Beta Readers Can Save You from Embarrassment—Guest Post by Chandi Wyant

beta readersAs a professional freelance editor, I encourage every writer I work with to use beta readers. Most fiction writers know this is an important step, but did you know it is equally important when you write nonfiction? You’ll do yourself a huge favor by gathering your posse early in the process to learn what works and what doesn’t in your manuscript.

Author Chandi Wyant, who is working on a travel memoir about her solo forty-day pilgrimage in Italy, offers another important reason to seek that valuable input.

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A beta reader is a not a professional editor, but rather, a volunteer who reads your manuscript to provide feedback before you publish it, or before you submit it to agents or publishers.

I recommend seeking beta readers who are familiar with your genre and who are not close friends or family members.

 

Why a Memoirist Needs Beta Readers

Utilizing beta readers is an excellent idea for all genres. I’m going to focus here on why they’re essential for memoir.

Many authors in this genre write about traumatic things in their lives, and this is very challenging to do without sounding whiny.

This is where a beta reader can step in and save you from embarrassment. All authors are too close to their manuscripts and need an outsider’s perspective—and a memoirist is particularly entwined with her manuscript because it’s a piece of her life.

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I have seen twice, with my own manuscript and with a friend’s, that beta readers saved us from the embarrassment of putting our book out into the world when it wasn’t ready.

My friend (who writes nonfiction like I do) was sure her book was ready for publication, but a beta reader told her, Continue reading “Beta Readers Can Save You from Embarrassment—Guest Post by Chandi Wyant”

When Santa arrives at your house and slides down the chimney, will he …

. . . chuckle? guffaw? snort? Or if Santa isn’t having a good day, will he grumble? complain? mutter?ID-100297775

I wonder if Santa, like writers everywhere, struggles to find just the right word to describe his adventures. I hope he remembers to check the archives here at Change It Up Editing for great writing tips!

Like Santa and his helpers, I’ve been busy this week with holiday preparations, but I want to wish all the authors I’ve had the privilege of working with and all my blog followers a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza, Happy Festivus, Happy Day Off Work! I am grateful for all of you, and thank you for your continued support.

Have a happy, peaceful, and safe holiday!

Happy Writing,

Candace

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Contact her at cyjohnson5580@gmail.com, and learn more here.

Readin' and Writin' and 'rithmetic: Thanks for Setting a Great Example, Dad

John F. Yardas, EdD and Candace (15 months old)
John F. Yardas, EdD, and Candace (15 months old)

 

This Father’s Day is a difficult one for me. My 88-year-old father passed away six weeks ago, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea.

Like all parents do, my dad influenced me in many ways, including some I couldn’t appreciate until later in my life. I wrote this letter to him two years ago (and sent him a printed version); he told me how much he enjoyed reading it.

Although my dad never embraced electronic books (see the end of my letter), he was a voracious reader his entire life and always had a book with him. I’ll always be grateful to my dad for the examples he set. Wherever he is, I hope he’s enjoying a great book.

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Dear Dad,

Because you’re a self-declared technophobe, you won’t read this today, but I’ll send you a printed copy via snail mail. I may be using all my techie toys (laptop, printer, and my WordPress blog) to write this, but the message is very old school: without you, I would never be following my dream today.

You see, I’m finally pursuing a passion I’ve had my whole life. Continue reading “Readin' and Writin' and 'rithmetic: Thanks for Setting a Great Example, Dad”

Respecting the Author’s Voice in Editing

Respecting the Author's Voice in EditingAn editor’s work on a manuscript is something that should never be obvious to a reader. In fact, the only time a reader should even think about editing is when it isn’t there or isn’t very good.

When an author who is shopping for editorial services contacts me, one of the points I stress is my commitment to respecting that author’s voice.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or you’re venturing into publishing for the first time, your voice deserves respect. As your editor, my job is to help you remove confusion, suggest improvements, and polish your words—not rewrite your manuscript.

An editor’s work on a manuscript is something that should never be obvious to a reader. #writetip #amediting Click To Tweet

Continue reading “Respecting the Author’s Voice in Editing”

Kick Your Negative Self-Talk to the Curb with the 10-Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan

GirlyThoughtsDetoxCover-2Generally speaking, we women aren’t very nice to ourselves. Almost from our first days, we begin to internalize messages that we aren’t good enough—we are too much of some things and not enough of others. Those messages become such a part of who we are that we don’t even realize how ridiculous some of them sound.

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

  • I just need to lose five more pounds.
  • Age might be just a number, but I’m giving myself Botox treatments for my birthday.
  • Isn’t my five-year-old daughter adorable when she pretends she’s sexy?
  • I don’t need to worry about saving for my future—I’ll be married by then.
  • It’s my fault my husband had that affair.
  • I can’t take that meeting; my hair looks awful today.
  • I hate going out with those people—they always make me feel bad about myself.

Today is publication day for The 10-Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power by Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, and it’s a day I’ve looked forward to for some time.

I worked with Dr. O’Gorman on two of her previous books, so when she asked me to edit her book about girly thoughts, I jumped at the chance. Her goal for the book, which was inspired by the phrase she developed and used in The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, was to shine a light on the damage women do to ourselves by internalizing these negative messages and then provide a plan to detox from them. What woman wouldn’t embrace that concept?

Negative messages surround us, and they contribute to the toxic self-talk that reinforces our negative beliefs about ourselves and have helped us form our identities as women. Consider the advertising that reminds you:ID-100264893

  • your gray hair makes you look older,
  • those extra pounds might keep you from getting a promotion, or
  • being too assertive isn’t sexy.

Then, as Dr. O’Gorman writes, “We take it one step further: We believe these messages. We internalize them. We monitor ourselves to ensure our acceptability by letting our girly thoughts, our toxic self-talk, guide us. And we shut our powerful selves down. We try not to be offensive in any way. We certainly try not to be bossy.”

As the epigraph in The 10-Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan reads:

“It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.”

—Sally Kempton

Continue reading “Kick Your Negative Self-Talk to the Curb with the 10-Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan”

3 Perks of Editing, Or What I’m Doing on My Summer Working-Vacation

Freelance editingMy editing life has been busy lately, and my apologies for the infrequent blogging in recent weeks. Hugs to everyone who has written to make sure I’m okay—and yes, I’m fantastic! Working as a freelance editor isn’t without its challenges, but it has some real perks, too.

Perk #1:

Freelance editing has its pros and cons, but the biggest pro for me is the ability to work wherever I choose. As many of you know, I live in South Florida, which is a paradise in the winter . . . but in the summer? Not so much. But lucky me—I am in the Pacific Northwest as I write this, and until the middle of August, I can pretend I don’t know anything about hurricanes! I guess the best label for my time away from home is “working vacation,” with an emphasis on the “working” part. And I’ve had a wonderful time editing many different projects in the last several months! Before I get to those, Continue reading “3 Perks of Editing, Or What I’m Doing on My Summer Working-Vacation”

Spend Today in the South of France: Christa Wojo's The Wrong David

the-wrong-david-kdp-cover-4I had the privilege of editing The Wrong David, a novella (or is it a long short story?) by the always-fascinating Christa Wojociechowski several months ago, and I was so excited to learn yesterday about its publication that I raced over to Amazon.com to purchase it—and I urge you to do the same.

Christa shares her experiences of tackling Amazon’s KDP and CreateSpace for the first time (spoiler: not as difficult as she feared), and if you’ve never uploaded a manuscript before, you’ll want to read her description of her journey to publishing.

And speaking of description—reading The Wrong David is like taking a minivacation to the south of France. Here’s a peek: Continue reading “Spend Today in the South of France: Christa Wojo's The Wrong David”

Reading Challenges of a Visually Impaired Writer in the Digital World: Guest Post by Kerry Kijewski

Visually Impaired Writers

I recently met author Kerry Kijewski on my Facebook page. She commented that she really enjoyed the writing- and publishing-related posts on my page, but she couldn’t always access the links because she is blind. After some back-and-forth discussion, I learned that if I just added the links to the comments section, Kerry could access them with her reading software for visually impaired writers.

That conversation got me thinking about the other accommodations a blind reader/writer might need, so I asked Kerry to share her thoughts with us. Before I met her, I’d never considered how technology helps or hinders the creation and consumption of digital content. Now I know a bit more, and so will you:

Kerry Kijewski @TheIWanderer talks about the challenges of being a visually impaired writer. #blind #writers Click To Tweet

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I was born blind, but I had enough sight when I was younger to read and write large print. In the beginning days of computers I could use large print magnification programs. That seems like another lifetime to me now.

Over time my sight worsened to the point where I was unable to read a screen at all. I had no choice and moved to speech programs, one in particular called JAWS.

I learned braille when I was very young, at the same time I learned how to read print. I used them in unison until my vision worsened and I was strictly a braille user. Braille is less and less common these days with technology everywhere, but braille displays are still used. These are devices that produce electronic braille, like little typewriters. They can be connected to computers and used wirelessly with most phones and other devices.

A few years ago I moved to Mac and I now use my MacBook laptop to write my blogs and search the Internet. The speech program Mac uses is called VoiceOver and is built right into the operating system. This allows better function than others such as JAWS.

I discovered iPhone a few years ago and have been hooked ever since. Again the VoiceOver is built right in and all I had to do was go into “Settings” to activate it. I touch the phone’s screen and move my finger around, from App to App. The phone speaks as my finger moves and I double tap where I want. I am able to text and type with the touch screen keyboard.

As a blogger, writer, and book lover, I seek out people and resources that relate to these things. I came across Change It Up Editing and Writing Services and Candace, and I am glad I did. I was pleased to find a warmth and personal connection from the start. I hesitate sometimes to lead with my blindness and the problems that can cause because I don’t like to seem like a nuisance. When I wanted to read her helpful posts about writing, I found I was often unable to click on the links, mostly on my iPhone. I don’t pretend to understand why it works sometimes and not at others, but I believe it has something to do with screen shot vs. strictly a link. I am glad I spoke up and let Candace know that I was only able to click on her posts if she put them as a link in the comments. She has continued to do this ever since, and I very much appreciate that she took the time to listen to my concerns, but she never would have known if I hadn’t spoken up and explained it to her.

A lot of the Internet is visual. Photos and images are everywhere. This is the part of the Internet I am unable to access. Many sites are not set up to interact with VoiceOver. A mouse is useless to anyone without sight. The keyboard shortcut keys and commands work out most of the time. Sites aren’t set up for strictly keyboard commands. Maybe in the future they will take blind people into account when designing their websites, but Instagram is a reality and phone cameras are everywhere. The world is sighted and visual. I try my best to work and live alongside this world and to make technology work for me as best I can.

I am a shy person by nature and am always learning to speak up more for myself. Writing is the best way I have found to express myself and make my voice heard. I don’t wish to be defined by my disability, preferring to focus on what I have to offer the world. However, I am not ashamed, and I hope to educate people on these things they might not otherwise come across in their own lives. There are plenty of stereotypes out there about people with disabilities such as blindness. I hope to do my part to dispel such myths and make a difference and find a way to contribute to society in a positive way.

I use my ability to express myself through words to let people know I am here and I have something to offer the world. I fear that I won’t fit in and that I will be lost in the mix. I think I face all the same worries and fears about putting myself out there through my writing as anyone else. Some fears are universal. Writing is a frightening thing because you must open yourself up and let people in. It is a risk. I try not to hide behind my words, but instead to open up and be myself. I use words to let the world know who I am and what’s in my heart.

I want to thank Candace for giving me this opportunity to share my story here.

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Kerry Kijewski has a Certificate of Creative Writing and is working on her first novel, which she started writing during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

  • Visit her blog: kkherheadache.wordpress.com
  • Follow her on Facebook: facebook.com/herheadacheblog
  • Connect with her on Twitter: @kkherheadache
  • She’s also on LinkedIn: Kerry Kijewski

 

Thank you, Kerry, for sharing your thoughts. I’m glad you let me know how to easily share information with you, and I invite everyone to visit your blog at http://kkherheadache.wordpress.com to learn more.

—Happy Writing,

Candace

If you enjoyed reading this, please subscribe to my blog and never miss a post! It’s easy: Just enter your email address on the right side of this page. And please know that I’ll never sell, share, or rent your contact information—that’s a promise!

Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.

For more great writing and publishing information, check out Change It Up Editing and Writing Services on Facebook, where I share interesting articles and links about writing and publishing.

Launch Day for the Second Saga of Zelda Pug!

I’m excited to announce that Kristen Otte, author of The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Tale, has released the second version of adorable stories about Zelda (which I had the privilege of proofreading). img_0377You can sample the first chapter of The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Tale for free, and once you get to know this charming pug, I know you’ll want to read more. I was enchanted by Zelda, and I think you will be, too! 

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 Have you ever wondered what your dog is thinking?

Zelda the pug is back for a second round of adventures including a big move, new friends, and another encounter with Vacuum. The Adventures of Zelda is an exciting chapter book for young readers, providing a glimpse into the mind of a curious canine. But no matter your age, pug fanatics and dog lovers will enjoy the adventures of this enchanting pug who grabs life like a bone and won’t let go.

Learn more about Zelda and her crazy adventures:

Launch Day for the Second Saga of Zelda Pug!

Congratulations to Kristen Otte on another wonderful book! Please visit her website and support this talented indie author today!

If you enjoyed reading this, please subscribe to my blog and never miss a post! It’s easy: Just enter your email address on the right side of this page. And please know that I’ll never sell, share, or rent your contact information—that’s a promise!

Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.

For more great writing and publishing information, check out Change It Up Editing and Writing Services on Facebook, where I share interesting articles and links about writing and publishing.

 
 

Happy One Year Blogging Anniversary to Me!

I received official notification from WordPress that my blog is now a year old:

Wordpress

Thank you to friends, followers, and everyone in this wonderful writing community for your friendship and support. I love working with writers, and my goal for my blog posts is to provide useful content that will help you whether you write for publication or “just because.” In honor of this auspicious occasion, I’m listing links to some of my most popular articles and guest posts from the last 12 months, and I hope I’ve grouped these in a way that makes searching topics a bit easier for you. Feel free to add a comment on any of them—your comments are always welcome.

Self-Editing

Struggling with Revisions? Try Playing with Paper Dolls

Self-Editing Checklist for Fiction Writers Part I: Macro Issues Continue reading “Happy One Year Blogging Anniversary to Me!”