About Gabriella West

Writer of LGBT historical fiction.

A Fiery Summer

Aside

imagesWe 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.

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The Joy of Blurbing

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
protector.

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
long.

[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.

evil old haunted house

Hvala’s novel features an evil old house.

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
radiates darkness…

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
life.

But will she have the presence of mind to defeat the evil that lurks
just around the corner?

BOOK COVER3 (1)-001 (1)(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.)

Easter Specials!

easter-eggs_copyright-congerdesign_pixabay-2145667-1200x600

Enjoy These Red-Hot Deals!

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.

 

 

When Style Guides Agree…

417CHnDxgWL._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_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.

 

Time Marches Onward…

rosewater-raspberry-sponge-cakeThe 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!

Seasonal Check-in

EditorLoveGreetings! 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 editforindies@gmail.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!

 

Happy Easter

Easter bunny visits FreudIt’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.

Another Season, Another Share

poynter

Dan Poynter of ParaPublishing.

Hasn’t this year gone fast? We are definitely in late fall/early winter mode here in the Bay Area. And a long, rainy El Nino winter lies ahead for us.

Edit for Indies has been working on some interesting titles, most notably Croatian writer Goran Visic‘s fast-paced and sinister thriller Blood in Bellavar. This novel will hopefully find a wide audience.

I wanted to share a couple of items that may be of interest to independent authors. First of all, Mark Coker of Smashwords wrote a blog post about Dan Poynter‘s recent death. Poynter was a man who championed self-publishing (particularly nonfiction), back when it was considered odd and not very respectable, with his company ParaPublishing. I met him once, at a conference in the early ’90s, and he was kind in a brusque, no-nonsense sort of way to this young editorial assistant. He definitely had lots of know-how about print and marketing, and wanted to share it. Here’s Mark Coker’s post.

I also wanted to share the latest Fussy Librarian newsletter, which offers not only some hard-earned wisdom about why, and when, you should quit your job, but also contains info about the very intriguing Wishing Shelf Book Awards. I hadn’t heard of this UK-based book award, but it sounds hands-on and genuinely useful to indie writers.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Springtime Check-in with Cartoon

Hope everyone is enjoying spring! The San Francisco weather alternates between beautiful and summery and foggy and windy, so I’m getting a little of everything at the moment.

I came across a cartoon strip in the Fussy Librarian newsletter that cracked me up. Jefferson Smith is a renaissance man (not literally!) who cartoons, writes, and does software-related creative stuff. (Click here to view his strip archive: http://yourwordsworth.ca)

cartoonThe strip seemed to express beautifully what I’m sure a lot of my clients feel when I return their manuscripts with track changes… But since many folks have been appreciative of my catches, I don’t feel too bad.

I do still have some openings in May and beyond, so feel free to let me know if you need copyediting work and I’ll be happy to discuss rates and fit you in.

Cheers from Edit for Indies 🙂