Hello everyone, I have been away from my blog for what seems like forever and I have missed it and my online friends. Today I want to share with you an article I read by Pete Croatto, on how to get noticed by the editors. If you want an editor it will take some work to get noticed.
Take Initiative: In an ideal world, our talent would be a siren song for editors far and wide. In a world of tight budgets and staff meetings, editors need story ideas and good ones. That means writing a pitch letter that shows you know the publication and what it wants. “What gets me to notice someone is I can notice immediately if they have a familiarity with the magazine,” says Mark Rotella, senior editor at Publishers Weekly. “They might have mentioned an article they had read or a review that they read. Usually, people are pretty specific about what section of the magazine they want to write for. Basically, if they’re pitching me about the magazine, I want to see that they’ve read it.”
Make the job Easier: Sara Benincasa, author of Real Artists Have Day Jobs ( And Other Awesome Things They Don’t Teach You in School), says it’s key to do as much work for the editor as possible without overstepping. “Don’t expect that your editor has a comprehensive knowledge of the television show or trend or book or political issue that you would like to discuss in your writing,” she says. “Provide links, easy explanations. Provide assistance without the legwork to show your editor that your pitch is for a story that will bring in views, and readers attention in a positive way.”
Follow Up: This isn’t tennis. The ball keeps moving only if you keep hitting it. If you haven’t heard back after a week or two, politely inquire so you can either start writing or send your idea elsewhere. Rotella, who has written for the New York Times and American Heritage, says the delay worked or the pitch came at the wrong time.
Try, Try Again: An editor’s disinterest or silence should not be taken as an affront. That even applies to repeat clients. “I follow up and pitch more stuff without being annoying and contacting the editor too much,” Benincasa says. “If they liked my work the first time, they will respond. If they did not like my work they will not respond. I do a pitch, I follow up once and if I don’t hear anything, I move on.” In other words, our confidence in your idea should drive you.
Look Beyond Big Names: Chances are you’re not going to make it into The New Yorker and not every profile will land in GQ. (But don’t be afraid to try.) Get published, get paid and use the clips as a down payment for more desirable venues. Write Always. That’s the only way you get better and pay your bills.
Proofread A Lot: Once you get an assignment, it’s easy to get noticed for the wrong reasons. Rotella has an aversion to writers who can’t meet deadlines or follow directions, but says, “Nothing is worse, for me than if I have to spend too much time editing because of sloppiness. That is a real discouragement.” Be professional. Proofread, fact-check and make yourself available to address any concerns your editor has.
Play Nice with Others: Veteran freelance journalist Jen A. Miller got a big assignment from a new publication when a fact-checker there remembered Miller’s work at another publication. “Sometimes that can be an incredibly tedious process,” she says. “You’re already done with a story, you don’t want to deal with it anymore, you don’t want to deal with the fact-checker, but you don’t know where that fact-checker is going to end up.”
Finally, Be Easy to Find: That comes courtesy Miller, author of Running: A Love Story and a regular contributor to The New York times and Runner’s World. She believes every writer must have a website. “It sets you up as a professional,” she says.
I do hope this article was helpful and it gave you some incite on what you need to do to snag that elusive editor. Have a blessed week.
Many writers start their stories before the interesting part. Way before. So instead of beginning with something intriguing, the author walls for a few paragraphs or chapters, which causes the story to slow down. This is a particular damaging mistake when you’re planning to send out material for publication. Anything that causes an editor’s attention to wilt is a bad thing.
Let’s say you’re writing a story about Cinderella. Here you have a vulnerable young woman whose step family mistreats her. She longs for love, escape of a good time, depending on how you want to write the story. What should your opening paragraph say? Where are you going to begin?
You might decide to start with a bang and have the fairly godmother arrive in the opening paragraph. “Who is that beautiful creature” Cinderella cried out. She stared in awe at the vision in front of her. This sort of opening paragraph is the literary equivalent of shouting to the reader that she’s about to read an interesting story. Later in the story you’ll explain who Cinderella is and why we should care. For now, in this type of opening paragraph you’re just grabbing attention.
You might prefer to start the story a little earlier in Cinderella’s day, before the fairy godmother gets there. Perhaps when Cinderella is going about her chores. Cinderella winced as she scrubbed the floor for the 50th time. This sort of opening paragraph intrigues the reader with Cinderella’s character. Why does she have so much work? What sort of person is she that she’s not complaining? The reader suspects, from reading an opening like this, that something is going to happen that will disrupt Cinderella’s day.
Where writers go wrong is in starting the story much, much earlier in Cinderella’s day around the time Cinderella wakes up. Cinderella opened her eyes. She listened to the birds. She got out of bed and brushed her teeth. She hoped it would be a good day. She flossed. This does not intrigue me. I don’t have a hint of what the plot’s going to be. Since waking up is something I do every day, so far. I’m not that excited that Cinderella’s doing it. Worst of all is that because so many writers start with someone waking up, it becomes just another waking-up story to me. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule. Prouse comes to mind. But if your story starts with someone waking up in bed, trying cutting out the first three paragraphs. See how the story reads then. Chopping out the beginning almost always improves the story.
I know I’m guilty of starting the story at the very beginning. She got out of bed with her feet sinking into the soft carpet. I believe it has to do the inexperience of writing a story. I know that the majority of us, when talking to someone telling them about an event, we start at the beginning. Maybe they’d appreciate us beginning a little later in the tale so we wouldn’t be so long winded.
<div style=”font-size: 8px;”>Original by Susan Breen</div>
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
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Areas and elements that an editor (specifically a book editor) might look at—
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.
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.