Monday, February 18, 2013

Juanita Kees - To Edit or Not To Edit

Please welcome Juanita Kees to the blog! I really enjoyed her story Fly Away Peta - great characters and an intriguing plot! :)

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With so many authors opting to self-published and eBooks fast becoming the next big thing, the focus has once again returned to editing. Why is it so important to edit your work before you publish it? Writing is an art that needs work to perfect. The more you write, the better you get at it and the easier it is to spot flaws in your work.
I'm sure you've seen the Cambridge University study where letters are jumbled up in a paragraph, yet you can still read what it says? You can read and understand it, but would you want to be publishing a book written like that?

When you're working closely with your manuscript, you're involved with the plot and the characters. You're keen to get your thoughts on paper. Ideas may become jumbled. Your POV's may get muddled. You read and see what your mind wants you to, not always what it really says. And after reading the same piece over and over, your eye may miss those important details, those messages you're trying to get across to the reader. That's where an editor can help.
Editors are our best friends on the road to publication. They're the ones who will hold your hand through the saggy middle and help you find structure. They guide your feet when the end of the road seems too far away. Most importantly, they help you mould your masterpiece into the best it can be.

Would you want to put work out there with your name (or pen name) on it if it wasn't the absolute best it could be? There’s more to writing than checking spelling, punctuation and grammar.
An editor won’t rewrite your work or do your research for you but they can help you improve the structure, format, flow and readability. Editors work closely with you to create the perfect manuscript, all while maintaining the integrity of your own ‘voice’.

Grammatical errors and inconsistencies can easily be overlooked due to close involvement with your manuscript. A fresh review by an independent eye will help you locate those hidden flaws and help polish your manuscript to perfection.
The first step is to believe in yourself. The second is to trust an editor with your work. Go on, what are you waiting for?

Blurb: Fly Away Peta
The time has come to face her worst fear and the clock is ticking…

Peta Johnson will go to extreme lengths to protect her daughter Bella. When Bella is kidnapped, the search for her takes Peta back to the small Western Australian country town of Williams, a place she’d vowed never to return to. The town where her dreams were shattered and her nightmare began. Back to the place she’d been destined to meet two very powerful, yet very different men. One would break her heart; the other would destroy her soul. Both would change her life forever. The search for Bella brings them together. Secrets and lies keep them apart. Will Jaime and Peta renew their love in the face of danger or will he let her fly away again?
Bio:

Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and now proudly Australian, Juanita is a freelance writer of book reviews, blogs, web content, advertorials, newsletters, resumes and training manuals. She also writes articles on business management for Stanford Who’s Who, New York, USA.
Having recently completed a diploma in Proofreading, Editing and Publishing through the Australian College QED, Bondi, NSW, Juanita is a freelance editor for US Publisher Damnation Books, and proofreads scientific text books for Elsevier Press, Oxford, UK.

Juanita gained her professional experience as an administrator and Customer Care/Quality Assurance Coordinator conducting audits; writing and proof-reading reports, operating procedures, company policies, capability statements, newsletters and customer correspondence.
Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing romantic fiction. She conducts interviews with fellow authors and writes book reviews, as well as the odd blog about the frustrations and delights of being a writer.

When she’s not writing, editing or proofreading, Juanita is the cleaning fairy and mother to three boys (hubby included, his toys are just a little more expensive). Her not-so-miniature Daschund, Sam is her critique partner and keeps her company while writing.
Juanita loves to hear from fans and would love for you to enjoy her writing journey with her at:
On the Web
Twitter          
Facebook    

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Agreed - editing is such an important part of the process! Have you been lucky enough to work with a great editor? I'm still looking forward to that part of the process.

40 comments:

  1. Oh Peta! What happened to you and who are these bad men who broke your heart AND soul!!?! Oh dear!

    Hello Juanita, hello Jemi!

    Yes, I too agree!! Having a good editor could only be great for one's stories and books! Finding one is even better too! Yay! Take care
    x

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  2. I have two test readers and three critique partners help me before I even send it to my publisher (and then their editors get a hold of it.)

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  3. Such great advice, Juanita. And it's probably a good idea to have different types of editors edit it for the big picture edits and then for grammar and spelling issues. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your book.

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  4. Old Kitty - and finding one who really gets you and your story would be awesome!

    ALex - I'm lucky to have awesome crit buddies too!

    Natalie - working from the big picture on down makes so much sense! :)

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  5. Yes, if you self-publish, you MUST use an editor! Don't be part of the problem.

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  6. Diane - exactly! A fresh set of impartial eyes is key! :)

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  7. A very good point. Many authors believe they can get by with editing themselves, but as you said if we write it our mind will show us what we want to see. I've had experience with this. It is always best to get others to look at it.

    I really like the cover of your book, and the plot sounds good as well.

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  8. I just started working with my editor and she's already put me onto correction something I never considered: paragraphs.

    It's going to be an experience for sure!

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  9. Jack - agreed - we get so close to our work, it's impossible to see all the little things we need to see :)

    Michelle - good luck with it! Sounds like you're in good hands! :)

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  10. Editors are so essential. And each one brings something different to the table.

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  11. I agree that as more people self-publish it's vital to be aware of the editing process. Yes, it's a 'process.' First, there is an editor who helps with the big picture, the story structure. Then someone reads for holes and inconsistencies. Finally a good copy editor finds the grammar problems. Even the best writers get this kind of help.

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  12. Too many inconsistencies and typos could turn off readers to your next work even if the story is good. Writers don't want that to happen! It's so so important to have a second great pair of eyes to look over your work.

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  13. Elizabeth - exactly! I'm looking forward to that part of the process.

    Tricia - agreed! It's impossible to do it all ourselves!

    Laura - I think so too - and an impartial set of eyes at that!

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  14. It's very important to have someone else edit the work. I've been reading many self-pubbed works and the ones that haven't been edited might contain great stories, but the mistakes are distracting.

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  15. Medeia - and no one wants that! Editing really matters! :)

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  16. A traditionally published book would never hit the shelves without editing. Why should a self-pubbed effort be any different? Great advice and an important post, Juanita. Even editors need editors.

    ~VR Barkowski

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  17. Editors are there for a reason. I do agree that it's a must to edit our books whether we choose to self publish or not :)lovely post!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  18. VR - good point! I think we're all a little too close to our own words! :)

    Nutschell - agreed! It's all part of the process :)

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  19. Hello everyone,

    Whether it's as a critique partner or as an editor, I love helping authors polish their work. I'm very lucky to have had two very good editors work with me on both Fly Away Peta and my March release, Under the Hood. Their suggestions were gold! I'm also privileged to have great critique partners and two beta readers who keep me on track. What a journey!

    I've been reading through all your responses and I'm thrilled to find you all agree that editing is important.Thanks for popping in. It's lovely to see you all here :D

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  20. ...much like Alex, my work is sent to a pair of betas, critiqued and fine tuned, prior to visiting the editing staff.

    Great interview, Jemi ;)

    El

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  21. Thanks Elliot - lots of eyes are so helpful and when those eyes are trained and impartial - even better!

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  22. It always amazes me that I can edit my own work a dozen times - and still miss errors! I totally agree that a fresh pair of eyes are crucial - esp ones that are trained to find errors.

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  23. Well said, Jemi. Impartial eyes are a great asset both for the editor and the author. Elliot, I think beta readers are great. They give you feedback on what the reader wants rather than the technical side of writing. Kez, no matter how much we edit, there'll always be something we miss. I believe they call it 'Muphry's Law' :D

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  24. I used to write reviews for a Print On Demand review site (back before ebooks exploded), and I read SO MANY self-published books that had been poorly edited. I started asking for a sample chapter before I would commit to reviewing a book and turned it down if the first chapter was riddled with mistakes.

    Some writers got testy about it. One angrily told me, "My readers enjoy my story and don't care about the mistakes." Another called me "elitist" -- just like agents and editors.

    But let's face it. If you can't stick to one verb tense on the first two pages of your book, you are NOT ready to publish. You still have learning to do first.

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  25. Kez - exactly!! We just can't see them all!

    Dianne - no kidding! Those tense changes drive me crazy when my students try to pull them off! If that's being elitist, then we all need to be! :)

    Juanita - so true! There's always something we're unable to see! :)

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  26. Dianne, I hear you. If you're going to self-publish, it definitely pays to use an editing service. Not only will it catch those grammar and spelling errors, it can also help improve writing, structure, flow, plot lines etc.

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  27. Hi Jemi and Juanita!

    Great post! And yes, every one needs a new pair of eyes to go over the ms before publishing.

    I was reading a self-pubbed and there were too many mistakes. And some authors won't take critism. But reviewers could give a bad review saying that the book is full of typos and errors. So authors should have their ms professionally edited before publishing.

    Nas

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  28. I think an editor is crucial when publishing of any kind. When I'm trolling for a good book online, the first thing I do after I've read the description is read the reviews. If grammatical errors are mentioned over and over I move on. That tells me the author skipped the editor step.

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  29. Nas - agreed! An extra set of eyes (or 2) is vital :)

    Melissa - and what a way to turn off your audience! That's too bad!

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  30. What a great guest post! I agree that an editor is key. It is easy to overlook errors in your own work. I love the name Peta. :)
    ~Jess

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  31. Editing is so, so, sooooo important. Even if an author has buckets of talent, they still need someone who is distanced from the story. That distance is what can take a good book and make it great. :)

    Angela

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  32. Jess - it really is easy to miss things - your brain knows what you want to say! :)

    Angela - exactly! Distance is so helpful! And I know I can't step that far away from own work! :)

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  33. I agree with all those comments. Even if you're excellent at editing there comes a point when you no longer see the gaffs in your own work.

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  34. You are so right about when you have worked on a manuscript for so long you can't see things...because you know the story, you see it as you see it in your mind. I think having a variety of critique partners is a great thing. Different people look for different things.

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  35. Totally agree that editing is a must for writers!

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  36. Rosalind - I can read over the same line 3 times and still not see a typo! :)

    Sharon - exactly! It's nice having a variety of people!! :)

    Lisa - me to!

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  37. It's wonderful to see such an overwhelming support for editing. It's not just grammar and spelling but structure and storyline too. It's easy to forget what your characters are getting up to when you're involved in the story. Critique partners and beta readers are a great help for that too!
    Thanks everyone for stopping by with comments.

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  38. Juanita - it's been fun and informative - thanks for the visit! :)

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  39. This is so true. Even agents have this problem--if I've read a prospective client manuscript too many times I'll take a break from it for a week or so and then come back with a fresh perspective.

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  40. Ethan - that's good to hear! I'm glad we're not alone in needing that time and space for perspective!

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