The Greenleaf Difference
Your Book Is Not a Toaster
I’m a fan of technology. I bought my first computer in 1983, and it was a big improvement over the Smith Corona typewriter I used for my first three novels. Then the Internet came along and became another great writing tool. It has saved me a lot of fact-checking trips to the library.
While the Internet has made things easier in many ways, it has also ended the careers of a lot of experienced, well-qualified book editors. Large editing firms dominate this business nowadays. They have hundreds of editors, and they’ll edit anything from term papers to advertising pamphlets. With all that revenue coming in, they can afford to spend thousands of dollars per month for online advertising. Most independent editors don’t have that kind of advertising budget.
For you and other authors, this is an unfortunate development. Here’s why. If you turn your book over to one of these large editing firms, it will be tossed into their production line with a team leader, an editor, and a proofreader who are most likely in India or the Philippines. They work for low hourly wages, and they’ll have no personal commitment to you or your book. It’s just a job. The focus of these big firms is on efficiency, productivity, and bottom-line profits.
Production lines are fine for assembling toasters, but do you really want to hand your hopes and dreams over to a production-line book editor?
Which brings us to the Greenleaf difference.
I work only with novels, memoirs, and book-length nonfiction. I know what literary agents and commercial publishers are looking for, so I can help you make sure your book meets that threshold. If you need help with a short story, magazine article, term paper, or advertising pamphlet, I can’t help you. If you need help with a novel or nonfiction book for adult, young adult, or middle grade readers, then I’m your guy.
The Personal Touch
Like you, I’m an author. I love the creative process, and I know how personal and important your book is to you. I won’t turn it over to an editor in India who doesn’t have a clue about what it takes to turn a manuscript into a publishable book – an editor who doesn’t know you, your book, or your aspirations as a writer. I’ll work one-on-one with you to help you bring out the full potential of your book, strengthen your writing skills, and find the right publisher.
Any healthy relationship needs open communication. That’s obvious. But with a large editing firm, you won’t be able to communicate directly with the editor assigned to your book. Why? Because direct contact between author and editor is disruptive to production-line editing. No time-wasting chats with authors are allowed.
But there’s another reason for keeping a wall between you and your editor. Production-line editing firms don’t want you to find out how little their editors know about book publishing or what it takes to break into this tough business. The editor may (or may not) know what an Oxford comma is, but would never be able to answer a question about plot movement or characterization. Questions about how to find the right literary agent or publisher? Forget about it.
I don’t believe in building walls between myself and the authors I work with. My clients know they can call me or shoot me an email if they have a question about a plot element they’re wrestling with or need advice about a literary agent or publishing contract.
I’ve re-edited dozens of books that have already been “professionally” edited by editors who somehow missed punctuation errors, run-on sentences, capitalization errors, awkward sentence structure, and mangled prose. Unfortunately, many of these books were published before the authors learned the hard way, from snarky reader reviews, that the edit had been shoddy.
I’ve been writing and editing novels, memoirs, and nonfiction books for more than thirty years. In this business, that’s a pretty good track record. I’ve been successful because of the level of commitment I give to my books as well as the books of my clients.
I spend my days doing what I love – reading, writing, critiquing, and editing books. And the best part is that it gives me the opportunity to work with new writers who are taking their first tentative steps into this business. Life is good.
I’ll tell you how to make it better.
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