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Book Editing

Book Editing

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Then & Now

When I first started working with writers almost thirty years ago, I advertised my services in Writer’s Digest magazine. Back then there were a couple dozen of us who specialized in editing novels or book-length nonfiction. Most of us were successful authors who divided our workdays between our own writing and helping other writers.

Then the Internet came along…

Nowadays, large editing firms dominate this business. Many are “full-service” firms that will edit anything from term papers to movie scripts. Many outsource the work to editors in India and other countries. These firms handle dozens or hundreds of books per month.

Just as online retail giant Amazon has put thousands of bricks-and-mortar stores out of business, the growth of large editing firms has put most individual freelance editors out of business. With so many editors generating revenue, these large firms can afford to pay the high cost of Internet marketing. With their focus on marketing, they typically pay low wages to their editors – especially editors in India, the Philippines, and Mexico.

The effect has been to replace a lot of professional, experienced, and well-qualified book editors with editors that too often are not professional, experienced, or qualified.

Another effect has been to move to production-line book editing. Often a “team leader” is in charge of an edit job, and he or she will assign the job to an available editor and proofreader. While this means that three people might be involved in the editing process, none of them have a personal commitment to the manuscript or the author.

Like everyone else, the Internet has changed the way I work. I wrote my first three novels on a Smith Corona portable typewriter. Revising a line of text meant retyping the page. My spell-checker was a Webster’s dictionary the size of a Manhattan phone book. When I needed to check facts, I consulted the Encyclopedia Britannica occupying two shelves of my office bookcase, or I made a trip to the library.

On the editing side – well, let’s just say that sales of blue pencils are way down.

What Hasn’t Changed:

How I Work with My Clients!

For more than twenty years I’ve been helping writers get their first books published.

So We Can Get Your Story a Head Start!