Tag Archives: editing

How A Freelance Editor Can Help Your Book Project

Book editing services by Freelance-Zone.comby Joe Wallace

A few years ago, I was approached to edit a book by Chicago voiceover legend Jeff Lupetin. The project was still in progress at the time and while there are some book editors who won’t touch a manuscript until it has been declared more or less finished in some form, I accepted the project for a variety of reasons including the fact that I have a background in broadcast and understood where the book was going.

That’s something a book editor shouldn’t take lightly-if you aren’t as experienced in a certain kind of subject matter and don’t know where the project might go, you are potentially at a serious disadvantage when it comes to avoiding task creep.

How did I help this project and what can a freelance editor do to help YOUR book project?

For starters, I asked the author some very direct questions. Who is the intended audience? For this book, that seems like a no-brainer. People who want to become voice artists and do voiceover work. But is that all?

We managed to refine the audience type by asking ourselves as author and editor what kinds of people would be interested in this book. We came up with two basic types (not that our discussions were limited to that, mind you) including those who are gear savvy and those who are not.

So we needed to reach people who didn’t know one end of a microphone from the other, and the people who know the difference between a cardioid mic, a shotgun microphone, and a large-diaphragm condenser mic.

Knowing the business the way I do, it wasn’t hard to make suggestions about how to reach people who don’t know the technical side of things. And it was easy to suggest changes to make the book more “evergreen” so that technological advances didn’t render whole portions of the text obsolete in a few years.

But the real work was the author’s-he had to organize his thoughts in such a way that the progression of information from the introduction to the closing chapter makes sense and can help the reader make a step-by-step journey through the craft and realities of working in the voiceover industry.

What a good editor can do for your book project, especially non-fiction, is to provide the outsider’s perspective. When you write a book and devote enough time to it, it’s easy to miss some obvious things along the way. Everything from perspective on the subject to the basic ability to understand the progression of facts and information between the introduction and “about the author” can be tainted by being too close to your subject or the mechanics of writing about it.

Hire A Freelance Editor To Get A Second Opinion Or Outsider’s Perspective On Your Project

A freelance editor can be hired to do several things. One is nothing but a technical review of the book-is the grammar good? Punctuation and spelling? Does the book make sense to read or does it need formatting changes to make it easier to follow? These are all critical technical issues.

But you can also hire an editor to give you more detailed feedback. Does the book make sense in terms of its’ overall presentation of content, the structure of the information, and the narrative? This is a more subjective process and an author who hires an editor to do this needs to be ready to hear real and constructive feedback. Don’t shy away from the hard things your editor might say-if the goal is to make your book as good as it can be, the advice you get is worth considering even if you wind up disagreeing.

[Hire a Freelance-Zone.com freelance writer, editor, or social media manager by contacting us via e-mail with some basic details about your project. We will get in touch with you to discuss your needs.]

A good editor will be tactful but will tell you what you need to know about getting  your book into shape for publication.

If you need to hire an editor to help you format an eBook, understand that this is a completely separate process from editing the actual content of the book. Some editors refuse to touch eBook formatting and others love doing it. But the electronic book formatting process is totally different than working on the material itself.

[Hire a Freelance-Zone.com freelance writer, editor, or social media manager by contacting us via e-mail with some basic details about your project. We will get in touch with you to discuss your needs.]

Google Docs Vs. Hard Drive Storage For Book Manuscripts

book and script editor for hire Joe Wallaceby Joe Wallace

I’ve been trying an experiment in the last eight weeks as I work on my book manuscript for WTF Records: The Turntabling.net Guide To Weird and Wonderful Vinyl.

Instead of doing what I used to do, which was writing and editing directly in Word, I’ve been using Google Docs to do first drafts, then save them to the hard drive at the end of the session using the Download As feature.

I’ve got several chapters I’m working on at once because the book, whichWTF-RECORDS-COVER-E-BOOK-by-joe-wallace-e1319727695223 is a collection of reviews of bizarre and strange vinyl records, has a variety of categories. I put on the records and re-orient myself with them as I’m writing and the pile always crosses several categories, so it’s not quite a linear book writing experience–definitely one that is assembled from its various components.

In other words, FRANKENBOOK!

The experiment is going well–the most valuable thing in Google Docs when working this way is the ability to download several documents all at once as a zipped file. I find that when I’m off in a coffee shop somewhere or on the road and want to do a quick revision on a section I wrote earlier, having it all in Google Docs is a major convenience. Also, it eliminates the worries about hard drive crashes and the like since I always have a copy backed up online.

Of course, if Google Docs crashes AND my hard drive dies, I’m stuck–but that’s a good argument for using a zip drive to backup the backup.

So far, so good.

Need An Editor? We’ve Got Connections

Freelance book editorWe’ve had more than a few queries lately about freelance editing, editors, and where to find professional editing help from people who actually CARE about the written word. It’s tough out there for a book or script writer who needs an extra set of eyes on their work.

Since Freelance-Zone.com is dedicated to helping writers, it was probably a bit overdue that we’d offer to put people in touch with editing pros (transparency alert: ourselves included) who can help with a book project, scripts, and other written material–at good rates. So here we are, offering.

When Catherine and I started FZ back in 2003, we never thought about the possibility that we could use the site as a way to help freelancers by putting them in touch with essential services like editors. But the more you network in this business, the more you realize just what a help it can be putting the right two people together to their mutual benefit.

So we encourage anyone with a serious book, script or other written project who needs editing help to get in touch. We are professional editors ourselves, but we also have many other colleagues who would be happy to quote rates and offer services for serious, caring work on your project.

If you need a rate quote, a description of services, or want to learn more, please feel free to get in touch with us for further information. You can contact us by clicking on the CONTACT US button or dropping us an e-mail to: editor (at) freelance-zone (dotcom).

–Joe Wallace

Curing writer’s block

curing writers blockBy Jake Poinier

Call me a cynic, but I tend to think that the idea of curing writer’s block is impossible, because the phrase itself represents an unhelpful catchall for a variety of reasons (read: excuses) for not writing. Moreover, for the freelance commercial writer, unlike the college-essay writer, it’s simply something you can’t allow to interfere with your business. There was a tweet by @MenwithPens yesterday that captured my philosophy nicely: “If you’re taking money from people, you have a responsibility not to do crappy work.” That necessitates, of course, the responsibility to do the work in the first place.

Note well, I’m not saying that there aren’t times when the words are tougher to come by. What I *am* saying is that waiting for divine inspiration is a fool’s game, and you’d sound like a goofball to any editor or client if you actually uttered the words “writer’s block.” Unless you’re martyring yourself on the Starving Fiction Novelist pike, the successful freelancer needs to be able to get the words on the page.

  • If you’re suffering from a lack of uber-great ideas…do a brain dump or mind map, use the best of what you’ve got to start, and try to upgrade and polish as you go along.
  • If you’re lacking the motivation to write about a topic that bores you…write it as promptly and quickly as you can, so it’s off your plate and out of your head.
  • If you’re not sure how to start something…look for the places that you can even get a tiny toehold, whether it’s the boilerplate “Services” page of a corporate web site or a sidebar in a feature story.
  • If your deadline is looming, and the work’s still not ready for prime time…talk to your client or editor well in advance, and politely ask for additional time to get it to the quality you want to deliver.
  • If you’ve sat at your desk till the metaphorical blood drops start to bead on your forehead…get the heck out of your chair and take the dog for a walk or yourself for a bike ride for a full hour.

At the risk of retreating into a sports metaphor: I’m a lifelong Red Sox fan, and, ipso facto, lifelong Yankee-hater. As such, I enjoyed watching Alex Rodriguez struggle for a dozen games before he hit his 600th home run this week. I’m sure he was wondering when the next one was going to come after every agonizing failure. But at the same time, he still had to show up every night and take his cuts.

As a professional writer, you’re getting a couple of at-bats every day. Not every one is going to be a home run, but if the bat never leaves your shoulder, your stint in the big leagues will surely be abbreviated.

Please drop by Jake’s Dr. Freelance blog for advice on how to deal with troublesome clients, pricing your projects, finding new freelance business, and more.

How To Start Freelancing Part 3: Where To Send Your Query or Content

how to start freelancingby Joe Wallace

Once you’ve picked out a publication or two to submit articles or other content, you need to know how the process works when it comes to actually firing off those query letters and articles.

There’s no one right way to submit content to a mag, website, or publisher. There are some best practices, though.

First, do your homework. Research the magazine to find out who the editorial staff is and how you can contact them. Don’t waste time sending queries and articles to the editor-in-chief of a big publication, look for a departmental editor instead. On small publications the editor-in-chief may well be the right person. It all depends…

Sometimes all you have to do is call the magazine and ask who you should send a freelance article query to, but sometimes you might have to do some detective work if you can’t get the help you need by phone or by looking at the masthead of the publication or the About Us section of the website.

Here’s a clue to finding the right editor. If you can’t get a specific name, pick an email address that IS available and write a quick e-mail asking for some help in the right direction. Usually e-mail addresses for people far lower on the the magazine’s staff are listed–use one of them but remember that you’re not sending your actual query or work to them–just requesting information.

Here’s my secret for getting the right names and e-mail addresses. You will often find more useful information in the ABOUT US section of a publication’s website. CONTACT US sections aren’t as useful in my experience. Go to ABOUT US first. Many list the editors, e-mail addresses and other crucial information. Continue reading How To Start Freelancing Part 3: Where To Send Your Query or Content

Request a Free Electronic Copy of Be Your Own Editor

Be Your Own Editor is a crash course in grammar and writing basics. It covers a wide variety of topics from common errors in punctuation and word usage, to structuring nonfiction material and essays, to developing strong characters and plausible dialogue in fiction.

Until midnight on Mother’s Day, I’m giving away free electronic copies of BYOE. Send me a note at sigridmac at rogers.com and I’ll be happy to send you a copy. Please let me know if you have Kindle so I can send a Kindle version instead of a PDF.

All I ask in return for the free version is that you review the book on Amazon. Your review can consist of a couple of lines — just a few comments.
After Mother’s Day, anyone who sends me a direct message requesting a copy of my book will receive a discount.  The regular price is $17.95 but for you it will be $15, and $5.00 for shipping and handling.  Just let me know that you heard about the book here on Freelance-Zone.
I’ll be back again on Monday, starting my new series on how to write a smashing e-mail.
Fellow writer, Sigrid Mac