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Editing

Wednesday #Writetip: When to Spell Out Numbers

Consistent use of numerals (1, 2, 3) versus spelled-out numbers (one, two, three) is one of the most common problems I see in my authors' writing. Most just type whatever form their fingers choose at that moment, but ultimately a rule of some kind should be established.    There are at least four different numbers rules that a writer could follow. Which one you choose has to do with the type of publication you are writing for and the technical level of the material. Your options include the following:     1. Some publications prefer to spell out one through nine and use numerals for all other numbers. This is often called the informal numbers rule and is commonly employed in newspapers and magazines.     2. Others prefer to spell out numbers...

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Publishing Stories: Author Peter C. Diamond on Hybrid Publishing “Amplify Your Career and Life”

This month the Publishing Stories blog is a two-parter. In Part 1: Editing and Publishing, Peter C. Diamond recounts his experience finding an editor and a hybrid publisher for his motivational self-help book, Amplify Your Career and Life: 4 Steps to Evaluate, Assess, and Move Forward.
 

Red Flags When Hiring a Copyeditor

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

 

I have written extensively about how to find and hire a copyeditor that is right for you. In the blog series How to Hire an Editor in 5 Easy Steps I discuss what to look for so you know you are hiring a qualified editor and the one who is best suited to you and your book. In this post I discuss the other side, the red flags.
 

Danger

Perhaps the biggest red flag to look for is someone who makes promises they can’t possibly keep. I recently came across this bold statement on an editor’s website:

Tracking Your Story’s Timeline

Keeping a consistent timeline in your story is crucial to earning your readers' trust. Readers will become frustrated if your characters seem to be jumping through the seasons at will or if too much has happened for only one week to have passed.   Although this may seem like a problem only novelists would confront, memoirists, short story writers, and anyone else writing about events that take place over time need to pay attention to their timelines also.   If you haven't kept your outline up to date while you're writing, do what your editor will do. Go through the manuscript and note all of the plot points that hinge on or mention timing. Write down the date and season, and if needed, count the days and weeks (and hours?) that would have passed...

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Is a Manuscript Assessment What You Need?

There comes a point in the life of every writing project when the writer has taken the piece as far as she can by herself. You have probably experienced this. It's when you finish revising your manuscript for the fourth or fifth time and think, "I have no idea if this is even any good." When you reach that stage, you have some options on how to proceed.   One option is to take your manuscript to a critique group. Or you might connect with beta readers online to get their input. Or perhaps you decide to share the manuscript with other writer friends to see what they think. Each of these options will give you more information about what you are writing and how you can improve it. Eventually, however, you will reach the...

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Would You Take Back a Manuscript Before Your Editor Finished Working on It?

Several times throughout my freelance career, I have had reason to suggest an author take back a manuscript and work on it some more before I continue with my editing. The reactions I have received run the gamut.   The first time this came up, I had been hired for a developmental edit and project management. I had done plenty of project management but was new to manuscript development, and it wasn't until I had put in about 10 hours of work that I realized the project really amounted to a ghostwriting assignment.   Ghostwriting costs a lot of money for a number of reasons, the two most obvious being it takes a lot of skill and it takes a lot of time. It definitely costs more than development. With my client's pocketbook in mind,...

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The Ban on Adverbs

When I first got involved in the writing side of the publishing industry, in 2012, I soon heard a mantra of sorts: Never Use Adverbs. Having been an editor for a dozen years before that, it struck me as one of the most arbitrary and useless rules I'd heard. Today, I at least understand how the ban on adverbs got started, even if I don't agree with it.   What's interesting to me is that many of the so-called rules that some novelists live by are not the same rules as those their editors profess. In fact, they are often at odds with each other. A writer might say, "Never start a sentence with a conjunction." An editor will say, "That rule has gone by the wayside, and thank goodness. Clarity is...

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Beta Readers Aren’t Editors; Editors Aren’t Beta Readers

If you have spent any time in the writing community over the past five to ten years, you've probably heard about beta readers. These are unpaid people who read your manuscript and give you feedback. The type, quality, and extent of feedback you receive depends on the readers you have enlisted to help you. Editors, of course, are professionally trained and educated to correct a wide range of problems in a manuscript to get it ready for publication. Although beta readers can greatly enhance the revision process, they do not replace editors. Similarly, an editor should not be thought of as a paid beta reader.   Beta Readers Are Not Editors   The feedback you get from your beta readers can be hugely helpful for identifying and resolving problems with plot, characterization, pacing, or...

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Four Kinds of Editors: In Brief

  Editors go by many different titles. Here are job descriptions of the four main types of editors you will come across, along with their alternate names and how much you can expect to pay when you hire them (based on industry averages).     Book coaches   Manuscripts in progress. Focus your writing and shape the overall direction of the book. May work with you from inception. Can guide you through the publishing process or for just a few months until you have your writing on track. Also called book shepherd.   Average rates: $100 to $300 per 1.5-hour session     Developmental editors   Very big picture. Shape the content of the book. Review organization of the book as a whole as well as organization within chapters; highlight areas that need work, need rewriting, require expansion, stray from topic. May overlap...

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