Monthly Archives: August 2014

AUTHORS Don’t be TWITS when TWEETING and making Online ‘Friends’!

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Great blog on Twitter behavior. Have a blessed day.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

As someone who makes online contact with authors on a daily basis, there are a few things that actually IRK me (not a pretty sight), so please excuse me while I arrange this soapbox more comfortably and elaborate further.

These irk-making issues are not unique to me and have been expressed by many people – including many non-irk making authors – so unless you want to LOSE potential readers, fans and friends, you need to STOP doing the following IMMEDIATELY on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Goodreads, Shefari, Librarything, et al:

Making your first contact with the immortal words:

Get my books at ***************

LIKE my FB Page at ***************

Follow my Website / blog at ***************

And similar well meant (?), but self-centred sayings!!!!!

Think about it for a few moments – WHY did this person start Following / Liking / Send you a Friend / Connection Request?

Is it…

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What Do Publishers Do?

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The next several blogs will be dedicated to what a publisher does and carries you though the complete process. This article comes out of the University of Chicago. I hope you enjoy reading it. Shirley

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There are all kinds of publishers. Most deal in hard copy. Anything printed and disseminated can be described as a publication—a mimeograph handout, a 500,000-copy-a-month magazine, a scholarly journal, a book. Anyone who produces any of these might describe himself as a publisher. Today you can self-publish. In fact, you always could. In the 1620s Johannes Kepler not only printed his own work, he disguised himself as a peddler and traveled to the Frankfurt Book Fair to sell it. Four centuries later you can disguise yourself electronically and publish online. Inside Higher Ed, Slate, and Postmodern Culture are online publications. The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times provide abbreviated versions of their texts online, with more extensive resources deeper into the Web sites. The great scholarly publishers offer an increasingly sophisticated array of electronic “product,” a term so complex it earns the right to be a singular rather than a plural. Yet despite the expansion of the electronic universe, academic publishing is still in many important ways solidly connected to the world Gutenberg made: books printed on paper and bound for repeated readings. The book is the form in which we scholars tell our stories to one another. Articles do other things: test-drive a portion of a book’s ambitious project, or deliver cold, hard data. Even when a publisher offers the choice of a physical or electronic edition of a work, or supplements a physical book with electronic ancillaries, or produces a physical book only on demand, it is the form of the book, that precious thought thought-skeleton, that holds a project together.

Twenty-first-century book publishing is dominated by a few very large and powerful corporations. Many well-known imprints are satellites within conglomerates. Scribner, for example, is part of Simon & Schuster. Knopf, Crown, and Doubleday are all parts of Random House, which is owned by the Bertelsmann corporation. (Norton stands as one of the few remaining independents in New York.) Smaller trade lists include FSG, Pantheon, and Holt, but they are part of larger organisms. Palgrave (Bertelsmann), Blackwell (Wiley), and Routledge (Taylor and Francis) are large commercial academic publishers owned by still larger entities. Alongside them are other midsize and small firms, commercial and not-for-profit, the giant Anglo-American university presses Oxford and Cambridge, as well as the archipelago of university presses that stretch across North America.

Publishing companies continue to imagine themselves as reasonably independent entities, presenting each season a collection of works that cohere in some way—either through their intellectual or entertainment value, or through the sheer force by which they are marketed to the world. Editors like to think of themselves, as they long have, as working at houses, though the label “house” is a charming compensation for a suite of offices either crowded and shabby or crowded and sterile. Yet “house” is both functional and stylish, with more than a soupçon of couture about it. Coco Chanel and John Galliano; Max Perkins and your editor of choice. Fabric and designs may be different, but these craftsmen all wield the same tool: a pair of scissors. An editor’s job is, in part, to cut your manuscript and make you look good.

Who They Are
It is easy to imagine the critical distinction in modes of scholarly dissemination as print vs. electronic, and easier still to imagine this as the latest battle between ancients and moderns. In practice, electronic scholarly publishing is bound in many ways to the forms and institutions of physical print culture. Much electronic scholarship is dependent on carefully prepared hard-copy texts. The publisher considering your work in digital form is still likely to be dependent on trees and ink for its daily business.

We can group publishers into five major categories. The digital environment, now one of the scholar’s homes, might represent a sixth category, but at this stage ion the life of “publishing,” it’s perhaps more useful to think of “digital” as a means of operating, or of delivering content, that in varying ways influences the recognizable categories of publication. The corporate organization of knowledge can still be diagrammed in terms of these five:

1. Trade. Trade publishers, the big commercial houses based largely in New York and owned largely elsewhere, are what most people think of when they think of publishers at all. Trade houses are the source of more than half of the books published in the English language, and most conspicuously those on the best-seller list. When people talk about books, it’s likely they’re talking about trade books. Trade books are the ones most people—including you—read for pleasure and information. While no trade publisher is reluctant to have a backlist of titles that continue to sell year after year, the industry’s trends are toward signing up only books that will be very profitable, and very profitable right away. Trade publishing thrives on precisely what scholarly publishing does not: the one depends upon reaching the greatest number of people quickly, while the other depends upon reaching enough of the right people over time, an objective made increasingly complex by the electronic revolution. Trade houses do publish some scholarly books, but scholarship isn’t the reason these publishers are in business. In the era of conglomerates, there are fewer independent trade publishers and more divisions, imprints, lines, and series within larger trade houses. Trade publishing isn’t the focus of Getting It Published, simply because few scholarly writers will begin their publishing careers with trade.

2. Textbook. The book you’re writing may wind up being used in a college course, even as required reading, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a book that a textbook publisher would want. Textbook publishing is often called college publishing. College publishers produce genuine textbooks—the introductions to macroeconomics and panoramas of American history that are the staples of large college lecture classes.

Textbook publishing can be the most profitable part of the publishing industry—and is when the books work. The publisher who produced the Psychology 101 text you’ve assigned in your lecture class won’t be selling it to anyone other than students, but they will buy it because it is a requirement of the course—and usually a requirement of that course semester after semester. Textbook publishers don’t get their books into Barnes & Noble or your local independent, but they happily supply the textbook counter at your campus store once an order for your course has been received.

One definition of a text is a book no student would possibly want to keep, and that is useless even to the professor two years after publication. Textbook publishers expend considerable effort in providing teachers exactly what they need for specific courses—and then in revising the material on short cycles. Textbook publishing addresses real curricular needs, and attacks those needs with all the powers at its disposal—high-quality production, prestigious authors and advisors, sales reps who knock on professors’ doors urging them to adopt a particular title, and a painstaking review process. A well-reviewed work of serious trade nonfiction may earn you a bit of money, as well as professional kudos. But will a textbook? Universities rarely grant tenure to someone on the basis of having authored a textbook, and few scholars devote their early careers to this type of project alone. Why devote one’s efforts—as publisher or writer—to college publishing? Many textbook authors are genuinely motivated by a desire to shape a field and to excite beginning students. But beyond that, as Willie Sutton said of bank robbing, that’s where the money is.

3. Scholarly or academic. The heart of any academic’s publishing life will be the scholarly publishing community. Most scholarly publishers are university presses, particularly in the United States and Canada. Beacon, Island Press, and the New Press are unusual not-for-profit publishers with trade book lists. There are also important not-for-profit scholarly publishers, those connected, for example, with museums—the Metropolitan, the Getty, and so on. But there are other scholarly and scholarly-trade publishers in America whose readerships and author pools overlap with those of university presses.

For most of the past century, scholarly publishing has been devoted to exactly what the term describes, scholarly publishing. The term monograph persists as a description of the kind of book published by a scholarly press. Not that many years ago, a scholarly house might refer with pride to the monographs it was about to publish. “Monograph” isn’t a term heard quite so often these days, but that doesn’t mean that this kind of book is no longer crucial to learning and research.

A monograph, forty years ago as now, is a specialized work of scholarship. All university presses continue to offer some monographs, and some commercial houses have found creative ways to publish them, too. Monograph publishing is about hardback books at high prices, marketed to a few hundred key purchasers, most of which are libraries. Generations of scholars were trained to produce their first monograph, and encouraged to seek its publication. The most traditional academic publishers continue to support the monograph as part of their publishing programs. For three decades the death of the monograph has been repeatedly proclaimed, but the monograph may have merely been napping. Digital technologies are transforming the means of producing and disseminating the monograph, giving new life, or its cyber-equivalent, to works too specialized to sustain traditional printing methods. A first-rate monograph in renaissance literature, published by a leading university press, might enjoy worldwide sales of four hundred copies. The publisher may find electronic paths to other readerships, but there is no magic cursor pointing to an easy solution. Fundamentally, the number of people who need to know about maritime law in the 1620s is an inelastic figure. The first-rate monograph tells that inelastic readership something they want to know because they need to know it and are willing to pay to learn.

4. Reference. Like “textbook,” “reference” is a term that can be used too loosely. Your book on Brecht might be so detailed that it could act as a frequent reference for theater historians. That is, people will consult your long and thorough index and bibliography. You might think your project would make “a handy reference,” but that doesn’t make it a reference book. Let’s distinguish hard reference from trade, or soft, reference. Soft reference may show up in bookstores or at a discounted price from an online bookseller. There are lots of soft reference books, from paperbacks on spelling demons to handy manuals on repairing sink traps. The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music is soft reference, as is, on a more scholarly note, The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (at 1400+ pages it’s soft, but heavy.) In other words, things you might buy, usually in paperback, and keep around the house.

Traditional, printed dictionaries and encyclopedias were at one time the heart of hard reference publishing, and librarians are their key purchasers. The very largest reference projects are often cooked up by the publishers themselves or by “packagers,” basically independent companies that think up big or complicated book projects and take them as far as a publisher would like, even all the way to printing them.

Reference publishing has long ceased to be about physical books alone. Reference works continue to appear in traditional printed form, but many are also accessible electronically—on CD, on a publisher’s subscription-based Web site, in the databases of online aggregators, and in formats and combinations bound to expand our understanding of what “information” and “book” will mean in the twenty-first century. Despite the experiments and advances of the last decade, discussions of electronic publishing today still recall some of the excitement of the first manned space launches in the 1960s.

5. Self-publishing. The prefix “self” speaks volumes. Friedrich Nietzsche took the text of Beyond Good and Evil into his own hands and published an edition of six hundred copies. In recent years, corporations have self-published manuals and other projects for their own use. Some business bestsellers, like The One Minute Manager, began as self-published projects, and went on to sell millions of copies. Sophisticated packagers are available to help the ambitious writer move an idea to market without knocking on the doors of trade houses.

For writers of academic nonfiction, however, the siren call of self-publishing drifts forth not from the offices of book packagers but out of the Web. In the Age of the Internet self-publishing is easier than ever. Create your text, build a Web site, slap up your document, and voilà. You’re an author with a work only a few keystrokes away from millions of readers. Putting one’s work on the ’Net is always an option, and while it has been pooh-poohed by serious scholars, trends in the culture of publishing are bringing about a rethink of these attitudes toward electronic dissemination. There will be more in this book on the subject of electronic publishing, but for now let’s say that print publication remains the dominant form of scholarly communication and the basis for almost all professional advancement.

Remember that publication is a way of validating your work. A book that is published by the author has all the authority the author brings to it, but little else. Once one isolates self-publishing, there are four broad categories—trade, textbook, scholarly, and reference. For most academic writers, the principal choice is, of course, “scholarly.” But the neatness of the categories conceals the messiness of most publishing houses. Some houses, like Norton, have trade and textbook divisions. Others, like Palgrave, have trade and academic divisions, including Bedford Books, an imprint that specializes in anthologies and other materials for course adoption. Random House has a small reference division, but it’s primarily a trade house. And many trade paperback houses see their books go into classrooms in large adoption quantities—think of all the Penguin paperbacks you’ve assigned or used in courses.

If publishing houses are sometimes messy organizations, some books really do fall into more than one category. The Encyclopedia of New York City is genuinely a reference work suitable for public collections, and a trade book that can be sold to individuals for home libraries. So is that venerable vitamin pill, Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Books can also change category over time. Take, for instance, Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Like every work of literature taught in a classroom, this novel began as a trade book, but has moved up the cultural scale to the status of “modern classic,” now earning money for its author an publisher because it has become a widely adopted text. Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen made meteoric transitions from play text to adoptable text. Like Beloved, these very writerly works also became teaching tools.

Like the tiny protomammals scurrying about in depictions of the Cretaceous era, university presses may be the most versatile, and resourceful, of all publishers. A press like Columbia, for example, produces a reference program alongside a more familiar list of academic titles, and a selection of trade offerings. A small university press may highlight one or two general-interest titles as its trade offerings in a given season. Oxford University Press publishes a vast list of specialized scholarship, as well as a distinguished list of reference and trade titles. (Oxford’s scope is so broad that it even has a vice president for Bibles. As a professor once said to me, Oxford signed up God as an author in the seventeenth century.) In a single season, a university press might offer a trade book on gardening, the memoir of a Holocaust survivor, a study of women in African literature, a workbook in Mandarin Chinese, an illustrated atlas of dams and irrigation, and the twelfth volume in the collected papers of Rutherford B. Hayes.

A word of caution: authors sometimes make the mistake of presenting their work as a combination of trade, scholarly, and reference, with a dash of text thrown in. You can understand the motivation—the all-singing, all-dancing academic book that might appeal to every segment of the market. But publishers are wary of authors who claim too much for their progeny, and marketing departments will be skeptical of the proposal that envisions a book for student use that will also be of interest as a trade hardback. No editor wants to take on a manuscript with multiple personality disorder.

This brief map of the publishing world is meant to demonstrate the range of publishers that exist, and the kinds of works they produce. But the point is to help you focus on what it is you’re writing, and how to match it up to who’s out there.

5 Ways an Editor is Like a Dentist

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This is a repost of a blog done by the Bookdesigners. It is a lighter look at a editor and what they do. Enjoy and have a blessed day. Shirley

5 Ways an Editor is Like a Dentist
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By Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas
Many of us look on a trip to the dentist with a mixture of guilt and dread: we know we need it, but it’s going to hurt. The sight of the needles, the sound of the drill and the thought of the final bill are enough to induce hyperventilation. Sadly, we’ve observed that some writers perceive editors the same way.
Don’t editors also probe and poke a little too deeply and strike a nerve when you least expect it? And don’t they tell you to rein in your head-hopping POV and avoid adverbs, just as a dentist will caution you about the perils of red wine and too much candy?
Don’t get us wrong, dentists provide essential and worthwhile services, and so do editors. They’re necessary, but they aren’t always pleasant. Just for fun, here are a few more ways an editor is like a dentist, along with some tips for getting the most out of an editing experience.
When needed, a dentist will refer you to a specialist. There are specialties in editing, too. Do you need your teeth straightened? Then you should see an orthodontist. But if your manuscript needs straightening? Ah—there’s an editorial equivalent: a structural editor. For cleaning and polishing? A dental hygienist…or a copyeditor and proofreader. Need a new set of teeth entirely? See a denturist…or perhaps you need a ghostwriter. The list goes on.

Ideally, when you choose an editor for a project, you’ll want someone who is familiar with your genre and with the kind of editing your book needs. Each kind of editing requires a special skill set. Most editors develop specialty subject areas and genres, and many will have an educational background that matches your requirements. The key is to conduct a thorough search for someone who has the experience and knowledge you’re looking for.
Tip: Look for an editor who has experience with the kind of book you’re writing and the kind of editing you need. Consult editors’ profiles at professional editing organizations for this information:
Editorial Freelancers Association
Editors’ Association of Canada
Institute for Professional Editors (Australia)
Society for Editors and Proofreaders

You can also ask authors whose books you admire to share the names of their editors. Improve your chances of getting the best editor for your book by selecting authors who write books in the same genre.
Dental work can be expensive, and so can editing. And for both, you can get a quote up front about exactly what work needs to be done and how much it will cost. Sometimes, though, in performing a service, a dentist will discover an underlying problem that will add to the total bill. That can be true for editing, too.
Tip: To prevent any surprises, ask your editor to tell you right away if she uncovers something in your manuscript that could cost you time or money later. The problem, once identified, might be something you can address on your own or with your editor’s help, early in the editing process.
Dentists perform extractions, and so do editors. In both cases, it can be painful, but it needn’t be. A good dentist will only extract a tooth when it’s absolutely necessary. She’ll offer and administer anesthetic and pain medication, and the result will be a healthier mouth. An editor may suggest that you cut out areas of text that are not working for the project as a whole. As painful as this may be, paring down almost always improves a book.*

For example, if there are many instances of telling instead of showing in your story—something that will most definitely cause readers to zone out—wouldn’t you want to know about it? It doesn’t feel great when an editor points this out, and getting that news will likely require some rewrites on your part. Dealing with the problem now may prevent you from wondering why your book isn’t selling later. Keep in mind, too, that a good editor will deliver news in a respectful and constructive way, with steps you can take to fix the problem.
Tip: Be brave: ask your editor what’s not working in your story. The answer might mean more work for you, but it could also mean a better book. Remember, an editor reads with the reader in mind, but he also wants to help you to write your best book.
*You should probably not count on your editor for pain medication, although she might buy you a nice bottle of red when your manuscript is published. Don’t tell your dentist.
In dentistry and in editing, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Having regular check-ups and following your dentist’s advice about brushing and flossing can save you discomfort and money later on. You can say the same thing about editing. Here’s what an editor can do for you if you check in early—even before you begin your first draft. An editor can:

help you structure your novel or nonfiction book, preventing hours of rewrites later
suggest other ways of presenting information that will be more accessible to the reader (nonfiction)
help you create a sample chapter (template) that you can pattern the rest of your chapters after
highlight quirks in your writing (we all have quirks), which, once identified, are easy enough for you to fix on your own
suggest resources that will help you improve your writing
Tip: If you’re not sure what kind of editing you need, ask for a mini-manuscript evaluation. An editor can do an assessment of 50 pages of your writing that will tell you what you can do to improve your book, without the expense of a complete edit.
Dentists have an abundance of tools at their disposal, and so do editors. If you walked into a dentist’s office and saw these tools (see the picture on the left) in your dentist’s toolkit, you’d probably turn and run. To stay current, dentists regularly invest in the best equipment and tools, and they also invest the time needed to learn to use them effectively.
Editors, too, invest time and money in tools and training. An editor’s toolkit, while just as varied as a dentist’s, is hopefully much less threatening. It’s possible to edit a manuscript without tools, but editing tools can make all the difference, as they help editors complete editing projects more quickly, accurately, and efficiently.
Tip: Writers can learn to use some of the tools that editors use. Some tools, like writing and editing macros, are free, and involve a willingness to try something new and a small amount of time (see this 20-minute macro course for a an effective tool that won’t take too much time to learn). Others will require some study and will cost money. All the editing tools automate tasks and can help you to improve the quality of your book.
Finally, there’s one important way an editor is not like a dentist: Your dentist will never encourage you to work collaboratively with him. He will never say, “Hey, why don’t I freeze your mouth, then I’ll give you the pliers and you can pull out that pesky tooth yourself. I’ll be right here if you need help.”
But an editor might. Hiring an editor doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. At least, at Beyond Paper, we don’t think so. We think editing can be a collaborative process between the author and editor.
Sure, you can hire an editor to fix your writing for you—which is traditionally what authors have done—but this option often costs more than a self-publishing author is willing or able to pay. When presented with the potential costs, self-publishing authors opt out of editing entirely, not realizing that there is another workable and affordable option.
Consider approaching editing in a new way: participate in the editing process by asking your editor to point out what needs to be fixed, and then do some of the fixing yourself with your editor’s guidance, if you like. If you’re willing to do some of the heavy lifting, this approach to editing can save you money on editing costs, and you’ll also gain valuable insights into your writing that you can apply to your next book.
Tip: Editors often know a great deal about how to make writing better, so don’t be afraid to tap into that knowledge and, in the process, acquire some of it yourself.
We’re fairly sure that we don’t need to convince you of the value of going to the dentist. Similarly, if money weren’t an object, we think more self-publishing authors would apprise themselves of editing services. You’re probably aware that bestselling books have often gone through some kind of an editorial process in order to create the best possible reading experience for the reader, and you’d probably like to provide your readers with the same kind of experience. If you’ve suspected that working with an editor may be more pain than you’re capable of enduring, suggest a collaborative approach to editing. And don’t forget to floss.
Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas
Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas of Beyond Paper Editing are Contributing Writers for The Book Designer.

They are also authors, copyeditors and proofreaders who work with and instruct self-publishing authors.
You can learn more about Corina and Carla here.

Take a look at my book trialer: http://youtu.be/ubO64uzpvGc

Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/dp/BOOKNMM46S

The Sheep and the Goats

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TLP

Matthew 25:31-46

Today we reach the final passage in the Oliver Discourse, the parable of the sheep and goats. In this parable, Jesus is painting for us a picture of His return, and the assembling of all people for judgment. They are divided into two groups “as a shepherd would divide the sheep from the goats.” This language from verse 32 underscores the figurative nature of the parable, and once again I must remind you that this is not a literal passage.

The king, representing Jesus, says to sheep, representing His people, that they are to enter into His Kingdom which is prepared for their inheritance, representing eternity with Christ.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me…

View original post 415 more words

Editor: What do they do?

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I had the question in my mind this morning on What does an editor do? I typed that exact phrase into Google and I found this great article explaining that question thoroughly. I’ve written four books at this point and as always someone asks me if I have an editor. I really didn’t understand. I would so, no I’m not getting an editor and then turn around and get someone to professional edit the book. I honestly didn’t think about an editor being the one “who edits my book.” Editors are on the newspaper or magazine staff.

By reading the article below I have found there are many different types of editors and understand things 100% better at this point. Enjoy the article and have a blessed day.

Shirley

Duties of an Editor & How Editors Help Writers

One of the most repeated phrases people use to reach and then search my blog is “What does an editor do?”

editor

I’m not sure who’s looking for this information. And not knowing the source of the question, I’m not sure how to answer.

Is a high school student looking for an answer to an assignment, maybe wondering about editing as a career?

Is a professional in one career looking to change positions?

Perhaps a writer is wondering what an editor can do for her, maybe looking for clues about how to approach an editor or wondering what her new editor at the publishing house will be responsible for.

So, not knowing exactly what information people are seeking, I’ll present enough to get almost anyone started.

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An editor polishes and refines, he directs the focus of the story or article or movie along a particular course. He cuts out what doesn’t fit, what is nonessential to the purpose of the story. He enhances the major points, drawing attention to places where the audience should focus.

Many fields make use of editors—film, video, magazine, newspaper, blog, and book, both fiction and non-fiction. A task common to all is to ensure that the product they produce is the best it can be in the time available and with the resources available.

A film editor may have weeks to put together his movie, the sound editor about the same. An editor working to develop a non-fiction book may spend a year or more collaborating with the author. A newspaper editor, working either in print or online, may have only minutes or a few hours to check or rework a story.

Because this is chiefly a blog for writers and editors of books, I’m going to restrict the specifics of editing to those editors who refine the written word rather than those who work with film or video or sound.

You’ll see overlap between terms and duties, chiefly because there’s no one definition for editor and no simple explanation of what an editor does.

Newspapers/Magazines

There are several levels of editors at newspapers and magazines.

Editor in chief or editor at-large—Responsible for the type of content produced by their newspapers or magazines, the look of the product, and the nature and number of stories/articles to be written.

Managing editor—Works under the most senior editor. Directs writers to particular stories. May write some of the stories. May be responsible for one section of a newspaper (business or style or local news) or magazine. May write headlines or may delegate that task to others.

Copy editor—Responsible for checking article facts and ensuring that an article matches in-house style guides. Also checks spelling, grammar, and punctuation. May also suggest word changes to keep the newspaper or magazine from being sued. May arrange layout of articles and sidebars. Copy editors might write headlines.

Depending on the size and scope of the publication, a newspaper or magazine editor may perform a combination of the tasks mentioned above. Their job is to see that interesting and/or informative articles are produced in a timely and accurate manner, with no factual errors and few writing errors.

Publishing house

Here again we find several types of editors.

Acquisitions editor—Finds new authors and promotes writers he thinks will be profitable for the publisher. Often must fight to get an author accepted by the publishing house because he’s competing with other editors to bring in new authors. Writers and agents typically submit manuscripts to the acquisitions editor. The acquisitions editor, especially for fiction, may follow a manuscript from submission to publication, suggesting plot-level changes to bring the story in line with his/the publisher’s vision for the product line.

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. Guides the writer in topics to be covered in or omitted from the book.

Copy/manuscript editor—(These may be two different positions or one that combines elements of both or the same position called by a different name.) Ensures that the manuscript meets in-house style standards and corrects grammar, spelling, and punctuation. 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. He’s as concerned with the structure of a manuscript as much as he is the words and meaning.

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).

Ghost writer—Shares the writing of a manuscript with an author or writes the entire manuscript based on the author’s suggestions, leading, and research.

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Areas and elements that an editor (specifically a book editor) might look at—

Non-fiction editor

Besides making corrections and suggestions for the technical elements—spelling and punctuation, data and fact verification, footnote and index accuracy and so on—the editor of non-fiction will help a writer organize the manuscript for greatest impact, clarity, and readability. She will check the flow and rhythms of the manuscript. She will ensure that conclusions are sufficiently supported. She’ll look for variety in sentence construction and make suggestions where necessary.

She’ll make sure word choices match the intended audience in terms of knowledge and age appropriateness and suitability. She may suggest sections where an anecdote or other story might be appropriate. She’ll check to see that the style of presentation matches the subject matter. She’ll look for threads to connect chapters and sections so the manuscript reads as a cohesive whole.

Fiction editor

Beyond the technical issues of grammar, punctuation, and spelling, the fiction editor will look at story issues.

She’ll make sure there’s enough plot for the length of the novel or novella. She’ll read for plot inconsistencies or dangling plot threads. She’ll make sure characters are sufficiently different from one another and that they speak with their own voices, show off their own quirks.

She’ll read for pace and logic and the entertainment factor. She’ll suggest word choices that better fit character and genre. She’ll look for balance in setting and dialogue, action and exposition. She’ll check scene transitions and chapter-ending hooks, making sure the reader is engaged by each.

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. She will note where the author’s opinions and/or prejudices have gotten in the way of the fiction.

She’ll point out saidisms, overuse of modifiers, and fuzzy passages. The fiction editor will make sure the writer has given characters sufficient motivation. She’ll check scenes for sense elements and conflict. She’ll help the writer put the protagonist into tough situations and then turn up the heat.

She’ll root out clichés.

The fiction editor will make sure the resolution fulfills the promise of the story opening, that it’s satisfying and inevitable.

Both the fiction editor and the editor of non-fiction bring that outsider’s eye to a manuscript. They notice when and where elements don’t fit. They see that something’s missing.

And they know what to do to fix the lapses.

*******

~ Editors bring to a manuscript the polish and knowledge and skills that a writer might not have, might not know how to use, or might not see the need for in his own work.

~ An editor makes sure the writer’s work says what the writer intends and says it in the writer’s voice and with his sensibilities.

~ An editor’s job is to make a story, article, or manuscript better. Better in terms of clarity, enjoyment, logic, flow, and meaning. Better in terms of meeting the needs of the audience.

~ An editor serves the project, the author, and the reader.

~ An editor balances the writer’s desires with the publisher’s standards and the reader’s expectations—and finds a way to produce a story to satisfy all three.

~ Editors read. They write. They love words and the millions of stories that can be crafted from them. 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 are typically picky, sticklers for what they believe is right, opinionated, and determined. They often have a great eye for detail, a strong vocabulary, and knowledge of odd grammar rules.

~ They enjoy working with—and playing with—words.

~ Editors are enhancers. They work to make what is good better, what is great, outstanding. They challenge writers. They challenge themselves.

by Beth Hill

***

Your Childs Education

Standard

History2I have to tell you, right up front that this post is strictly a commentary on my part. I belong to a Historical Fiction group on LinkedIn and yesterday during a history discussion the direction of the conversation turned and my mouth hit the floor (so to speak). It seems that during my absence from the educational system for myself and my children the system has taken a giant leap backwards.History3

I was not aware that history is no longer taught in the schools as it once was. I could not get my mind wrapped around that thought. How could our future not be taught about the past of our country and of the world? And if they are taught it is skewed.
History
I am going to be posting the statements made by the people of the group. That way you can read and make up your own mind about how HISTORY should be in our educational system.

Carole Schutter
Owner, Carole Whang Schutter
I was talking to my neighbor and her daughter, a 14 year old honor roll student. She told me something shocking. They never discuss or learn about 9/11, they are not allowed to bring up the subject of terrorists or discuss terrorism, and they learn almost no history. I’m shocked. History was one of my favorite subjects. As I watched “Waters World” on Fox, something I’ve only done a few times, he went around asking a bunch of 20-something-year olds easy questions like, “Do you know who George Washington is? Who did we fight in the Revolution and the Civil War? (most people said France) Who bombed Pearl Harbor? (Most people said China, one even said Russia) He asked most of them if they went to college (yes for some)-the older people fared better. When my ex-husband dated 20 something year olds (he was in his 50’s) after our divorce and admitted he he was getting tired of dating girls who had no idea who the Kennedy’s were. As lovers of history, this is shocking to me. Is this what is happening? I have 30-something year old kids & no grandchildren & I made my sons read history books-which, btw, they liked. They weren’t taught as much history as I was taught but according to my neighbor’s daughter they are taught practically nothing. Just interested in knowing what’s going on in our schools.

Christine Gibbs commented on a discussion in Historical Fiction.

I was talking to my neighbor and her daughter, a 14 year old honor roll student. She told me something shocking. They never discuss or learn about 9/11, they are not allowed to bring up the subject of terrorists or discuss terrorism, and they learn almost no history. I’m shocked. History was one of my favorite subjects. As I watched “Waters World” on Fox, something I’ve only done a few times, he went around asking a bunch of 20-something-year olds easy questions like, “Do you know who George Washington is? Who did we fight in the Revolution and the Civil War? (most people said France) Who bombed Pearl Harbor? (Most people said China, one even said Russia) He asked most of them if they went to college (yes for some)-the older people fared better. When my ex-husband dated 20 something year olds (he was in his 50’s) after our divorce and admitted he he was getting tired of dating girls who had no idea who the Kennedy’s were. As lovers of history, this is shocking to me. Is this what is happening? I have 30-something year old kids & no grandchildren & I made my sons read history books-which, btw, they liked. They weren’t taught as much history as I was taught but according to my neighbor’s daughter they are taught practically nothing. Just interested in knowing what’s going on in our schools.

Lu Ann Worley
Book Review and Marketing

I know a wonderful History teacher who took an early retirement because there is no real history in the new history books…He refused to teach this farce of a history curriculum. These books were presented during the Clinton administration. Tax dollars were withheld from any school not agreeing to the new History & English books (In the English books the students only have to look up the answers to two out of seven questions at the end of a chapter. Basically, the students do not have to search for answers and learn to think for themselves- many students did not even look up the two questions…many didn’t even read the chapters!)
We are definitely in a “Dumb down America” that most parents are not even aware of because of the way it is presented to them. history4

ART HENDRICKSON
WRITER OF FICTION AND COMEDY

On the morning of 9/11, I was teaching in a Bakersfield, Ca school. When news of the first tower invasion was relayed to me by another teacher, I immediately switched on the TV and found a channel covering the event. What a great learning experience for my kids. The TV was on for about five minutes when the principal entered the room and demanded that the set be turned off and kept off and for us to get back on curriculum. Seriously? I was dumbfounded. How could she (later I found that it was a district ultimatum) deny observing history in the making. She did and I made formal protest as did some students in other classes. The district backtracked in the coming days and even blamed the teachers. It was their choice to watch or not watch or so they said. I wrote a editorial letter of response to the district whitewash and was promptly admonished…with no union backing. I retired the following year when even more restrictions were placed on the teaching of history in the Bakersfield Middle schools.

M.N. Stroh
Freelance Writer with Her View from Home

Sadly, these facts are all too common. History was barely taught in my school. My last high school class covering American history was a joke. The teacher didn’t even teach from the books. Lessons were totally on his lectures of HIS perception of history. The downgrading of history and education in general is one of the prime reasons that I homeschool my children.

Now that you have read a few of the statements made, how do you feel about it? I think a big disservice is being done to the children of this country and that is very sad. How can are children really understand what and why things have happened the way it has if they are not taught in our educational system.