good indication that they are more interested in your $$ than assisting you complete your book.
  • BE READY to give a clear, concise, conceptual idea of your story’s theme and the main characters who will be living the story.
  • Prepare a list of questions that can be asked of each person you interview. This should include questions such as:
    • Why are you in the editing profession?
    • How many clients have you done work for; and may I speak with any of them?
    • What do you consider as your editing strengths? Weaknesses?
    • What are your fees?
  • KEEP IN MIND that, even though you’ll be hiring an editor, you’re actually building a partnership. You and the editor you select will be co-workers, and that person must share the vision you have for your work. He/she will also:
    • Make sure your storyline “flows” through the pages with clear, concisely written sentences that convey what YOU want them to say.
    • That the voice of each character speaks to the reader as you (the author) intends.
    • If the manuscript is non-fiction, they will ensure that your voice—your speaking patterns—are maintained. This is vital when you are asked to speak at book signings, conferences, etc.

Bottom line: Seeking editorial assistance is one of the best decisions writers can make. Not only does it rescue that precious piece writing from the Land of the Lost File Drawers, but it opens the path to publishing an excellent book that Readers will enjoy for generations. ⚓︎

 


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Conversations: 9/9/2016

RIGHT EDITOR vs WRONG EDITOR

… or …

The Match Game

 

Because I’m an editor AND an author I know I’m not the right editor/assistant for a whole lot of authors. That being said, I’m comfortable saying that I am an excellent editor/assistant for many authors. Those writer/authors are the folks with whom I share a passion for the genres of mystery/suspense, historical fiction, and sci-fi; uplifting poetry and art/photography; memoirs and expressions of Faith in true stories, miracles, and encouragement in daily life. Seeing these books finalized and in print is a wonderful feeling. Even more delightful are the times I’ve heard Readers say that a specific book was medicine to them—helping them realize that life’s pain is lessened by life’s joys even when we’re unaware of them.

Today, I’ll share a few thoughts about TYPES of editors and their niche in the editing world so that you can decide for yourself the type of editor your project needs.

  • We’re most familiar with the Copy Editor. This person corrects questionable grammar, makes suggestions about repeated word usage, and looks at the style of your writing.
  • A Copy Editor may also do Proofreading which looks a bit harder at verb tense usage, how writers use numbers, capitalizations, punctuation and, of course, correct spelling.
  • The Format Editor takes your manuscript and places it in the necessary program (PDF, etc.) required for publishing—whether newspaper, magazine, online, ebook or printed book.
  • There are also Research Editors who will confirm the references you’ve used and—if requested—make certain quotes are accurate.
  • Content Editors are often called the melting-pot of editorial services. They look at your manuscript as a whole; get to know you as an author and your author voice; and review/edit accordingly. This means, the Content Editor does their best to keep the author’s voice alive whether the punctuation or verb/tense is perfect or not.
  • Another style of editing is that of the Critique or Development Editor. This person helps a writer build their book from a basic idea, outline or partial draft. They work more closely with the writer—through multiple drafts—and can become an advisor on many book-related topics.
  • A Substantive editor, much like the Critique or Development Editor, will work with writers to improve their fiction manuscript. Both Writer and Substantive Editor work to clean up story elements such as plot, character growth/changes, dialogue, voice, setting, word choice, sentence construction and syntax, and pace—anything that could improve the strength of the manuscript. Working with Point-of-View is a big element helping the Writer re-focus on the Big Picture of their story as a whole.
  • Lastly I will mention the Ghostwriter. In 2014 NPR did a story about a ghostwriter who had just completed his 70th –yes seventieth—ghostwritten book project. Many years ago the concept of allowing someone else to write your book for you was a backroom discussion only to be shared with the publisher who was part of the contract.  NOT SO TODAY. Those who “do” ghostwriting are superb listeners who can hear the voice of their clients and write-in-their-shoes making it possible for Author and Ghostwriter to enjoy their everyday jobs.  Thus the reading public benefits from the best of both worlds—the “story” of the Author and the expertise of the Ghostwriter.

book pages

And there you have it—a comprehensive list of editors who are available to every writer should the need arise.  If you’re looking for an excellent editor match, talk with publishers and self-publishers.  Their current databases will give you the best options. ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Conversations: 9/2/2016

WRONG WORD vs RIGHT WORD

= Editor Assistant

Are you the Writer whose story is rattling around in your thoughts and never gives you a moments rest? Does it wreak havoc with your daily life? Do conversations with family and friends become punctuated with descriptions of the perfect scene to open chapter eight? Is everyone asking you the question: WHEN will you be finished with that novel? This may be the time to consider working with an editor/assistant—but how do you find the right one? When I posed this question to one of my author/editor friends, she said: “It’s much like picking the right puppy out of a big litter. Go to a writers conference; sit in the middle of the room; and voila. The right one will come to you—eventually.” Well…maybe that has worked for her. Because she’s not just an author, but also an editor who easily connects with people and really does a great job of editing for them, lots of people enjoy talking with her. However, allow me to offer a few other suggestions that might help folks who aren’t quick as outgoing.

frustration

  • Because my editing friend is also a published author (with several book on Amazon and in bookstores), I look for that information in any Editor’s Bio. If someone has never gone through the whole writing process themselves, how are they going to understand what I’m going through—and HELP ME!
  • Whether in-person or by phone, I want to TALK with several Editors about my book ideas and then LISTEN to their responses. I’m hoping to hear a connected-ness to the central concepts of the book and feel a person-to-person (writer-to-writer) connected-ness, too. If they don’t “get” the story I’m trying to write, they are not the Editor for me.
  • Also important is finding an Editor who will compliment a writer’s personality type. Most of the authors I know have utilized personality-type-testing to enhance their understanding of Introvert/Extrovert, Empathic/Detached, etc. “characters” as they are developed in their stories. Knowing the basic personality type of the Editors being interviewed will help select the best person to BALANCE the creative flow.
  • Both Author and Editor must also be adaptable—sensitive—to the STORY being written. We’ve all heard (and eventually understand) that stories and characters take on a life of their own as the book gets closer to completion. Editor and Author must be willing to LISTEN to each other’s ideas about improving plot without making decisions that alter the character(s) and the life they’re living in the story.
  • Finally, ask for references from the Editor’s authors list and be willing to call them. One of my favorite things to do is provide the list of the published books my author/client/friends completed.

Mark Twain is quoted saying, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is like the difference between the lightning bug and lightning.” The same can be said about connecting with the right Editor. There is one more way to find an excellent Editor who will match your needs. Talk with the publishing consultant from the publisher you plan to use. Their experience in connecting Writers with Editors is there for the asking. ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Self-Publishing Author: There’s a Problem with Your Book

Today’s post is by publishing industry expert, Cheri Breeding.

Your book published. Your family and friends have bought it. You’re excited…until they call you to tell you there were so many grammatical errors in the book that it was difficult to finish reading. “Oh no, I should have paid for copyediting”. Now you run the risk of “looking” unprofessional in the author community.

Too often authors are faced with the decision to either save their pennies or invest in editing services. They decide to bypass the editing. Fast forward to publication and many authors wish they would have made the extra investment. Even if you have gone through your manuscript with a fine tooth comb and had friends or family look it over, you’re almost guaranteed to find mistakes at publication. As a matter of fact, when you pay for professional copyediting services, the editor normally still has a 5% margin for error. With that margin of error from fresh and professionally trained eyes, imagine the level of error from amateur and familiar eyes.

When asked what they would have done differently when self-publishing their book, most authors agree they would have invested more money into professional copyediting and customizing their book cover.

So, I’m sold on the need for copyediting service, what do I need to know about working with an editor? Here are a few tips/things to keep in mind when you hire an editor:

  • Proofread and spell-check your work before sending it to an editor.
  • Remember that Editors are human and many work with about a 5% margin of error.
  • There are different levels of editing intensity: basic, moderate, and extensive.
  • Basic copyediting typically catches about 70% of errors in a manuscript.
  • As a self-publishing author, don’t focus on what the editor didn’t find, but rather what WAS found.
  • Review your manuscript again after you receive it from the editor to check for errors they may have missed.

If you want to be a successful author, it is important that you take the publishing process very seriously. That includes investing extra money into creating a polished product.


Cheri Breeding ABOUT CHERI BREEDING:
Since 2005 Cheri Breeding has been working as the Director of Production for Outskirts Press. In that time, she has been an instrumental component of every aspect of the Production Department, performing the roles of an Author Representative, Book Designer, Customer Service Representative, Title Production Supervisor, Production Manager and, Director of Production. She brings all that experience and knowledge, along with an unparalleled customer-service focus, to help self-publishing authors reach high-quality book publication more efficiently, professionally, and affordably.

 

DISCUSSION: Did you have a professional edit your book? If not, do you wish you did?