March 4 is National Grammar Day in the U.S. To celebrate, in the midst of this endless winter, I’m offering a sweet, limited-time deal for new clients: Take 30 percent off my regular editing rates! This applies to short jobs as well as long ones, but does not apply to proofreading. New clients only, please.
I want to wish all my clients and blog readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Edit for Indies will be taking time off between Christmas and New Year’s. Back again in January to take your proofreading or editing projects!
In the meantime, do feel free to query me at the Contact or Rates link above, as I will be checking email.
Here’s hoping we all get some downtime to relax and recharge before 2019 hits us full force.
I’m lucky to have great clients find me for copy editing or proofreading. I wanted to briefly mention a couple of books that I really enjoyed working on recently.
East Coast writer Lucy J. Madison is a new author to me, but she has published several lesbian romances, including Personal Foul, a sports romance. I was lucky enough to edit her latest, A Recipe for Love, which is currently on pre-order. Set in upstate New York, this book tells the tale of Danika Russo, a woman in middle-age who has worked for thirty years as a mail carrier and just retired, having taken care of her partner while she died of cancer and her father as well. Now she has inherited an ugly house, filled with reminders of her unhappy childhood.
Books which show characters gradually becoming unstuck are particularly appealing to me. This slow, simmering burn of a book shows Danika taking steps outside of her comfort zone, including daring to start a relationship with a younger woman, Finn, who seems attracted but strangely elusive. The Italian cooking class Danika attends, which could have been a cliché, brought a great zest to the book. And there are recipes at the end! I love an unconventional romance, so this book is recommended.
Frank Tayell is an author whom I wouldn’t personally have discovered if it were not for my work with him. He has a long-running series of post-apocalyptic novels called Surviving the Evacuation. (He reached out to me halfway through this series.) Since Tayell is UK-based, the novels are sometimes a challenge to proofread because part of my job is to preserve the British-English spelling (while flagging anything that seems too untranslatable).
Working on a book at my level of focus means entering another author’s mind and world, to a certain extent. I rather like Tayell’s world, where the cerebral characters are pushing to survive, looking forward to the tenuous future, and striving to preserve social order and human decency as best they can while they move restlessly around the English (and now French) countryside in search of a stable refuge. And yes, there’s plenty of zombie-killing, but I doubt anyone really reads these books solely for this particular feature. It doesn’t surprise me that Tayell has loyal fans who have followed the series through all fourteen books!
Love, sex, and violence appeal to readers, but a really well-written book can transcend genre. My job is to help each independent author achieve their vision, making sure that jarring inconsistencies are smoothed away. It can be as easy as changing mandolin, a musical instrument, to mandoline, a grater (in a cooking context) or filling in missing words, usually pronouns, that the author has dropped in his or her haste. The trick is to stay attentive to the language and never approach the editing of the book in a purely mechanical way.
Let me know if I can help with your editing or proofreading needs in the next few months!
We are having a fiery summer here in Northern California. Although I’m personally safe, because I’m in a fog zone in the city of San Francisco, I’m very worried for the future of the state. And it’s not just California, or Oregon… there are terrible fires all over the world.
It’s climate change. It’s powerful and deadly. And we must try not to be in denial about it, despite our nincompoop-in-chief and his corrupt administration.
And now, an update from Edit for Indies! As always, I welcome new clients and have a few slots open in August. I also want to add that although Edit for Indies started off as a strict copyediting service, I now provide useful comments and feedback in the text as well as grammar and punctuation fixes. And remember, I have an ongoing special of $499 for manuscripts up to 100,000 words!
If you ever have trouble reaching me and have not heard back, please drop me a line at gwest1967 at aol dot com. I do answer queries promptly, so not hearing back means your message has gone astray.
One of the services I offer is the blurb or book description. It can be very difficult for a writer to look at their own work objectively and compress a description into 300 words or less. While I don’t call myself a blurb expert, I craft them for my own books and I enjoy the challenge!
Each blurb has a different feel depending on genre. For example, here is a YA (young adult) novel blurb I did recently, heavy on character description and challenging circumstances:
For talented twenty-year-old Remi, home is an abandoned hotel in San
Diego. A foster child with a tragic past, her family has become the
two boys she looks after like a mother: six-year-old Benny, who’s
diabetic and in a wheelchair, and young teen Owen, an emotionally
scarred foster-home runaway. The only adult around is Brock, an Irish
army vet with PTSD who lives in the hotel lobby and is their
Remi works in a diner by day, but sings on street corners and attracts
the attention of Jude, a young music producer with his own troubled
past. Mesmerized by her voice, he offers her a contract. Remi seems
close to achieving her dream of opening a music academy for youth and
keeping her little family together. But in this seedy, dangerous world
where gang members rule the streets, nothing can stay the same for
[Author X’s] latest novel is a bittersweet but optimistic tale of
what it means to be young, powerless, and want more out of life.
Another blurb I did recently has a slightly different feel, as it’s for a paranormal thriller by first-time author Jessica Hvala set in small-town Indiana, with a female MC. For that, I emphasized the quiet location and the creepiness lurking under the facade of normality. I also wanted to convey that the tone of the book was somewhat quirky!
A scatterbrained professional organizer comes up against unexplained
evil in her own quiet neighborhood in this debut paranormal thriller.
Thirty-something Sheryn Maples’s peaceful life with her dog Ginger in
her southern Indiana town is rudely interrupted when she purchases her
first home in a rural neighborhood, close to a grungy old house that
At first Sheryn’s life continues normally, with Sunday visits to her
snobby mother to bake goodies, runs with her dog, chats with her
married sister, and dreams of the hunky real estate agent who found
her the home. All thoughts of romance fly out the window, though, when
Sheryn begins to have disturbing episodes where she is visited by what
seems to be the ghost of a pretty young teenager in a pink T-shirt,
who can only wail in distress. The girl soon invades her dreams, and
Sheryn must pluck up the courage to discover what dreadful fate befell
the girl—or what is yet to happen. Aided by friendly local psychic
Randy and a quirky married pair of paranormal investigators, Sheryn
feels like she’s getting close to solving the mystery, and saving a
But will she have the presence of mind to defeat the evil that lurks
just around the corner?
(I’m glad I emphasized evil in the blurb because the cover of Hvala’s just released book, We Are All Ghosts (at left), radiates it!)
I charge a reasonable $45 for this blurb-crafting service, so let me know if you are interested when I work on your project. (I can also blurb a book that I haven’t read if I’m provided with enough detail.)
I rarely post editing specials, but now is the time. I’ve finished writing a book and my funds are a little depleted. So I’m very motivated to work with new clients, especially those who are hesitating about the prices for editing but would like to get a really good, thorough copyedit! These deals will extend into the spring.
Got a Long Book?
For a while I’ve had a hot deal listed on my Rates page: I will edit manuscripts between 70-80K words for $499. Now I’d like to extend that to ALL manuscripts up to 100,000 words. (Sorry, nonfiction is not included because these books take extra time.) Just FYI, the regular price of a 100,000-word edit would be $700.
What’s in Your Budget?
I sometimes have clients ask me for a quote and when I give it to them I can tell that they just can’t stretch that far. It becomes complicated if I don’t know what their budget is. So I’m introducing a sliding-scale plan. I may not be able to take your job if I am busy, but please feel free to tell me what you can afford, and I’ll see if I can help out! Suggested start for the sliding-scale fee is $200 and up. This would be for editing only: I think my rates for proofreading are pretty competitive.
It’s easiest to reach me via the Contact form here. I look forward to hearing from you this spring!
Favorite Genres to Edit
My favorite genres are probably historical fiction and romance, mystery, paranormal romance, thrillers, and books set in England or by English authors. I’m comfortable with editing British English as well as American English. LGBT books very welcome; all heat levels welcome.
Everything changes. The Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style used to be two very different animals. AP was for newspapers and magazines, the world of hard type and lead slugs and timelines. Chicago was for books and the world of traditional publishing. AP didn’t take the Oxford (or serial) comma; Chicago did. AP had no use for the en- or em dash (closed or open). Chicago described it in loving detail.
In this digital world, there’s a new emphasis on keeping up to date. So now both style guides are available as online subscriptions. It’s actually a wonderful way to use AP, since it’s very easy to search for words quickly. I’ve used Chicago’s online service as well in the past. It was more expensive and quite a bit less easy to search for what I needed.
So I decided to buy the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, #17. It comes in hardback at a hefty price, but there is something about having this book at your side that makes you more confident as an editor. I was delighted to see that the typeface has changed inside. They actually bold paragraph headings, making it easier to find what you need!
But furthermore, and here’s the shocker: AP and Chicago now both agree on a very important thing. They lowercase the word internet. Since this was one of the things I always checked for and held the line on when I edited, it was a bit hard for me to swallow at first when they announced the change a few months ago.
Other items they agree on: “email” is a closed word now, no hyphen. That’s pretty sensible. “Website” is spelled like so, not separated as it used to be (“Web site”). And the nice thing is, the World Wide Web remains the same in both style guides. It will take me a while to get used to “the web,” though (ouch).
So I will be turning to Chapter 7.80 in Chicago every now and then, just to refresh my memory. But on the whole, I like this new edition of Chicago; it strikes me that the editors strove for clarity and readability this time, and even flexibility … meeting their old frenemy AP halfway! The book description on Amazon even mentions self-publishing.
In other news, I’ve lowered my proofreading rates to .003 per word, bringing me more in line with other editors who work for indie authors.
The birthday cake in the pic marks Edit for Indies‘ first five years in existence! I realized when I looked at my records just now that I did my first real freelance job under the Edit for Indies name in May 2012. I have also recently passed invoice #300, another milestone!
It is true that the self-publishing scene has changed a lot in the last five years. Some wonderful outfits have gone out of business (Self-Publishing Roundtable, for example), while small presses that once flourished have fallen by the wayside, most notably All Romance eBooks but also including Samhain.
To generalize, it seems as if most indie authors at this point are either doing quite well or are feeling discouraged about their prospects. There isn’t very much upward momentum except for people who carefully plan out their series and write to market in a small number of categories. There are also shady promoters out there…a recent lengthy thread on Kboards.com entitled “Box Set Scams” reinforces this point.
I want to thank the loyal clients who have stuck with me this far. Thanks for your trust in my work, and I look forward to working with some old AND new faces in 2017!
Greetings! I tend to mostly post here in spring and fall, for some reason. This is my “fall” post and I have done some much-needed housekeeping on the site. Updates included minor tweaks to my rates (non-fiction editing is now one cent per word), though I have kept my rates stable, as I know this is a challenging time for my fellow independent authors. I’ve also added the option of a second proofreading pass for a flat fee of $200, when I’ve copyedited your manuscript, or another editor has worked on it.
I updated the Resources page. I had to remove a few dead links (sadly, Kate Genet is no longer doing blurbs), but I added Amy Martin’s manuscript critique service and the wonderful Self-Publishing Roundtable interview podcast, which I enjoy weekly. (Update: This podcast is sadly defunct…) The good news is that I have plenty of availability from now till the end of the year, so I encourage you to contact me for a quote. You can reach me at email@example.com. Thanks!
PS. The results of my poll showed that Romance and Sci-fi are by far the top two genres that people who visit the site write. Mystery came third. I enjoy editing mysteries and would like to do more of it!
It’s been a while since I posted here. I’ve been busy working on some great books, including Sarah Knipping’s Back to the Start, Christina Pilz’s Oliver and Jack: Out in the World), and Craig Robertson’s The Forever Life). These delightful novels run the gamut of genre from chick lit/women’s fiction to gay historical fiction to science fiction respectively. They are now all published on Amazon and “out in the world”!
I wanted to wish all my blog readers a Happy Easter. Enjoy the wonderful graphic, which I found on Twitter. While I’m fairly booked up with one particular client these days, feel free to drop me a line anytime.