As an independent writer, I understand the importance of hiring a professional editor. Thus far, I have used two that greatly improved my work--caught mistakes, made me think, saved me a lot of embarrassment.
Finding an editor can be a daunting task. I've ran into a few that seemed almost hostile to authors, waging a fear campaign that suggests there are secret agencies hunting any writer who claims to have a reasonable grasp of the English language and story telling. So when I am shopping for a professional editor, I seek a skilled professional with respect for writers and readers. In short, I will be spending a lot of correspondence time with my editor, and I'd like the experience to be pleasant. Both editors that I've used, Samantha LaFantasie and BZ Hercules (Beth) are easy to work with and have the ability to correct my mistakes and encourage my development at the same time.
Editors I recommend:
Samantha LaFantasie edited Enemy of Man and Son of Orlan. BZ Hercules (Beth) edited my newest Urban Fantasy / Horror novel Die Like a Man. Both editors did excellent work for a great price.
How I chose BZ Hercules for this project:
I wrote Die Like a Man several years ago and kept coming back to it. The plot and the narrative style are intense, the hero flawed, and the stakes as high as they can be in Urban Fantasy. The protagonist has the power to do good or evil, and may be losing his ability to tell the difference.
Since this was a new book, parallel to but separate from my previous urban fantasy / crime thrillers, I decided to hire an additional editor while my first editor worked on my science fiction series. I'd seen BZ Hercules on Twitter, and did some research.
After browsing her web page intently, I selected the Triangulation Service from BZ Hercules for Die Like a Man. This gave me editing, proofreading, and beta reading all in one package for a great price. Beth was prompt in all correspondence and delivered everything she promised and more.
One thing I really liked:
She provided two copies of the edits, a raw version and a cleaner, easier to read version with much of the Track Changes finalized. This must have taken her a lot of extra work, but I liked it because it made my review and revision much faster. All I had to do was read the manuscript, change what I wanted, and refer to the original raw edit when I had questions. I emailed her several times, and she answered right away.
Where I found peace of mind:
With each new editor or proofreader, a writer encounters different opinions and advice. A quick check of the Chicago Manual of Style, and online grammar sites, revealed that BZ Hercules knew her business. The corrections BZ Hercules made were grammatically correct and insightful. I came to embrace them, just as I had learned from other editors and proofreaders.
I enjoyed working with BZ Hercules so much:
...that I immediately started writing with renewed enthusiasm, confident I had found a true professional I could trust with the labors of my imagination.
Thanks for reading my blog. Have a great day, and may everything you read be wondrous.
Perhaps there are writers craving competition with the intensity of a mixed martial arts superstar. And maybe pigs will fly to the moon and eat cheese. The sad reality is that more books are published now than any time in history, but there is good news. Tools exist to help authors stand out from the crowd.
Nothing exists to replaced imagination or a skilled editor. The editing tools I am about to describe require time, effort, and don't replaced professional eyes and the red pen that follows. Serenity Software: Editor and Pro Writing Aid can help deliver a superior product to a paid editor that should spend less time on the manuscript and thus reduce the overall fee.
With luck, a writer can pull ahead of the crowd by concentrating on craft and evocative storytelling. Marketing can sell anything, but readers won't purchase a second mediocre book.
First impressions count.
Why I like Pro Writing Aid
This tool works online. It highlights targeted writing issues and offers suggestions. The writing style check will show adverbs in bright colors making it easy to spot problem areas in a manuscript.
The cliches and redundancies check is nice. There is a passive word index and repeated word program just to name a few features.
Pro Writing Aid also has an affiliate marketing program, which I have elected not to pursue. Some authors advocate affiliate marketing as a way to bolster total income, but my brief experiment with it seemed a waste of time that could have been spent writing.
I discovered a neat trick that allows me to review documents on my smart phone.
Simply run Pro Writing Aid on a PC in Google Docs, then pull the file up on a smartphone when you can't be at your computer. The highlighted words will remain visible for consideration.
For my current work-in-progress, the Son of Orlan (book two in the Chronicles of Kin Roland) I've used both Serenity and Pro Writing Aid. Soon it will be ready for the eyes of Samantha LaFantasie, the editor of Enemy of Man.
In future blogs I will discuss these tools in greater detail. Please share your experiences with these and other productivity tools in the comments section. I know I can use all the help I can get.
Let's write great stories and represent the growing ranks of professional indie authors.
Life is an adventure. I read to expand my horizons and write because I must.
- The Craft of Writing: 7 Magnificent Books
- Use of Force Myths
- A Really Useful Tool
- Project Rotation