When should a professional editor be used? When a writer of words wants to become an author.

Perfection in Editing

Many editors learned professional skills initially to support their own writing, but we quickly found out that we are not the best judge of our own work and probably the worst possible proofreader. All functions of our organic brain. Those biological functions we were born with that are impossible to disengage.

I recently saw a statistic on Twitter that most writers/authors are “editing” and “proofreading” their own work. And a large percentage of them aren’t editors or proofreaders . Yet, even if they were, doing it for yourself is a fool’s errand.

I get it … we have an idea; we start a book; it’s thrilling to be so engaged. But we have to make a living too. So we write at night, in the wee hours of the morning, get caught up in word counts and number of pages where “Haste makes waste” and quality may suffer.

Okay, then we think our book is finished. We think we have a best seller. Our friends and even our families sometimes support us. All good. Then, we supposedly start “editing”, finetuning. If I could change one inaccurate perception in the definition or connotation of one word, it would be this one.

You are not editing when you go through your own manuscript. You are “checking” your writing for all kinds of things. Yet, your brain sees what it expects to see, so missed words, wrong words, misspelled words, discrepancies in plot, inconsistencies can all go unnoticed. That doesn’t even take into consideration verb tenses, grammar, punctuation, and pace, flow, readability. But that’s okay since its accepted in the industry to have a few little flaws, isn’t it? We find them ourselves in other books, but not in “our books” because our brain reads right over them.

Those “little flaws” can stop an agent or publisher from reading any further. Reject it and move on because they have an inexhaustible supply of manuscripts to wade through. 

I also get it that money is tight. We need to get this to press in a hurry, start making money right away so we can write full-time and become one of the great writers of our generation. If only that were true.

The most productive use of a writer’s time and investment is in using a professional editor. Editors who are also authors use other professional editors for their own work. It is so true that we need an unbiased second set of eyes.

Do I use a professional editor and proofreader other than myself after I am finished “checking” my manuscript?

I answer you with  a definite, “YES”.

Don’t sell yourself or your writing short. The facts are out there. Your manuscript must be written to full industry standards. Your query letter professional.  Format must be correct.

“What? You mean as an author I need to know how to format my own book? Isn’t that what the agent and publisher are for?”

Ah, no, the market is too clogged with books for an agent to do anything but look for the one diamond that may someday come across their desk.

It’s a totally different market out there than our predecessors knew. The competition is brutal. Everyone is writing a book because with current technology, they can. This was not true in the past. The sheer numbers are daunting.

My most important advice? “The market is oversaturated. Put yourself on an even playing field. Submit a professional product.”

I am willing to work with authors offering affordable rates on a case-by-case basis. A 5-page read/ professional critique is free. Questions are free. I’m trying to help writers become authors.

–Deborah A. Bowman, bowmaneditor

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“Phoebe Snow – Poetry Man” — AMERICA ON COFFEE

Phoebe Snow (born Phoebe Ann Laub; July 17, 1950 – April 26, 2011 was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known for her 1975 song “Poetry Man”. She was described by The New York Times as a “contralto grounded in a bluesy growl and capable of sweeping over four octaves.” Professional life It was […]

via “Phoebe Snow – Poetry Man” — AMERICA ON COFFEE

Great research and blog on Phoebe Snow! Check it out!

Thank you, https://americaoncoffee.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/phoebe-snow-poetry-man/

 

Dear Diary; Dear Journal… Your most intimate sharing of your innermost thoughts and feelings … with yourself!

“Where You Write” is just as important as what you write and to whom, but must we always share?

Perhaps, perhaps; yet there are some words only meant for the crisp, clean page that holds the coveted position in a comfortable room, only for you–Dear Diary; Dear Journal, “Hi, there!”

My eyes drift shut for just a moment; dawn has not yet arrived…

I inhale all my other senses in a deep breath–a taste of energy in total silence, a hint of chill, the heady smell of fresh shellac, easily survived…

The scent of raw, lightly treated wood beams, an arched ceiling, floors with a dab of  shiny gloss, immaculate…

It calms my mind and thrills my spirit because I know I can write anything here or even write nothing at all, but the dilemma … to share or retract?

Is everything set up in order on the familiar desk? Yes…

Do I lift the proverbial quill or pen, tap softly on muted keys or simply rest?

But where will the story go if I don’t rush, rush, rush to complete the piece?

Will another writer jot down these stories and give it release?

To spread the full wings of creativity

Where stories are possible; the paranormal in true believability…

To dwell for a brief moment in a time continuum…

Deep poignant thoughts are challenged or read in awe or disgust, hardly humdrum…

If I can see, feel, visualize, live so very much in my own mind

Is it my duty to share my words with all humankind?

A conundrum, ta’ be sure, giving and receiving inspiration

Through rigorous thought, tears, laughter, perspiration…

But do I dare? My Journal, a constant companion; My Diary, dear old friend…

Will people understand my thoughts and or even care in the end?

by Deborah A Bowman

brown notebook in between of a type writer and gray and black camera
A scene from yesteryear…

Publishing and Editing Services … “The Pick and Shovel Work of Perfection”

Every one who comes to my blog, bowmanauthor, knows I write poetry from abstract to antiquity to the absurd. I write tips and tricks of the trade in publishing trends, and my passion: books of fiction, usually with a paranormal vein. I also try to post some book reviews, but not so often of late as I also do fiction editing, graphic design for business promo packages, and ghostwriting for nonfiction. My dance card has been a little full. Reading for pleasure has taken a backseat to the heartfelt world of mentoring other writers: the “Pick and Shovel Work” of plot and content development.

That’s where bowmaneditor@outlook.com comes in. The job everyone hates to tackle in their own writing where the “Elements of Style” meet English Composition. The not so creative necessities of making sure everything gels together in accuracy, clarity, and cohesiveness. The part that us creative authors hate to  do! Pesky rules on punctuation, grammar, and verb tenses, word definition and choice, and flowing syntax. Yuck! Knowing the parts of speech and diagramming sentences. But it really does help your writing if the sentences really do make sense.

So you never know what you will find when you stumble into my blog. I just hope you’ll contact me when you need a little assistance with a manuscript that needs a little polishing. Picks and shovels also mine precious gems from congealed ore. Let me help you take your diamond in the rough and release its brilliance in all its multi-faceted glory.

Happy writing as well as creativity and polished editorially correct manuscripts to everyone!

Deborah A. Bowman, Publishing Advisor, Writer/Editor/Ghostwriter, Formatting and Critiques

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The Humanity of Words

A computer will never take the place of a human wordsmith/editor. Robots and artificial intelligence cannot duplicate the true emotion that lives in the connotative nuances of words. Only the heart and soul can breathe life into black-and-white ink splotches on a crumbled page which will become art, drama, perception, persuasion, and pre-cognition. It is our history, our current timeline, and our future. The human brain and Universal mind produces words that sing, inform, rejoice, or weep; sometimes, most often heard in the silent pauses between descriptive utterances of voice and breath.

Hence, the philosophy of one lone humble poet and writer, “bowmanauthor/bowmaneditor”.

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The End of a Chapter…Tricks-of-the-Trade; “What does it mean?”

This phrase is used so metaphorically these days, we writers almost lose our grasp of its significance in our world!

And yet it is our world, our very breath of life.

As an editor my opinion is where we end our chapters is more important than where we begin; even though, of course, that initial first sentence is crucial too. The end, however, is what keeps the pages turning. Without that, we are lost.

So, fellow writers, take that book you’re working on and flip back through the ending of your chapters. Does it compel you to go on, to turn the pages in excited anticipation?

Another exercise that is very useful to authors of all genres, fiction and nonfiction, is to grab a book, published or unpublished, that you wrote some time ago. Perhaps even your first book? Look at the Chapter endings and the beginnings as well. I think you will be amazed at how far you have come as a writer. If not, then this is something you need to address.

Just some advice on the Tricks-of-the-Trade that aren’t tricks at all … just good writing practices for all levels of writers.

I am available through my blog and comments area for any questions on the fundamentals of writing, editing, formatting, and publishing advice.

Deborah A. Bowman, Clasid Consultants Publishing

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Seeing through an artist’s eye… Write what you see!

Oil painting by Mary Eunice Bowman (copyrighted 2016)

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Seeing through an artist’s eye
Opened a new world for me
As an author, I was penning the big scene
Forgetting bits of glory I should see
To create word paintings in delicate sighs
Of rich colors, graphic words, short strokes of awe
I see because of my artist mother; thanks Ma!

Deborah A. Bowman

My strength is in my writing!

Sometimes we have to go to the depths of despair to find the core of our being. 2018 was just such a year for me. But dwelling on the past has never helped anyone. The future cannot change, redeem, or soften the past. It is what it is. So whether you reflect in sadness or fantasize about happier times returning, let go! These are the hardest words I have ever penned.

That said, I know my strength is in my writing. I chose to use my strength to face the future. Wish me luck! The same to all of you!

The Book…

simple book
So much more than blank pages!

Open the page

Let in the light

Let yourself gaze

At all that is bright

The wisdom within

The happiness it brings

All the places we have been

Fit for Queens and Kings

A book is magic

On every page

Harmony and wit

Divine, wondrous, sage…

Deborah A. Bowman, bowmanauthor