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”

Writing Through Postpartum Depression: Interview with Shae Mills, Author of Sci-Fi/Romance RIBUS 7

Shae Mills Writing through postpartum depressionIn my last post, I shared my excitement over a sci-fi/romance manuscript I was lucky enough to proofread a few months ago. RIBUS 7 by Shae Mills was a dream project from an editor’s point of view—a compelling story that has been revised and professionally edited, revised again, edited again, and was ready for proofreading before publication.

(Learn more about RIBUS 7 here)

In her first email to me, the author explained that she’d been working on her story for many years. That got me to thinking about everything a writer goes through to turn the spark of an idea into a concept for a book series, which got me to wondering about Shae Mills in particular: where did the idea for RIBUS 7 come from? How did she create the world her characters inhabit? Is her main character, Chelan, autobiographical in any way?

I decided to ask Shae Mills some of those questions; her answers may surprise you.

 *****

Candace: Thank you for agreeing to share some behind-the-scenes info with us, Shae. Where did the idea for this book and the series come from?

Shae: I have no idea to this day. I was an only child raised in remote locations, so I only had myself for company. I therefore developed a fertile imagination from a very young age.

Fast forward to my late twenties when my life was changed drastically by the birth of my first son. At some point as I mentioned above, I was sucked into the depths of crippling postpartum depression, and I had no idea what was happening to me. All I knew was that the world I had built for myself was crumpling around me, and I was powerless. But I told no one of my mental decline. I didn’t want to appear weak. No one had any idea of the distress I was in.

When my days began to revolve around planning a permanent way out, I knew I needed help. I finally confided in a dear friend and university colleague that I was losing it. He shocked me by admitting to also having issues with depression, and he told me that I should try writing. At that suggestion, I laughed for the first time in nearly a year. I had almost failed my first year English course—why would I write? Continue reading “Writing Through Postpartum Depression: Interview with Shae Mills, Author of Sci-Fi/Romance RIBUS 7”

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

*****

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

*****

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.

 

 

Are E-Books and Accidental Discovery Mutually Exclusive?

I read this quote today on Jeff O’Neal’s blog Critical Linking:

Accidental Discovery

There’s an aspect to traditional books which is lost in even the best electronic reader, which is Accidental Discovery: I’m reading this or that, and leave it laying about the house, and you visit and see it, or you’re perusing my book-shelves to see what i’m up to, and find something which interests you. I’m a technologist, and i worry that this casual, accidental, and as you mention, social means of discovering by talking about books is threatened by devices which need to be explicitly searched in order to find out what they hold.”

How do you discover new books? #amreading #ebooks #bookworm Click To Tweet

This got me thinking about how I discover books, and I realize there is some truth in this statement. I had company last weekend; the woman was reading a print copy of Gone Girl, so of course we began discussing it, and she offered to leave it for me when she finished. Our conversation led to a discussion about various authors and written dialogue;  when she said she’d never read anything by Jodi Picoult, I encouraged her to help herself to one of several books by Picoult that I have on my bookshelf.

So here are two cases of accidental discovery: we both now have the opportunity to read books we might not have “discovered” on our own.

The question is, would we have discovered these books if they had only been on our e-readers, cell phones, or tablets? I have to agree with the opening quote, that explicitly searching for something on an electronic device is a very different activity. Personally, I often ask people what they are reading on their Nooks, Kindles, or other e-readers, but I’ve never followed up with “What else do you have on your reader?”

What about you? I’d love to know how you discover books in this electronic age. And if you are an e-book reader, have you ever been queried about the books you have on it?

Happy Reading!

—Candace

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Related articles

Life, with Cancer: The Lauren Terrazzano Story now available for Kindle

This is an update to my October 2nd post about a memoir I edited titled Life, with Cancer: The Lauren Terrazzano Story, which has just become available for Kindle. Including a foreword by best-selling author Anna QuindlenLife, with Cancer begins with Lauren’s early years as a journalist, and with the intensity of the journalist herself, covers her larger-than-life experiences. A tapestry of Lauren’s life is woven together throughout the course of the book, taking into perspective her childhood, her accomplishments as a young journalist, and the final three years of her “Life, with Cancer.” These three major components are combined in each chapter to tell Lauren’s complete story.

Newsday columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning social journalist Lauren Terrazzano championed the causes of abused children, the elderly, and the homeless, truly becoming a voice for the voiceless through her writing by taking global issues and personalizing them to dramatize how they affected individuals and families.It was not uncommon for her stories to force change in and in governmental policies  or in people’s thinking.

Lauren infused every journalistic story she crafted with passion. That included her own story: at the age of thirty-six, Lauren—a non-smoker—was diagnosed with lung cancer. Until her death three years later, Lauren turned her incredible drive and her passion for communication into raising public awareness of lung cancer and putting a human face on her disease. In Lauren’s honor, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Joan’s Legacy: Uniting Against Lung CancerThe Lung Cancer Alliance, and to fund scholarships through the Lauren Elizabeth Terrazzano Memorial Scholarship Fund at Columbia University’s School of Journalism.

Enjoy it on your Kindle today!

—Candace