Open Diary Entries

Who taught you people to write?


Well, since sending out query letters to 30 publishers, asking if they need a proofreader, test reader, or copyeditor, I have received four responses. Sort of.

First response: Random e-mail. No we don't have any openings, but thanks for asking, we'll keep your résumé. (Sure you will, until someone takes out the trash.) But at least Caxton Press thinks I am "obviously a person who loves books and the written word." Just 'cause I can write a letter? Hehe.

Second response: Also random e-mail. We don't have any openings, but here's links to openings that you can check and see if we have any openings from time to time, and be sure to ask for writer's guidelines if you want to WRITE travel books for Lonely Planet. No, just wanna edit them, sorry, and after perusing your sites it is apparent I'd have to move to California to do so. Nope.

Third response: Mental note. Do not try to write to Menasha Ridge Press anymore. Their snail-mail is returned unopened, marked "Not Deliverable As Addressed." Okee dokee.

Fourth response: Yes, you're interested in freelance proofreaders and copyeditors? Yes, you have work for me? Yes, you want me to take these two proofreading/copyediting tests and send them back with a note on how much I charge? ACK. Wow, one positive response and I've still got 26 letters out there....

HCI (Health Communications, Inc., the people who publish the Chicken Soup books) has sent me the stuff I need to get started. I actually worked indirectly with them before, because they distributed the one book in print that I edited. I took their proofreading and editing tests tonight. I was going to wait until tomorrow but I was kind of too nervous to wait, and didn't want to worry that the stuff would be too hard or I wouldn't know what to do. Well, as it turns out it WAS hard and I DIDN'T know what to do, but it specified that I should use The Chicago Manual of Style as my guide and told which dictionary was their standard, and lucky for me I have a few books that told me what proofreader's marks and editor's marks to use (they're different, didja know?). Copyediting is much harder than proofreading because at the proofing stage you're just catching mistakes that have made it into one of the last rounds. Copyediting involves trying to isolate what's wrong with sentences and making suggestions and corrections, plus all that proofing stuff with spelling, grammar, and word usage.

At first I didn't know what to do with myself. I was confronted with sentences like "Her beautiful blue-green eyes sparkled, and a quirky smile made its way across her sensuous full lips, as her dancing feet sashayed a two step in her anticipation of my seeing whatever it was I was suppose to be seeing." Jeezus, I can't even visualize that scenario, and to make things worse that was a description someone's mother made of her eighteen-year-old DAUGHTER. WRONNNNNG. But why? And how to say so with copyeditor markings? Agh.

So I made my way through the manuscript, looking things up when I was unsure (mostly how to correct rather than what I should correct), and I changed "laying" to "lying" and noted that saying a hug was a "hug of affection" was a bit redundant. And I finished, went over it again, and made some little margin suggestions. After that I went on to the proofreading.

Much easier, though it felt more like a test, much less subjective. There were errors and I had to find them. And I had the sneaking suspicion there was at least one on every page. I found one where the author quoted her own title incorrectly in her acknowledgment. I deleted unnecessary spaces. I changed "passing him beneath" to "passing beneath him." I noted that "Innate Subconscious Mind" does not need capital letters. I fixed lots of stupid capitalization in titles and fine-tuned abbreviations. And then I was done.

After a discussion with Jeaux, a brief search on the 'Net, and a page-through of the Writer's Market, I've come to the conclusion that I'll tell HCI I'll charge a copyediting fee of $20 an hour for their regular trade stuff, and $18 an hour for proofreading. I'll include the possibility of giving a per-page rate for certain projects and a price cap if they have a certain budget for editing on a book. Hooray.

I'm gonna be an editor!

Yay, yay, yay....


Sounds good, my grammer stinks. Yet I think I get the point out anyway. Funny how God can even work through my imperfection for his glory. :) I'd send you my FOD to proof read, but that would make you sick. lol I guess probably because I am usually just typing what comes to mind. [†BrotherJimWDJD]

your are my ho and always be my ho b-itch don't talk to me nanana you best shut you'r trap. pimpbaleboy [bale]

Hey Ju-lo. I heard this in person but I read it again so I'm just thankful that God let me forget half of what you said before. I'd send you my BVDs but I'm afraid they'd make you sick. Kisses!

Yahoo! Ivy's gonna be an editor! Oh joy! Good job :D --- *wondering about the other 26* Oh well, I'll certainly read about it. --- [katqueen]

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