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Sunday, June 9, 2024

The magic of editing

cj Sez: I'm sure I've told you this before, but the story never gets old. Did you ever open a book, read a few chapters (or even a few lines), then discover errata, i.e.; those typos and misspellings that drive a pedantic like me up a wall. One or two will make me shake my head; gremlins happen. A lot of them will stop me in my tracks.

 Perhaps it comes down to the time it takes to do a detailed copy edit vs. getting the book on the market as fast as possible.

(Copy editing is the process of reviewing and correcting written material to improve accuracy, readability, and fitness for its purpose, and to ensure that it is free of error, omission, inconsistency, and repetition.)

  Speaking from experience, self-edits and beta readers don’t catch everything that a professional copy editor will.

  When I was gainfully employed, one of my report/column-writing rules was to get as many people as possible to read the document for accuracy and gremlins. The more eyes on it the better the end product. That wasn’t easy to do as I was always on the clock to deliver the corporation’s news via electronic distribution by eleven a.m. every day, and reading my work wasn’t on the top of someone else’s to-do list.

  That bit about the more eyes? The same thing is true for an author’s manuscript. But first, I, me, personally, do extensive self-edits. I want my manuscript to be the best I can make it before I pass it off to someone else. 

  I read the document on the computer screen then print a few pages and edit them in ink. (The font looks slightly different on the printed page and gremlins tend to show up better.) 

  Next I read the pages out loud. It’s amazing how quickly I’ll find the missing comma, period, or quotation mark that I keep overlooking, and, more importantly, I’ll also discover confusing narrative and awkward dialogue. 

  After all that, I can be sure there is still a gremlin to be found by my editor.

  My advice to authors: Don’t presume that because you’ve typed “The End,” your manuscript is finished. It’s probably weeks if not months away from publication. It needs fresh eyes. It’s a personal and financial consideration for each author, but please consider hiring a copy editor if you can afford it.  

  Caveat: Expect that if your manuscript is accepted by a publisher, their punctuation rules for how they want their publication to look may differ from your copy editor’s input. There could be, probably will be, more changes to be made.


Readers and Writers: Titles for your stack of have-to-read books

Buy Callahan now
  Book 5 of Rebecca Barrett’s Cat Callahan Mystery series is now available. 

  Here’s an excerpt of a 5-star Amazon review for CAT CALLAHAN AND THE SPY: 

  “Loved the mystery, the characters had me laughing and seeing a mystery solved through the eyes of a cat, well that is always an intriguing experience. A thoroughly enjoyable read.”

  And mark your calendar to watch for the third book in Carrie Dalby’s Washington Square Secrets series. 

  From Dalby’s author page: “WASHINGTON SQUARE SECRETS is a historical Southern Gothic series with a paranormal/parapsychology slant by Carrie Dalby. Rather than an ongoing saga, Washington Square Secrets consists of stand-alone novels with the Mobile, Alabama, neighborhood and overlapping characters in common. Return to old Mobile–or visit for the first time–and get to know the charm and hostilities within this bay front city with small town vibes. LOYALTY: WASHINGTON SQUARE SECRETS 3 releases August 27, 2024.”

  By the by, as the masthead of Lyrical Pens says, if you have a book you want to promote with a blog, let me know. We can arrange a date. The only caveat is that this site is PG 13.


  Okay, that’s it for today. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Raising prayers for a happy and safe you and yours. P.S. I sure do hope there are no gremlins in this post.)


Now some words from my sponsors:

  Father’s Day is coming up—Lyrical Pens suggests books, the gift that keeps on giving.

  Beach? Mountains? StayCay? It’s time to plan for those holiday and summer vacation downtime moments when you can lose yourself in a book. THE DAWGSTAR and DEATH ON THE YAMPA are available on Amazon or through your favorite eTailer and bookstore. Got a library card? You can read the ebooks free from Hoopla.

  Nota bene: Angela Trigg, the RITA Award-winning author and owner of The Haunted Book Shop has a few signed copies of my paperback books in stock. TO ORDER, contact: 

➜ Follow me on        
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