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Showing posts with label Editing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Editing. Show all posts

Friday, April 12, 2013

A word about editing from Bill Ramsey



A recent conversation with a forty year veteran of independent book store
ownership focused upon the difference between books from publishers versus
those from  self-published authors.
 I started the conversation by telling
him that I was trying to force myself to finish reading a new book about our
thirtieth president, Calvin Coolidge. The book was written by a
well-regarded author of history and published by a well-recognized name in
the publishing business.

This book appears to have had no real editing. Spelling and punctuation
mistakes were not the issue. However, long and awkward sentences made the
reading a chore. Inclusion of historic facts that had nothing to do with
Coolidge made the book 500 pages instead of the 300 pages that would have
given it focus and pace.

Narrow Gap Now

My book seller friend observed that the wide gap between high quality
self-published books and books from publishers has grown narrow. Even major
publishers are not providing the quality of editing they once did.

Let the writer beware. Using a publisher does not assure that quality
editing is going to be a part of the package. Of course, if the writer
decides to self-publish, the writer must pay for a quality editing. Editing
really makes a difference in the reading experience. We should not let our
hard work be hurt by failing to get a proper editing.

Bill Ramsey 
Bill heads up the Blue Ridge Bookfest in Henderson County, NC at Flat Rock Community College. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

WRITING MEMOIR, REVISING, REWRITING



This holiday week has been full of fun and work. Seeing old friends, talking with family, meeting new friends, and eating hot dogs and hamburgers.

The work came when a dear student of mine brought over dinner and her memoir manuscript she has been working on for three years.  She admitted she was shocked when she discovered the time and effort needed after all the words were on paper.
"I don't think I would have started this if I had known how much work it takes to get it published,” she said. But she has been bitten by the writing bug and is already planning future writing.

We spent hours Friday proofing and revising parts of just three chapters. She admits she did not really “hear” me when I said in class that revision is a big part of writing.
She had no idea that parts of her manuscript would have to be cut, rearranged or rewritten. She did hear me when I said she should hire a professional editor if she wanted to self-publish and her book to be the best it could be. She has an excellent editor, I think. The hardest part of working with an editor is accepting revisions that smooth out the writing, but leave out parts the writer feels were essential to her story. Maybe it would be helpful to remember that major authors of Best Selling Books are happy to have good editors who can improve on the way their words are written on the page.

I tell my students their memoir should inform, enlighten and entertain their readers. We want our readers to learn about us, about our situation or experience. We also want them to be enlightened – perhaps see something in a different light -- and I believe this author’s book will do that. Her editor likes the book and sees its worth and wants to keep the author’s voice intact. The book is entertaining. Humor, pathos, and outrage, flow throughout the pages, mixed in with the innocence lost as she meets with challenges she never expected to encounter.

A universal theme in this book is overcoming adversity and also the realization that no matter how things change they always seem to stay the same.

What started as a simple batch of stories about this writer’s life, has now become a full-blown 60,000-word manuscript. All this from someone who had never thought of writing a book until she began taking writing classes and devoting herself to writing.

If one wants to write, he/she should begin taking classes and keeping a journal. Write in that journal as often as possible. If not in a journal, start a morning practice of writing a few pages every day. Discipline is needed to begin a habit. Once the habit is begun it will be second nature to write whenever and wherever possible.


Click here to see a schedule of writing classes where you might want to begin.

Friday, March 9, 2012

How Many Mistakes Will You Accept

Many books I read today have errors in them. Some are grammatical. Some are misspelled words and some have misplaced modifiers.
Granted most of the better publishers have copy editors that correct this kind of problem, but I wonder why we still find so many books that seem like the writer refused to let a good editor make changes in the work.
For some reason, when I pick up a book with obvious errors, I don't want to buy it. I don't want to go any further. It gives me the impression that the writer, the editor, and the publisher don't have much pride in the product.

I have been told that is the reason book stores don't like to carry self-published books -- they just don't measure up to the books on the shelves. And book store owners don't want to put a book on the shelf when the writing is mediocre and the errors slow down the reader.

How do you feel about buying a book and finding errors on every other page?
Even if the book is touching, humorous, and filled with a story that grabs me, I turn off on the errors.
How about you? What do you think about producing a book filled with errors.?

Leave a comment and give us your opinion on this matter. It is not hard to do. If you don't want to leave an email address, just click on anonymous.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

WHY AREN'T GOOD WRITERS PUBLISHED?

From Blue Pencil Editing

Lauren questions Wendy Burt-Thomas, editor, writer, mentor and teacher.

I excerpted a small part of her interview here because she speaks to a matter I have harped on for two years.


Lauren: You've been a mentor, coach, or editor for many writers. What do you think is the most common reason that good writers don’t get published?


Wendy Burt-Thomas replies:
Poor marketing skills. I see so many writers that are either too afraid, too uninformed, or frankly, too lazy, to market their work. They think their job is done when they write "the end" but writing is only half of the process. I've always told people who took my class that there are tons of great writers in the world who will never get published.

I'd rather be a good writer who eats lobster than a great writer who eats hot dogs. I make a living as a writer because I spend as much time marketing as I do writing.

Freelance writer/editor Wendy Burt-Thomas's third book is The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters.

Visit Wendy's site to learn more about her.
http://www.guidetoqueryletters.com/. If you have a writing-related question, you can post it to http://askwendy.wordpress.com/.