A Day in the Life Of Laurie Boris – writer and editor #Meetanauthor

 

Welcome to Laurie Boris

Please give us a brief outline of who you are. (no more than 250 words).

I’m an enigma wrapped in a pair of yoga pants and a T-shirt, with a secret yearning to go back in time and become either a stand-up comic or a chef. Otherwise, I’m just trying to enjoy my life as a copyeditor and fiction writer.

You’re a writer/editor – how is this reflected in your typical day?

Wearing a few hats means I have to be mindful of my time and energy. That includes keeping myself as healthy as possible, with regular exercise, stretching, and a good diet. If I’m working on my own writing, I’ll do that first thing in the morning, since that’s my best window of creativity. When I’m doing client work, I make sure I’m giving it my best focus. Everything else gets fit in around that.

Do you work at another job? If so tell us about fitting in the writing/cover design/editing.

I do. I work part time as a web content editor at a small community college. It’s a great place to work and my colleagues are terrific. My hours are flexible, so I’ve been able do my freelancing and my own writing around the job.

How do you fit in ‘real life’?

Real life? What is this real life of which you speak? I try to fit in a little fun once in a while and spend time with my husband, family, and friends. I like movies and baseball and swimming. And one important lesson I’ve learned from freelancing and self-publishing is that most tasks take longer than I expect. So I try not to schedule myself down to the minute.

What is your ideal working environment?

Total silence, with a cup of coffee at my side. Sometimes I’ll play an app of nature sounds. That’s very soothing and can sometimes improve my focus or help me transition from one project to another.

What do you eat for breakfast?

Gluten-free oatmeal with almonds and fruit, usually a banana. I don’t feel right if I miss breakfast—it messes up my energy for the rest of the day.

Links/samples/etc.

Thank you so much for letting me visit! Here’s where you can find me:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/laurie.boris.author

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LaurieBoris

My website: http://laurieboris.com

Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/laurieboris

Editor Interview Number Thirteen – Jamie Burgess

Hi, welcome to the Library of Erana and thank you for talking to us today.

Please introduce yourself. My name is Jamie Burgess and I am a stay at home mom of 3 girls.  I absolutely love to read and will read just about anything.  I am just getting started in the freelance editing business.

How did you get into this line of work? I chose to start editing due to the vast number of books I was trying to read that had obviously been self-edited, they are often very hard reads.  As I read I am editing in my head to make the stories easier to understand and decided that if I was editing as I read, I could put those skills to use.

Are there genres you refuse, if so why is that? Do you have any you love?I prefer not to read erotica, it’s just not my cup of tea.  I love historical romance, young adult, and Christian based books the most.

Are you also a writer?  If so do you self-edit or do you use the services of another editor? I write poetry and lyrics but I have never submitted my work for publishing.

What are your opinions of self-edited work by authors? Self-editing is virtually impossible.  You need that person who can help you see the best wording to convey your thought.  The person not afraid to say this paragraph is not needed or this makes no sense, can we try this instead.  It is hard to find your own mistakes, and second guessing your own work can lead to further mistakes.

Have you ever refused a manuscript? No, I have just now started in the business.

Have you ever had an author refuse your suggestions/changes? If so how did you deal with it? No, and if they did that would be their choice.  As an editor I am here to correct mistakes and makes suggestions.  Ultimately this is their work and they must do what feels right for them.

Editors often receive a bad press in the writing community, what are your thoughts on this? First and foremost editors must remember that they are assisting a writer with producing an easy to read product.  They are NOT the writer of the particular story they are working on and their vision will not always be the same as the writer. Instead of being a constant negative voice, make sure to give your author good feedback when they have done well.  I think building a good relationship with your author is imperative, it helps you to further understand what your author is wanting to say and how you can help them say it.

Please could you tell us about the process involved with editing for, say, a 100k word manuscript. (Line edit, content edit etc.) Line editing is the final edit ensuring proper punctuation, correct wording, that the best quality of work has been produced.

Content editing is working with the author to change wording and dialogue while ensuring that the vision of the work is being kept. Content editing can be the difference in being an author and being a bestselling author.

What is the difference between proof-reading and editing? Proof-reading is fixing punctuation and spelling mistakes, taking out double use of words.  Editing is ensuring the flow of the story, making suggested changes, and working with your author to ensure their vision is being told.

Do you have part of the process you really enjoy? Is there a part you don’t? I love it all.

Outside of your work as an editor do you read for pleasure? What genre do you enjoy the most? I love to read and would read from the time I get up until I go to bed if it were possible.  My favourite would be historical romance but it’s becoming more difficult to find “original” story lines, so I read a lot of young adult.

If so do you find yourself editing the work as you go or are you able to “switch off?” No, I am definitely editing as I go.

What advice would you give to someone starting out as an editor?Research and marketing in that order.  Look at the average prices free-lance editors are charging and determine where in that range your skills and experience fit.  Decide which type of content you would be most happy reading, if you don’t love reading what you are working on then you will struggle to effectively edit that work.  Then find all the places you can advertise yourself.  Be willing to work for free in the beginning, building a name will help you be prosperous later on.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-edit? Self-editing leads to second and third guessing of what you wrote and in doing so often leads to further mistakes.  It is time consuming and that time could be spent working on your next novel. Find a good editor and let them assist you in seeing your vision in all its potential.

Tell us a silly fact about yourself. I have a stuffed frog that I can’t sleep without.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editor Interview Number Eight – Scott Sandridge

Hi, welcome to the Library of Erana and thank you for talking to us today.

A pleasure to be here, and thanks for having me.

Please introduce yourself. My name is Scott M. Sandridge. I’m both a writer and an editor, and sometimes a reviewer. I have close to thirty short stories published and over sixty reviews. I was a slush reader for Ray Gun Revival from 2006-2007 and then the managing editor of Fear and Tembling Magazine from 2007-2011. I currently edit freelance.

I also recently edited three anthologies for Seventh Star Press: the two-volume A Chimerical World anthologies (Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court) and Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions.

How did you get into this line of work? I kinda got sucked into it. After publishing a couple of my short stories, the Overlords at Ray Gun Revival asked me if I’d like to be a slush reader for them. And I’ve always had a hard time saying no to anything. Later, when Fear and Tembling Magazine was launched by Double-Edged Publishing, the same company RGR was under, I was asked to do some slush reading for F&T. A couple months after launch, the managing editor had to step down, so I took up the reins (which I originally had planned to be only temporary until a new editor was found).

I still consider F&T to be one of the major highlights of my editing career, due to me (at that time an untested managing editor) and a ragtag bunch of very talented slush readers and assistants (all of us volunteers) managed to take an online zine seemingly destined to die at infancy and transformed it into a zine so awesome that it ended up being part of a featured article in Rue Morgue.

Are there genres you refuse, if so why is that? Do you have any you love? I love anything involving Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. I’m also okay with the occasional Mystery or Thriller. I’ve never yet been asked to edit a Romance. *shrugs*

Are you also a writer?  If so do you self-edit or do you use the services of another editor? I self-edit because I’m one of the rare writers who actually can edit my own work. Although, when not pressed by deadlines, I’ll go through beta readers and such.

What are your opinions of self-edited work by authors? If you can, do it. If you can’t, don’t. But if you do, make damn sure you can.

Have you ever refused a manuscript? Only once. I expect manuscripts to be in standard manuscript formatting. While I’m forgiving of minor variances, one time I had to say no simply because the whole entire manuscript was such a complete and utter mess that it would have taken me twice as long to format it before I could even start to edit.

Have you ever had an author refuse your suggestions/changes? If so how did you deal with it? A few times. Most authors are very professional about it, even when they refuse. And yes, while it’s the author’s right to refuse an editor’s suggestions, there is a right way and a thousand wrong ways to go about doing so. Only twice have I encountered a writer who was a total jerk about it. I’ve never bothered to work with those two since.

Editors often receive a bad press in the writing community, what are your thoughts on this? Whatever you’ve heard about us, we’re a million times more evil. MWAHAHAHAAAA!!!

Nah! Editors are people too, unlike corporations….

Please could you tell us about the process involved with editing for, say, a 100k word Manuscript. Similar to editing shorter works, but takes longer and is much more involved. The first thing I’ll do is read a few pages in order to get a good grasp of the author’s voice, so as to avoid ruining his/her voice in the later stages. Next I’ll go through and edit for content (what scenes work, what scenes don’t, which characters need more development or just plain suck and need removing), paying extra attention to the beginning and end. As I edit for content, I’ll note any typos etc. I come across. Once the content editing is done, I then concentrate on proofreading (remember the notes I took on typos? Helps the proofreading part go faster when you’ve already tackled half of them). After that, I’ll do a final skimming once-over before sending it back to the author.

When doing the work for a publisher, I’ll also format the manuscript so that it’ll be ready for publishing as soon as the author approves the proofs. Whether or not I insert page numbers, etc., depends entirely on how the publisher wants it done (and that often depends on the technology/software being used to publish the book).

What is the difference between proof-reading and editing? Proofreading is when your main concern is spelling and grammar. It often involves minor corrections and, rarely, a reworking of phrases or entire sentences. Editing is where you do full content editing, and is often a process you do with the author. After all, when you need whole paragraphs removed or the entire first chapter changed, it’s best to make those as suggestions to the author than to just do them yourself. A good writer will take your suggestions and come up with something even better than what you had originally suggested.

Do you have part of the process you really enjoy? Is there a part you don’t? I always enjoy seeing the finished product. J

But the process itself often leaves me feeling like, “Blaaah! Why is this taking me so loooooong!??” But then, if I didn’t feel that way at some point during the process, I’d start to worry that I’m doing something wrong. Lol!

Outside of your work as an editor do you read for pleasure? What genre do you enjoy the most? When not reading as an editor, I’m usually reading as a reviewer, so I rarely read just for pleasure anymore. And even then, it’s hard to shut down Editor Brain in order to do so. There’s even been days when I’ve forgotten what pleasure reading can even feel like.

If so do you find yourself editing the work as you go or are you able to “switch off?” Sometimes I can switch off. Most of the time, though, I can’t. And all it takes to switch it back on is just one glaring typo….

What advice would you give to someone starting out as an editor? Develop a thick skin, ‘cause haters are gonna’ hate.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-edit? You can’t go wrong with Strunk & White’s Elements of Style. Read it. Religiously.

Tell us a silly fact about yourself. I’m a Gemini, which means that everything I said above I am in support of and in complete disagreement with all at the same time. No I’m not! Yes I am!

Please add any links to your blog/website etc.

 

A Work in Progress/SpecMusicMuse blog: http://smsand.wordpress.com

FB Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/smsandwrites

Twitter: @scottmsandridge

I’m at a few other places, but the above three are where I’m at most often.

Oh, and you can find me on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Scott-M.-Sandridge/e/B00JPSIV3Q/

 

 

Editor Interview Number Seven – Jillian Leigh

Hi, welcome to the Library of Erana and thank you for talking to us today.

Thanks for having me!

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Jillian Leigh. Like Batman, I have two identities: one is as an author of historical romance, the other is as an editor. Unlike Batman, I don’t wear a tight-fitting suit to fight crime. Instead, I get to fight word crimes in my pyjamas (sorry, bad joke, I know). I work with several publishers as a content and copy editor, as well as providing freelance editing and formatting services for indie authors.

Perhaps I should point out that I don’t actually work in my pyjamas—though I could if I wanted to. That’s the beauty of this job!

How did you get into this line of work?

Going through the process of being edited myself—and seeing editors at work—served as a catalyst for getting me started. I’m also an ex-English teacher and I’ve been writing, critiquing and judging contests for a long (long!) time. I’d always been interested in editing, but once upon a time, opportunities to have a career in publishing were rather limited. Fortunately, changes in the industry over the last decade have opened up things for editors as well as writers. I’ve been lucky enough to slide in sideways, so to speak.

Are there genres you refuse, if so why is that? Do you have any you love?

I never say never. If I turned something down, it would most likely be because of graphic physical or sexual violence, or because I found the content offensively discriminatory in some way. Thankfully, that situation hasn’t arisen yet. While I’m open to all genres, I do have my favorites, of course. I particularly enjoy all sub-genres of romance as well as erotica, women’s fiction, historical fiction, New Adult and Young Adult fiction. I think my understanding of romance makes me better suited to that genre as well.

Are you also a writer?  If so do you self-edit or do you use the services of another editor?

Yes, I’ve been writing for quite a while. My work goes through a publisher, but if I were to self-publish, I would definitely hire a freelance editor. Everyone needs another set of eyes on their work, because even the most careful and talented of writers still has ‘blind spots’—problem areas they don’t even know are a problem.

What are your opinions of self-edited work by authors?

Every writer has to do some editing—i.e. revising and redrafting in order to make the book stronger. It’s a pretty rare author who can whip up a first draft and call it a day. But I know you’re talking about authors who publish their books without having them professionally edited. I believe that authors who choose to do this are missing out on some major benefits:

  • Professional editing can save the author from embarrassing bloopers or needless typos (and the harsh reviews that often result from either);
  • It makes the book (and by extension, the author) look more professional;
  • It’s a valuable learning experience for any writer, new or experienced.

I understand that sometimes authors are reluctant to seek out an editor. One reason often cited for this is the cost involved. But I would argue that in this competitive environment, editing is more affordable than ever before, and there are ways to find funding for this purpose if money is tight. Another reason some writers forgo professional editing is that they’re afraid the editor will butcher their book. This is why getting a sample edit is so important. Authors should also remember that, whilst they are paying for the editor’s advice, they aren’t obliged to take it if they feel it interferes with their voice or style. Look at the issue behind the advice, and see if there’s another way to fix it—one that you feel comfortable with.

Have you ever refused a manuscript?

On a couple of occasions, I’ve turned down a copy editing job because I felt the manuscript needed more structural work first.

Have you ever had an author refuse your suggestions/changes? If so how did you deal with it?

Not that I’m aware of. But, as I said above, ultimately, it’s up to the author to decide what’s best for the book. I always tell authors that I’m happy to discuss the reasoning behind my suggestions. An author is more likely to agree with my suggestions if s/he understands the rationale behind them, agrees that there is an issue to fix and figures out the best way to fix it (whether that’s the way I suggest, or something even better).

Editors often receive a bad press in the writing community, what are your thoughts on this?

Yes, I’ve noticed this. We do get accused a fair bit of being frustrated writers on a power trip! I have to say, though, sometimes this distrust of editors is merited. I think we’ve all heard horror stories about the editor from hell who rewrote the book the way she wanted it, or who apparently couldn’t find one thing she didn’t want to change.

On the other hand, sometimes that distrust is founded on ignorance or inexperience. Some authors are surprised by the extent and scope of their edits, particularly if they’ve never been through the editing process before (e.g. through traditional publishing), they haven’t been exposed to intensive critique by others, and they haven’t yet learned to separate their product from themselves. (I don’t mean that to sound patronizing; it’s hard for any of us to separate our ego from our work. However, professional writers must do it to a certain extent if they’re going to survive in a harsh industry.) Receiving a lengthy editorial letter or mark-up on every page can be an uncomfortable, humbling experience for even the most confident of us, and especially if the author isn’t accustomed to receiving impartial feedback.

And, as if that isn’t enough, the relationship is further complicated by the fact that, except in rare circumstances, pretty much all communication is conducted long-distance. Take away body language and tone of voice, and what sounds matter-of-fact to one person might sound harsh to another. There’s an art to writing comments that are neither too long-winded nor too curt. I don’t know that any of us manage that 100% of the time.

Please could you tell us about the process involved with editing for, say, a 100k word Manuscript.

If I’m doing substantive (aka content) editing, the first thing I do is read the entire book a couple of times. At this point, I don’t do anything with the manuscript. I’ll jot down notes, but basically my role is that of a reader. After I’m familiar with the story, I’ll consider where, in my opinion, the book could be made stronger. Usually I’ll write a summary for the author with specific examples, and provide suggestions or alternatives to assist in fixing the issues I’ve raised. If the author agrees with my assessment, s/he goes ahead and revises as needed. After we’re both happy that the basic structure of the book is solid, I’ll look at things line by line—the logic of cause and effect/stimulus and response, sentence construction, word choice, POV violations, showing vs. telling, and whatever else crops up. All changes are tracked so that the author can accept or reject changes and see the comments I’ve made.

When I’m copy editing, I’ll read a portion of the manuscript to get a feel for how the author writes, but then I basically start at the beginning and go through it line by line. I make sure that the basics (spelling, punctuation, grammar) are correct, but I also check for clunky, overly long or repetitive sentences, I make sure that the right word is being used in the right place, and I do some basic fact-checking as well.

What is the difference between proof-reading and editing?

Proofreading, whilst its meaning has become more generalized over time, is essentially about checking for errors. Editing goes beyond that, to look at clarity, conciseness, and matters of style and technique.

Do you have a part of the process you really enjoy? Is there a part you don’t?

I must say this is the most enjoyable work I’ve ever done. Some manuscripts are harder work than others, but even the toughest one is still a lot easier to whip into shape than a hormonal teenager who hates writing essays!

Outside of your work as an editor do you read for pleasure? What genre do you enjoy the most?

I read a lot. I can’t imagine an editor (at least a fiction editor) not enjoying reading, not loving language and books and stories that take you out of yourself and into another world. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I particularly enjoy romance (contemporary, historical, erotic, NA). On the other hand, I also love an interesting biography, and I enjoy true crime, history and historical fiction as well.

If so do you find yourself editing the work as you go or are you able to “switch off?”

It really depends on how much there is to edit J. A few typos here and there don’t worry me too much. I’m more likely to be pulled out of the story by the constant misuse of words. When an author—who is a wordsmith by trade—can’t be bothered to choose the most exact word, or even one that makes sense, I have to wonder what they think writing is about! I must admit I also find it difficult sometimes to finish a book that is obviously someone’s first effort at writing and isn’t ready to be out there yet. That’s when I really wish the author had received some helpful feedback and advice, if not from a professional, then from a writing group or critique partner.

What advice would you give to someone starting out as an editor?

Be patient and start slowly. Don’t be disheartened if the world doesn’t come knocking on your door right away. As with authors, discoverability is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face. Try to find some opportunities to get your name out there. Do your best work.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-edit?

Don’t.

OK, I realize that may not have been the most persuasive argument, and not particularly helpful advice. So, for anyone who wants to go it alone, here are some things you can do to prepare your book for publication:

 

  • After you’ve written the first draft, set it aside for a time and work on something else. Then come back to the manuscript, preferably after a month or more (you’ll have achieved a bit of mental and emotional distance from the book by this stage), and read it through. You’ll be amazed at how many things you see that need fixing.
  • Look at the book scene by scene. Is every scene pulling its weight? Does the book begin and end strongly? Is there rising tension? Are your characters’ goals significant enough? Are the conflicts, whether internal or external, serious and complex enough to sustain the plot? Could you eliminate or consolidate sub-plots/characters/scenes? Have you used the most effective point of view in each scene? Does the pacing vary throughout the book—quicker in scenes of action or tension, and slower in love scenes or moments of introspection? Have you ‘shown’ the story rather than ‘told’ it? Is your writing vivid, with strong verbs and specific adjectives?
  • Invest in one or both of these books: Getting the Words Right by Theodore Cheney and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King. Both are well worth buying for their in-depth advice.
  • Find some beta readers who enjoy your genre. Rather than inviting them to give their general impressions, ask them to answer specific questions about your book. Then use the information they give you to make further improvements.
  • Use some of the free online editing tools available. You can find some of them at http://editminion.com, https://www.autocrit.com, and  http://prowritingaid.com. They’re not infallible, and they do limit how much text you can have analysed at one time, but they will help you to see where you’ve overused words or used clichés.

Tell us a silly fact about yourself.

I have no spatial awareness or map-reading skills whatsoever. I can turn the map 360° and it still doesn’t help. My husband would actually rather ask for directions than rely on my navigation!

 

Please add any links to your blog/website etc.

Thanks for having me! If anyone is interested in getting touch with me, please visit http://firstlookforauthors.com or email me at info@firstlookforauthors.com.