Editing 101

Here is the Editing presentation I promised the lovely participants at the Wisconsin Writers Association (WWA) conference this weekend in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. I’ve got it here as a power point and a pdf, depending on the software you have available to you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding!bow


Please feel free to contact me with any other editing or publishing questions. I enjoy helping fellow writers!

Editing 101  (Power point)

Editing 101   (PDF)

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Christine Keleny

CKBooks Publishing
Where Publishing Dreams Become Reality

What makes a good Beta Reader?

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Belinda has some very good points about what to look for in a beta reader – I think the most important point is that they read – a lot. Someone who reads a lot knows what stories are supposed to “sound” like when they are read, even if they don’t know why. And they don’t have to know the why’s of a good book, that’s the authors job. But they can point out areas in the ms when the author isn’t hitting the mark, or when the author has strayed (“That part was a bit slow.” or “I found myself wanting to skip this part.”…)

I usually have different readers who are good a differenr things. I have one friend who is very good at picking up grammar and punctuation errors. This is helpful to me because if I can fix those things before I send the ms to the editor then that is less time the editor has to take with my manuscript, which then saves me money on my edit. I have another friend who is good at picking up on what’s good or not so good with the story itself – if I should have given more detail in some place or went over too long in another place.

What Belinda doesn’t mention is how many readers you should have for your book. I would recommend at least three and more if you can find them. I say this for two reason.

1. I am constantly amazed how people read the same material differently and find different things.

2. Not everyone you ask to read is going to give you what you’re looking for, so the more people you have reading, the better your chances of getting good feedback.

Another important thing to remember is to give your beta readers some instructions about what you want or don’t want them to do. If they have agreed to read your ms then they want to help you. Give them a heads up and let them know what kind of feedback you’re looking for. This helps them focus and not get totally lost in the story. And your instructions might not be the same for each reader, either.

And last but not least – thank them – profusely! A dinner, bottle of wine, chocolates… whatever suits their fancy, and be sure to give them a copy of the book, once it’s done (assuming they liked it :)) Hopefully they will be willing to help you again, and again.

What makes a good Beta Reader? | @Belinda_Pollard.

my image Christine Keleny of CKBooks Publishing
Where Publishing Dreams Become Reality

10 Reasons Writers Should Learn Good Grammar

Melissa Donovan gives us 10 good reasons to learn a things or two about grammar (and I would add, punctuation). If writing is your thing, then this is something you should know about – you don’t have to be an expert – that’s what you rely on an editor for, but it will definitely save you money.

Because I base my fee on time, I do a test edit on all manuscripts I work with, so it will cost less to edit

 an already well written (grammar and punctuation wise) manuscript.

If you want to take a grammar and punctuation course, check online or at your local community collage. I have taken courses online through Mediabestro in New York and I would recommend them.

10 Reasons Writers Should Learn Good Grammar | Writing Forward.

Top 5 Ways Authors Sabotage Their Own Book by Shayla Eaton



In this post, Top 5 Ways Authors Sabotage Their Own Book by Shayla Eaton — The Book Designer, Shayla Eaton really talks about 1 way that authors sabotage their book and 5 reasons why they do it.

Still a good post, though. Editing is SO important. I’ve made the mistake of hiring people that aren’t editing professionals, and I’ve cost myself money (and probably readers) because of it.

The last point Shayla makes is a very good one as well. I always tell my author clients that I can not possible pick up every error – the vast majority, yes – but not every single one. Editors are human too! Even after a professional edit, you need to have someone who has never read the story before, read it for you before you have it printed or even before you have a proof made.

I have learned this the hard way with my third book, I assumed the new editor I hired got all my errors but she hadn’t, of course. I had 30 books printed that I now can’t use because of the mistakes I found. Not many but enough that I don’t want people to see it.

So spend the money to hire a professional editor and take the time to have someone (other than yourself) read it after it has been edited. I’d also encourage you or again, someone else, look at the proof as well. You will be surprised the small things that will still be found. And I’ll share a little proofing trick, go through the story backwards. It makes you slow your reading down and not get into the story as easily. In proofing you shouldn’t be reading the story, you need to be reading the words and the sentences.

(Note: there are other aspects of proofing that need to be looked at as well. Check out this old post for more details about proofing.)

Why are book editors so expensive?

Belinda Pollard has laid out the process and time commitment very well for an editor such as myself, along with the angst of having to pay for one myself, as a writer.

But it’s a very necessary part of the process if you’re serious about being taken seriously as a writer.

My daughter – an avid reader and very good student – recently agree to read a book for an author that contacted me for a review (I didn’t have time but my daughter did). My daughter has come up with a very long list of things this author missed including words misspelled and a error in a reference to the battle of Troy. This author said she did an edit swap with a fellow writer, which obviously didn’t cost her anything except her reputation as a writer. A pretty high cost in my book (pun intended). Unfortunately, she published the book before she asked for reviews. Hopefully not many people have seen it yet because it needs a lot of work, work an editor would have picked up on before potential readers had seen it.

I know it’s an expense, but it is one of those things that you get what you pay for.

Why are book editors so expensive?? | @Belinda_Pollard.

A Self-Editing Toolkit | Tech Tools for Writers

Here are some computer tools that can help get your manuscript in better shape before you hand it to an editor. The cleaner it is, the less it will cost you (if the editor works by the hours and I wouldn’t hire someone who works otherwise – just my opinion). Thanks for the wonderful list, C.K. I may have to try a few of these myself.

A Self-Editing Toolkit | Tech Tools for Writers.

Proofreading Explained

Good post! Explains a confusing concept. As someone who does both for a living, it’s distressing to see the word proofreading use for copy editing. They are similar in some respects but not the same. Thanks Catherine!