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February 2013
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Editing client publisher first gangster novel

An editing Meet the New Bossclient of mine, Drew Davis, has published his first novel, the gangster-crime story, “Meet the New Boss.” The novel tells the story of Tom Hill, who controls the ramshackle suburb of Randall by running the town’s illegal rackets. Though profits are good, Hill must remain ever vigilant from unwanted media attention and the Organized Crime Task Force’s efforts to take him down. Even more dangerous is tangling with rival bosses, especially when Hill finds himself battling “King" Otis Ledbetter – the most dangerous and powerful boss of all. Hill suddenly finds himself caught up in a world where one misstep can prove fatal. The book can be purchased at Amazon.com.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Provo, Utah, or a small town like Dismal, Tennessee, I can provide that second eye.



Five quotations about the business of writing

“Writing is 11245790_10152717924865216_2604555558158884935_n the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.” – Jules Renard

“There are three reasons for becoming a writer. The first is that you need the money; the second, that you have something to say that you think the world should know; and the third is that you can’t think what to do with the long winter evenings.” – Quentin Crisp

“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.” – Ray Bradbury

“Beware of self-indulgence. The romance surrounding the writing profession carries several myths: that one must suffer in order to be creative; that one must be cantankerous and objectionable in order to be bright; that ego is paramount over skill; that one can rise to a level from which one can tell the reader to go to hell. These myths, if believed, can ruin you. If you believe you can make a living as a writer, you already have enough ego.” – David Brin

“It’s a dismally lonely business, writing.” – Toni Cade Bambara

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Scranton, Pennsylvania, or a small town like Funk, Ohio, I can provide that second eye.


Market your book by wearing your book title

When Hikes with Tykes t-shrt promoting your book, you always should have a website, send out press releases to bloggers and mainstream media, and arrange book readings/signings to ensure the title is properly promoted. But those aren’t the only things you can do. In fact, they may not be enough. One marketing effort you might want to consider is wearing your book title.

You’ve spent a lot of time coming up with a snappy book title, and if it’s a series you may even have a logo for it. So why not sell user-customized on demand products – a no-so-snappy name for T-shirt, coffee mugs, ink pens and other products – with your logo on it (see the photo at upper right of a T-shirt I sell for promoting my “Hikes with Tykes” guidebooks)? You’ll be surprised at the number of people who, noticing the title of your book on your T-shirt, will say it aloud and strike up a conversation with you about what it means. Now you can pitch your book to them. You might even be surprised who overhears your conversation and what that leads to!

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Augusta, Georgia, or a small town like Funk, Ohio, I can provide that second eye.


Select array of distribution channels to sell book

Once 0052you’ve published your book, most self-publishing houses will ask how you want to distribute it – that is, how do you want to make it available for readers to purchase?

Self-publishing companies offer different packages for distribution at varying costs, with some free and others for a fee. Selecting the majority if not all of these distribution channels is a good idea to maximize your sales.

Among the common distribution channels you should opt to utilize include:
• Self-publishing company’s stores – Most companies give authors a free page on their website to promote their book. If publishing a paperback with CreateSpace, for example, you’ll get a page in CreateSpace’s estore and pages on Amazon.com for sales in the United States and Europe.
• Bookstores and online retailers – Not everyone buys books from Amazon.com, so ensuring Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, and online booksellers can offer your book for sale is vital. A variation of this is a “direct” program in which your self-publishing company allows select bookstores and online retailers to sell your book after purchasing it at wholesale prices; other book sellers, to earn money, may have to mark up the price beyond what you set.
• Libraries and academic institutions – This is key if you want your book available for others to check out at a public or school library (such as your hometown!) or to be used as a textbook. Usually you must pay extra for this.

Availability of distribution channels sometimes hinges on your ISBN. If you’ve purchased a legitimate ISBN from Bowker or through the self-publishing house, all of the various channels should be open to you. However, purchasing an ISBN from anyone else often is less than ideal for distributing books.

In addition, you may have to agree to change the price of your book or accept a lower royalty for it to be distributed in some nations, such as India.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Jackson, Mississippi, or a small town like Fleatown, Ohio, I can provide that second eye.


Easy to understand comma rules

There 13062320_10153406837180216_1298391541701636790_nare a lot of great writers out there but only so many novels and short stories that book companies can publish. To prevent your piece from having a competitive disadvantage, you’ll want to ensure it is as publishable as possible when the editor picks it up. That includes ensuring your piece follows all of those punctuation and capitalization rules that back in grammar school that led us to many a daydream about being on an exotic alien world or hunting dinosaurs in the Jurassic.

Not following these rules instantly makes your story more difficult to read. And despite a great plot line and descriptions, your editor will be thinking of how much time he’s going to have to spend correcting your work – time he doesn’t really have. When there’s another piece in a pile of submissions that probably is as good as yours, he’s likely to set aside your story in favor of one that won’t overburden him.

During my editing experience, I’ve seen the same set of capitalization and punctuation errors repeated in many pieces. Here’s a list of them regarding commas.

Attribution
If a quotation that is a single sentence is split by attribution, use a comma after the attribution.
• RIGHT: “Luke of Tatooine,” called Obi-wan Kenobi, “use the force!”
• WRONG: “Luke of Tatooine,” called Obi-wan Kenobi.“Use the force!”

• RIGHT:“Luke of Tatooine, use the force!” said Obi-wan Kenobi.“Only then can you defeat Darth Vader!”
• WRONG: “Luke of Tatooine, use the force!” said Obi-wan Kenobi, “only then can you defeat Darth Vader!”

Before words of address in quotations/dialogue, place a comma before the name of the person being addressed. This often helps separate the name of who is being addressed from a preposition that comes before it.
• RIGHT: “We don’t know where they came from, Mr. Spock.”
• WRONG: “We don’t know where they came from Mr. Spock.”

If the attribution comes before the quotation, set off the attribution with a comma.
• RIGHT: Han Solo grinned then added, “You’re surrounded.”
• WRONG: Han Solo grinned then added “You’re surrounded.”

Compound sentence
Use a comma before the conjunction (and, but, or) if a complete sentence can be made out of the words on either side of the conjunction.
• RIGHT: The elder man’s face paled, and at last his breathing froze.
• WRONG: The elder man’s face paled and at last his breathing froze.
• RIGHT: The elder man’s face paled and then stiffened.
• WRONG: The elder man’s face paled, and then stiffened.

Too
Generally the word “too” is set off with commas.
• RIGHT: Christopher Pike was captain of the USS Enterprise, too.
• RIGHT: Christopher Pike, too, was captain of the USS Enterprise.
• WRONG: Christopher Pike was captain of the USS Enterprise too.
• WRONG: Christopher Pike too was captain of the USS Enterprise.

Who
Generally, phrases beginning with “who” are set off with commas when they appear after the name of the person to “who” refers.
• RIGHT: He thought of that day at the spaceport when he’d said goodbye to his father, who was returning to Star Service duty.
• WRONG: He thought of that day at the spaceport when he’d said goodbye to his father who was returning to Star Service duty.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Des Moines, Iowa, or a small town like Whynot, Mississippi, I can provide that second eye.


Don't burden us with a self-indulgent digression

Many writers 0061pen stories to make a statement about an ethical or political issue. This is especially true in science fiction; the movie “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”, for example, is largely about the need for humanity to be better stewards of the Earth, specifically in the way we treat whales.

Unlike “The Voyage Home”, however, authors sometimes are tempted to get on their soapbox rather than allow the message to unfold with the story. When a diatribe or rant is inserted in the story, the author is guilty of a self-indulgent digression.

There are a lot of good reasons to excise this digression from your story. First, it breaks the story’s dramatic tension. You only have so many words to tell a story, and if you don’t use every one of them to move the tale forward, the risk of the reader putting the novel down or turning to another story in the magazine increases. Furthermore, the point of a fiction story is to express a message through the character’s actions, to show a position by taking us through the people’s lives as they face a moral crisis. Diatribes and rants aren’t why readers picked up your story. Finally, such digressions indicate a lack of craftsmanship on your part. Good writers don’t convince their readers to take a moral or political stance by arguing points as if they’re in a debate but instead rely on the power of storytelling.

Simply put, get rid of the rant in your story. Send a letter to the editor, go stand on a soapbox in a park or write a blog if you must write a diatribe. After all, readers picked up the publication that your story is in to read fiction not essays.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Daytona Beach, Florida, or a small town like Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, I can provide that second eye.



Pit story's hero against society to create conflict

Rather than 240_F_63866753_SeDeB94MnIM5ZaGLklPiE48o75OJXGLq take on another individual, the main character could find himself in conflict with an entire society. When the main character or small group of characters take on the greater culture – who usually are represented by a group of authority figures or “upstanding” citizens – the author is using a man vs. society conflict.

An example of this occurs in the “Star Trek: The Original Series” episode “The Apple”. When Captain Kirk and his landing party beam down to a planet with an ideal climate, they soon discover a machine mind controls the planet and that the natives worship this machine. Kirk sets out to destroy this machine, named Baal, after it attacks the Enterprise. The native aliens try to stop Kirk, however, and are disappointed when our mighty captain succeeds. Through the episode, Kirk and crew find themselves in conflict with the native’s society’s customs and beliefs.

Indeed, such a conflict is good way to show the illogic of a society’s values. The moral of “The Apple” is that intelligent beings need to be free, even if it means suffering (indeed, the planet’s inhabitants now will have to live in a harsh climate, break their backs farming by hand to feed themselves and suffer the psychological loss of faith in a god that provided for and cared for them). Of course, Baal is a false god, so a system in which intelligent beings worship and serve a false god is illogical.

Two problems can arise with man vs. society conflicts, however. First, when readers can focus on a specific individual as the antagonist, relating to and identifying with the main character can be easier. The challenge for the writer is to make the society a living being itself. Otherwise, the main character simply is defending himself against minor characters and obstacles throughout the story. Another problem is that often society is too monolithic for a single character to overcome. The story problem shouldn’t end with the collapse of society but instead the main character escaping it or achieving some success that creates a new hope for the culture’s eventual fall.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Toledo, Ohio, or a small town like Gnaw Bone, Indiana, I can provide that second eye.



Don’t let ergonomics issues stop your writing

You always 240_F_91105926_e9LyJCMGMyhwYQEww0wYzKuWY7owLaOq have great book ideas, but whenever you sit to type, you just can’t get comfortable enough for the words to come out. In a short while, your eyes are burning and your wrists aching. You’re wondering if you’re really cut out to be an author, even though you enjoy writing a lot.

The problem probably has little to do with your love of or skill for writing but with ergonomics issues.

The human body really isn’t meant to perform for hours on end some of the tasks that our modern writing and office equipment demand of it. All too often our necks cramp from looking at computer screens at slanted angles, our eyes burn from staring too long at a fixed distance (a computer monitor), and our fingers turn numb from the strain of our wrists performing repetitive motions.

If you’ve spent all day working in an office under such conditions, the last thing your body wants to do once you’re home at night or for the weekend is to keep it up.

To address ergonomics issues, listen to your body. If your wrists or back feel stressed when writing, you may need to “revise” your writing area. Sometimes you simply need to raise or lower your chair to avoid typing at odd angles or to adjust the computer monitor to eliminate glare. You may need to add lighting to prevent eye strain.

In addition, always sit up straight when typing and take frequent breaks if using a computer. If your body still feels stressed, consider writing like during the days of old with a pen and notebook. While you’ll ultimately want to get your writing typed and saved, at least when you have good ideas you can continue to pursue them.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Lakeland, Florida, or a small town like Hygiene, Colorado, I can provide that second eye.



Five great quotations about writer's block

“You 0014can’t think yourself out of a writing block, you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.” – John Rogers

“There’s always something to write about. If there’s not then you need to live life more aggressively.” – Min Kim

“… everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. – Sylvia Plath

“The cure for writer’s cramp is writer’s block.” – Inigo DeLeon

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” – Vladimir Nabakov

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Lakeland, Florida, or a small town like Hygiene, Colorado, I can provide that second eye.



Entice readers with excerpt from next book

If you’ve Book-555779_640already started writing the next book you plan to publish, the back of the one you’re about to release is a great place to promote it. You might do that by offering readers an excerpt of your next book. This is particularly popular among novelists.

Before doing that, however, you should be absolutely sure that the excerpt really will be from your next book. You don’t want to tease readers then decide not to publish the book or instead publish a different one. That only will confuse or disappoint them.

The excerpt should be powerful and compelling writing, a passage that really hooks readers. Chapter 1 usually makes a good excerpt. Whatever section you excerpt, though, make sure it can be read as a self-contained piece, with no extra explanation, and that it ends with an intriguing problem to be resolved.

No more than 10 or so pages need be given as an excerpt. Ideally, you wouldn’t want to give more than five or six pages. After all, the idea is to get the reader so excited about the story that they want to keep reading it once they’ve reached the excerpt’s end.

The text need not look any different, in terms of typeface or point size than the rest of the book. Some authors have placed their excerpts entirely in italics, but studies suggest that a large chunk of italicized print is difficult to read, so that probably is not advisable.

Be sure to clearly mark at the passage’s beginning that what readers are about to cast eyes upon is an excerpt from your next book. Give the book’s title and projected release date by month and year. For example, you might write “The following is an excerpt from (your name)’s next novel, ‘Title,’ due out July 2016.”

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Madison, Wisconsin, or a small town like Possum Grape, Arkansas, I can provide that second eye.