Delighting in the Unexpected

ID-10053750Every so often, we all need to “mix it up a bit” to keep our creativity flowing. For writers that often means writing in a different genre or voice. For an editor like me, that means focusing on more than one type of editing, and I stepped out of my editing routine a few months ago when I proofread RIBUS 7, the first book of a sci-fi/romance series by author Shae Mills.

My first job in publishing was as a proofreader, and it’s something I love to do. Most of the editorial inquiries I get, though, come in earlier in the writer’s process. I’m usually contacted for either developmental/content editing or copyediting/line editing. I don’t often get straight proofreading jobs.

Many writers who think they’re ready for proofreading haven’t worked with a professional editor or even beta readers, so they actually need more editing help before they’re ready for the proofreading phase.

(If you’re unsure about what type of editing to ask for, check out my post, Copyediting or Proofreading: 5 Steps to Determine What You Need.)

But every so often, a proofreading project comes along that is just perfect—a compelling story that has been revised and professionally edited, revised again, edited again, and is now ready for proofreading before publication. That perfect project was RIBUS 7 by Shae Mills, and when I began to read it, well, let me just say that the author’s commitment to her craft really showed.

In her first email to me, Shae explained that she’d been working on her story for many years, and after first working with a developmental editor and then hiring a copyeditor, she was ready to hire a proofreader.

I love working on series, and Shae’s description of the book sold me. Okay, I’m not gonna lie, this is what really caught my attention: “[My novel] contains some of ‘the most sensuous romance ever written,’ according to my previous editors, their words not mine.” How could I say no to that? I wanted this job!

Imagine my delight when I was selected as the lucky editor to proofread this 210,000-word manuscript! We’re talking epic sci-fi romance here, and as one reviewer put it, “The characters and world-building [are] both strong and the storyline [is] excellent.”

A bit about RIBUS 7:

Chelan is a brilliant young woman, an aeronautics engineer who dreams of one day soaring toward the stars in a craft of her own design. But while on vacation, she is badly injured during a bizarre encounter with menacing strangers. Awakening, she finds herself held captive aboard the alien battleship RIBUS 7. Convinced at first that she is the victim of an elaborate hoax, the nightmare soon becomes all too real.

Before her stands the Iceanean Overlord, Korba, an ebony-clad god of war, a cunning predator, and a finely honed killer. As Commander of RIBUS 7, his mission is to eradicate all aliens, Chelan included. Yet one look at the exotic beauty smuggled aboard his ship stays his hand.RIBUS 7 Final cover, low res

Struggling against her growing attraction to her captor, Chelan clings to her Earthly values like a shield. But in a culture where the men and women pursue the pleasures of the flesh with a passion and a skill equal to that of the kill, Chelan finds herself awash in a sea of temptation at every turn. Korba himself yearns for her, but their love is forbidden by all that governs his culture. To claim her as his own is to risk all . . . but it’s a risk he hungers to take.

Sci-fi romance fans have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic about RIBUS 7, which as of this post has thirty-three 5-star reviews, which include:

  • An incredible escape into another reality.
  • The research that had to go into this book related to topography and aeronautics alone is astounding.
  • The characters were more complex than in a lot of sci-fi romances.
  • Once I started reading I was hooked and had to get to the next page!
  • It’s nice to read a sci-fi romance that has plenty of plot to go along with the sexy parts.
  • The militaristic society was well thought out and read true—for this alone it is a must read.

And my personal favorite: “It is hundreds of pages long and I did not see one error.”

The job was a pure delight, and I can’t wait to begin on the sequel!

I enjoyed working with Shae and her novel so much that I asked her to share some details about her journey from concept to publication. It’s a fascinating peek behind the curtain, and I can’t wait to share the details with you in my next post. In the meantime, I encourage you to pick up a copy of RIBUS 7 (available only for Kindle*) and prepare to immerse yourself in an imaginary world of deep and powerful characters who happen to be easy on the eyes and very sexy to boot!

Happy Writing,

Candace

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*No Kindle? No problem— a FREE Kindle reading app is available for most major smartphones, tables, and computers.

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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.

 

 

Hiring an English Major to Edit Your Book Is Cheating Yourself

I belong to a listserve of freelance editors, and I find the topics of conversation interesting and often thought-provoking. One recent  hiring an english major to edit your booktopic that elicited many comments was about pricing the work we do.

The initial post was by an established and well-respected editor who wrote, “I recently was asked about my rates by someone at a local company who was looking for writing and editing help. She balked at my quote . . . Her response: < … we can find English majors for $10 to $15 [per hour] and many of them are quite good. >”

I get it; no one wants to spend more than necessary for anything—goods or services. I mean, if I can buy a knock-off designer widget that looks just like the brand-name widget, isn’t that a better value than buying the real thing just for the brand name? If I can get my next-door neighbor’s artistic son to design my book cover, isn’t that a better value than hiring an expensive professional cover artist?

And if I can get an English major to edit my book for a few hundred dollars, isn’t that a better value than hiring a professional editor? Continue reading “Hiring an English Major to Edit Your Book Is Cheating Yourself”

Manuscript Editing Demystified

I was invited by Shonda Brock, author of the paranormal romance Eternal Traces, to help demystify the editing process for new authors as well as to share some tips on how to edit your book and how to find the right professional editor.

Shonda asked some great questions; here’s one with my answer as a sneak peek, and then I invite you to jump over to The Paranormal Blog and read the rest.

What do you find are the most common mistakes writers make? Most writers fall into a pattern of error that they aren’t even aware of. When we don’t know we are doing something incorrectly, we just keep repeating the same mistake. If you have a tendency to use dangling modifiers, for example, you probably use them quite frequently. The same can be said for comma splices, run-on sentences, and of course, punctuation, which is almost everyone’s Achilles heel. I was the queen of semicolons before I learned how to use them correctly!

Shonda asked some great questions, including “What are your thoughts on authors using beta readers before sending a manuscript to a professional editor?” and “How much can a writer expect to spend to have an average length novel professionally edited?”, so please head over to The Paranormal Blog to learn more, and don’t forget to check out Shonda’s paranormal romance Eternal Traces!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy writing!

—Candace

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How a Professional Editor Can Help You Get Published: Developmental and Substantive Editing

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Writers are often too close to their own writing to be objective. After spending hours trying to get a concept or dialogue “just right,” it is difficult to know what should stay and what should be cut. Even after you’ve self-edited, had your friends critique your work, and perhaps even asked a friend who is an English teacher to take a look, an objective and professional opinion from a professional freelance editor is the best way to identify what is and isn’t working.

No matter how well written a manuscript is, it needs more than what another writer or a friend can offer. Writers are often amazed at the amount of help a good editor offers; published authors who have already been through the process understand how valuable an editor is to the success of their work.

If you have a great idea but don’t know how to organize it into a book or article, or if you’ve written a draft and want to be sure it is well-ordered and doesn’t drift off somewhere it shouldn’t, consider hiring a professional freelance editor. A professional editor has an objective viewpoint and will be honest with you about the many ways you can improve your manuscript—yes, even when you think it’s perfect, you’ll be surprised at the things an editor will suggest that never occurred to you.

Scott Norton, an editor at the University of California Press and author of the first full-length handbook ever published on the subject of developmental editing, writes: “For our purposes, developmental editing denotes significant structuring or restructuring of a manuscript’s discourse. The DE’s role can manifest in a number of ways. Some “big picture” editors provide broad direction by helping the author to form a vision for the book, then coaching the author chapter by chapter to ensure that the vision is successfully executed. Others get their hands dirty with the prose itself, suggesting rewrites at the chapter, section, paragraph, and sentence levels. This hands-on approach is sometimes called substantive editing or line editing.

This important function is not meant to replace self editing; whether you engage an editor before or after you begin writing, developmental editing is synonymous with The Big Picture. Norton goes on to say:

“From this perspective, stylistic intervention alone is not ‘developmental.’ To be sure, there are cases in which a manuscript’s organization is sound but the tone so pervasively wrong that virtually every sentence must be recast. Severe as these problems of tone may be, they can usually be handled by a high-powered copyeditor—and those that can’t are beyond the reach of editing, requiring instead the hand of a ghostwriter or coauthor. Nevertheless, most manuscripts with structural problems have stylistic lapses as well, and DEs are often asked to fix both kinds of problems. . . .”

Developmental editing (also called substantive editing, heavy line editing, structural editing, or book doctoring) is the first step for many authors on their way to having their work published. If you are a first-time author, don’t make the expensive mistakes by hoping an agent or publisher will share your vision, even if your manuscript isn’t in top shape. Do your research and find an editor who will work as your partner to help you say it the way you mean it.

—Candace