What’s the difference between a coach and an editor?
The coach works with the writer. The editor works with the manuscript. That’s the best way to break it down. When I coach, you and I talk about the patterns I see in your writing. I help you with roadblocks so that you can rewrite on your own. I help you identify problems and then I tell you how to fix things. When I edit, I work with the manuscript to make the changes myself. Often when I work with writers, I coach first and then edit. Coaching can help a writer get a first draft on paper and get through a revision. Editing refines the manuscript.
Besides coaching and editing, what else can you help me with?
I think it’s safe to say that I can help you with whatever you need to write, whether it’s a memo or a memoir. Here are some examples.
I helped a client write a speech for his daughter’s bat mitzvah. I helped an attorney write a brief. I helped a client write a letter to a judge before his sentencing. Really.
I’ve helped people think of titles for their books and tag lines for their businesses. I’ve written book cover lines, hardcover jacket copy, and catalog copy for publishers. I’ve done ad copy, marketing copy, SEO copy.
I’ve edited newsletters and written, edited, and reworked web copy. I’ve helped people with workshop presentations and elevator speeches. I was in a networking group for twelve years called BNI (Business Network International). Every week I created a new 45-second “commercial” for what I do.
I’ve helped clients and then I’ve helped their children feel more comfortable with self-expression as they tackle their homework. I’ve helped students find their voices so that their college application essays express fully who they are.
Do you have any tips for writers when they make their submissions?
Yes I do:
- When you create a cover letter, make it short and sweet. “Here it is and here is where you can reach me” is actually all the editor needs. Anything else the editor needs to know can be found in the reading of the manuscript.
- When you prepare the manuscript, format it as simply as you can and embed the formatting. Don’t justify left and right. Keep your text flush left with paragraph indents and no line space between paragraphs. The more you make your manuscript look like a book, the more formatting a publisher will strip away.
- Use parentheses sparingly, if at all. Parentheses send a signal that what’s inside is less important than the rest of the sentence. Readers will skip over what’s in the parentheses.
- With fiction, use contractions liberally. Use exclamation points not at all. Have your prose create the drama.
- Stay away from words like “etc.” If there is more to your list, just name it.
Do you help authors get their manuscripts ready for publication?
Yes. This is one of my specialties. Anyone can tell you what’s wrong with your manuscript. I help you figure out how to fix it.
There are two basic ways I achieve this. One is in a telephone call in which I’ll give you an overview of what you’ll need to do, and the second is by making detailed notes in the margins of your manuscript, using the Comment feature of Word. You can do the phone call alone or the notes alone or both.
The result will be that you’ll know just what to do. You’ll have a road map.
I speak with people primarily about the art and craft of writing. We may be talking about one particular manuscript but we’re talking about the bigger picture too, designed for you to continue with your second or third book with all the tools you’ve added to your writer’s tool kit from our discussion of the first one.
How do we start?
We can start with my reading some or all of your material and then we’ll set up a telephone consultation. After that we can do the page-by-page feedback, covering what to change, what to clarify, what to delete, what not to touch. Step one for you will be to send me the manuscript for me to take a look to see what we’re talking about.
I’ve worked with hundreds (and hundreds) of writers. I assure you that you will be in good hands when you work with me.
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