Some Recent Books I’ve Edited

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.

51U+oPZN+aL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_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).

51d76U6RTdLWorking 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!

 

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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!

 

Client spotlight: Christina Pilz’s ‘Fagin’s Boy’

Fagins-Boy-Web-3d-Book

A great read for a cold January night.

Back around November of last year, I was contacted by a writer called Christina Pilz, asking me if I was free to do a critique of her already published historical novel, Fagin’s Boy. The intriguing thing about her book was that it was a sequel to Oliver Twist with an M/M slant, where Oliver and the Artful Dodger meet again in London several years after Dickens’s novel ended and slowly become… quite intimate!

Since I love both the M/M genre and historical fiction in general, I gave Christina a quote and happily accepted the assignment. I let her know that I thought that the sexual relationship between the boys happened too suddenly in the later part of the book and that her audience would be eager to see more of the budding relationship sooner. Christina went off to do her revisions and then sent me the revised novel for proofing. The MS was over 170K, but I enjoyed Christina’s authentically Victorian writing style and the way she conveyed the harsh beauty of Dickensian London so much, I didn’t hesitate.

Flash forward to today, when the revised edition of the book is out with a new cover and, to my great surprise, Christina wrote glowingly about my editorial services on her site (http://www.christinaepilz.com/fagins-boy-revised-content/). It’s not often that clients take the time to acknowledge me in this way, and I’m extremely grateful.

Christina Pilz wrote:

“I’m somewhat loath to share her with the world as I want to keep her to myself. But I’m an indie writer who likes to pay it forward, so here you go. Her prices are reasonable, her turn-around time is excellent, and her attention to detail is top-notch.”

As I said to Ms. Pilz, there is plenty of me to go around! So please don’t hesitate to contact Edit for Indies for a quote for services such as proofreading, editing, or even a critique of your already published book…:)

It’s National Proofreading Day

March 8th is National Proofreading Day. I didn’t know about this—did you? It’s not on calendars (yet) and the Google doodle is still up for International Women’s Day—check it out if you haven’t, it’s a lovely, lighthearted piece. In fact, it was a new follower on my Twitter account @editforindies who alerted me to the special day.

Proofreading is an occupation that has almost disappeared from the newsroom (I should know; I’ve worked in three newsrooms!). By that I mean that wages are so low and hours so curtailed that you can’t really make a living proofreading anymore.

EditorLoveBut although I don’t work on hard copy with a red pen anymore, we live in the days of the cyber red pen, at least, and there is still a need for proofreaders, as this graphic charmingly illustrates…

I do love words, and occasionally a typo or blooper will just leap off the page. Here are a few that I wrote down over the last year or so:

Fast foot giant (almost looks right, doesn’t it?)

800 bakers walked down Wall Street (this was a tricky one, but in the very dry, technical context it was obvious that it should have been bankers!)

A lesson or two in manors… (um, manners, perhaps?)

Her umpire waist… (since this described a dress, I was stumped for a moment and then realized the author meant Empire!)

And one of my favorites: “I grabbed my books with a drool look” (I was glad to catch this one to prevent author embarrassment. Methinks the author meant droll.)

To be honest, this is the fun part of the editing/proofreading job for me. (Fussing about em dashes, serial commas, and grammatical consistency, not so much.) Proofreaders work hard and need to be obsessive, but this work can be very rewarding. So, a shout-out to my fellow proofreaders and the people who “get” what we do.