types of editing

Types of Editing: A Practical Guide

If you clicked on this article hoping to finally figure out the difference between line editing and copyediting, allow me to break it to you: there are no industry-wide definitions of the types of editing that everyone agrees on. This isn’t just a situation of traditional publishers calling certain editing one thing and self-publishers calling Read more about Types of Editing: A Practical Guide[…]

professional editing

Should you get professional editing before querying agents?

Everyone has an opinion about whether you should get professional editing before querying agents with your manuscript. There’s the story about the agent who turned down the author once he found out someone else had edited the manuscript. There’s the story about the agent who claims she no longer reads sloppy manuscripts because she gets Read more about Should you get professional editing before querying agents?[…]

beta reading

The quick and easy guide to using beta readers

Oh, no … You didn’t just ask your spouse, your mom, or your best friend to read your book and tell you what they think, did you? Every author needs test readers—impartial, unbiased test readers. As much as your squad may want to help, beta reading is one area where friends and family don’t qualify. Read more about The quick and easy guide to using beta readers[…]

critique and feedback

How critique and feedback help your book

One of the most insidious ways to hamstring yourself on the way to publishing your first novel is to be overly cautious about sticking your head out of your shell. When you hide your writing until you’re “ready,” nine times out of ten, it means you’re hiding from feedback. Sorry I had to call it Read more about How critique and feedback help your book[…]

find editor

The author’s guide to finding and hiring an editor

The first thing you’ll discover when you’re ready to hire an editor is just how many people offer editorial services. There are editors for your story and editors to catch your typos. There are editors who contract with publishing companies and editors who moonlight. What sort of editor do you need? How can you find Read more about The author’s guide to finding and hiring an editor[…]

Publishing goals

What are your publishing goals?

Can you imagine the extradimensional bliss of watching your book become the next hot thing? While many authors dream of being the next Mark Dawson or Hugh Howey, in our hearts, we all know how rare that kind of success really is. But while the common wisdom tells us to shoot for the top, planning Read more about What are your publishing goals?[…]

Should you credit your editor in print?

Editors have a reputation for wanting to keep their work behind the scenes. Even the freedom of self-publishing authors to generously acknowledge and credit their editors’ contributions hasn’t done much to change that. Why are editors so darn sensitive about being credited in print? You might think an acknowledgment or credit line would be universally Read more about Should you credit your editor in print?[…]

10 kinds of books authors should be reading right now

If you’re not writing, you should probably be reading. Here’s what fiction authors should be reading and why. 1. Read the classics. You’ve heard that there are only so many stories in the world. If storytelling is your stock in trade, you should probably know what they are. 2. Read debut authors. Find out what’s Read more about 10 kinds of books authors should be reading right now[…]

The two things authors should do every day

As an aspiring author, you probably always pictured yourself tucked away somewhere cozy for long stretches of intense writing and then kicking up your heels afterwards in an explosion of creative renewal. What you probably didn’t expect was the everyday routine of reading and writing. Welcome to life as a working author. Writing professionally means Read more about The two things authors should do every day[…]

File name

File name conventions that keep track of your revisions

It’s never too soon to start using good file naming habits. When your whole story lies ahead of you, it’s easy to naively assume you’ll start with TheGirlWiththeFuzzyManuscript_Orig, then go to FuzzyGirl_Revised, and maybe finish with TGWTFM_BetaFeedback. What you may not have counted on are the dozen variations of your book now nesting inside your Read more about File name conventions that keep track of your revisions[…]

What is your writing style?

Writing Style: What it is—and what it isn’t

What makes up an author’s writing style? You’d think it would be skillful writing. But all too often, authors are told weak writing habits are excusable—and sometimes even worthy of acclaim—because they represent hallmarks of the author’s individuality and style. Don’t be fooled by such shenanigans. Spare us the tired tales of how This Bestselling Read more about Writing Style: What it is—and what it isn’t[…]

Accepting feedback

How to handle editing and feedback on your novel

No author wants spend time changing a bunch of commas in their manuscript—except when the editor recommends deep changes, at which point changing commas is often all you feel capable of doing. Every writer feels the sting of opening a document file filled with red ink. But when the entire editing process becomes a battle Read more about How to handle editing and feedback on your novel[…]

Revising your manuscript

How to revise the early drafts of your novel

Ah yes, the stony gray wall of revision. It stares you down with the same inscrutable gaze of a blinking cursor on a blank page. How on earth should you begin? You start rereading your manuscript. Something’s misfiring; you can hear it, but darned if you know what it is. Meanwhile, you fiddle with the Read more about How to revise the early drafts of your novel[…]

content vs. copy editing

Developmental editing vs. copyediting—which do you need most?

If you could only afford one round of editing, should you choose developmental editing or copyediting? Developmental (content) editing ensures that your story is strong and vital. Copyediting (or line editing) crosses all the t’s and dots all the i’s. A purchase-worthy book needs both—but whether you’re hoping to be picked up by a publishing Read more about Developmental editing vs. copyediting—which do you need most?[…]

Self-publishing mistakes

3 ways to waste good writing and editing

So you’ve had your manuscript professionally edited. That decision marks you as an author who understands self-publishing means assuming responsibility for professional-quality editing and revision. Great start! But the finish line is still quite a long, dusty trek ahead. While your budget may still be stinging from editing—it’s one of the biggest costs of your Read more about 3 ways to waste good writing and editing[…]

Editing and Revision

The editing and revision process for self-publishers

New authors often assume that self-publishing a book means doing everything themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth, and that all becomes evident during editing and revision. Successful self-published authors know the value of putting together their own team of editorial professionals. Every step in the revision process represents another chance to achieve a Read more about The editing and revision process for self-publishers[…]

critique group

Where to find writing critique partners and groups

You’ve poured your heart and soul into your manuscript, and you’ve taken it as far as you can on your own. Now it’s time to widen the circle of your publishing team with a critique. Whether you’re sending your manuscript to an agent or self-publishing the title yourself, professional-quality publishing means putting your work in Read more about Where to find writing critique partners and groups[…]

Track Changes

Track Changes Guide: Tips and tricks for handling revisions

Your edit is finished, and it’s time for revisions. Track Changes can seem intimidating to work with the first time, but once you get comfortable with it, you’ll wonder how you ever managed notes, edits, and revisions without it. Before you begin, remember that you really can’t go wrong if you save early and often. Read more about Track Changes Guide: Tips and tricks for handling revisions[…]

Writing rules

Why writing rules and outlining won’t squelch your creativity

There’s an assumption among many writers that writing rules and outlines are pinched, mean things that constrain creativity and the flow of literary ideas. Writing blogs advise authors to flout conventional grammar and aim for a free, contemporary style. Authors fling pantsed manuscripts at their editors only to discover there’s a dropped plot line and Read more about Why writing rules and outlining won’t squelch your creativity[…]

the right editor

How to introduce your book to a prospective editor

Finding the right editor means opening a conversation you hope turns into a long, creative relationship with a like-minded lover of books. You’ll be asking prospective editors questions that tell you if they have the professional background and approach you want for your book—and they’ll be looking for something similar from you. Who are you as Read more about How to introduce your book to a prospective editor[…]

Editing

Should you use volunteers to proofread your book?

New authors often wonder why they can’t skip paying for a professional editor and crowdsource their editing instead among volunteer readers. Or what about using that neighbor who’s a retired English teacher? She says she’d only charge $200 to edit your entire book. Couldn’t you save big money with crowdsourced editing? You could—but you wouldn’t be Read more about Should you use volunteers to proofread your book?[…]

How much does editing cost?

10 ways to save money on editing

As an emerging author, you may be frustrated to discover that you shouldn’t follow the lead of experienced authors when it comes to your editing budget and saving money on editing. The editing needs of seasoned authors are much different from those of new authors. Writers at earlier stages of their careers need strong developmental Read more about 10 ways to save money on editing[…]

How far ahead should you schedule your edit?

One of the top reasons authors give for self-publishing is the speed with which they can bring their books to publication. Gone are the endless publishing house production cycles that can keep books in limbo for years on end. Control is back in your hands. That’s the good news. The bad news is virtually the Read more about How far ahead should you schedule your edit?[…]

Should you send your whole manuscript to a prospective editor?

You just clicked Save on your manuscript file in preparation for sending it off for a sample edit. The thing is, the prospective editor has asked you to send the entire manuscript. All you need is a tiny sample edit. Why would an editor ask to see your whole manuscript? Could this unknown editor be Read more about Should you send your whole manuscript to a prospective editor?[…]

Best publishing resources for authors

This post has been moved to a new permanent page. If you are not automatically redirected, please click here to visit the new page. Once your book is edited, where can you turn for reliable advice on the next steps in the publishing process? My favorite publishing resources for authors include books and articles on Read more about Best publishing resources for authors[…]

error rate

Why did the editor miss errors in your book?

What is the price of perfection? When you pay for professional editing, shouldn’t you be assured that your book will be error-free? Accuracy rates for professional editors today are quite high. Yet language and the art of writing don’t lend themselves to a strictly formulaic approach. Reader-reported errors and fumbles that creep in during revisions Read more about Why did the editor miss errors in your book?[…]

Ask an Editor: Live on Facebook, 2 p.m. March 15

  What’s the best way to revise your own copy? How do you know what kind of editing you need? What mistakes do editors find most often in manuscripts from first-time authors? How can you make your protagonist seem more relatable and sympathetic? Ask professional fiction editors (not acquisitions editors from publishing companies) your burning Read more about Ask an Editor: Live on Facebook, 2 p.m. March 15[…]

Help! My edit is choking my computer!

Bad news: You just got your manuscript back from the editor, and your computer has collapsed in a pique. Every time you open the document, Microsoft Word stalls out. The only thing still moving is your cursor, which is chasing its tail like an eternal puppy. How can you process your revisions if you can’t Read more about Help! My edit is choking my computer![…]

Playing the organ

Cliché Killer: Stop playing the organ

If you’re like many writers, your monitor is a veritable porcupine of sticky notes, many of them warning you away from the clichés your beta readers and editor have called you out on again and again: Her heart pounded as his hand slid up the side of her neck. She took a deep breath and Read more about Cliché Killer: Stop playing the organ[…]

The secret to nailing your final draft

What if I told you there was a writing tool that could help you nail your final draft, slash time and effort off the front of the editing process, and set up your novel for acceptance by an agent or publisher? Such a beast really does exist, and it’s something you already know you’ll need Read more about The secret to nailing your final draft[…]

Is your manuscript ready for editing?

Nothing makes an editor sadder than slogging through an edit on a manuscript that isn’t ready yet. I don’t want you to pay me for a service your manuscript isn’t ready to receive. Really. As exciting as it feels to move one step closer to publication, remember that there’s a lot of work that needs Read more about Is your manuscript ready for editing?[…]

writing goals

Streamline your queries with Canned Responses

After the long grind of writing, revisions, and editing, you’re undoubtedly eager to reclaim your free time or move on to the next creative project. Create that time by stepping up your game with simple tools to help you generate queries efficiently and professionally. Now that you’ve entered the publishing market with your book, you’re Read more about Streamline your queries with Canned Responses[…]

How long should your chapters be?

Chapter length is more a matter of rhythm and consistency than hard numbers. Chapters that are exceptionally long or short in relation to the rest of your chapters change the flow of your book in ways you might not have considered. Super-short chapters act like flags to readers. It’s like the tight, gathered stance and Read more about How long should your chapters be?[…]

line editing

7 ways to evaluate a sample edit

Before you hire me as your editor, I like to open the conversation with an initial consultation. This free consultation is like a first meeting with a new attorney or accountant. You get a chance to explain your goals and concerns, and I can look at your manuscript in enough depth to see if I’m the best Read more about 7 ways to evaluate a sample edit[…]

How to use MS Word Track Changes with your edited manuscript

Working your way through revisions? Please see my updated Track Changes Guide. Your edited manuscript is back! It’s time to incorporate the edits. Track Changes can seem intimidating to work with the first time, but once you get comfortable with it, you’ll wonder how you ever managed notes, edits, and revisions without it. Here are Read more about How to use MS Word Track Changes with your edited manuscript[…]

Writing goals

How to prepare for and revise after your edit

The End. Most authors heave a sigh of relief when they type those two words. Sure, they’ll need to read through everything again, and they’d like to give their manuscript to a few friends to read. But the editor is going to be doing the heavy lifting from here on out, right? The gritty truth is Read more about How to prepare for and revise after your edit[…]

fiction editor

How to hire an editor for your novel

Choosing an editor for your manuscript shouldn’t leave you feeling as if you were clinging to a plank over a sea of unknown terrors. Even first-time authors with no connections can build a respectable short list of editorial contenders by examining basics like budget and background. From there, you’re just a few steps away from Read more about How to hire an editor for your novel[…]