by Barbara McNichol
As I was finalizing a manuscript I edited for a nonfiction author, I hired a proofreader to give it a final check. (I knew I’d read it too many times myself.) What she found humbled me. I thought I had a good handle on which phrases are customarily two words versus one (backyard—not back yard—comes to mind) but several surprised me.
|My proofreader corrected these (verified on dictionary.com). Look familiar?• rooflines (not roof lines)
• safe-deposit box (not safe deposit box)
• old-timers (not old timers)
• carsick (not car sick)
• safekeeping (not safe keeping)
• autopilot (not auto pilot)
• pocketknife (not pocket-knife)
So I’ve put together a cheat sheet I call my One-Two List to answer the question: Should it be one word or two? Instead of guessing, it’s easy to refer to this list I’ve compiled.
Request PDF with “One-Two List” in subject line.
What one word or two questions do you have? Ask them here.
by Barbara McNichol (full article here)
Through a blog post, I recently asked what worries nonfiction authors about the editing process. The insights gained can be helpful to any editor as well as the authors they work with.
I received the following array of answers from 40 authors who responded. Specifically, they want:
- more than a clean up; they want a major step up in clarity.
- support in thinking through the book’s organization before nitty-gritty editing begins.
- their book editor to be tuned in to their objectives for the book, keeping them top-of-mind throughout the process.
- their points made more succinctly and artistically and their stories told well.
As one author said, “An unedited piece can make my point but in a less elegant way than one that’s been edited.”
How Book Editors Can Learn More About What Authors Want
From the first contact with a client, I open a dialog through what I call a Planner—a questionnaire that focuses on the long-term goals for the book itself. Questions not only address the mechanics of editing but emphasize the author’s big-picture dreams. A few are:
- What successful books would be good models for yours?
- After people in your target audience have read this book, what do you want them to say about it? How would you like a testimonial to read?
- What actions do you want readers to take as a result of reading your book—both for their own benefit and for yours?
- What changes do you want to create in your life/business as a result of putting this book out into the world?
- Which results do you seek most in working with an editor (followed by a list for ranking)?
Delivering on an Author’s Desires!
Whether you’re an author or an editor, don’t short-change the editing process and its value to you. Use a tool like my Planner to articulate exactly what you want from your editor.
To see how Barbara’s Planner can help you, go here.