Tag Archives: Susan’s editing services

A Business-ey Update


Like my ad?

I do!

And that’s what we need to talk about today. My regulars (and you know who you are and I love you!) have me SO BOOKED right now that I’m backed up until, by my estimate, October. It could be earlier that I dig out from under this stack of manuscripts, of course; I hate to keep you all waiting.

So. First off, this is the sort of news I announce via my newsletter. Or I will, once I figure it all out. I’m too busy to do that right now!

Secondly, pace your writing selves accordingly. I’m doing my best and back to working even a few hours on weekends, but there’s a lot of you and every single one of you deserves my best. That said, I hate to make anyone wait and I deeply appreciate everyone who’s willing to wait and even the authors who’ve told me to take a manuscript before theirs.

Third, if you NEED me in August or September, know I’m hitting you with a rush fee surcharge that’s gonna hurt.

Write on. Write well. But… maybe don’t write too fast the next month or so?


Susan’s Promo Tales: Read an E-Book Week Features The Trevolution


It’s March, and that means one thing: Time for Read an E-Book Week at Smashwords!

If you read e-books but don’t already have an account at Smashwords, what are you waiting for? They truly offer the best royalty rate around, which helps authors immensely. Yes, you can download to your Kindle, folks! For us authors, they distribute our books to retailers and libraries for us. I’ve used them as long as I’ve been publishing, and we’re coming up on the 10-year anniversary mark for that.

Those of you who haven’t read my Trevolution books yet, grab them. Read them. Realize how old they are, and cut me a break. I’ve learned a lot since then, as a writer, as an editor, and as a person. Life is, after all, a journey. Books are moments on that timeline, which is what makes them fun when you know the author well.

Yes, I’m working on new stuff. No, I don’t know when they’ll be out; hopefully soon. My accident knocked me off schedule (go figure!) and even after all this time, my stamina’s not quite back yet. So for now, enjoy the old stuff — I usually manage a couple hundred downloads every year, and I’m hoping this year won’t be any different. Why should it be? If you’ve read the books, help spread the word!

Finally, remember that the best way to say thanks for a free read is to write a review. Heck, the way to say thanks to an author for any book you read is to write a review. It can be as simple as “I liked this because…” or “I didn’t like…” — negative reviews are helpful and good things, believe it or not!

If you are struggling to write a review, do your best and drop me a line. For a whopping $5 — yes, five bucks! — I’ll help you master the art of the review and create something that helps make you, the reader, look good. (Remember that a couple years ago, I was working as a pro book reviewer, so you’re in good hands.)

So go. Download, read, and enjoy. And holler if you need help.


#SaysTheEditor The Mundane and the Not Worth Talking About



Week eighteen has come and gone. Week seventeen since the retinal repair.

And really, there’s not much worth talking about. I’m healing. Dodging Frisbees. Starting to get out on my road bike, although it needs to go in for repair; it seems maybe there’s a problem with the front tire. Probably not a surprise, but until I figure it out, it’s not worth talking about. Yet. Maybe ever. I mean, everyone who owns and rides their bike(s) has problems with their front tire from time to time.

That’s the point of the post today. The mundane. The not worth talking about.

If it’s not worth talking about, why do so many young writers talk about it in their fictional narratives? He stood from the table and walked outside, then down the street to the barn, where his horse was waiting.


I call it play by play when I talk to my clients about it.

Try this instead:
When Stevie didn’t answer, Tom calmly left her house and headed to the barn.

Not only do we have more information here — Stevie didn’t answer, they were in her house — but we have emotion, too. Tom does it calmly.

What Tom doesn’t do is have the narrator spell out each step he takes.

Most writers know not to mention every eye blink, every swallow, every burp or sneeze, and every trip to the bathroom. Only point those things out when they are important: the first eye blink after the overnight, after-surgery bandage comes off, when you’re testing it out to see if the eye still blinks properly – and you’re fluttering it for a few seconds, putting off the ultimate test: how much vision you have.

Not that I’ve ever done that. Twice, in fact.

You see that I am so bored by play by play, I can’t even bear to write about it!

And that’s the problem. It’s boring. It’s mundane. It’s not worth talking about. It’s pedantic.

And I can go on and on about why you shouldn’t do it. I don’t think you need me to; the only thing worse than play by play is when the author beats the horse dead and bloody. That’s for another day, though.

For now, go back to your manuscript. Are there simple, everyday actions that won’t hurt the narrative if they are cut out? Do people stand, turn, look, walk, enter, or exit? Do they do those things often?

If the answer’s yes, start using that backspace and/or delete key. Re-craft your sentences as you need to. Take the time to invest in your word choice, and be sure to vary your word choice, your characters’ actions, and your sentence structures. (Oh, is THAT all?)

And, of course, if you get stuck on a better way to word something, drop me a line. I’m offering coaching for just this sort of issue, and I’m offering it pretty cheap, at $25 an hour. One-on-one work, when you need it, and edited manuscripts back to you within a business day or two. How can you beat it?


#SaystheEditor Typos Happen


Remember last week, when I said I was behind? Karma decided to give me a good kick ’cause this week’s even worse. So we’ll keep this short.

I was talking to a client during the week. We’ll call her Stevie. (as opposed to the other client I was talking to. And the other one. And the other one And… man, you guys are a demanding lot! No wonder I’m behind! You value me!) She said she’d gone over her new manuscript a number of times before publishing it. She’d used a proofreader after me because I do line editing work for her. She’d read the manuscript out loud. Then backward.

And when she read the copy that was published… she found more typos.

Folks, typos happen. Human brains can only wipe so many out. (The computer services are even worse, as they are incapable of understanding nuance.) Mistakes happen. Keys get touched, caressed and … oops, pressed. The cat walks across the keyboard. I’ve got no proof for e-book conversion, but I swear the conversion process includes the insertion of at least three. Heck, when we moved this here website from one host to another, weird coding showed up and I haven’t been able to go over all 2000+ posts yet to remove them.

And did any of you see that ’80s movie about the Gremlins? Didja get the message of it?

Typos happen.

The best part of this digital publishing age is that you can go back and fix them. Your print book, you’re stuck with. But your e-book?

Did I say that typos happen? They do. If they are true typos (as opposed to usage errors), don’t vilify the editor. Don’t tell the world that s/he sucks (better to contact the author and suggest … well, me). Don’t fire your editor and then brag about it on Facebook (especially if you’ve friended your editor), or ask your readers if they hate typos. What are they supposed to say? “Oh, no, Stevie! I LOVE the mistakes in your books. They make the reading experience THAT much better!”

Everyone who’s literate hates typos. Yet they are a part of our lives — just look at any meme posted anywhere on the Internet. I challenge you to find one that’s typo-free, and that’s usually proof of a lack of grammar rules, not a real typo. And yet how many of you share those memes happily, despite the errors?

Think about that. Memes are okay. Perfectly fine. Heck, you’ll share them with the world because you’re willing to overlook six in a four-line meme. But you’re not willing to overlook six in a fifty-thousand (or more) word novel?

Anyone else see a bit of hypocrisy in there?

Don’t vilify your editor. Don’t fire her because of a few typos. Fire her because of usage. Fire her because she’s not good enough for you. Like attracts like and you’re a winner.

Typos happen.


An update from Susan


Miss me? I miss blogging, too, and I need to do a follow-up about the Pennwriters Conference. Let’s just say that each year I go, I have an entirely different experience. So far, it’s all been good, even if it hasn’t been what I was expecting/hoping for.

Anyway, the real reason you miss me isn’t the conference. It’s that the hurricane that is West of Mars Editing has blown back up into a Stage 3 storm. Maybe it’s Stage 4; being able to tell involves lifting my head out of my current project (another good one!) and taking a good, hard look around. I’m too busy to do that, with manuscripts lined up and my awesome clients waiting patiently for me to work my fingers to the bone.

With every day that passes, I love what I do even more. I paid a high price for this career, but I don’t regret it. If anything, I wish I’d been able to do it sooner.

I hope to be back with regular stuff here soon — I have at least two Featured New Books to bring you, and one Rock Fiction review, too. In the meantime, know that I’m working to bring you guys some great reads. And yes, I’m being a good nag and staying on Teen Boy to bring you more of what he’s reading. He’s got drafts saved. He just needs to finish them up. He’s got that end-of-the-school-year funk. Or something. I do know he’s not nearly as busy as me.

In the meantime, keep me in your reader (I’ve switched to Feedly. It’s … different), keep buying the books of the Trevolution (did I mention I’ve been writing more again? Well, I am!), and keep telling your friends about the Featured New Book spotlight and about what an awesome editor I am.

Even if it means less regular blogging, at least you know I’m loving life.


Third Stone from the Sun


Anyone catch that lyric there in the headline?

Come join me over at Louise Harby’s blog, where I’m talking about life as a freelance editor.

No foster kitties this time, I’m afraid. They’ll be back.


Ask the editor


One of my clients, Kenya Wright, has been posting a series of Q&As with editors — me and two others who she has worked with.

Stop in and check it out. She’s giving away a 20-page edit, but not from me.

If you want to work with me as your editor, you’d better hustle. My rates go up to new clients as of August 1, and I’m currently booking dates in late October, November, and December. Better get a move on!


The worst part of coming home isn’t the laundry


Seriously. I’ve done four loads of laundry in the past two days, which is two more per day than I like to do. But The Boy Band’s camp clothes were damp and smelly, thanks to a Friday storm that brought hail to the camp, which in turn collapsed the rain fly my fellow leaders had set up — while they stood under it, debating joining me across the way in our new, tent-like-thingie. It was impossible to laugh at their misfortune, even though had the tables been turned, I’d be hearing about it at my funeral… at the tender age of 210.

As with any week-long experience in which many (try 20!) of the kids are new to Boy Scout camp (as opposed to parent-attended Cub Scout camp), we had our share of homesickness. Apathy and lethargy. Over-eager kids, desperate for acceptance and praise from their peers and from us adults. Showers, and lack of showers. We had adventures, rank advancements, bonfires that had to be doused (oops. THAT’s what they meant by seven feet), laughter, tears, and even one puker. Only one, so far as I know.

But the worst part of coming home? It wasn’t even the 500+ e-mails that were waiting, or the increasingly cranky phone messages from people who should have been told I was out of town when they were given my number.

It was the deluge of new editing clients.

Know why this is the worst? Because they had no way of finding out I wasn’t here, and, like those increasingly cranky phone messages, the e-mails were in duplicates. And, sadly, they became discouraged. “I hope your lack of response doesn’t mean you don’t want to work with me, because I sure want to hire YOU.”

I’ve answered all those people, and I hope they feel better about life. Even more, I hope they’ll hire me.

In fact, because things are so busy over here, I’ve decided to raise my rates for NEW CLIENTS ONLY. As of August 1, my rates will go up… ready? This may break the bank! One one-thousandth of a penny. That comes out to about $.25 per page.

Yes, things are going THIS well, that I feel like I can do this. It’s a small raise, but the best, most longest-lasting change happens in the smallest of increments.

Welcome home, Sooz. It’s nice to come home and find you’re wanted. Especially when you’ve left a place where the feeling is the same.