Three Reasons Why You Should Hire an Editor

“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.” — Oscar Wilde.

Writing a book can be a tedious, emotional, and long process made of hours upon hours of extraneous typing, brain storming, and—if you’re anything like me—reshaping scenes, coming up with better punch lines, and trying to improve the flow of the manuscript. Given how hard it is to write a full-length manuscript, it is not surprising that, once you are finally done, you just want to submit it to literary agents so that your hard work can be validated, and you can fulfill your childhood dream of becoming a published author. And that’s when many incredibly talented and skilled authors make their biggest mistake. There is one person who needs to come before the literary agent: the Editor. But why is it so important to hire an Editor? Let me give you three good reasons.

1. Importance of the Editor. The Editor is a pivotal figure in the publishing industry. Skipping the crucial step of having your manuscript edited by a professional, is often cause of failing to impress a literary agent. Without a literary agent, it is incredibly difficult to get the attention of a publisher, thus leaving you with the only option of going the self-publishing route—which can be expensive, not to mention you will have to become savvy in every field of the publishing industry because you will be your own publishing team. Hiring an Editor for your book will guarantee that your manuscript meets industry standards, thus giving you the confidence to reach out to agents, who will certainly be impressed by how polished your manuscript looks. If you grab the agent’s attention from the get-go, with a professionally looking draft, you’ll have better chances of being represented by them.

2. Chicago Manual of Style. In order for your manuscript to meet industry standards, it must follow the rules and guidelines of the Chicago Manual of Style. Currently, we are at the 17th edition, and many rules have been updated since its previous version. The Manual is not a book that can be simply picked up and read; it is an incredibly detailed style guide that professional Editors take a long time to learn how to use—I successfully learned the ins and outs of the CMoS while pursuing a Certificate in Editing from Graham School at the University of Chicago, thus learning all about the Manual from the very institution that created it, where most of my Instructors were the same people who wrote it.

3. Your Manuscript Deserves an Editor. Whether you have written a memoir, a sci-fi story, or a historical novel, one thing is for sure: You have dedicated yourself to the manuscript. You have made the effort, brought passion, sacrifice, and possibly even tears to writing thousands of words. Now that you are done, don’t do your manuscript the disservice of not being professionally edited. Your story deserves better. You deserve better. Once you have a complete manuscript, it is difficult to tame the urge to go full steam ahead and reach out to agents, but hiring an Editor is a necessary pause you will not regret making.

In conclusion, let me tell you a secret I learned while studying at Graham School: Even writers of the Chicago Manual of Style hire Editors to go over their own manuscripts! So do yourself and your story justice by hiring a professional Editor to polish your draft.

Three Different Stages of Editing

“To write is human, to edit is divine.”—Stephen King

The word “editing” is often used as an umbrella term to describe the field that is pivotal to the publishing industry. However, editing has many different stages, each one of them equally important and inter-connected. When it comes to editing a manuscript, a professional Editor will look at many different things, from story arc to punctuation. Yet, being able to determine which type of editing your draft requires can be a challenge, especially if you are not aware of the basic differences among the three stages of editing:

Developmental Editing: This is usually the first stage of editing. It is required for the author whose story is not developed well enough, who is unsure on how to present and develop characters, or who is going through the much-dreaded writer’s block. That’s when the Editor steps in to save the day. By focusing exclusively on substantive editing, the Editor will study story arc, character development, plot, manuscript flow, dialogues, narrative voice and tone, overall readability and marketability, and much more. In this case, the Editor has the freedom to rewrite a few sentences as sort paragraphs, while mostly acting as a guide for the author, helping them complete their manuscript.

Copy Editing: This is the second editing stage that a manuscript needs to go through, and also the one that 90% of first-time authors believe they can skip because they had good grades in grammar school. Copy editing is the hardest and most time-consuming stage of editing, yet the most underrated, which often results in a manuscript looking sloppy and not professional, thus making potential literary agents dismiss it as soon as they spot a detail that doesn’t conform to the Chicago Manual of Style. Copy editing includes correcting punctuation, grammar, spelling, word choice, typos, sentence structure, and making sure the manuscript follows rules and guidelines of the Manual.

Proofreading: This is the final stage of editing before the manuscript is ready to be submitted to literary agents. Proofreading happens only after the manuscript has gone through the previous two editing stages, and the main scope of the proofreading is to have one final look at the text to make sure that no error escaped the copy-editing stage. At this point, it is too late for the author to ask the Editor to help with substantive changes, since this is something that should have been done during the developmental editing, or to help with word choice and sentence structure, because this is something that should have been done in the copy-editing stage.

Which editing stage does your manuscript need? Don’t be discouraged if you are unsure of the answer. This is something that usually only a professional Editor can help you determine, which is why I always ask my potential clients to send me part of their manuscript, so I can assess the content for free and let them know which stage they will have to start at. So, are you ready to find out?

Why Hire the Right Editor? Hint: It Can Make or Break Your Book!

One of the most common mistakes made by many authors is hiring the wrong type of editor. While each book is unique, said book also belongs to a category: fiction or nonfiction. Within these two categories, there are many different genres—not all listed here—and your book fits in at least one of them:

Since there are so many book genres, there are also many different types of editors. For example, there are editors who specialize only in editing fitness and health books, while there are editors who specialize in editing crime and true crime manuscripts. Hiring the right editor for your book is possibly one of the most important decisions you will have to make as an author, because you wouldn’t want to hire an editor who specializes in editing thrillers edit your travel-centered manuscript, would you?

It takes years of studying and hands-on experience for an editor to develop a field of expertise. The rules and style guides that apply to one genre do not necessarily work well for

another genre, and you need to make sure that the editor you choose to work on your manuscript is aware of all the incredibly small yet pivotal details that distinguish each book genre.

In my case, after many years of living the military life, studying editing, and working in the publishing industry as a ghostwriter and editor, I have decided to follow my heart and focus exclusively on military-related manuscripts. As you can see from the table above, the military genre can be considered fiction or nonfiction, depending on whether the story is real or fictionalized. Either way, if it has a military theme to it, I am here to help you. How? Here are a few ways:

As your editor—your Military Editor—I can answer all these questions and more. Together, we can work on each word, each punctuation mark, each style choice, each scene, each character, each description, and I will guide you through the process of turning your draft into a manuscript that not only meets industry standards, but that is also ready to be submitted to literary agents who are currently looking to represent books within your genre.

Trust me, it’ll be easier than you thought; after all, you’ve already done the heavy lifting, so it’s time for you to sit back and let me help you create your masterpiece. Your story deserves it!

How to Submit Your Book for the MWSA 2019 Award Season

—and How to Optimize Your Chances at Winning a Medal!

The Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) has just opened its 2019 Award Season. This year is extra special to me because, aside from being awarded a silver medal last season for writing the children’s picture book My Dad Got Hurt. What Can I Do? Helping Military Children Cope with a Brain-Injured Parent, I am now on the MWSA board as a reviewer, which means that I will help my colleagues review and score books that are submitted to us. If you’d like to learn more about the MWSA, how to submit your book, and how to optimize your chances at winning an Award, please read on and feel free to reach out to me should you have any questions.

What is the Military Writers Society of America?

As you can read on their website, the MWSA is “a nationwide association of authors, poets, and artists, drawn together by the common bond of military service. Most of our members are active duty military, retirees, or military veterans. A few are lifelong civilians who have chosen to honor our military through their writings or their art. Our only core principle is a love of the men and women who defend this nation, and a deeply personal understanding of their sacrifice and dedication.”

Why Should I Submit My Book to the MWSA 2019 Award Season?

While there are indeed many awards out there for authors, the MWSA award is tailored specifically to authors who have written about the military, in one way or another. By narrowing it down to the military theme, the MWSA assures that our military stories and legacy is not forgotten or lost in history amnesia. Plus, if you were to win, you could add the highly coveted title of Award-winning Author to your résumé, which could open many more doors to you in your writing career.

How Do I Submit My Book to the MWSA?

To make it easier on you, here is a breakdown of all the most important information you need to successfully submit a book for the MWSA 2019 Award Season:

· Timeframe: January 15–June 15

· Cost: $40 per book submitted, plus you need to be a MWSA member in good standing (membership is $75 per year).

· Where: MWSA submission page.

· Formats accepted: eBook and paperback

· Finalists will be announced August 15, 2019 (tentative date)

· Being a Finalist means you were assigned a Medal. However, you will have to wait until September to learn which Medal you won (gold, silver or bronze)

· MWSA Conference and Award Banquet: 12–15 September in Albuquerque, New Mexico. To learn more or register, click here

· Your book will be assigned three reviewers, who will score your book. One reviewer will write a review that—if positive—will be published on the MWSA website and you can use to market your book.

· Reviewers are volunteers. How long it takes for a reviewer to score your book depends on their individual work load, so please be patient and don’t worry, your review is coming!

· Books do NOT compete against each other; they are scored against a rigorous, numeric scoring standard. This means that if five books score high enough to receive a gold medal, all five of them will receive a gold medal.

How to Optimize Your Chances at Winning an MWSA Medal

While we take into account many different topics, from content to overall story, the most important criteria in our scoring board is the quality of EDITING. It is pivotal that the text has been professionally edited and does contain mechanical editing errors (punctuation, syntax, word choice, spelling, typos, grammar, etc.) nor substantive editing errors (story arc, characters development, plot, readability, flow of manuscript, etc.) For example:

· Does the text meet the rules and guidelines of the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition?

· Does the author use em dash, en dash, and hyphen properly?

· Does the author know the difference between a hanger and a hangar?

· Does the author use too much vulgarity and sexual content in the story?

Need an Editor to Review Your Book? Contact Me!

Here are a few reasons why you should consider hiring me as your editor:

· I am an expert of the Chicago Manual of Style (I pursued a Certificate in Editing and attended the Graham School of the University of Chicago, thus learning all about the Manual from the very institution that created it).

· I have years of experience working in the publishing industry as Editor and Writer (many of my clients include Award-winning authors, best-selling authors, and I have also collaborated with prominent literary agents and publishing companies).

· I am a reviewer for the Military Writers Society of America (who better than a reviewer to make sure your book meets the necessary requirements?)

· I am an MWSA Award-wining Author.

If you would like to have your manuscript edited, please don’t hesitate to contact me and schedule a FREE consultation call with me.