Why did you start writing the Frugal series?
After I saw how many authors were struggling with the basics (even the ethics!) of promotion on the Web, I pitched a class in book marketing to UCLA Extension's world renowned Writers' Program and when they said yes, I realized that there were no books I could recommend that covered both the basics of writing queries, media releases, media kits, etc. and helped authors with promotions, too. Then when I pitched an editing class because I could see that editing is an important part of knowing the publishing industry, the marketing of a book and more, I ran into the same problem. Both books are now a series of four HowToDoItFrugally books for writers with more to come. I'm passionate about sharing the joy of writing with others, but I know it's a more joyful process when we're successful.
You said in the Frugal Editor that editing contributes to branding. What to you mean?
If an author sends something out that is unprofessional--and I don't mean just has poor grammar, but all the aspects that the publishing industry expects from authors--they risk being seen by editors, agents, radio hosts, contest judges and more as unprofessional. That's really not great branding from the get-go!
How far should you go in editing on your own before you think about hiring an editor?
As far as you can. I say that because the more an author knows, the better prepared she is to work with an editor--whether she hires one or ends up working with one assigned by a publisher. The more she knows, the better writer she'll be. The better writer, the more successful. Editing is a carousel that leads to success.
Many sites for writers urge writers to hire an editor. What qualifications should one look for in an editor
This seems as if it should be an easy question to answer but I devote a whole chapter in The Frugal Editor (http://budurl.com/FrugalEditorKindle) to finding the right editor--one compatible with the author and with the title the author is working on. The two major things I hope to get across are: 1. How to avoid scams and/or unprofessional editors and 2. How to use references effectively. We need to ask questions we never needed to ask when hiring a plumber or a contractor.
What can you expect from your editor? Finding typos? Grammar rules? Help with style?
Nancy, there are all kinds of editor. And an author has all kinds of needs. Authors learn exactly what they most need as they learn more about editing on their own. Much has to do with how they plan to publish, how new they are to the publishing industry (notice I didn't say "to writing"), how willing they are to learn more about writing and editing on their own. Here's how I see it. A great editor who checks for everything--style, structure, writing techniques, typos, grammars--even formatting--is a bargain. Think of it like paying top price for an editor but getting at least one extra class at the university level in everything else. I happen to know those university classes can cost upward of $500 each--on or offline. I took many of them myself and I taught many of them.
Will your editor help with finding inconsistencies in the text?
An editor won't if he or she isn't qualified. There are lots of people passing themselves off as editors. Having written a book doth not an editor make. I give several specific resources for editors I've worked with personally in The Frugal Editor and--reallly--that's how I go about writing all my how-to books. Hearsay just doesn't cut it when you're trying to point others in the right direction.
Is there anything else you'd like to add about your new book?
Well, let's see. Let me just list a few things that this book will give a writer that will make him or her seem like a professional to the gatekeepers who can say yes or no to their project:
- Do you know how to format ellipses? It's not essential, but it's one more little thing that indicates to professionals that you know what you're doing.
- Do you want to know how to avoid those pesky double spaces that appear throughout your copy. And do it quickly instead of trying to delete them one at a time.
- Do you know why perfectly good grammar (things like helping verbs) may look unprofessional?
- Do you know enough about the intricacies of writing and punctuating dialogue. Yes, that includes nonfiction writers. If you're a nonfiction writer who never uses dialogue and/or rarely uses anecdote, the information in this book will improve the salability of your work.