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It was my dream when I was twenty-four and my marriage imploded, so I dragged my babies to the armpit of America so I could be a newspaper reporter. It was my dream when I was thirty-three and won NaNoWriMo for the first time, and then went back to college to learn how to write well. It has always been the same dream for me. My one dream has always been to be a writer. And I have been, since I was a teenage freelancer. And a twenty-something journalist.

And a thirty-something creative writing student. I wanted to write Novels, with a capital N, that would sit on shelves in libraries and bookstores, waiting for readers to buy them and read them and love them forever and ever. Stories are my mojo. They are my happy place. I wrote a book called Viral Nation and I sent it around to agents.

One of them agreed to let me hire her. She sold my book to an imprint of Penguin. I got a contract in the mail in a big white envelope with an orange penguin on it. Can you imagine how that felt? I can still feel the lump in my throat, the swelling of my heart. It was like being invited to the cool kids lunch table, and then having all the cool kids go eat somewhere else. I could tell you a story about my YA book being sold to an imprint that mostly publishes romance books Nora Roberts and Christine Feehan have the same publisher.

About my book blog tour for my YA science fiction story consisting of a dozen romance book bloggers. This post is about how achieving my dream: For a year after that second Barnes and Noble trip, I fell apart. I convinced myself that my entire career consisted of two failed thirds of a trilogy that ends on a cliffhanger. I stopped hanging out with my local writing community.


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I quit making myself available for promotional-type things like signings and school visits. Thank God for Indies. But after spending about a decade looking for an agent, firing one felt more than a little ridiculous. Being published by a Big Six publisher fucked me up, because it convinced me that this was the way to be a writer. And when it was pulled out from under me, there was nothing but a black hole under my feet.

It took a while, but I finally climbed out of that funk. I happen to have been ready to be published at a time when the entire industry was in a state of flux. The Big Six are scrambling to figure out how to stay relevant. And that has very little to do with me. Once I understood that, I figured something else out. I also happen to be a writer during a time of unprecedented freedom and power for writers. Acquisitions editor —Finds new authors and promotes writers he thinks will be profitable for the publisher.

Writers and agents typically submit manuscripts to the acquisitions editor. Developmental editor —Helps a writer develop a book from idea or outline or initial draft. Makes sure the book will meet the needs of the publisher and its readers. Will work with the author through any number of drafts. Often works with writers of non-fiction. Checks facts and may suggest different words. Verifies headings, statistics, data in graphs, and footnote entries.

For fiction, the manuscript editor will check for consistency and logic, and will read with the needs of the audience in mind. Proofreader —Compares one version of a manuscript against another to eliminate errors from the newest version. The proofreader is the last person to check a manuscript before publication. A proofreader is not an editor in the traditional sense, but because of a crossover between duties, an editor may be the proofreader.

Either the acquisitions or manuscript editor may suggest moving or dropping scenes, dropping or changing characters, changing point of view, or making other major changes to a manuscript. Freelance editor A freelance editor works for himself and is hired by a writer to ready his manuscript for publication.

Copy editor —A freelance copy editor may deal primarily with spelling, grammar, punctuation, fact checking, and word choice in the sense that he makes sure the words mean what the author thinks they mean. Developmental editor —As detailed above, the developmental editor helps the writer from the idea stage through the final draft. He may suggest topics, help with research, verify facts, and plan the structure of the manuscript. He works through successive drafts with the writer.

Substantive editor —Helps a writer improve his fiction manuscript by focusing on story elements, plot, characterization, dialogue, order of scenes, point of view, voice, setting, word choice, sentence construction and syntax, and pace—anything that could improve the strength of the manuscript. Helps a writer with a non-fiction manuscript by ensuring that sections lead logically from one to another, that there is consistency and flow, and that the right amount of information is presented.

Will make sure that conclusions are sound and come from what has been presented. Substantive editors do not usually work with a writer from the beginning stages, but instead will come to a manuscript after the writer has completed several drafts. Points out weaknesses and suggests options to strengthen those areas. Examines both the big picture and the fine details of a manuscript including grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Areas and elements that an editor specifically a book editor might look at—.

She will check the flow and rhythms of the manuscript. She will ensure that conclusions are sufficiently supported. She may suggest sections where an anecdote or other story might be appropriate. Fiction editor Beyond the technical issues of grammar, punctuation, and spelling, the fiction editor will look at story issues. She may suggest a change in point of view or in the viewpoint character. May suggest a change in verb tense—past to present or present to past.

The fiction editor will make sure the writer has given characters sufficient motivation. Better in terms of clarity, enjoyment, logic, flow, and meaning. Better in terms of meeting the needs of the audience. They assemble parts of a manuscript as if they were puzzle pieces, putting them together to make a fascinating and appealing picture, a picture that readers will want to explore in depth. They often have a great eye for detail, a strong vocabulary, and knowledge of odd grammar rules.

They work to make what is good better, what is great, outstanding. A great overview of the profession. Based on their extensive knowledge of literature, editors evaluate text in terms of its distance from the norm. Some deviations are unacceptable, such as errors in grammar and spelling. Proofreaders catch these, as do general editors. If a sentence is an arrow, then the editor ensures that it cleanly hits the mark.

In actual practice, this is often a process of culling away unneeded words, not re-writing or recasting expression. Just accept that Phil Connors is repeating one day over and over until he finds himself. There are several ways the passage could be edited, and this example is only a demonstration of how truncating can produce a cleaner read. You mentioned another good point— passages can be edited in a number of ways.

The way passages and scenes are edited builds up a cumulative effect across a story. It shapes the flavor of the manuscript. Thank you for answering this question. I am beginning my journey to be a published author. I have submitted one manuscript which the publisher passed on, but offered favorable feedback.

Be personal when applying for work experience

However, I was still asking myself.. Debra Ann, getting feedback from the publisher is great. Editors and publishers are looking for stories they can sell and stories that fit their lines. They may also be looking for writers who can reliably deliver more stories beyond that first one. I just finished writing my first non-fiction book. Now,I need to get it proofread and edited. I dont have any idea how much these services cost.. Can you offer me any advice on what to do next? Im so excited about my book.. Its an attention grabber!

Thank You for your time and help… I appreciate it.. Sharon, now you rewrite and edit. But you need to get it into a format other than handwritten. Finishing that first book is a milestone worth celebrating.

The lost art of editing

Make sure you take time to mark the occasion. The next step should be to step away from the project for a while. Then go back and begin your rewrites and your own edits. See what feedback you can get, for free, from trusted colleagues. After that you can decide about professional editing or proofreading services. A good editor will cost you some money.

Editors are worth their fees, which could be several thousand dollars depending on the length and breadth of a project and on the condition of the manuscript. An edit is an investment. The Internet has many, many resources for self-editing and information about editing services. Use the archive link to find an alphabetical list of articles. I wish you much success with this book and all those to follow. Just remember to take your time.

I hope you enjoy all your preparation for it and every project you work on as an editor. But I was wondering who should be in charge of deciding how many words there should be per page? Is it the designer or the editor? Some features might lean more heavily to graphics and photos, which again would mean fewer words.

Also, the the nature of the magazine should help guide such decisions. Will readers be reading or looking at the pretty pages? Plus, check out similar magazines that have great sales. What do they do? How do they balance words and images? And which is more important for the purchaser of the magazine? This was very helpful. But if an editor will not be co-writing, then both parties need to know that before the editor begins work on the manuscript.

Again, the best option is to know what a manuscript requires from the start and plan accordingly. As for knowing where to draw the line, go back to what you and the writer talked about. What does he expect from you? Thanks for your reply Beth. Your suggestions are exactly what I do, but I still find myself doing more rewriting than editing. This is the second project from this person who simply does not write well. Lauren, you sound like a diligent editor, wanting to give your best to your clients. Going above and beyond assures that your clients get a great edit, but it can be tough for you.

I hope you can find a balance that works for you and your clients, though that balance will probably be different with every edit. Anyway I was wondering what can I study if I wish to pursue a career as a fictional editor? Looloo, words are wonderful, I agree. We can create so much out of a few simple pen strokes. I love the written word. If you want to edit fiction, pursue and learn about anything that interests you.

You may end up editing a novel featuring a circus performer or a photographer or a botanist. You may edit sci-fi one month and romance the next. You will want to be versed in religions and myths and history and science and politics. Also, consider a study of languages. Not only does this open you to new cultures, it also gives you a deeper understanding of words and their connections. Write a book yourself. Study books on the craft of writing. Learn what makes a phrase work. Learn how to manipulate words. Pursue your personal dreams, even if they have nothing to do with writing or editing.

Fill yourself with those things that satisfy you. Be as well rounded as you can be. I could go on and on about this one. Think broad in interests and detailed in skills. Thank you so much for replying. You really set my mind at ease. I like to know about anything that intrigues me and this could mean history, biology, philosophy, psychology, neurology, nutrition or even dance.

I have a friend who is a photographer and a brother who knows all that there is to know about cars sand I think I will be spending a lot of time with them these days trying and pick up what I can. About studying languages, well I live in Egypt so English is supposedly my second language plus, I also studied french. I fully understand how that expands and enriches the understanding of words as well as cultures and even people too. In the paragraph before the last every word you said went right to my soul!

I firmly believe that everyone should know themselves and be true to who they are. This means following your own unique dreams and drowning out the voices that aim to mold you into something else. No culture, society or tradition is worth sacrificing who you are for. I have another question. I wrote a couple of things myself. A few poems, a couple of articles and some random pieces that might develop into a short story someday. Do you have any idea where do I start if I wish to publish any of these? Looloo, there are so many, many places you can publish. For articles and short stories, look at magazines print and online.

The Internet is a great tool for finding publishing opportunities. Just be sure the magazine or Web site is legitimate. And you could always put stories up on your own Web site. Just keep in mind that publishers are not going to want to publish stories that have already been published. I am currently facing a mid-life crisis of sorts. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design and have been working in the field for the past 4 years. When I finally realized that I could not care less about what couch matches what chair matches what paint matches what not, I decided to do some soul searching.

I gave up a well-paid, stable job and am currently hoping to pursue my passion for wordplay and editing. My question is, how do I go about this?


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I know that I love reading and writing, have a good sense of grammar and a decent vocabulary. However, I lack the technical education. Any advice, on how I can move forward and take this up as a professional career, would really help. While I might have counseled hanging on to the other job for a while, until you got established, I can certainly understand wanting to leave an unfulfilling career. While other writers may not necessarily offer one another the same feedback an editor would, knowing what writers are looking for and what they need would be helpful.

Take classes on editing and grammar online or at a local college. Enroll in a writing program. Read everything you can on the craft of writing. Edit chapters from published books. Edit chapters from writers in that writing group you joined. Rewrite passages of published stories to change POV or to fit another genre or to change the emotional impact. Learn what changes do to the scene, to the chapter, and to the story as a whole. Learn the specifics of the different genres—their needs, expectations, standards and prohibitions.

Read contemporary fiction and the classics. Join an editors forum. Learn your weaknesses and strengthen them. Learn how to encourage writers. Learn how to point out what works. Or enroll in a full program at a college if you can and want to. Join writing and editing organizations and attend their conferences. Also, try your hand at writing a novel or novella. If you intend to help writers, knowing what they face during creation is important. And if you intend to help them frame a story, work on pacing, write entertaining fiction, you really should have taken on the whole experience yourself.

Will you seek publication for your own stories? But writing them will only be a benefit. I am a junior in high school, and I love to read. I have found that I am very good at proofreading for grammar mistakes as well as at rewording sentences for coherency. Do you think one should enjoy writing if one wanted to be an editor? While strongly related, writing and editing are different activities and require different skills. Not all writers could edit and not all editors would want to write.

Yet you did say you like rewording sentences. Would you also enjoy helping a writer frame a story? Would you like learning how to write so you could help writers with their craft? If a dislike for writing kept you from learning how to write, how to create phrases that flowed fluidly, how to map out a story or how to link storytelling elements, you would definitely lack skills that would serve an editor well. Yes, you need to know as much about writing as a writer.

Writing a novel would certainly be a great experience for you. I can suggest you learn about all the fields that interest you. Knowledge gives editors an edge, so gain knowledge. And figure out all the areas surrounding words and reading and writing that you do enjoy. I wish you a great life and true success in whatever field you ultimately decide on. Thanks for stopping in and letting me know you were here. I am older, 59, and need a career change. I proofread mainly, for a sole practitioner lawyer, 20 years ago. The job ended tragically at the sudden death of my oldest child in I will not go into what happened then, but it did end.

I have been with him for 12 years and will likely be with him until he passes away. After that, I would like to be a proofreader. I have no experience except for that short job in I absolutely Love doing that! I also love words! I am not sure I could take join lots of writers groups, etc. I am also fairly hard of hearing at this point and this may be a mild handicap in some jobs. Jeanne, a career change sounds good. Plenty of writers are looking for proofreaders. You might want to brush up on grammar and punctuation—you could take a course online.

You might even want to look into indexing—you can make extra money if you can put together a decent index. I came into the job after teaching writing for ten years at the college level. The change seemed like a natural one, but I have always wondered about where my editing tendencies lie on the spectrum between proofing and ghostwriting. Timothy, I wish you success in finding a new position and excelling at it.

After more than 25 years working with writers, you no doubt have some outstanding skills to bring to writers and their projects. I just hated what I was forced to write in school. A whole new world opened up to me and it was strange and wonderful and… rife with typos. Perhaps I should mention where I was seeing these problems. Time for things to get a little… weird. Long story short, bronies are people who like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and are outside the target demographic. Fan art, fan music, fan animations up to and including a full-length episode , charities, and fan websites are just some of the things we have to offer.

Yes, we, for I am one of them, and I contribute in my own way. How do I fit in? Well, as you may have suspected or gathered, I am connected with fan fiction. I also read a lot, I take what I edit seriously, and I try to do a professional-level job. However, I am worried. Will anyone looking at me see anything more than stories about magical equines? Rereading what I have written, this comes across rather like a rant with the intent to gain sympathy. Sorry for the text wall. I hope you have a good day. I would say definitely not. If you ask for permission, the writer might feel compelled to say yes.

The writer would know up front what you will be doing with their work. They might ask for a list of books, manuscripts, or stories you worked on and you could direct them to a fan fiction website where they could see your work, if the site is a public one. That would be wrong on so many levels. However, I do have some of my own work that I could show them, so I suppose that is an option. How does that or, in this case, how do you work?

Do you go to people and offer your services, or do they come to you? Is it some combination of both? The thing is, I have no real idea what to expect, and that made sense to me at the time. I only started thinking about this seriously a month ago, two tops. After all, having more information is important. The editing of a sample text sounds simultaneously simple and complicated. In concept, it makes far more sense than what I thought, but in practice… Well, depending on how wrong it is, there could be many different ways for it to be edited.

In the case of a ton of missing commas, do you just add them in, or do you try to rework the sentence to not need them? What if there are a bunch of comma splices? Do you change them to periods or semicolons or reword the sentences until the commas work? I suppose that would be something the editing company would be interested in knowing, that is, how your style of editing would mesh with their conventions.

Andre, every question is worth an answer, so never stop asking. As for how I meet clients, they come to me. Besides this blog, I have a website for my editing business. Plus I get referrals from other writers. Can you help me get started?

The lost art of editing | Books | The Guardian

I have written about having encephalitis and am near ready to move towards publication. I have spent my life as an occupational therapist, then as a hospital administrator and then started my own business in care management. Within hours my world turned around with the onset of encephalitis. I need to find an editor who can teach me about what I need to do next. Can you suggest websites or ways of finding a good editor? Try the Editorial Freelancers Association for help in finding a non-fiction editor. There are plenty of websites, including this one, that offer suggestions for making a manuscript strong.

Many of them, unfortunately for your needs, deal specifically with fiction. But you should be able to pick up a lot of general writing tips as well. Consider joining an online writing group as well. Your article is worth reading. I am a teacher, have completed my Masters in English Literature, teaching is my profession but not passion. I feel that I can see things from different perspectives. Being an editor, do you think that my qualification and creativity allows me to do so….?

But if it would be easy for you to return to teaching if you had to, then it might be worth changing fields. But editing is wonderful. We all do have to pay the bills. Now I know that what I am doing is a type of editing. Yuta, you are indeed one type of editor, one who oversees and directs writers and their articles. Good luck with the website.

I hope your writers give you solid and entertaining content. I have been a 5th grade teacher for the past 5 years and in the education field for 14 years. Do you think I have enough experience? If so, where would be the best place to start looking for employment? Edit a published book that you think could have been written better. Join a writing group that critiques. Read everything you can on writing and editing fiction. Before you start looking for employment in the field, do some editing.

See if you like it. There are great groups everywhere. There are many online groups you can join—just Google your genre and see what you can find. But also look for a group that meets near you.

How Being Published by the Big Six F*cked Me Up.

Check with your local library or just Google writing groups and your town name. Hi, Recently I have discovered as well as remembered things about myself that have encouraged me to look for descriptions about jobs in editing. I believe I would like to experiment with the editor field before graduating to find out whether it truly is what I am looking for. But I am afraid of making a decision without knowing someone that has been where I want to go.

Annabella, do you have specific questions I can answer for you? What topics would you like to know about?

Editor Talk: How to Become an Editor!

Everyone should find a career that fulfills and challenges them. Thanks again for replying. In the past few days I have been reading about the editing profession and I believe it fits me.

And now I need to ask, how do I become an editor? What could I do in regards to my school work? And if I am not hired on the first few tries because I lack experience, what could I do to gain experience? Give yourself an exposure to unusual fields and to a variety of fields. Pick up an extra literature class. Or, if your school offers them, try a writing class or two or three.

And read everything you can about what goes into creating quality writing. Many are available through libraries. You can give yourself a great education by working your way through all the craft books. And do some editing. Look at articles online and edit them. Pull out a book and start editing. Get a book of short stories and edit them. Maybe a member of a writing group would let you practice with a discarded manuscript—you can always ask. Well, thanks a lot once again.

I am a senior in high school and would like to become an Acquisitions editor for fiction I know I need a minimum of a bachelors degree I also know ill need to work my way up but what will that be exactly? Will I need to be a good writer even though ill be reading manuscripts? As an acquisitions editor you may well need to be able to make suggestions to your authors. Definitely learn some of the ins and outs of writing and fiction.

You might want to check out this article on What an Editor Should Study , at least as a starting point. I live in a gated which publishes a monthly newspaper of happenings in our community along with ads for businesses wishing to do business here. For a number of years our newspaper had a page for reporting religious articles in which there was mentioning God, prayer and scripture verses. The religious page also publishes times for meetings of different faiths within the community. Is it the responsibility of the editor to allow or disallow such reporting.

I live in a gated community which publishes a monthly newspaper of happenings in our community along with ads for businesses wishing to do business here. Hi Beth, Thank you so much for such an informative blog. If you have a moment, would you mind answering one of my questions? Thank you so much for your time. This past January I was thrown into a long-term substitution position very suddenly for a teacher that was forced to leave due to criminal charges.

So my question is, do you think my background in education would help me get into some sort of career in editing? I was also hoping that you could tell me if I would require additional formal education to pursue a career in this field. Would you happen to have any tips that could help me decide? Should I try to shadow an editor to see the kind of work they do? Laura, I certainly hope you find the career that fits.