Why editorial costs vary so much

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“How much will it cost for you to help me with my book?” you ask. “It depends,” I answer. I know that’s frustrating. Here’s what affects that cost — and how you can work cost-effectively. Why talent costs vary I price by the job, not by the hour. But behind the scenes, I am estimating … Continued

Writing while hangry, sleepy, etc.

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When are you most productive as a writer? I’m best from about 8 to 11 am, or 1 to 4 pm. If I’m writing something important, I try to time it for those periods, when my blood sugar and writing flow are typically at their best, and when I can block out distractions and concentrate. … Continued

Essential lessons from 42 nonfiction book projects

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I’ve made a hell of a lot of mistakes while working on 42 nonfiction books. I learned from them. And although my clients may not realize it, that is why they pay to me work with them. I show them how to do it right, and how not to do it wrong, based on all … Continued

Responding to a draft? Put it in writing.

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If I’m writing a document for you, you probably want to tell me what you thought of my draft. You could edit it with markup software. You could write me a note about it. You could forget to turn on the markup and just edit — don’t worry, I have tools that allow me to … Continued

Nagging is not part of the editor’s job

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At my last company, the job of “editor” was sort of a big deal. The editor was typically the supervisor of the analyst writing the research reports. That meant the editor had two jobs: First, to provide content and language guidance to the analyst. And second, to cajole and nag the analyst into producing something … Continued

Rewrite or self-edit? How to decide without bias

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It’s time to revise a previous draft — of a blog post, a report, a book chapter, or any factual content. You’re dealing with feedback from others, or maybe just your own better insights into what you wanted to say. Should you tinker with words — self-editing — or rewrite from scratch? How cognitive biases … Continued

Don’t watch me edit: some advice for Google Docs users

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I like Google Docs. I’m happy to edit your documents in it. Just don’t watch me work, okay? I edit documents in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. If you’re the client, you get to choose. What you can expect from me is not just word edits, but comments explaining why I made the choices I … Continued

All good editors are therapists

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When I start editing your manuscript, I learn something about you, the writer. That’s not just a side effect. It’s actually central to my ability to edit your work effectively. I don’t set out to psychoanalyze you. It’s just impossible not to. To improve a manuscript, I must understand the author’s goals What is the … Continued