Sal, Captain of the Baby Guards Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sal, Captain of the Baby Guards by Jennifer Reinoehl

Sal, Captain of the Baby Guards

by Jennifer Reinoehl

Giveaway ends May 07, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

What Does It Cost to Get a Manuscript Edited?

I am always harping on people who self-publish to edit their work. I am an editor, but I am not saying you should have your work edited just because I want you to hire me. I am saying it because most people are not going to recommend a book that they struggled their way through because of editing errors. Generally, every time I publish a post on editing, it is because I recently read a self-published book that was awful because of the editing.

Today, I was reading a book that was self-published through a vanity press. In case you weren't aware, a vanity press is a brick and mortar press that will print your books for you and occasionally help you market and distribute it. However, unlike CreateSpace, they charge an arm and a leg and make you purchase a certain amount of hard copies when you do it. Before the internet, this was the only way you could self-publish - but it isn't really self-publishing. It is also not what I call "assisted self-publishing" - an online publishing company that charges you to print your book, but turns around and publishes it for you with CreateSpace/Kindle (or through another online self-publishing company).

In the old days, vanity presses always edited your book for you - but you would have to submit an order of thousands of books at a time. They were also fly-by-night and occasionally authors would pay to have their book published and never receive the hard copies because the company would go under before they finished. Now, with print-on-demand (through modern technology), they still cost an arm and a leg, but you can choose from a variety of packages and you can order fewer books. It will still run you thousands of dollars to do it, though.

Sadly, editing services are often offered only in the more expensive packages. Looking at their prices, I know you can find freelancers to edit your work for less. So, I did some research, and I looked at how much freelance editors will charge you for their services. As expected there is great variation in rates charged, but in general you can expect to pay $2.50 - $12.00 per page (double spaced - 250 words) ($0.01 - $0.05/ word). Rates vary based on what type of service you need - obviously content editing costs more because the editor is making your manuscript flow and fixing problems with content that go beyond standard grammar and spelling errors. Paying more money does not necessarily mean you will get a better editor.

If you post a project on Guru (or elance), look at work samples of the freelancers who bid on your project. Make sure the person is (1) finding errors and (2) not correcting something that is correct. Generally, editors on freelance websites are going to charge on the lower end of the spectrum because they are bidding against others, but be careful of choosing someone simply because they bid lowest (or highest). If you don't want to hire a freelancer, you can also get Grammarly to edit for you, but I think you have to have a subscription and actually put the document into the checker before you get that option.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Quirks of IE 11

I knew not to click the upgrade button - but my ADHD was out of control. The second I did it, I realized I was in for a buggy ride across a plowed field.

[I know, if you aren't Amish you probably won't get that; and if you are Amish, I doubt you will be accessing the Internet to read it - but I'm from IN, so farm analogies are right there. :)]

Sure enough, Grammarly stopped working and told me I needed to upgrade to the latest version of IE. Of course when I clicked the link the Microsoft website informed me that I had the latest version. So, I have been running Chrome every time I use Grammarly.

[A while back my husband tried to install Comodo Dragon as a browser, but I nixed that. I am more paranoid about hackers than data miners.]

My profile on Guru only displayed a gray background with IE 11, but I knew the picture was there if I clicked Chrome.

Well, another freelancer asked why Guru wasn't loading her profile right tonight on their public answers forum. Several people suggested she clear her cache (always the first choice in resolving browser issues). I told her I thought it was just IE 11. Then I decided to check. Yep. There are issues all over the web with Microsoft's update.

One helpful article: Internet Explorer at it again... told me what I needed to know. So, I went to my profile and clicked compatibility mode (under tools). The picture of the water is my profile as I designed it and as it appears in Chrome. The other picture is how it appears in IE11 with compatibility mode on. I have no clue where the picture it is displaying came from. It is not on my computer, and I did not upload it.

Compatibility mode did fix the problem with Grammarly. Grammarly still asked me to upgrade, but when I skipped the upgrade functionality was returned to the website. (yeah) So, if any of you are having troubles and still really want to use IE like I do, compatibility mode may be the best fix for a rotten browser version (look under "tools).

However, in my quest, I discovered a couple of other obscene problems this "update" causes. First, it can interfere with the way Firefox functions. Second - I have not been able to print more than one item at a time from my wirelessly connected printer without rebooting my computer. I actually found someone else that was having this problem, too. This person uninstalled IE 11 and reinstalled IE 10 and found printing life was back to normal.

This news greatly saddened me. I have a favorites file with 121 links and 11 folders in it. With every book or series I am currently researching, I keep links to reference information easily. I have links to the Copyright office and social networking links that I don't want the info erased for when I clean my cookies in general. I assume the cookies would also need to be recreated for my favorites because I would probably purge them all before making the switch just to be sure some didn't get lost in my computer
[that pesky hacker paranoia again].
The thought of having to copy all these links manually into a document, uninstall IE11, install IE10, and then add them back in and arrange them is depressingly daunting.

If you haven't already, don't install this upgrade. You will save yourself a lot of pain if you can keep yourself from clicking it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Should I Take a Proofreading/ Copyediting Course?

I wrote this in response to a question on LinkedIn and thought others might be interested in it. The woman asking the question thought she could better edit her own work and then start freelancing as an editor if she took a course that was offered. She stated that she could not afford an editor for her 60,000 word YA book.

A writing course at a university is an investment.

I would not personally invest in a course that is solely about proofreading/ copyediting. Why? Because a good editing course (such as the one offered by the University of California San Diego Extension office) will cost over $1600. I am assuming if you can't afford an editor (for this novel probably around $600), you wouldn't be able to afford that either. Courses charging less than that may teach you how to track changes, but the rest of what you learn would only give you "tips" that will not be much benefit for a professional editor. Professional editors (and authors) need grammar lessons.

In addition, when you edit for someone, you use the style guide they want you to use (or if they don't have a preference, you use your favorite style guide). As an editor, I specialize in APA, Harvard, and MLA styles of editing. I use Strunk and White's "Elements of Style" for fiction. I am also familiar with AP and Chicago style manuals. I frequently have to review the style manual before I begin a project simply because they all have their quirks (especially when it comes to citation). If you are going to edit for others (or write for specific publications/ freelance jobs), invest in the style manual of what you are going to be editing and read it cover to cover. Then learn about the "track changes" and "comments" features of MSWord (you can find information online). Finally, take a grammar course to help you understand those quirks of the English language such as squinting modifiers, subject/ verb agreement, and faulty parallelism.

Proofreading requires you to not only know about the style manuals and grammar but also to know about formatting and the "styles" feature in MSWord (a formatting feature not an editing feature). Again, a basic course is not going to cover what you need simply because the key is consistent formatting. One document may have size 24 font for headings, another size 12 - as a copy editor, you are going to keep headings within the same document the same size, but the size may vary from document to document.

Even though I am an editor, I prefer to use 3 editors to edit my work after I am done. Yes, it is expensive, but it makes the difference between a professional and amateur product (book). However, I have also run into the problem of paying for an editor (especially on longer work). After you have gone through your work, you should use beta readers. I also recommend subscribing to Grammarly to check your work. It will actually teach you grammar while using it. In the end, you will need to set the work aside for a few weeks and then do a final edit. The goal is to get as many errors out of it before you make it public.

Also, if you want feedback (it can take 6 - 9 weeks) I am a reviewer on Reader's Favorite. Their website is very, um, toned down, but they will give you a free review on any book. You do not have to have your book published, but it is set up for published authors and targets self-published authors. I have reviewed works-in-progress, so I know people can submit them.