Where do they come from? We may never know, but the galaxy “AGCT” is missing its Coder. Do you remember, as kids, having our mouths washed out with soap when we sassed or used foul language? Is there any one among us who would voluntarily put that nasty-tasting stuff in our mouth today? Not a chance. Do you also remember the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers in which the pod people were taking over humanity? My Peeps! We have the sequel: Invasion of the Tide Pod People.
Could it be that the Tide Pod people just want to clean up their act? Have we told them too many times that The Secret to a perfect external reality is to clean up our internal condition? How literal might they be? And did these future Coders of humanity read the ingredients before swallowing what was in the package?
Either way, the answer is unnerving. Like reading an unedited book. You want to understand it but it’s impossible. With so many editors in the world, why publish without one? Money. Few have the finances to pay an editor to polish their book(s). Nor do we want someone rewriting our masterpiece.
Aside from my own personal experiences, I’ve provided a shoulder for the tears of fellow writers after they received the edited versions of their works. This is not always the case, though. Many editors improve their clients’ written works. Many writers are happy with their editors. Some found their perfect editor right away, while others stumbled through a few wrong-for-them editors before they found one that fit their style. Still, others got burned—hated the edited version but still had to pay for it—and hesitate to ever use an editor again.
I enjoy editing for authors as much as I enjoy writing my own books. That is probably attributable to how I perform the editing process. In most cases, I use a video conferencing program to display the author’s manuscript on my screen, so we can both see the book coming to life as I lay it out and do the edits, while reading the book aloud to the author. I encourage the author to take notes for future writing projects. If an author simply wants my editing services, but doesn’t want to spend the hours having their book read to them and edited with them rather than for them, I’m happy to oblige. The ultimate goal is that the author gets a well-edited manuscript that retains the author’s voice, for less out-of-pocket expense than average market pricing.
Another way to save money on editing costs is by performing a few basic editing tasks on your project before turning it over to an editor. These are tasks that are fairly easy to do, yet take time to perform. Time = Money.
Here is a list of 9 basic editing tasks from which you may choose, a la carte. Tasks 1-3 are easy fixes but take time to find and edit. Tasks 4-6 are slightly more in-depth. And Tasks 7-9 are for the technically inclined.
- Make sure there is only one space between sentences. (See The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, Section 2.11)
- Make sure punctuation is on the inside of quotation marks. (There are certain exceptions, which will take less time for your editor to find than it will for your editor to correct the non-exceptions.)
- Know your ellipses . . . how to space them and how to lock them so they will stay together on one line when processed digitally.
- Get to know the em-dash. Make it your friend. Note that the em-dash is for literature, while the en-dash is for mathematics. It is rare to require a semi-colon in a book. If you feel compelled to use a semi-colon, try to either use an em-dash (when appropriate) or split into two sentences.
- Verify your word choices. Get rid of the word “very,” and drop the words “But, And, So, and “Well” from the beginning of sentences (with exceptions such as in dialogue). Alternatives such as the words “However” and “Yet” are acceptable.
- Know the difference between compound and hyphenated words, as well as the difference between contractions and possessives. Check your dictionary. Your dictionary and thesaurus are a writer’s best friends.
- Set your page size for the size you’d like your book to be on the bookshelf (even if you are only publishing digitally).
- Set your font for the font you’d like to see in your finished book. Choose an easy-to-read font size:
a. 11-12 pt font for a 5” x 7” book
b. 12-13 pt font for a 6” x 9” book
- Set your paragraphing for: 1.15 pt for line spacing, and either 24 pt, 36 pt, or 48 pt for left indentation.
You can pick and choose which of these basic tasks you want to spend time doing, and which of them you prefer to pay an editor to do. Time = Money.
The most important thing to remember is that if your editor is eating Tide Pods, you might want to look for a new editor.
© Jennifer Sweete, January 2018
Look for my future Jennifer Sweete blog posts right here!
Need help editing your written work? I edit with you! Yes, with you!
How effective is your Indie Author marketing strategy? Ask me about my Author Assist program to help you market your book(s).
Books I have enjoyed reading this New Year:
God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment by Scott Adams – Interesting twists and turns.
The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale – Thoughts are Things, true.
Write Like the Masters by William Cane – Every writer should read this book three times.
Any of the Writing Prompt books written by Knatia Parson – A writer’s delight!
Until we meet again, keep reading, keep writing, keep dreaming!
Jennifer Sweete is the author of Dear Sandy: The letter that wrote itself into a Book (2015) and The Poet & The Widow (2016). She is a Certified Massage Therapist and Usui/Holy Fire Karuna Reiki® Master and teacher, a small business and writer’s consultant, self-mastery coach, musician, poet, and author. And they all fit snugly into the same hat! She’s currently serving her 3rd term as President of the Chaffee County Writers Exchange while assisting other authors through the processes of editing, self-publishing and marketing their books. She resides with her husband and furry astral friend in sunny Colorado. For more info, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.