• Updated Editing and Formatting Services

    Updated Editing and Formatting Services
    I’ve been working as a full-time editor for six months now (officially). In that time, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the editing process and have learned a great deal about formatting, too. I’m also an editor for Moran Publishing, and it feels amazing to finally be working with a publishing house!

    With all of that in mind, I thought it might be a good idea to update the list of services I’m offering to writers. I’m also announcing some changes to some of my rates for these services.

    Editing Services

    I’m continuing to offer both substantive and copy editing services at the same prices previously listed on my site ($3 per page and $1.50 per page, respectively). Although the industry average for these services is higher than the cost I’ve listed, I want to do whatever I can to provide high-quality services at affordable prices.

    My turnaround time is a month, and I’m booking 2-3 clients per month, so if you’re interested in editing, book me as soon as possible to secure your spot! If you’d like to get some testimonials on my work, please feel free to ask.

    Formatting Services

    These offerings mark the biggest change in my repertoire. When I first made my Services page, I knew next to nothing about formatting. As an indie author, formatting was the bane of my existence—as I’m sure is the case for many other writers. Through working on my own books and formatting books for some clients, I’ve learned enough to feel comfortable offering these services to you as well. Right now, I’m charging a flat rate of $50 for ebook formatting and $100 for paperback formatting.

    Now, this charge will be tacked on to any editing costs, UNLESS you choose my $3 per page substantive edit option—in that case, you’ll be getting my formatting services FREE. Again, I’d like to reiterate that you only get free formatting if you choose my substantive edit package. Otherwise, you’ll pay a fee of $50 for ebook and $100 for paperback.

    Now that April’s almost over, I’m already booking clients for May and June. For more information about the services I’m offering, my rates and turnaround time, references, or to secure a spot for the coming months, please contact me here ASAP!

    What’s your least favorite part of the publishing process? What services, besides these, would you like to see offered next?

    Tweet tweet:

    Exhausted by the editing and formatting process? @brianawrites would LOVE to take that worry off your hands. (Click to tweet)

    Did you miss it? Editor @brianawrites is now offering book formatting services! (Click to tweet)

  • Why You Need an Editor

    I’m an editor. I don’t think that’s a secret. I thoroughly enjoy going through my work and the work of others, pointing out what could be improved, and strategizing how to fix it. I enjoy the process so much that I even edited Blood and Water myself (with the help of some talented betas!). With that being said, I don’t recommend editing your own work. If possible, you should hire someone else to help you fix it. Everyone needs an editor.
    editor

    Although I edited my novel myself, it took a great deal longer than I would have liked. I kept missing little things because I had gone through the book so many times. That’s one of the biggest issues with editing your own work—you end up missing a lot of mistakes because your mind fills in the blanks and tries to tell you that you know what your novel says… when truth be told, you might not.

    Here are a few more reasons why you need an editor:

    • They’ll save you time. Like I already mentioned, you can get your finished product out a lot quicker if you’re not spending time going over the same errors every revision.
    • They’ll allow you to invest in yourself. You might be worried about the money, but editors are definitely worth the expense. You can rest assured you’re getting the best bang for your buck,  and spending money to improve your work might make you feel more professional.
    • They’ll make you a better writer. A good editor will not only point out areas of your writing that need improvement, but will also give you ideas for how to improve. If you’re paying for a full edit, chances are the editor will even advise you on craft and technique. The more you work with an editor, the better your writing will be.
    • They’ll support and encourage you. Because an editor invests a lot of time in your work, it’s only natural for them to want you to succeed. Think of an editor as a built-in cheerleader who wants to do everything in his or her power to help you publish your best work.

    If you’re still not convinced you should hire an editor, ask anyone who’s ever worked with one. They know what they’re talking about. You should also read this post by the wonderful Ksenia Anske, who explains why editing can be so difficult sometimes. Editors work hard, and they’re good at what they do. Hug an editor today, or even better—hire one! 😉

    Why do you think it’s important to have an editor?

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    Don’t think you need an editor? @brianawrites says, “Think again.” (Click to tweet)

  • When to Stop Editing

    Macbook computer
    Ah, the red pen—a staple of exemplary writing.

    Fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and poets alike utilize red pens to edit their work. If you don’t use a red pen, you’re certainly familiar with the backspace key, comments feature, and the Track Changes option on your word processor.

    Editing is a vital part of the writing process. You can’t have good writing without rewriting. As Patricia Fuller said, “Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.” It’s foolish.

    Of course, there is such a thing as too much editing.

    When basic revising crosses the line into over-analyzing every single word and piece of punctuation, you know you’re in trouble. Although revising is important, it needs to have a finite end. No piece of writing can be more than nearly perfect. If you go through the same piece over and over again without stopping, you’re sacrificing time and effort better given to new projects.

    I am now and have always been a perfectionist. I’m rarely satisfied with my completed pieces. When editing my work, I have a hard time stopping myself. There’s always something that needs to be fixed—in my eyes, at least.

    As writers, we can also be our own worst critics. Our standards are different than everyone else’s. Sometimes the prose is not as bad as our minds make it out to be.

    Additionally, editing can turn into a vehicle for procrastination. When we’re afraid to start new projects, we waste all our time on polishing pieces that are already excellent. Sometimes we just need to stop. Sometimes we need to give up.

    We need to walk away.

    If you’re waiting for someone to tell you that your work is perfect, the wait is over. You want someone to tell you that it’s okay to stop? To move on? To start something new?

    That’s where I come in.

    That thing you’ve been editing to death is fine as is, I promise.

    It’s not a monster. It won’t frighten anybody. Slide it into your desk drawer, close the drawer, and go outside. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Play with your children.

    Write something else.

    The world doesn’t end just because you stop editing.

    What do you think? When do you stop editing?

    Tweet tweet:

    When is it time to stop editing?@brianawrites says it might be sooner than you think. (Click to tweet)

  • How to Stay Disciplined While Editing

    Photo Credit: Grotuk on Flickr

    Writing takes discipline. This fact should come as no surprise. At the same time, there are many writers who don’t understand the amount of discipline you need to edit your work.

    As someone who has struggled through the editing process and come out on the other side, I can tell you that it’s true: editing is hard work. No matter how good you think your first draft is, it still needs a lot of work, believe me. That’s where editing comes in.

    I’ve almost always been able to put words down each day. For me, writing the first draft is the easiest part. I just let myself go. Whatever happens, I’ll reign myself in come second draft time. Of course, this method only works if I make it to the second draft. Once the first draft is finished, it’s tough to come crawling back to the keyboard to face what you’ve done. Speaking from personal experience, you need to cultivate self-discipline in the revision process.

    From a practical standpoint, editing a novel isn’t much different than writing one. It may seem less organic than letting the words flow directly, but it is no less magical. Still, it’s easy to get discouraged while editing. Because you’re not pouring your heart and soul into the story, you might not feel like working as hard.

    My trick for staying disciplined while editing is three-fold: read through your manuscript, make a list of what needed changing, and tackle the project with the same daily goals you used for drafting. After you finish your first draft, sit down somewhere quiet to read through it, making a list of parts that need fixing as you go along. Then, once you’re ready to dive into editing, go in with your usual time limits or word counts. For example, if my goal while drafting had been to write 500 words per day, I would work on editing a 500 word passage.

    When it comes to editing, my best advice is to break the process down into small steps. Don’t try to revise the whole project at once. If you try to edit the entire story in one pass, you’ll feel overwhelmed and demotivated. Break the revision process into manageable chunks, stick to your goals, and do a little each day. That’s the only way I know to stay disciplined while editing.

    What is your revision process like? How do you stay disciplined while editing something?

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    How can you stay disciplined while editing? Writer @brianawrites has some advice. (Click to tweet

  • Tighten Your Writing: Cut Out Weasel Words

    Cute Weasel
    Photo Credit: Cecil Sanders on Flickr

    After looking at the picture for this blog post, I think we can agree that weasels are cute.

    Weasel words, on the other hand, aren’t that adorable.

    When I use the term weasel words, I’m talking about little words that affect the tightness of your writing. Most of the time, they hinder your prose rather than help it. You should learn to cut them out.

    The three most common weasel words that pop up in my work and the work of others are so, very, and suddenly. While editing my first and even second drafts, I’ll catch myself using these words instead of letting adjectives stand on their own. Let’s look at an example using all three of these devious rascals:

    Cara was so very tired. She was suddenly bored with the world at large, and no longer wanted Roger to know how very scared she was to be with him. He was perfect for her. They were so very good together. Everything suddenly made sense.

    Okay, so most people wouldn’t pack all three words into a paragraph like that, but you understand what I mean. In order to tighten this passage, I’ll cut out the weasel words so, very, and suddenly. Check out the difference:

    Cara was tired. She was bored with the world at large, and no longer wanted Roger to know how scared she was to be with him. He was perfect for her. They were good together. Everything made sense.

    Granted, there are still some aspects of that paragraph that could be improved, but the writing is so much tighter after taking out those words. If you’re still not convinced, try this exercise with some of your own work. It’s a great way to clean up your prose without trying too hard.

    What do you think? What other weasel words do you cut from your writing?

    Tweet tweet:

    Writer @brianawrites shares three “weasel words” that undermine your writing and why you should cut them. (Click to tweet)

  • 3 Types of Scenes to Cut from Your WIP

    Upturned Silhouetted Profile Against a Blue-Green Background

    It never ceases to amaze me how much bad writing there is in the world.

    Truly, when you think about it, you can most likely remember more poorly-written books you’ve read than well-written ones. Why is that? Bad prose tends to stick in our memory. Think of it as a kind of gruesome car accident–you know you shouldn’t watch it, but you can’t look away.

    Bad writing is almost predictable in its awfulness. That is, there are several contributing factors to a poorly-written piece that can be seen almost across the board.

    If you want to avoid bad writing, you need to avoid the factors that contribute to bad writing. One way you can do that is by cutting these scenes.

    1. Mirror Scenes

    Nothing in prose irritates me more than getting character description from a reflection. Most of the time, these scenes consist of a character peering into the nearest reflective surface–whether it be a mirror or a lake or even a spoon–and commenting on his or her appearance as though noticing it for the first time. How many times do you look in the mirror and look yourself over from head to toe, noting your “caramel-colored eyes” or “luscious red curls.” Probably never. Honestly,there are better ways to reveal a character’s appearance.

    2. Dream Sequences

    Oh, goodness. Dream sequences, for me, are right up there with mirror scenes. The only difference is that, unlike a mirror scene, a well-written dream sequence can serve the plot. For example, in Veronica Roth’s Divergent, dreams form an integral part of the story. Unfortunately not all dream sequences are created equal. I’ve seen authors slip in dreams seemingly only for the sake of making word count. Don’t do that. If you’re going to use a dream, make sure it’s relevant to what’s going in in your story.

    3. Commonplace Exchanges

    I once read a novel in which a whole chapter was spent chronicling a trip to the grocery store. I wish I were kidding. If your scene or chapter doesn’t reveal character or move the plot along, you’re better off without it. No one wants to watch your protagonist picking out produce. We do that enough in our own lives as it is.

    These are just three types of scenes that can be removed for the sake of strengthening your piece. I know there are others, but these cover most of the big-picture problems.

    What types of scenes do you cut from your work? Do you agree with these three?

    P.S. The Art (Not Science) of Chapter BreaksAvoiding Genre Fixation, From Daily Writing Tips: 34 Writing Tips That Will Make You a Better Writer, and Said Isn’t Dead.

  • Lovely Links 12.29.13 – 01.04.14

    Image

    The first post of every month is going to be dedicated to extraordinary links I’ve gathered from various places on the Internet. Most of the links will have but one thing in common: they will be related to reading or writing. Other than that, who knows? Here’s what we’ve got this week:

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  • When to Stop Editing

    edit

    Ah, the red pen—a staple of exemplary writing.

    Fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and poets alike utilize red pens to edit their work. If you don’t use a red pen, you’re certainly familiar with the backspace key and the Track Changes option on your word processor. Editing is a vital part of the writing process. You can’t have good writing without rewriting. As Patricia Fuller said, “Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.” It’s foolish.

    Of course, there is such a thing as too much editing.

    When basic revising crosses the line into overanalyzing every single word and piece of punctuation, you know you’re in trouble. Although revising is important, it needs to have a finite end. No piece of writing can be more than nearly perfect. If you go through the same piece over and over again without stopping, you’re sacrificing time and effort better given to new projects.

    I am now and have always been a perfectionist. I’m rarely satisfied with my completed pieces. When editing my work, I have a hard time stopping myself. There’s always something that needs to be fixed—in my eyes, at least.

    As writers, we can also be our own worst critics. Our standards are different than everyone else’s. Sometimes the prose is not as bad as our minds make it out to be.

    Additionally, editing can turn into a vehicle for procrastination. When we’re afraid to start new projects, we waste all our time on polishing pieces that are already excellent. Sometimes we just need to stop. Sometimes we need to give up.

    We need to walk away.

    If you’re waiting for someone to tell you that your work is perfect, the wait is over. You want someone to tell you that it’s okay to stop? To move on? To start something new?

    That’s where I come in.

    That thing you’ve been editing to death is fine exactly as it is, I promise.

    It’s not a monster. It won’t frighten anybody. Slide it into your desk drawer, close the drawer, and go outside. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Play with your children.

    Write something else.

    The world doesn’t end just because you stop editing.

    What do you think? When do you stop editing?