DO I REALLY NEED AN EDITOR? (Part 2)

GUEST BLOGGER AND EDITOR-LYNN SURUMA returns to explain the different roles of different editors.

So, you know you need an editor but what kind of editor do you need? After reading an excerpt of your manuscript or, sometimes, the entire manuscript, an editor will prescribe the process necessary. That prescription will be based on how close your manuscript is to a finished product. If you have a manuscript you want to submit to a small publishing company or to a potential agent (a necessary step if you’re going to approach a major publishing company), look for an editor who wears more than one hat, someone who does content or substantive editing and copy editing.

What is Content or Substantive Editing?

Fiction or nonfiction, a manuscript must be organized in a way that makes sense to the reader and tells the story you want to tell or delivers the information you want the reader to get. You know what you want to say, you know what you expect the reader to get from your book but, unless it is organized well, your readers can get lost. If they do, not only will they lose interest, but you will lose an opportunity for future readers.

A content editor will flag rough patches during a cursory read of your manuscript and will suggest a reorganization that will make sense to the reader and help your content emerge to its best advantage. This process may require shifting paragraphs around, deleting distracting text and/or writing additional text. Organization can get muddled, and narrative threads can get tangled if not lost altogether, when you’ve written several drafts. Among other potential landmines:

  • Does your narrative proceed logically?
  • Are your fictional characters developed enough to seem real and are distinct enough to the reader to tell one from the other?
  • If you are writing a sequel to an earlier book, did a character you killed off in Book 1 show up again in Book 2?

Editing can get pricey. If you are concerned about cost (and who isn’t!), consider choosing several individuals whom you believe to be your potential audience to read your manuscript before you submit it to an editor. They may not catch everything but, at least, you’ll have an opportunity to address glaring trouble spots before the submission.

What is Copy Editing?

When new writers think of editing, they think of copy editing: spelling, grammar, punctuation, incorrect word usage, consistency, and typos, although the latter is usually considered the purview of proofreading.

  • Do you confuse the meaning of some words, like capital/capitol, peak/peek, eminent/imminent? Are your participles dangling?
  • Did your character ask a question but there is no question mark?
  • Did you capitalize a word on one page but not on some others?
  • You named the main character’s sister named “Deena” at the beginning of your novel, but you changed it in a rewritten later chapter because it sounded too close to the name of another character, “Dinah.” You renamed the sister, “Sara,” but forgot to change the name in the earlier chapters.

Even though the process is not considered “copy editing,” your editor will also make suggestions about changes in style to help you present a clear narrative that flows well and moves forward. This is line editing and addresses issues like redundancy; over-use of a word or phrase; sentences/paragraphs that are too long or are overloaded with difficult vocabulary; and the occurrence of too many clichés.

The editing process at a publishing house is more specialized than what is outlined above but, first, you have to get your foot in the door. The point of all this is for the writer and the manuscript to be presented in the best light to interest an agent and a publisher.


Atlanta-based Lynn W. Suruma, editor and writer, has more than 45 years’ experience editing a wide variety of products, including books, articles newsletters, brochures and pamphlets, theses, proposals and reports. Her published work includes children’s stories, magazine articles, and poetry.  Since 1990, she has worked with Teachable Tech, Inc. as editor and writer of curriculum products for such clients as CNN for CNN Newsroom; The Weather Channel for The Weather Classroom; ABC Inc. for ABC Classroom Connection and ABC NewsConnect; and, for SAMHSA (US Dept. of Health and Human Services), Building Blocks for a Healthy Start.

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simplydilsa NEWSLETTER – August 6, 2018

Subject: Hello Again❤

Living Life One Story at a Time
INTRODUCING GUEST BLOGGER AND FELLOW BOOKPRENEUR-PAULINE MANSFIELD as she shares her experiences “Living Life One Story at a Time.” Twenty years ago, I never imagined that I would ever call myself a writer; the first time I said those words out loud, “I am a writer,” it was a very weird feeling because it took a while for me to really to believe that I was worthy of claiming that title. Read More…
ARE YOU AFRAID OF PUBLIC SPEAKING?  Are you afraid to speak in public? Writers, if you want to promote your books, here’s a great place to find your voice and to hone your writing skills. Read A Toastmaster’s Tale»
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Author-Dilsa Saunders Bailey
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Help!! Book Reviewers NEEDED!
Just received an email from a friend whose friend had taken “Dreams Thrown Away” on vacation. Her friend’s husband called to scold her for recommending the book. It seems The Sperlings blocked his quality time with his wife. The whole time they were away, she sat on the beach with the book. It seems “Kali strikes again.” I hope she takes time to give the book a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Hope you will, too.

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October 27, 2018

The World is Full of Cousins

This world is filled with cousins, not just for me. Although, I admit I may be unique. You see, I have over 50 first cousins. Add to that, I can’t even count the number of others that are designated cousin in the relative tree. On my maternal side, my grandparents had over 20 siblings, and on my paternal side, my grandparents had at least 10 that I am aware of. So, start multiplying those aunts and uncles’ offspring and their offspring, as well as the offspring of my 50 first cousins and their offspring. If you brought us all together by my bloodline alone, we could build a city. Do I know all of them? Of course not, but I am proud to say that I knew all 50 plus first cousins. Some have passed on much too early. But, out of the ones left, some were as close as if they were my own siblings, others I vacationed with and got to know them that way, others I didn’t get to know until we were adults, but all of them I know personally and love. Thanks to Facebook and occasional family reunions, I know a few of their extensions, and in other cases, I know their offspring well. That’s why it was so exciting to have all three of my grandchildren together this past week. They were getting to know each other better, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Watching them connect made me consider our connections beyond our bloodlines, and it hit me. We, humanity, are all cousins to some extent.

To take that thought a little further, all of creation is related in some manner. We are made of the same substances, the same energy as plant life, animal life, and the soil and rocks beneath our feet. We were all created by the same Universal source, whether you refer to It as God or the Universe or your cultural name for either. One thought created this world and all that is in it, so that thought, that God is the parent of all that exists. If we came from one parent, then we are definitely brothers and sisters and whatever we create makes our offspring, our creations, cousins. When mankind finally realizes we are one family exhibiting a variety of uniqueness that contributes to the betterment of us all, we will accept each other as family living in a world full of cousins.

Dilsa Saunders Bailey is an independent author who has not only self-published three novels and a non-fiction book; she has spent most of her medical services career writing policies, bylaws, operations manuals, and more over the last 27 years. Dilsa is now coaching writers through the self-publishing journey and helping them to set up their businesses using their books as a marketing tool to build their platforms. If you want to learn more about how she can help you, contact her at dilsa@simplydilsa.com or join her blog below to keep up to date with her books and seminars.

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Our World, Our Stories

2

TheSperlingChroniclesBanner-FINALHumans love stories.  We exist in stories.  That is why the great teachers like Buddha and Jesus are still revered by the masses. They taught through storytelling, vivid parables and examples of how life should be lived. Their stories resonate within our souls. Stories. They are timeless and are continually seeding our minds with worry or hope or faith, dependent on your life’s situation.

Think about it. You are always telling yourself or someone else a story. Other people are always telling you a story as well. For instance, people listen to the office gossiper because that person is so good at relating a story, even if it’s detrimental. How do you think President Obama was elected or even Trump?  President Obama seeded us with stories and visions of a better progressive world. Trump planted the world with stories of fear. He had his followers envisioning the past as the good old days. Let’s face it, there is never a time when we are not amid a storyline, one that has happened, one we are creating, one that we are planning, or one that we are fantasizing about. Isn’t this why we have become a society of television watchers. We are hooked on stories. I admit I am a binge-watcher. There are only a few shows that I worry about seeing as they air anymore. I’d rather watch the whole season at once for the story. I want the entire story from beginning to end, like reading a book or a series of books. I must have it all.

As a writer who loves to read books for stories as much as she likes to watch television, I know the value of all stories is the word. The words that tell the stories evoke emotion and possible action. What words are creating your stories today?

Dilsa Saunders Bailey is an independent author who has not only self-published three novels and a non-fiction book; she has spent most of her medical services career writing policies, bylaws, operations manuals, and more over the last 27 years. Dilsa is now coaching writers through the self-publishing journey and helping them to set up their businesses using their books as a marketing tool to build their platforms. If you want to learn more about how she can help you, contact her at dilsa@simplydilsa.com or join her blog below to keep up to date with her books and seminars.

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The Top Six Reasons You Should Write a Book

 rawpixel-com-267082-unsplashThe reports may differ, but a huge chunk of Americans want to write a book. That chunk is reported to be anywhere from 82% to 90%. Consider those percentages and you will calculate about 200 million adults in this country that dream of writing a book one day. Why shouldn’t they? Why shouldn’t you? More than 725,000 self-published books were registered in 2015, and the numbers are climbing. If you include the traditionally published, that adds up to more than one million books released per year to a population where one of four people do not read books and only one out of four reads more than 12 books a year. Sounds daunting, but it really isn’t. There is an audience out there to read your book. It may be smaller than some, and more substantial than others. Neither the size of your audience nor the statistics I have presented should deter you from writing your book. If you are a writer, you have to write it. If you have something to say, you have to write it. There is room for your book somewhere, even if it’s just meant for your family members. I believe everyone should record their book in print form. Hold it, feel it. Cherish it. Stop giving yourself a pass on why your book isn’t written.

Here are six tips to remind you why you must write it.

1.    Capture Family History – So many of us have a cultural perspective and family history that we need to pass on to our children. This is becoming more evident to me each day as the last few members of my previous generation are becoming sick, frail, and forgetful. Like those before them, they will be taking some very precious history with them. A history that our family will never be able to recover.
2.    Share your struggle to help someone else – What have you overcome? How did you overcome it? I have often wondered how one person who is filled with pain and faced with one tragedy after another not only survives but succeed in life when a healthy person with all the benefits handed over freely misses the mark. We know perseverance and commitment are two of the determining factors, but what was it, that special something, that set you apart and helped you. Can it help someone else?
3.    Support or build a business platform – Increase your earnings by becoming an established leader. The book is your credential supporting your expertise in the field of your business. It’s your badge of honor.
4.    To entertain people who like a specific genre – Do you love Star Wars, Star Trek, and other science fiction? It doesn’t matter the genre if you love to read the books, watch movies, and binge watch television shows, you can easily create episodes in your mind, or recount what you have seen to others in an entertainingly, write your book. Don’t be afraid. In fiction, you create the world, and the characters create your book. It’s like kismet.
5.    To teach other people a skill – In today’s environment, I think we should all learn how to garden. But, we should also know how to monitor our finances, write a simple letter, use Word, or anything that you can think of, such as cooking, sewing, and coding. Teach someone how to create an app. It doesn’t matter. Each one. Teach one. Put it in a book.
6. To improve someone’s quality of life spiritually, mentally, or physically – Have you found your source of peace? You know how to meditate. You have seen the results. You use words games and your memory has improved. You walk or jog or line dance, and you are getting your waist back. Maybe you changed your diet. Or, perhaps you travel and have the best places to visit for a relaxing vacation. All of it counts. You know what you can share.
I have been googling reports, and one stated that 97% of people who start books, don’t finish. Make yourself one of the 3%. Set aside time daily, even if for starters it’s a half hour during your lunch break. Start somewhere, and work up to finding a time slot somewhere else in the day until your project is complete. Think about the amount of time, you spend checking your phone. You could be writing on it instead of monitoring social media. Put yourself on a schedule and get it done. There is a reason so many people want to write a book. They want to be heard. We all do. And, that’s perfectly fine. Write it! Start it today!
From Dilsa Saunders Bailey, author of The Sperling Chronicles and A Comprehensive Guide to Finding the Right Doctor, loves to blog as “simplydilsa,” a woman who loves to write out loud and share her journeys in the self-publishing world. The third novel in The Sperling Chronicles, No Tears for Dead Men, is now available in Print and on Kindle.

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