Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Editing for Writers

Should Writers Self-Edit?

I’m sure there are a few writers out there who should never self-edit; but, what if they have a burning desire to publish a book, don’t know anyone else who can help with editing, and have no money to hire someone?

Self-editing for Writers

Image Courtesy of Andrew Beierle ~

Now, let me edit that first sentence

Some writers are weak in editing, have no access to folks with experience, and can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars; but, they have a strong desire to publish their book.

There are books that can help and Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas of Beyond Paper Editing have a guest post on The Book Designer that offers support—The Indie Author’s Bookshelf: 19 Best Titles for Self-Editing.

After laying out their criteria for choosing the books they list, they say:

“…books commonly used by editors didn’t show up on this list. Why? Writers are not editors. Many books directed to editors are also written by editors, and they’re heavy on theory and discussion. Writers want accessible books that provide clear explanations, examples and instructions.”

Well, even if you’re a writer who Loves theory and discussion, you may want to consider their choices

They have four categories of books but I’m only going to list one in each category—encouraging folks who don’t take links out of blogs to spend a few more minutes reading the full article—much more there than just a list of books

Big Picture

The Artful Edit, by Susan Bell

“If you have trouble with structure, it may be helpful to choose one straight off and use it as a guardrail as you write.” — Susan Bell

Paragraph Level

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King

“Even writing that was never intended to be…read aloud can be improved if you read aloud as you revise.” — Renni Browne & Dave King

Sentence Level

Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English, by Patricia T. O’Conner

“Surprisingly often a difficult problem in a sentence can be solved by simply getting rid of it.” — William Zinsser

Word Level

Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares: How to Avoid Unplanned and Unwanted Writing Errors, by Jenny Baranick

“Use the semicolon like you would your most powerful weapon (your best pick-up line or your most effective push-up bra): carefully and sparingly.” — Jenny Baranick

Even more reason to click-through to the full article —> they have four “Books that Will Inspire You to Write”
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Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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How To Find The Right Editor and Other Exciting Adventures

The other exciting adventures in the title refer mostly to my experiences with typos, in my books and others’.

If you can’t conceive of that being exciting, you probably haven’t slaved away on a piece of writing, looked for typos, had others look for typos, published the piece, then found typos

I’ve related some of my experience with typos here before and, in case you haven’t noticed, even the highest quality books from most prestigious publishers can have a typo or two.

Of course, editors come in different flavors and some only report typos for fun, paying attention to other things like story structure, voice, and continuity.

And, you can read other posts on this blog about adventures with editors.

Before I share some tips on finding the right editor, I want to give a shout-out to the editor who worked with me on Notes from An Alien and will be there for my next two books—along with a woman who will also be editing those next two books who just happens to be an author and my best friend :-)

My first editor, Laura Linneman, is willing to be contacted for work; and, a friend of mine from virtual world experiences is also someone worth contacting, Carole Cudnik.

But, just because an editor worked for me or interacted with me or is my best friend is no reason for you to consider them for your own work.

Do you have a method of judging whether any particular editor is right for you? [and, if you haven’t even considered writing a book, you may someday write an article for work or a newspaper; or even, want an editor for a blog]

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you probably seen a number of posts featuring Jane Friedman.

She “has spent more than 15 years in the publishing industry as an editor, publisher, and professor. Currently she serves as the web editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR), based at the University of Virginia, where she also teaches digital publishing and online writing. Her newest digital media initiative is Scratch Magazinea quarterly magazine all about the intersection of writing and money.”

Jane recently had a guest post by Stacy Ennis, “a book and magazine editor, writer, book coach, and speaker

That post, 5 Ways to Find the Right Freelance Book Editor, might be information that could help you in searching for the right editor.

I’ll list the titles of those 5 ways to find the right freelance editor but encourage you to go to the article and read it for what Stacy has to say about them:

1. Look for someone with experience.

2. Find a qualified editor that brings good energy to the process.

3. Look in the right places.

4. Interview the editor’s past clients.

5. Interview the editor and work on a sample chapter together.

If you have tips or experiences to share about finding the right editor, please share in the Comments!
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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Editing ~ By Writers & By Editors . . .

Last night, I was sitting in the Writers’ Block Cafe on Book Island in Second Life.

There were four other writers there and we got to talking about editing our own writing—sometimes called revision—though mere editing of improper grammar or clunky sentences is much different than the larger task of Re-Visioning

One of the writers, Barbara, the Correspondent for our weekly newsletter, revealed that she loves the process of writing but often doesn’t quite know what to do after the initial act—“I just have trouble seeing past what i think I’m writing down on paper…”

Another writer, Arton (Jane Watson in this First Life), was referencing WebSites for Barb to help her find editors.

Yet another writer, Nicole, indicated yet another take on writing vs. editing and, today, messaged me saying, “To write is human. To edit is Divine.” :-)

Jerry, a writer with extremely unique habits, said, “I like editing. I hate doing the original.”

Then, Dedee came in and we moved on to talking about coffee, tea, and, well, basically, just having a good time

Writers must always do as much editing as they can on their own, if only to assure themselves they’re turning over an adequate version of their work to the folks who specialize in the editing process.

In the previous post, 4 Very Different Language Sites, I mentioned a WebSite that specializes in writing about editing—the English Editing Blog by English Trackers, an online outlet for professional editing services.

Here’s their description of their blog:

“Here we discuss this ever-changing language and the role it plays in both our business and personal lives. How words and expressions become extinct, how new trends give rise to new vocabulary, and so much more… Come join the discussion.”

The subsections of the blog are interesting in themselves:





Guest Posts

Language News



Having trouble with your self-editing?

Having trouble knowing what a good editor could do for you?

Not up to speed on the changes in what’s “acceptable”?

Do, please, explore the English Editing Blog and come on back and let us know what you found!

Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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