Editing, Proofreading, Design, Writing (Rewriting/Ghostwriting) Publishing at Affordale Prices.
I’ve spent a lifetime, it seems, learning to create documents, books, pamphlets, reports, newspapers/newsletters (now websites and blogs) that sound and look professional, reading smoothly and correctly to capture and grasp the reader’s attention, making some of the least exciting material look interesting to the professionals who need the information and produce novels which have won awards for my clients. As Publications Control Officer for the U.S. Army Materiel Command, experience and the desire to aid other authors and writers has allowed me to work with people from all walks of life across the entire globe.
It can be quite a challenge to break up voluminous mounds of b&w copy with images, figures, captions, tables, or columns by designing with color, boxed copy, even using shapes, lines, graphics, and white space for a pleasant looking and user-friendly publication.
It starts with the written word. If the words aren’t editorially correct and interesting, no amount of pizzazz is going to help. Always start with a good editor and experienced proofreader–not yourself–no matter how good you are at catching typos and correcting grammar/punctuation, telling a story, or creating unique business copy or design. A fresh pair of eyes is essential to see what the writer can’t see, when you read right over errors or “glitches”–as we called them in the newspaper business–because your mind has engrained within your brain what you wrote, what order you wrote it in, and what points you made. Your eyes see what they expect to see, not necessarily what is there at all. And a writer can almost never cut his/her own material. They cling steadfastly to, “I need every word. I can’t relate the events or tell the story without all the stylistic comparisons and background information!” So what do you do when your editor tells you that your word count is too high for many agents and publishing houses to consider your work? Cut it in half, but say the same thing? Impossible! Let an editor look at it. Bring it back to the basics–who, what, when, where, and not even how, unless you’re writing a training or assembly manual.
There are different levels of editing: proofreading, copy editing, technical editing, developmental and content editing, full edit with some rewriting, a complete rewrite, and ghostwriting. I do a free reading of your first chapter or a specific part of your book or business mission/proposal to give you an idea of what may be required to finish, edit, and achieve professional quality. Many times my free suggestions can help you resolve problems before they occur and diminish the level of editing; consequently, lowering fees.
I was fortunate to learn from the very best…the U.S. Army back when a typo could get you court-martialed or a wrong word could cause an international incident. And we did it all by hand, stripping in corrections on light-tables one line/one word/one letter at a time. I don’t want to go back to those days, but I do want the meticulous quality from that era when it took a whole art and composition department a year or more to layout one completed book. Technology has really sped up the process, but sometimes at the cost of accuracy. That’s why an editor’s eyes, ears, and professionalism is a must!
I’ve always been fascinated with computers, so way back in the early 1980s, I automated the largest Army Major Command on a UNIX system that filled the entire basement of a 10-story building. As computers got smaller and personal printers finally were able to generate camera-ready copy, I transferred my skills strictly to my PC. Finally, we were able to mix text and graphics on one screen with the right tools and software programs. PageMaker was the first software program able to combine text and graphics.
I’ve heard so many complaints about Microsoft Publisher and Google Docs, but I can’t imagine life without them. The key with these document softwares is that you have to understand publishing and printing concepts and terminology. And sometimes if it seems you have to reinvent the wheel with each new project, it’s just another great learning experience. As you can probably tell, as much as I’m a writer, a poet, a fiction author who loves the beauty and sound of descriptive word paintings as well as the art of storytelling, I also love the nuts-and-bolts of design and creation. Above all, I am a stickler for accuracy, clarity, and good, solid, meaningful writing.
This is what I’m made of, and this is what I do. I make everyone a better writer and if you want to know editing rules and reasons for what I do along the way to hone your writing craft, I’ll throw that in too. I enjoy teaching and mentoring.
Do I edit my own books? No, I do not. I do proofread my blogs, so don’t be surprised if you catch me with a typo or a word left out or some other silly goof. We’re only human, but that’s so far superior to spell-check and grammar-check which has no human properties. Editorial Apps and computer programs are your best friend at times, but your worst nightmare as well. One misplaced correction or error can be duplicated hundreds of times throughout your manuscript without your knowledge. Then when submitted to an agent, pubisher, or put on a site for sale or promotion, “your” clients and readers will be only to happy to point out your errors and decrepancies in reviews with little or no stars attached.
Read my complete bio with my credentials on this blog/site under “Who Am I?” or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah A. Bowman, Writer/Editor and Publishing Consultant, Clasid Consultants Publishing