Tag Archives: editing

All authors need help

I’ve wanted to bring you guys some folks who provide auxiliary services for a long time. We’ve been able to bring a few of them out of the woodwork, but these are usually folks who shun the limelight. There are any number of people who will take your money, but deliver questionable results if they deliver at all.

We write the stories, but we can’t do it all. We need cover artists, beta readers, editors, formatters and more. One of my goals is to introduce you to folks who can get the job done and done right.

Today, Michele is here to give us an idea of her services and provide all of us with some contact data. Make her feel welcome.

Thanks for having me, Craig.

Let me introduce myself. I’m Michele Jones, and I own a small company, Articulate It Write, dedicated to helping authors with all of their publishing needs. Craig and I have worked on an anthology together, and he has invited me to talk about the services that I provide.

I have been writing, editing, and proofreading for over thirty years. I caught the bug in high school when I worked for the school paper, and I have been writing and helping others with their writing projects since.

Many authors have the ability to create great works but don’t know how to produce a finished product. After the final draft, several edits, many revisions, and beta reader feedback, the work needs to go to an editor who will check it for POV, plot holes, repetitive words, grammar, and flow.

You’ve made your edits, now it’s time to format your work for print and eBook. But you have questions.

• How do I add a header?

• Can I put page numbers on the right and left sides of my page?

• Can I add a table of contents?

• How do I add pictures?

• Can I use the same formatted document for a print book as I use for an eBook?

These are just some of the questions you might be asking. Professional formatters know the answers, and they can help you prepare your document for publication.

Creating a document that your audience can read easily is the key. You don’t know how to adjust kerning and spacing to create a smooth flowing document. You become frustrated because you are wasting valuable time formatting when you could be writing. Using a professional to format your document will allow you to move on with your writing and give you that professional look you desire.

I’m also an indie author, and as such, I am aware of the costs associated with publishing. I work with my clients to produce the best product possible, at a reasonable cost, within the desired time frame.

For information and reviews on my professional experience, view my resume on my LinkedIn profile. My experience in editing and formatting electronic and print media covers, but is not limited to, the following:

• Fiction

• Cookbooks

• Technical documents

• User and training manuals

• Newsletters, brochures, ads, direct mailings, and annual publications

• News releases and media kits

Some of my clients include:

• Individual authors

• Church groups

• Public safety organizations

• City and county governments

• Engineering firms

• Consulting firms

If you’re interested in discussing a writing, editing, or formatting project, please feel free to discuss them with me. You can reach me via the contact form on my site: LINK HERE.

Connect online:

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram| Published Works | Goodreads

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Every Writer Needs a Little Help

I’ve wanted to start bringing you a few author service providers for a long time. I extended a few invitations, and Staci Troilo took me up on it.

I can vouch for Staci’s work. She’s helped me in so many ways. Here’s Staci to tell us about her services.

***

Thanks for inviting me to visit again, Craig.

For those of you who don’t know (and honestly, that’s probably none of you), Craig and I are founding members of Story Empire, a site dedicated to helping authors with writing, publishing, and marketing. Since its inception, he and I have become not only colleagues, but friends, and as such, we’ve come to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

He asked me to visit today to talk a little about editing, one of my strengths.

I started earning money to write and edit when I was still in college. Different professors showed my work to their colleagues who were looking for writers, and each hired me. I tell you this to demonstrate how long (and I mean l…o…n…g) I’ve been working in the field.

When I worked those jobs, the clients “edited” my work. I use quotes because neither of my clients was a writer or professional editor, but each of them had final say on the wording. That work wasn’t too bad, all things considered. But not everyone can edit, and these bosses—though competent in their respective fields—were not editors in the proper sense of the word.

After I got my master’s degree and started working in the private sector, my bosses were always trained editors. And the work I did for those companies was solid.

You’re probably wondering why I’m rambling on about business writing rather than fiction editing. It’s because, regardless of the genre, even experienced writers need an editor. (Also, don’t forget—writing fiction is a business and should be treated as such.)

I’ve got a pretty decent body of published work, and this year it’s poised to grow considerably. (To view my complete catalogue or keep up with my releases, visit my site.) I’m a hybrid author (I’m both traditionally-published and self-published). It probably goes without saying that I have an editor for my work with the traditional houses. It might interest you to know that even though I’m a professional editor, I still have someone else edit my indie titles. Yes, editing is that important in the publishing process. And no, you should not be your own editor.

I’ve worked as an editor at three different publishing companies, and I now freelance. In each case, I’ve conducted all three types of edits*:

1. Developmental Edits

2. 2. Copy Edits

3. Line Edits

(*Please note that terminology may differ for these three categories depending on the source of the information, but the services are the same.)

Developmental edits are the most intensive to complete. To conduct a developmental edit, the editor will help guide the author in the structure of the piece. A developmental editor will do things like:

• point out alternative directions or gaping plot holes

• note inconsistencies

• show ways to further develop characters and their arcs

This service is best for novice authors who do not understand the foundations of writing fiction (things like premise, theme, and structure).

Copy edits are usually conducted after an author has self-edited her draft. This doesn’t mean you should ask for a copy edit of your first draft. First drafts are usually dirty drafts that will benefit from the author’s own clean-up efforts. But once an author has made several passes through the document, made revisions, sent it to beta readers for feedback, and revised again, it’s time to get a copy edit. A copy editor will note things like:

• flow problems

• weak word choices

• POV breaks

This is a type of edit that benefits novice and intermediate-level authors. It is helpful for authors who have structure under control but struggle with mechanics.

Line edits are the simplest type of editing. This is the final clean-up before a work is published. Line editors mark issues like:

• misplaced and dangling modifiers

• typographical errors

• punctuation problems

This type of edit is beneficial for writers of all levels, novice through professional. While experienced writers are probably aware of these pitfalls, even they will find it difficult to pinpoint such problems in their own work. We become blind to our words because we know what we want them to be, and consequently, we don’t see what they actually are.

I joined Story Empire because I enjoy working with authors. That’s the same reason I love working as an editor. I like to help writers expand their knowledge and polish their work. Besides, I learn something from every person I work with. I’ve also developed many friendships along the way and received some truly heartwarming feedback.

• Staci Troilo is a superb editor who understands the creative process, offering suggestions without stepping the artistic choices of the author. She’s thorough, efficient, and sensitive. She’s also knowledgeable in the mechanics of all aspects of writing. (P. C. Zick)

• She is AMAZING! She took my text, and added bullets, subheads, and pull quotes to make the material much easier for readers to consume, all without making any changes to my voice or style. (Jennifer Dunne)

• Staci is the best hire I’ve ever made. She’s talented, dedicated, professional, and as hardworking as they come. (Casey Cowan)

• Staci gets three out of three for the traits necessary to do well in a business environment: she is on time, she has great skills, and she’s easy to work with. (Duke Pennell)

These excerpts from published reviews (see the full reviews plus more of my credentials here) mean a lot to me, because they tell me I’m not only doing what I set out to do professionally, I’m also making other people happy. And at the end of the day, I can consider my career and my life a success if I leave this world a better place (in any manner) than how I found it.

If you are interested in my editing services, you can find more information here. If you like what you see, fill out the contact form and we can talk about your project.

Because I’m also an indie author, I understand the budget-crunch writers face, and as such, I keep my prices well below industry standard. I also offer a fast turnaround time (usually under two weeks) and will consider rush jobs.

I want all authors to shine, which is why I try to be accommodating and flexible. If you have special needs, please feel free to discuss them with me.

WEBSITE | FB PAGE | FB GROUP | TWITTER | AMAZON |

GOODREADS | BOOKBUB | NEWSLETTER | OTHER LINKS

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A Doubt filled weekend

Doubt

Yesterday involved a bunch of problems, sponsored by WordPress and Apple.

Apple’s iOS had a bug that hit some users, but not others. It forces a symbol replacement for a capital I when you type. I googled how to fix it, and they suggested a kind of macro that tells the computer when you type “I” what you really mean for it to do is type friggin “I”. It didn’t work.

A different website promised a repair was coming soon from Apple, so I checked. The update was already available, and fixed everything.

The second issue came from WordPress. It seems they’ve driven away all the decent blogging apps, and I’ve been using the actual WordPress app. One of the good things about it was the way it handled pictures. That all changed.

I used to be able to size, move, and tag photos. Today that’s all limited. For instance, if I tell it to move the raven to the left, that’s no problem. However; now it will no longer allow me to type beside it. The image insists upon taking up the entire area. That’s why the photo is centered above on today’s post.

I used to have two options for tagging images, but today I only have one. I can schedule the post, then edit it inside WordPress, but it worked well two days ago.

The other thing it’s doing now is randomly changing the pitch of my type. All is well if I just keep going, but if I go back to make a correction, all the future words want to be in some kind of micro-text. I have to delete my last good letter, then retype from there to get it right.

None of the WordPress issues are major, but it worked fine a couple of days ago. They need to address this, and while they’re at it,would it be too much to ask if I wanted to actually center some text, and change the pitch of my letters inside the app? As an example, I will add a section break below this paragraph. I will have to left justify it, post it, then edit it inside the WordPress Admin function to make it look right.

***

I went to the writing cabin around nine o’clock this morning. I spent yesterday working through The Hat and some suggestions I received. It really is looking good right now.

I plucked the hat from my desk and dropped him on my head. He was configured as a grey fedora, his preferred look. I opened the window, and gestured outside to Doubt, the raven. “I don’t think we need you for this one.”

It was an odd feeling. I have doubts about all my stories, but this time I feel great about one.

The hat said, “Go catch mice or something. Craig and I got this covered.”

Doubt glared at us like we brought his daughter home late.

“Go on, buddy. We don’t need you. In fact, Craig and I are ready to publish,” the hat said.

“Well, not exactly. Lisa is still with Sean Harrington, and we need her promotional posters. We may not have those until the end of the year.”

“So, what are we supposed to work on today?”

“I received feedback on The Yak Guy Project from a dear friend. I thought we might work our way through that.”

“What’s that got to do with the old hat?”

“Nothing really. I thought you might like to read over my shoulder. Lisa isn’t here, and maybe you have some suggestions.”

“You’re probably smart to come to me. Besides, I wasn’t doin’ anything anyway.”

I turned on my computer, and sat up an iPad beside it for the redline copy of my book.

“So, that Internet has the corrections, and the other Internet has the actual book? Is that the deal?” The hat asked.

“They’re two different devices, but they work on the Internet.”

“That’s what I said.”

“It’s, well it’s like… Yeah, we can check the suggestions on one, and make any changes on the other one.”

“Sounds like a good plan.”

I scrolled down the redline to the first suggestion.

“Slow down. Still reading here,” the hat said.

“Sorry.” I pondered the first suggestion and looked across the room.

Doubt lowered his head into what I call his classic vulture pose. “Kaaaaw, ha, ha, ha.”

“Oh, shit! Why couldn’t you just leave while I felt good about The Hat”

“Kaaw.”

“Hey, Yak Guy is kind of a dork. I gotta tell you, Lizzie has her shit together a lot more than this guy,” the hat said.

“Yeah, they’re different stories. In The Hat, Lizzie is supposed to be a go-getter who needs a bit of direction–”

“Your’s truly.”

“Exactly. Yak Guy needs a major overhaul in his life. Where you are more of Lizzie’s partner, Yak Guy needs a mentor.”

“Man I feel sorry for that guy.”

“He’s a yak.”

“How can a yak be a mentor?”

“How can a hat be a partner?”

“Touché. I’ll just go with it.”

“Thank you.”

***

Between the evil glances and croaking of Doubt, and trying to explain everything to the hat, it was a long day. The book, The Hat, is nearly ready to go. I’m expecting to hear from one more reader, and need some artwork.

The Yak Guy Project keeps waffling from deleting it entirely, making it into a trunk novel, self publishing it, or submitting it to an actual publisher. I kind of need to narrow the distance between those bookends somehow. This weekend is in the books, so I don’t have to decide anything today. I need to get on with it though.

How about some covers. Everyone loves covers, right?

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A day off

I got to sleep in a whole hour this morning; 5:30 yay! I started my day with a cruise through social media, and a lot of bulldogs in my lap.

It was about 60 degrees outside today and bright sunshine. Pretty awesome. I went to lunch with an old work colleague, and enjoyed catching up with her. We could have had sloppy rain or even snow, so it was a nice day. The Boise area is awash in Autumn colors, so that only enhanced the day.

Otherwise, I pulled down my novella, The Hat, and looked at it with fresh eyes. It’s been fermenting in cyberspace for weeks now, and this is on purpose. A bit of distance seems to provide a more accurate vision.

I changed a few things, but not much. This was a first editing pass, not a deep search for problem words or anything like that. There is something different with this story, and I want to discuss that here.

In my novels, I usually reach a point where I’m sick to death of them. I’ve spent so much time with these characters that it wears me out. By the time they’re published I love them again, but it’s a cycle I’ve always gone through.

This story still excites me as much as when I first started. I suspect this has something to do with the length. It’s a novella, so I can read through it in one day. I also love a good buddy story, and this one fits that description.

I’m going to avoid the term “character driven” when I market it. I always thought it was a pretty good descriptor, but some bloggers have turned this into something bad. They claim it’s author-speak for a story with no plot or focus. (Psst, don’t tell anyone, but this is character drive fiction.) If you’ve enjoyed any of my characters in the past, you’re probably going to like these guys too.

I used some light-duty graphics in this story. One of the challenges when editing is keeping the graphics where they belong after rewording things. This may drive my formatter crazy, but I’m willing to pay extra to keep them. Don’t know how they’ll transfer when I share it with beta readers. I write in Pages, but email out in Word format.

I also started Sean Harrington working on some Lisa Burton promotional posters for this one. I have some fun ideas for them, and can’t wait to see the results of his magic.

All in all it was a great day. Got some decent work done, got to visit with an old friend that I also share a birthday with, now I get to watch the World Series. Can’t complain at all.

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A good day, if a long one

I stayed up late again gaming with my son. He wanted to game again today, but I told him I had some work to do. I started out at six AM, and didn’t stop editing until one PM. It’s a real joy to have talented friends who can mark things up for me. It looks like I still have the Apple problem that capitalizes any attribution after a question mark. Those were still peppered throughout the manuscript.

Yak Guy is looking pretty darned good though.

I hurried up and cruised through social media after I finished, because it’s a necessary evil. Then I wrote and/or scheduled three blog posts. I did all of that with a bulldog in my lap too. It’s like being a handicap golfer. Frankie is my writing handicap.

Good news; all of my task lists is completely checked off.

Bad news; after my marathon day, I return to the paycheck job tomorrow after having been out for a week. I expect to be swamped until October.

Got some good news about the anthology I’m participating in, so I have to work up some things for it this week in the evenings. Probably not tomorrow though, because I have critique group right after work.

Here is a picture of a fun beer I tried at date night this weekend:

Sadly, I did not see a pink elephant. I kind of wish I had another one right now. I’m tired enough that the elephant might actually show up tonight.

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Chipping Away

Mom and Dad had date night, and we got pumpkin hats.

I chipped away at my task list. I have a couple of Lisa interviews ready to go, but I’m holding off on which one to post. I’m waiting for purchase data for a book. I don’t have to decide until tomorrow, so I’ve gone as far as I can.

I successfully ignored The Hat. Stepping away is always better for the editing process.

All of my critique work is finished. I printed everything today and put them in my truck for our meeting Tuesday. I got down to the last few pieces of paper yesterday, printed the submissions out, and then learned my print heads needed cleaning. I had to throw them away and shop for paper. We swung by Fred Meyer after date night and all is well.

We ran a few errands, and even picked up some dog toys. We’re still picking up things like those undermats that keep the rugs from sliding around. After we finished my son and I logged a few hours of Borderlands. My character got a cool new sniper rifle that lights its victims on fire, and she got a new head too. Seriously, I don’t write this stuff. You get heads and bodies from a vending machine as a kind of upgrade.

In a way, it’s too bad the real world doesn’t work this way. I could insert my credit card and grow a foot taller. Then I wouldn’t be overweight.

When we re-upped with Direct TV, we were given a year of the NFL League Pass for free. We watched the game last week, but this week it’s not on. We probably need to call them, but were denied the ability to watch. My internet indicates the Steelers won, so there’s that. I might get to check out some baseball later today.

I say might, because Old What’s Her Face is binge watching The Outlander. While Outlander is on, I retreated to another room and started reading A Desolate Hour. It seems to take me forever to read a book these days, but I’m committed. Great story so far.

I also wrote a couple of future blog posts. When the Muse visits, it’s best to give in to her. Not kidding here, she gets violent.

I still haven’t gotten back to the edits on Yak Guy. Tomorrow is my best chance, but it’s dependent upon whether my daughter decides to talk my ear off.

So I chipped away at the task list. Some projects are complete, some on hold, and others yet to come. Maybe tomorrow will let me scratch them all off.

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I’m back home

We had a seminar that got us to noon, then we were free to come home. It was cold and rainy when we loaded the car, but the ten inches of predicted snow overnight never happened. We pulled out and one of my compadres asked about lunch. I said, “How about West Yellowstone?”

I wanted to put some miles behind me, and could have happily driven all the way to Boise without stopping except for gas. That isn’t how it works when traveling with a crowd, but West Yellowstone won out. At least I got about 30 miles down.

West Yellowstone is one of my favorite places. If one of my books ever takes off, or we win the lottery, I could happily rent a cabin there for the summer. I’m sure plenty of good stories could be written from there too. I had a buffalo burger, because that’s what one does there. I prefer the buffalo steak, but it was lunchtime.

There was a downside. We were only slightly ahead of the real storm. This was September 15th after we left.

It kind of reminds me of my morel mushroom hunt on June 10th, which looked like this.
A three month summer sounds about right to me but: SPRING AND FALL ARE SUPPOSED TO BOOKEND IT! Not friggin winter.

I want my autumn. It’s my favorite time of the year. I want my leaves and pumpkin beer. I want my cool nights with the window open. I want all the flies to die lonely cold deaths.

Enough of that. It’s time for some weekend goals.

  • I have to stop looking at The Hat and let it ferment for a while.
  • I want to read at least two books before I start writing again. Might as well start this weekend.
  • Print out two submissions and work up critiques for my group.
  • Work on edits for Yak Guy. This is a long process, but I have all day Monday.
  • Date night, Steelers game, Diamondbacks game, craft beer.
  • Keep cranking on Lisa’s interviews.

I won’t make the list too long, because some of these will take more time than simple blog updates. As far as blogs go, I missed reading some of yours. I drove most of the day and part of the night; that’s my excuse. I’ll surf back through, but some are going to get missed.

I have my next Story Empire post scheduled, and had an idea about a follow up post. The pending one is about starting a story. A fair idea came to me while driving, that starting in media res would be a good follow up. It also occurred to me that I can use Cat Ballou as a reference most folks will understand. Might have to find a more recent movie for younger readers. I’ll do a bit of research and see if I can make a post that includes Hanoi Jane fun somehow. Maybe there’s a YouTube video with Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole.

That’s the update and the plan. I’m home, and it’s time to get started.

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