I’ve been learning a lot from copy editor notes.
I’ve learned I really don’t have a handle on when to hyphenate or not hyphenate words made from two or more words. E.g. well-worn or well worn or wellworn. I’ll admit I go by the guess-and-by-golly-method, which means if I type it as one word and MS Word grammar checker says hyphenate, I do. If it says two words, I do that. If I hyphenate and it warns I shouldn’t, I follow the directions to delete the hyphen or make two words. Not an infallible method! Instead I should use the publisher’s dictionary of choice: Webster’s.
Then there’s the Oxford comma. Yep, I’m not so consistent with that. The copy editor also removed commas from phrases such as “oh, yes” to become “oh yes.” She added them in other places—I’m still learning the whys.
Copy edits included deletions of unnecessary “good-bye”s and the like. Duplicate words were changed appropriately. In other paragraphs, punctuation or word changes seem more style related and so I asked questions. The copy editor told me that most publishing houses use the Chicago Manual of Style, not AP. So now I know where to go to find answers.
Some copy edits are simply expert proofing. I am so grateful for the catches of missing words or wrong tense or missing or extra letters. It’s amazing how many there were!
A number of people seem to believe editors are not important. But so much would have been wrong in my book without these copy edits.
In the kidlit writing world, I’ve heard the phrase “join the conversation” over and over, so I’ve been very surprised to see in the adult Christian fiction and romantic suspense worlds that conversation isn’t happening much. Or at least not what I’ve seen so far in Facebook groups and twitter. More often people seem to be banging away about their own books. (The group for my publisher’s authors is an exception!)
I joined one Christian fiction group and followed the instructions to send a post about a lesson I’d learned. Two weeks later, I got an automated notice that my post was rejected because the moderator hadn’t approved it. So I’m guessing she didn’t ever read it. I’d also sent a question directly to the list moderator and got no answer in the same time period.
Conversation about writing, marketing, promoting, etc. is not only an educational process for those involved, but it’s a source of encouragement. Sometimes I’m the one answering a question; sometimes I’m the one asking a question. But the talking is so valuable. Plus, I’ve made friends because of these conversations.
I’m wondering if the conversation is happening elsewhere. And if so, where? Or if it sadly isn’t happening at all.
I had no idea it would be difficult to create a blurb and a tagline for my book. My first blurb attempt, my editor didn’t like at all. I thought I’d modeled it on what I saw in other Clean Reads books. And I’d gotten some feedback from other writers, too. The editor and I went back and forth with my ideas and her suggestions and my rewrites. My writing group (we meet once a week to write together) heard me moaning about my struggles for several weeks.
Until . . .
One day I got it right!
Then I had to work on the tagline, which was even harder for me.
But I’m happy to say we reached agreement on that, too, so here they are:
Tagline: Is murder on the menu?
Blurb of ALONE:
Ready for adventure in the snowy Colorado mountains, Cecelia Gage is thrilled to be employed as the live-in housekeeper for her favorite bestselling author. The twenty-five-year old doesn’t count on Mark Andrews being so prickly, nor becoming part of the small town gossip centering on the celebrity. Neither does she expect to become involved in Andrews family drama and a relationship with Simon Lindley, Mark’s oh so good-looking best friend. And certainly, Cecelia has no idea she’ll be mixed up in a murder investigation because of this job.
Will Cecelia’s faith in God get her through all the trouble that lies ahead?
I hope others find both intriguing.
Wasn’t it last year at this time I decided I must do better on keeping my writing business financials up to date? Sure enough. But instead my records look more like this image—without the nice basket.
It’s not that I don’t have methods. My desk drawer has current year manila folders in hanging folder for copies of receipts and for income statements or copies of checks received. But when I get in a hurry, these items just get dropped on my desk . . . amongst the other miscellaneous papers.
There’s the 3x5 card that lives in my critique group folder. On it I record when we met, where, and what I brought. I have spreadsheets: writing day log, writing expenses, and writing income. But, unfortunately, I don’t enter the info promptly.
Which results in days like yesterday and today where I spend time photocopying receipts (since originals fade), verifying the expenses are entered in the spreadsheet, checking to make sure all event trips are entered in the spreadsheet (which sometimes involves reading old emails to verify the information!), double-checking the mileage to said events, etc., before I can work on my taxes. Talk about taxing!
I think what I need to do to solve my problem is dedicate a time slot each week to catch up finances. For me that means I’ll probably set up a calendar reminder to nag myself.
But I’d love to hear what others of you do. Feel free to share in comments.
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.