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#SaystheEditor — What’s with the Commas?


I’ve noticed a trend over the past few years. When I see an author’s name used in a book description, it’s surrounded by commas. Grammar be damned, that author’s gonna use a comma.

Don’t damn your grammar. Write it properly.

Which means… Instead of…
When sexy artist, Kerri Broadhead, meets ShapeShifter guitarist, Mitchell Voss, in a grocery store…

the only comma should be after the word store.

Or I’ve seen this lately, too:
Kerri Broadhurst, meets ShapeShifter guitarist, Mitchell Voss…

Still wrong! You’re not going to write
Dog, meets banana…,


So… don’t put a comma around character names.

NOW. There’s an exception to this rule, and that’s when you are singling out one person among a group of people. As in:
One of the guitarists, Mitchell Voss, stood out from the others.

His sister, Sally, was the only one of the three who said the right thing.

This time, you’re telling us who the only sister was. You’re naming the person in question. Or… singling one out of a group.

Otherwise, lose the commas.

Are you unsure if your commas are in the right spots? Remember, we at West of Mars offer back cover copy services at varying levels. Starting at ten bucks, it’s money well spent if you care enough to look your very best.

And if you don’t care enough to look your very best to your reading public, why are you publishing? Show your reader some respect. Care. And have someone look over your ancillary materials — so you do look your very best.


West of Mars is growing!


I’ve referenced the Non-fiction department here at West of Mars a few times now, but last week, I sent out the official press release (if you’re a media outlet and you didn’t get it, holler and I’ll send it to you … and add it to my list for future releases).

Here it is:

West of Mars, LLC is proud to announce an expansion of services into the area of non-fiction editing. Copy and line-editing services are provided for multiple publications, including, but not limited to, company annual reports, press releases, memoirs, monthly newsletters, opinion pieces written for local press, and blog posts.

Principal non-fiction editor Mary Sutton has worked in the high-technology industry for over fifteen years as a technical writer and editor for companies in the Pittsburgh area. She also writes independent blog posts for business. Fiction editor Susan Helene Gottfried brings more than twenty years’ editing experience to new and best-selling authors who publish their books independently or with small presses.

West of Mars, LLC is a Wexford, PA-based author services company providing editorial support and more for anyone who writes for public consumption.

For an estimate for services, contact Susan Gottfried at Susan@Westofmars.com.

Or, of course, since you’re already AT West of Mars as you read this, here are the links you need:
current editing home page
Current non-fiction page

There ya go. If you write it, we’ll help you polish it.