Sunday, August 28, 2011

Norm Applegate's Blog: How to hire an editor

Norm Applegate's Blog: How to hire an editor: I haven't posted in awhile, been so busy working and traveling. The last few weeks I've been in Dallas, Austin, Tempe, Denver and I live in...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

How to hire an editor

I haven't posted in awhile, been so busy working and traveling. The last few weeks I've been in Dallas, Austin, Tempe, Denver and I live in Sarasota. I'm writing this Saturday August 27, from Vegas at 6:22 am. Hungry, just got up. Tonight going to Rod Stewart.

This article is kinda timely for me. I hired an editor two weeks ago and she seems really good. So following what I've done in the past. When I see a writing tip that I like I repost it.
You’ve written a novel, or a short-story collection, that you hope to publish yourself in print or online, or perhaps you plan to send it to an agent in the hopes that an editor at a publishing company will consider it. Or perhaps you have, or work for, a business that distributes printed communications, or you’re responsible for a Web site that posts lots of written material.
You know the content isn’t ready for prime time. You need an editor. What do you do?

Determine the Type of Editing You Want

First, clarify what kind of assistance you seek. Does your content need a substantive edit, copyediting, or proofreading? Substantive editing involves intensive attention to plotting, narrative, characterization, tone, and other holistic factors for fiction, and organization, logic, and effective messaging in marketing communications or other nonfiction. If your novel has been rejected for publication or your articles (or someone else’s you’re shepherding) lack the impact they require, you should search for an editor who performs substantive editing.
If you believe the content is basically sound, but you believe it needs revision for grammar, usage, style, and punctuation, find a copy editor. If you’re concerned only about typographical errors, hire a proofreader. (But realize this: You can probably get away without a substantive edit, but content that has been proofread but not copyedited is probably substandard.)

Identify the Project’s Scope and Schedule

Next, consider the parameters of the assignment. Is the project a single book, or a series of essays to be assigned over a matter of weeks, or an ongoing collection of articles for a Web site? Whoever you hire will want to know your time frame. Do you expect the assignment to be returned in weeks, days, or hours? Will it be delivered, and is it to be returned, all at once, or piecemeal?

Payment Policy

Next, decide how you will compensate the editor. Will you pay by the hour, by the project (a flat fee), or by the page? Most editors work with an hourly rate, which is the fairest and the most effective, because it allows the editor to do their best work. You can, of course, specify a cap on how many hours the editor is allowed to bill for.
And how will you pay? By check, or money order? By PayPal, or another online service? Some editors may ask for a percentage of the total payment up front or after you receive a specified proportion of the edited material. You can ask the editor to complete a sample (paid) edit of one chapter or a single article that you evaluate before approving them to complete the assignment.

Obtain an Editor

Now, where do you find an editor? You can post physical or virtual notes in your area to solicit local teachers or English majors, but though they may be an economical choice, teachers and English majors are not necessarily good editors. You can put projects up for bid on Web sites like, but it’s a complicated process, and many editors who offer their services on the site are underqualified or are not proficient in American English or British English. (And if you lowball the rate you’re willing to pay, you’ll get what you paid for.) Employment sites such asMedia Bistro are effective for finding media professionals but not so much for obtaining help with fiction projects or small-scale assignments, and posting employment listings can be pricey.

Craigslist, however, remains an excellent resource, and job postings cost only $75. (And you needn’t restrict your search to your local market.) In addition, organizations such as the Bay Area Editors’ Forum are appropriate resources for private individuals and smaller businesses and organizations seeking editorial assistance. (Again, it doesn’t necessarily matter where you or a prospective editor live.) Alternatively, many freelance editors advertise their services on their own Web sites. (Once again, geographical location is largely irrelevant.)

Consider the Costs

Substantive editing is likely to put you back $50 or more per hour, and the typical working rate is several pages per hour. Copy editors charge about $25 to $50 per hour, depending on their level of experience and expertise and on the subject matter, and they generally complete five to ten pages an hour. Proofreading costs less and is accomplished more quickly, but unless the content is online, you’ll have to mail the proofs, send them as a PDF Portable Document File (the editor will need an editing program), or have the proofreader complete the project on site or pick it up and deliver it on completion. (And remember, proofreading without copyediting is a risky shortcut.)

As you can see, hiring an editor is an expensive proposition. Engaging even a $25-per-hour copy editor for a 100,000-word novel will cost you about a thousand dollars. An experienced substantive editor could end up billing you a few hundred dollars for helping you craft a 2,500-word article for a specialized publication. Even having some Web pages proofread can easily become a three-figure expenditure.
But consider the return on investment: A literary agent is impressed with your tight, cleanly written prose. A periodical accepts your clear, concise, confident technical article. Your typo-free Web site (which your proofreader has also improved with some apt suggestions about format and design) attracts visitors, who may also become customers. It’s nearly impossible to quantify the effect of an editorial professional’s contribution to the impact of any piece of content, and in many cases, the editing you don’t notice is the best kind.
In a sense, it’s a leap of faith to hire an editor. There’s no guarantee that employing an editor (even one armed with an impressive resume or glowing testimonials) will result in publication of your content or any other definitive marker of success, and the process of obtaining an editor’s services isn’t effortless even in the best circumstances. But if you’re careful, you’ll reap the benefits of better content.

Source: Dailywritingtips

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

5 Ways to Reduce Use of Prepositions

Here's a great article on improving your writing.

Prepositions, words that indicate relations between nouns, pronouns, and verbs (mostly small ones like for, in, of, on, to, and with but sometimes more substantial, as in the case of beneath or between), are often integral to a sentence, but writers can clutter sentences by being overly dependent on them. Here are five strategies for minimizing the number of prepositions you use:

1. Eliminate Prepositions by Using Active Voice

Shifting from passive voice to active voice, as in the revision of “The watch was obviously designed by a master craftsman” to “A master craftsman had obviously designed the watch” takes a preposition out of action. (But take care that the inversion of the sentence structure doesn’t incorrectly shift emphasis or diminish dramatic effect.)

2. Substitute an Adverb for a Prepositional Phrase

In the writer’s toolbox, adverbs are stronger tools than prepositional phrases. Revision of the sentence “The politician responded to the allegations with vehemence” to “The politician responded vehemently to the allegations” strengthens the thought and deletes the weak preposition with.

3. Use a Genitive in Place of a Prepositional Phrase

An easy test to help reduce the number of prepositions is to search for the genitive case, or a possessive form: If a sentence could use the genitive case but doesn’t, revise the sentence.
For example, “She was disturbed by the violent images in the movie” gains more impact (and loses a preposition) by reversing the sentence’s subject and object: “She was disturbed by the movie’s violent images.” (Combine this strategy with a shift from passive voice to active voice, and you jettison two prepositions and further strengthen the statement: “The movie’s violent images disturbed her.”)
Another use of this technique is to revise a phrase including a reference to a location within a location, as in “the Museum of Modern Art in New York City,” which can be more actively and efficiently rendered as “New York City’s Museum of Modern Art.”

4. Omit Prepositions by Eliminating Nominalizations

Writers and editors aid clarity and conciseness by uncovering nominalizations, otherwise known as buried, or smothered, verbs. In doing so, they also negate the need for a preposition.
For example, the sentence “Their attempt to provide a justification of the expense was unsuccessful,” simplified to “Their attempt to justify the expense was unsuccessful,” not only transforms the verb+article+nominalization clump “provide a justification” into the streamlined verb justify but also makes of unnecessary. (I originally wrote “but also makes the use of of unnecessary,” but then deleted the superfluous phrase “the use of” and thereby deleted a preposition.)

5. Delete Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases (preposition+article+noun) provide context, but they’re not always necessary. In a sentence like “The best outcome for this scenario would be an incremental withdrawal,” note whether the meaning is clear without the phrase, and if so, strike it out: “The best outcome would be an incremental withdrawal.”

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Article for Dailywritingtips