Reactions to a Sea of Red: Guest Post by Chris Lippincott

An author’s reaction to editing is something editors worry about, as I did when I returned first edits to practicing psychic medium and bestselling author Chris Lippincott. Chris’s compelling storytelling only needed a light editing touch, and our collaboration on his work  paid off: Spirits Beside Us has been the #1 Amazon New Release in death, grief & spirituality since its release. It’s a fascinating look at his journey into mediumship, describes what the other side is like, and offers some remarkable mediumship readings and healing messages that have proven to be life-transforming to the recipients.

Take it away, Chris.


When I began writing my first book, I thought I was creating a magnificent masterpiece. In my mind, it sounded like it flowed, and everyone would be able to understand exactly what I was trying to say. I wrote about my passion and about what I knew, so the content was certainly present. It seemed like the words had spewed forth onto the page like water from a garden hose. After I had completed all my edits and polished my first draft, I was utterly convinced it was the perfect manuscript. All it needed, in my mind, was someone to proofread my work, and it could soon join the great works of the world. Little did I realize, however, that often my writing style lacked the polish that would make it a great work.

Don’t Take Edits Personally

This came as a blow to my ego as well as a frustrating realization that I actually had much more work ahead of me. When I received my manuscript back from my editor Candace, I was at first horrified by the sea of red all over my draft. It practically looked like there were more red marks and corrections than there were black letters. I thought, “Well, clearly, she just doesn’t like my writing and has got it all wrong.”

Try as I might to avoid the extra work (or the blow to my ego), it began to dawn on me that many of her corrections were, in fact, quite necessary. What author ever wants their own words, their living, breathing manuscript, over which they have labored so tirelessly and finally given birth, to receive the painfully sharp cuts of an editorial scalpel? I venture to say no one would wish that upon their own worst enemy.

What author ever wants their own words, their living, breathing manuscript, over which they have labored so tirelessly and finally given birth, to receive the painfully sharp cuts of an editorial scalpel? Click To Tweet

However, to make our prose sing to the heavens and truly connect with our readers, we need the expertise of an editor well versed in the editorial process. It is their knowledge and expertise that enables them to polish our roughhewn manuscripts into shining gems. Editors are the unsung heroes of the literary world. They rarely receive the credit they deserve as they typically are hidden in the background, while the author’s name is seen in bright lights. However, without these critical editors, few authors would ever have their name in lights. Continue reading “Reactions to a Sea of Red: Guest Post by Chris Lippincott”

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,


Image courtesy of stockimages at


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, and learn more here.

Competitive Titles: Step 5 of How to Write a Compelling Nonfiction Book Proposal in 10 Easy Steps

How to Write a Nonfiction Book ProposalAnyone who’s written a nonfiction book proposal will probably tell you that proposal writing is more difficult than writing the actual manuscript. After all, you’re an expert on the subject you’re writing about, and sharing that knowledge is fun, but putting on your marketing hat to write the proposal often presents some unique challenges for writers, and facing your competition is one of those.

After all, you’re an expert on the subject you’re writing about, and sharing that knowledge is fun, but putting on your marketing hat to write the proposal often presents some unique challenges for writers. Facing your competition is one of those.

Your book proposal needs to convince the literary agents you query, and ultimately acquisition editors (who decide whether or not to bring your proposal forward for consideration through several vetting steps), why this book will stand out in a sea of other books about your subject, and why you are the perfect author to write this book.

This section of the proposal shouldn’t overwhelm you. This is actually another place for you to let your book shine and show your expertise about your subject—you just need to remember a few things.

Things to Do:

  1. Research the competition and understand how your book fits in the market. Your book will be shelved next to other books in the genre; your book will come up in an online search as one of many in the genre. This section of the proposal is where you discuss the differences between your book and the others. If you’re writing about a subject that has plenty of competition to choose from, list 5−10 books, but if your subject is very niche, think outside the box a little and come up with at least two or three comp titles. Even if your book is truly unique, find and list books that are similar to yours; for example, if you are shopping a book about baking gluten-free treats for goldfish, you probably won’t have a lot of competition, but compare and contrast your book to others about homemade pet food, raising healthy fish, and food allergies in pets. Continue reading “Competitive Titles: Step 5 of How to Write a Compelling Nonfiction Book Proposal in 10 Easy Steps”

Happy One Year Blogging Anniversary to Me!

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


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.


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!”

How to Save Money on Editing by Preparing Your Manuscript

courtesy of Pixabay

Most writers understand the importance of professional editing. Whether you plan to query agents and editors or self-publish your work, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

You’ve finished revising and self-editing your manuscript, and you’re ready to send it to the copyeditor of your choice. You just attach the file to an email and press send, right?

Oh please, no, don’t do that! You’ll make so much extra work for your editor if you do that—and you’ll spend more money in the process. Allow me to explain.

Your editor estimates the amount of time it will take to edit your manuscript based on the sample you submitted; time equals money, so the more time the editor has to spend making changes, the more money you will spend.

Don't spend your editing dollars on clerical tasks you can do yourself! Click To Tweet

Why spend editing dollars to have someone fix the spacing between paragraphs or remove hyperlinks? Save your hard-earned money for actual editing!

Whether your editor quotes hourly rates, or charges by the word, page, or project, every quote is based on the amount of time the editor will invest. If your manuscript isn’t broken into chapters, your editor will have to invest time formatting it that way. If your nonfiction book doesn’t include in-text citations, your editor will have to spend hours identifying material that should have source information included. In both cases, those extra hours are added to your bill and won’t be available for you to use later for proofreading or help with crafting a great query letter.

Want to save money on your next edit? Follow these tips to prepare your manuscript. Click To Tweet

Here is a basic formatting checklist you can use to prepare your manuscript for copyediting: Continue reading “How to Save Money on Editing by Preparing Your Manuscript”

Dream a Dream: Life of a Freelance Editor

life of a freelance editorIn a previous post, I shared some of the reasons that went into my decision to become a full-time freelance editor a little over a year ago. I had a dream that I could make a living by editing for authors I truly cared about, and I’ve turned that dream into a reality. When I posted that blog, I received numerous comments, including this one that inspired the post you’re now reading:

“Have you ever turned down an editing assignment? What parameters do you set for yourself in considering assignments? For a brief time when I considered going full time freelance, the fear of having to take any and all assignments always brought me up short. Currently I have a day job that I’m happy with, but I’ve always wondered how freelancers manage their workload. Personally, I know that if I were totally reliant on freelance work, I would find it impossible to say “no” to anything.”

Do freelance editors turn down assignments? Yes, and here's why. #writetip Click To Tweet

So here goes:

“Have you ever turned down an editing assignment?”

Yes, I have. I always offer a sample edit to authors who are looking for line editing or proofreading; occasionally, a writer who swears his manuscript needs nothing more than a spell check sends a sample that is clearly in need of more substantial editing.

If a manuscript is so full of major flaws that it reads more like a first draft, I won’t take the job. Correcting grammar or misspelled words won’t help a manuscript that is in need of major revision, and I would rather lose the work than take someone’s money when I know I am not really helping him or her. Continue reading “Dream a Dream: Life of a Freelance Editor”

Turning Life’s Lemons into Limoncello

Lemons into LimoncelloToday is the official release of Lemons into Limoncello: From Loss to Personal Renaissance with the Zest of Italy by Raeleen D’Agostino Mautner. It’s a guidebook for finding self-acceptance, comfort, courage, and personal renewal on the heels of adversity—Italian style. Here’s what Steve Parillo, CEO of Parillo Tours, has to say:

Perhaps life has knocked you down one too many times. Or maybe you’ve just gone ‘stale.’ Dr. Mautner is part philosopher, part psychologist, part life coach—but entirely Italian. She offers Italian-style therapy: food, family, friends, and fun—a recipe for your own, personal renaissance. What would Freud say if he was Italian? Here’s your answer!”

The challenges we face over the course of a lifetime, especially those that involve major personal loss, can seem devastating, as radio personality and self-help specialist Dr. Raeleen D’Agostino Mautner discovered when her husband suddenly and unexpectedly died of a heart attack. The Italian rituals and lifestyle habits she grew up with—and later began researching—were instrumental in helping her stay grounded, feel comforted, and be gently redirected to a new path of joy and the next level of her own personal transformation.

I assure you that this is a book you’ll refer to many times in your life. #selfhelp #grief Click To Tweet

At some point in our lives, most of us will experience the kind of personal devastation that accompanies something as devastating as the death of a loved one. But the loss of a job, a home, a pet, finances, health, a friendship or even the loss of one’s self-esteem can send us into a tailspin, too.

When in the throes of such challenges, it is hard to believe that we will ever enjoy life again, let alone possibly come away with the courage to live the next phase of our lives with deeper appreciation and clarity. Lemons into Limoncello offers a front-row seat to the Italian ability to arrangiarsi (get by) through elevating ordinary events to the extraordinary, and is the first self-help book to prescribe a traditional Italian cultural approach as a pathway to one’s own personal renaissance at a time when it is most needed.

Lemons were as big as footballs. And twice we ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the editor of this unique self-help book, I assure you that this is a book you’ll refer to many times in your life. And it’s one you’ll want to hand to a friend who is ready to move forward after adversity of any sort. The tone is warm and inclusive, and you’ll feel like you’re sitting at the author’s kitchen table with a cup of espresso and a biscotti (the recipe is in the book) as she shares her thoughts, wisdom, and advice.

You can learn more about the author:

Here’s one more review, this one from a NetGalley reviewer, to whet your appetite for this amazing book:

I truly enjoyed reading Mautner’s book Lemons into Limoncello. Not only did it have recipes, but it also had some wisdom in how to move on after disaster strikes no matter what type. She was able to weave her own story of painful loss of her husband untimely death along with her helpful tips for allowing the healing process to enfold in her life. Read this book, it is amazing. You will get some great recipes and great wisdom from a woman who has had her own journey.”  —Jamie Holloway, NetGalley

Update May 29, 2013: Connecticut Style television interview with the author about the book: 

Update June 18, 2013: Slideshow on


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Happy Reading!


Pat Brown: I Always Wanted to Live in a Third World Country and Now I Don’t Have to Move

I just read (and was quite moved by) this post, the first of a new blog started by Profiler Pat Brown, whose book How to Save Your Daughter’s Life: Straight Talk for Parents from America’s Top Criminal Profiler is one I acquired and edited when I worked for a traditional publisher. Pat is not a woman who minces her words, and she is true-to-form in this blog, which I share below.

I Always Wanted to Live in a Third World Country and Now I Don’t Have to Move.

Whether you agree with Pat Brown’s ideas or not, she always has an interesting point of view, and I hope you’ll check out her new blog. I know I’m looking forward to reading her thoughts about this next stage of her life.


P.S. Pat has also written other books, including fiction, which you can find here. I recommend Only the Truth!