Tag Archives: editing

Ditching the website, still The Word Shark

Ditching the website

I’ve decided to ditch The Word Shark DOT com (and the cost).

Why?

Because most of my clients come from referrals or my blog, not the website. Most of the traffic on my website comes from “marketing professionals” and “sales professionals” who know the “sure fire way” to turn my site around and make a bigger profit.

Profit margin vs. website cost

Over the last few years, about 95% of the traffic on my website is from scummy, spammy spammers.

100% of my business comes from satisfied customer referrals.

Word of mouth

I don’t need a website. I’ve got a tribe of happy, satisfied clients to plump my pillows at night.

Still Shark

While I won’t be – officially via a website – The Word Shark, I’ll always be YOUR Word Shark.

12 Comments

Filed under Branding & Platform, Editing & Proofreading, Social Networking

First Ever Word Sharks Conference

I first thought about hosting my own conference years ago. I wondered, “Who would come?” I ruminated, I wondered, I worried.

And then I put the idea out there…on social networking.

I got a handful of responses. I thought, “Hmm, not much interest.”

And then I had another thought: perhaps this first Word Sharks Conference should be small, intimate, personal.

So, the first Word Sharks Conference was created. It will happen this June in Newark, DE, near my hometown. In the home of my brother (the cheapest venue I could find, and he makes awesome ribs).

I am pleased and proud to tell you about the first Word Sharks Conference attendees and presenters.

Prepare for future Word Sharks Conferences. If this one flies – er, swims – we may do it again.

Barbara Forte AbateBarbara Forte Abate –

Finding Your Right Editor

Barbara Forte Abate grew up in Millbrook, New York, and currently lives in a creaky old house in Pennsylvania, where she makes up lies, doses them with truth, and titles it fiction. She is long time married to a very fine man and is the mother of four fabulous children. Barbara is the award-winning author of The Secret of Lies, Asleep Without Dreaming, and newly released, Painted From Memories.

JJ BROWNJ.J. Brown –

Writing for Good – Turning Tragedies Into Tales

J.J. Brown is a health journalist and the author of seven books including short stories, novels, poetry, and nonfiction. Originally from the foothills of the Catskill Mountains of New York, she now works and lives in New York City. J.J. Brown completed a PhD in genetics and worked as a research scientist prior to turning to health education, fiction writing and publishing.

Elizabeth CottrellElizabeth H. Cottrell –

Connect With Your Readers: Strategies for Nonfiction Writers

“An effective nonfiction writer teaches, informs, and often persuades or inspires. Connection and clarity are essential elements to outstanding nonfiction content: connection with the needs and desires of your reader and clarity about what will meet those needs and desires.” ~ Elizabeth H. Cottrell

In this workshop, Elizabeth will share strategies for connecting with your readers so they find your nonfiction book more readable, valuable, and compelling.

For over 25 years, Elizabeth has been a technical and freelance writer with content expertise in the areas of small business/entrepreneurship, biology/medicine, and community banking. Since 1991, she’s owned and operated RiverwoodWriter, LLC, offering both writing and desktop publishing services to help others get their ideas expressed and published. She has helped produce regional and family histories, and has ghostwritten a corporate history, a memoir, and several other nonfiction books.

Elizabeth is a bank board member, community activist, Extra Class amateur radio operator (W4EHC), note-writing evangelist, and (from a former life) published leprosy researcher. She and her husband John live in Virginia on the north fork of the Shenandoah River, where every day she is inspired by her surroundings. Elizabeth blogs at Heartspoken.com about strengthening life’s essential connections—with God, with self, with others, and with nature.

Pam WightPamela Wight –

Exploring the Hidden Stories in Your Mind

“Writing is the act of burning through the fog in your mind.” – N. Goldberg. How do we lift the fog and discover our creativity? My creative ‘wighting’ for fun classes help students explore the hidden stories in their minds. In our Delaware explorations, I’ll share some of the writing exercises and tips I’ve used to encourage pens (or laptops) to flow with ease. All you need to bring (besides your writing accoutrements) is a zeal for the zany and poignant, a sense of humor, and a willingness to be open and honest as you write.

Pamela Wight has an M.A. in Literature and is a writer, editor, and teacher with a focus on adult fiction. She has published two books (The Right Wrong Man and Twin Desires) and writes a weekly blog called Roughwighting. Pamela’s career has included editing medical textbooks, writing medical articles for Advance newsmagazines, and devoting years as the managing editor of the journal Radiologic Technology. Pamela has taught creative writing classes for over 25 years in both the San Francisco and Boston areas.

Karen Sanderson (4)Karen R. Sanderson –

Editing and Proofreading Tidbits and Tricks

Karen will call on her years of research and work with writers to provide editing tidbits and proofreading tricks to help make your writing better and more concise.

Karen R. Sanderson was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword in a day. Karen completed writing coursework through UCLA and University of New Mexico and was the winner of the SouthWest Writers 2009 Writing Contest – The Best Hook. She is currently pursuing her BA in English at Minot State University. Her short stories have been featured in The Rose & Thorn Journal, Every Child is Entitled to Innocence anthology, Valley Living Magazine, BewilderingStories.com, and WritingRaw.com. 

Stephen King –

He’s been invited but probably won’t show up.

And if his people tell him about the invitation I sent…I suggested he show up with a basket full of Maine lobsters.

17 Comments

Filed under Special Events

I’m experiencing a little Romance

RU_visitingprofessor

No, not that kind. Had you going there for a second, huh?

Today I have a guest blog as a visiting professor over at Romance University with Editing and Proofreading Tidbits.

I feel rather proud of this one – Romance University was named in the 2013 and 2014 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer’s Digest and in the 2014 100 Best Websites for Writers by The Write Life. 

Come join me over at Romance University!

 

5 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Editing & Proofreading, My Guest Posts

How to play well (and blog well) with others

DSC01656I’ve recently had a few lame come-ons in my email – “I’d love to provide content for your wonderful blog. I love your blog. Would you like to have interesting content for your blog?”

Read on and you will see why I am not impressed by this generic query.

I’ve also received a few emails from other writers, editors, and proofreaders – “How do I query another blogger to be a guest?” “How do I find guests for my blog?”

Previously, I posted these blogs as a series – My guest blog guidelines, Hosting a guest blogger, How to query another blogger, and Being a guest on another blog. Today, I’m posting them all together.

My guidelines

If you are interested in creating your own blog guidelines, click here to see my guidelines.

Hosting a guestKenton and boys

Hosting a guest blogger can be a rewarding experience. I learn, I find new friends, and I expand my reader base and exposure. Variety is the blogger’s spice of life. And it’s fun!

Guidelines – I explain these are not hard-n-fast rules, simply guidelines. I like to enable my guests to use their imagination, their own voice, and their sense of humor.

Reach out – I don’t wait around for people to invite themselves to guest blog. I go after people I find interesting. Reach out. Expand your horizons!

Background check – Before I invite someone to be a guest, I check out their blog, website, Twitter, Facebook… Do the same background check if a blogger approaches you. Is this someone you want on your blog?

Posting date clarity – In correspondence with a prospective blog guest, my deadline was vague. The guest blogger thought I wanted her article in February (because earlier I mentioned Valentine’s Day), and I was talking about November!

DSC01197Deadline – Give the guest a specific deadline. S.P.E.L.L. it out clearly. “I need your submission in my inbox on or before January 22.”

Wiggle room – I normally set deadlines at least a week before the scheduled day. Don’t rely on last minute submissions. What if you plan on posting a blog on Tuesday afternoon and you still don’t have it Tuesday morning?

Back-up plan – What if your guest doesn’t follow through? Have a couple of your own draft blog articles simmering on the back burner for these emergencies.

Guest bio – I like to provide a bio and links for my guest’s online pages. So, in addition to the article, I ask for a 1) bio 2) profile picture 3) URLs for their social networking.

Maintain control – Indicate (in your guidelines and in conversations) that if you feel their article is not appropriate for your blog you won’t publish it or you might require edits.

Read the submission – Be sure to read the submission as soon as you get it; don’t wait until posting day. Is it well written and free of typos? Do the links work? If you feel it needs to be edited, send it back to the writer or advise her that you will edit. Be clear about what you feel needs to be edited.

Just say no – I hate to do this, but I’ve had to say, “No, thank you.” If the guest has broken one of your critical guidelines, ask the guest to edit or tell them you feel it’s not appropriate for your blog.

Learn to say yes! – I have broken out of my blogging box on numerous occasions. A few times, I have read a submission and think, “Eh, not really my cup o tea.” But I sit on it, give it a half day or so, read it again, and consider it on its merits.

Blogging love – If I have a guest, I ask that they share the link on their blog and/or their Facebook, Twitter, Fan Page.

Think big picture – Nearly every time I’ve had a guest blogger, I see an increase in my comments, and I occasionally get a couple new subscribers.

DSC01384The query

Before the query – Say for instance you find a way-cool blog. You like a post or two and think, “I’d love to be a guest on this blog!” Before you query…

Guidelines? – If the blogger has guidelines, read them. Follow them.

Research – Read a bunch of the blogger’s posts, including posts made by guest bloggers. I suggest at least a dozen. What is that blogger’s focus? How are the posts presented? How are guests presented?

Where to send query – If the blogger wants you to send queries via an online contact form, use it. If the blogger wants you to send it to his email, use the email.

Form letters – Ick. Don’t do it. Most experienced bloggers can spot a form letter query from a mile away.

A blah query – “I’m a blogger, and I want to guest blog for you! I love your blog.” Blah and blech. Be sincere, not spammy.

A brilliant query – 1) Mentions a couple of the blogger’s posts and why you liked them. 2) Mentions one or two of the blogs in her blog roll. 3) Mentions the blogger’s book (if applicable). 4) Mentions what you’d like to blog about 5) Provides a brief preview.image (13)

Pace yourself – Don’t send out 50 queries on the same day – you might just get 50 “Yes, I’d like to have you on my blog” and then you’re scrambling to write 50 blogs at quantum-leap speed.

No, thank you – You send your query. You think it’s stellar! The blogger turns you down. It’s his blog, his decision. Remember, it might be timing. Make a note to query this blogger at a later date.

Temper, temper – If the blogger turns you down, don’t blast him on FB or Twitter. Send a basic thank you and let it go.

Resubmit – Try again in a few months. Consider subscribing to the target blog and leaving a comment on occasion.

Your guest post Kenton washing car

Your blog host accepts your blog idea and gives you a deadline. You are scheduled to be a guest on another blog. Fabulous! Don’t simply drive in, drop the article, and drive away.

Now the work begins. Make it shine!

Deadline – Your host tells you, “Please have your submission to me by January 15.” Make sure it’s in her inbox by that date. Better if you have it to her before the deadline.

Dress up – Don’t send a slopped-together article. Clean it from top to bottom. Wipe the glass. Scrub the tires.

Check the mirror – Proofread, edit for clarity, adhere to word count, include all the information your host asked for. In addition to the article, your host asks for your bio, a profile picture, and your URLs. Don’t make her come back and beg you for them. Submit these as attachments to the submission email.

The extras

BIO – Your host asks for a 50-word bio. Don’t send a two-page resume and expect her to edit.

PIC – A profile picture – Have one. Have a recognizable profile photo, not you amongst 37 cousins at your last family reunion.

URLs – I keep all my URLs in a list, so I don’t have to retype them every time.

Kenton and ShawnPost Day

Share and promote – Make a post on your own blog that directs subscribers to your host’s blog. Go to the host’s blog page and click all the buttons to share it, tweet it, Facebook it, etc.

Socialize – Visit the host’s blog over the next few days and look for comments. Respond to comments. Be nice. Don’t embarrass your host.

A dud – It your guest post is successful, great! If not, don’t go off pouting or FBing “Why isn’t anyone commenting on my guest post?!” You posted it to your blog, FB, Twitter, and so on. Let it sit for a day. Then consider posting it to your Facebook again.

Send a thank you – Even when I thought Laura’s 10th birthday party was a dud, my mom made me send a thank you note. It’s the right thing to do. Send a thank you to your host.

5 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Guest Writers & Bloggers, Social Networking

Editor Spotlight with Sarah (Lingley) Williams

editor spotlight alvimannThe Art and Craft of Editing: Preparation, Selection, Satisfaction

Article by Sarah (Lingley) Williams, of Lingley editing services, LLC

I am ecstatic for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you about what I call “The Art and Craft of Editing.” I have been freelance editing for several years now; when people ask what I do for a living, I usually get one of two responses. “Oh, that’s awesome!” or “You do what?”

Often, those who respond with “You do what?” know what editing is, but have never viewed it as fundamental to life as it is. Editing combines the craft of understanding the rules of language, punctuation and grammar with the art of knowing how and when to apply or manipulate these rules for the overall benefit of the document.

I refer to editing as an art and craft because, unlike some things that are perceived as a science, it is based on rules and standards that can be learned and practiced by most everyone. To some, fluency with language and words comes more naturally than it does to others, but the guidelines are there for all to utilize and master.

As a published author, I know the feelings that accompany writing a document and wanting perfection. Our work is our heart and soul; we worry over whether or not every sentence is excellent, whether or not we missed a comma, and whether or not the content flows for the reader with the same fervency it flows for us. Our fear that we overlooked an error is real and tangible. I understand the value of someone else reviewing my work, but am afraid to let this part of me out of my grip.

Maybe you are living this daily struggle as you complete your document, or perhaps you have experienced these feelings in the past. For those of you just starting out, this scenario may be unfamiliar. Wherever each of you are, my hope is that this article calms your fears and gives you the necessary confidence to prepare, select and receive a satisfactorily edited document.

Preparation1546238_705099019514449_1626319815_n[1]

Your work is complete. Perhaps you have a three-page article, a fifty-page thesis, or a 60,000 word manuscript. You’ve read it over and reworked it. But preparing for an editor requires a few more steps:

1)      Let someone else read it; a friend, a colleague, a fellow writer

2)      Reread your work with a fresh perspective; step away for a day, a week

3)      Run a spell check and grammar check; double check formatting

These steps may seem mundane, but they are invaluable. It is embarrassing to receive your edited document and find that you missed simple things; it is time consuming for an editor to correct multiple findings of “adn,” “teh,” and double indents. Remember, time equals money and no one has limitless amounts of either.

Preparing your work for an editor is a crucial step, and one that should never be overlooked. While an editor exists to polish and hone, never should you deliver a sloppy document. As a writer, you should value the plethora of words at your disposal; there is no need to overuse uncreative tag lines like “said” and “thought,” or such lifeless dialogs as:

“Hi,” said Jane.

“Hello,” said John.

“How are you?” said Jane.

“I’m doing well,” said John.

As a writer, your work thrives on imagination, and the life of your work comes from your ability to create engaging worlds in which your readers can get lost. A piece of well written work captures the reader and leaves him or her hungry for more. What better way to hold your readers’ interests than delving into your soul and pulling out a spell-binding collection of words?

img-logo[1]Selection

Everything is as perfect as you can get it. You ask around for a reputable editor, or maybe even run a google search. Of course, you seek services that are timely, cost-effective and thorough, but knowing what you need will help you find what you want. It is important to understand what types of editors exist:

—Developmental Editors assist writers from conception to completion; he or she is there every step of the way, guiding you through the entire process

—Substantive Editors contribute to the whole picture, aiding with the structure and development of the document as a whole

—Copy Editors focus on the finishing touches; he or she finds grammar, punctuation and spelling errors, with attention to the overall flow and development as the author requests

After selecting the type of editor that best suits your needs, there are a few additional things to keep in mind:

1)      Is he or she willing to show you samples of his or her work? Are positive references available to you?

2)      Does he or she allow his or her own voice to over-ride the voice of the author?

3)      Does he or she have credibility? What is his or her education and professional background?

4)      Is his or her blog, website or professional profile typo-free?

Finding an editor is easy. Finding one that meets your needs, however, and delivers a service that reaches above and beyond, will be well worth your research.

Satisfaction

As a published author, I can relate to every step of the journey you are on, including the satisfaction that comes from receiving your perfectly edited document. As an editor, I cannot express the elation that comes from offering constructive feedback so that your document is a winning piece of literature. I take great pride in supplying writers of all skill levels with the guidance needed to reach his or her goals.

You hold a unique position as a writer; my hope for you is that as you pursue the journey of opening new worlds to your readers, you can shine, fly and reach the highest levels of achievement.

 

Sarah LingleySarah Williams is the owner and editor in chief of Lingley Editing Services, LLC. She holds a BA in Communication from Salem College, in Winston-Salem, NC. During college, Sarah volunteered as a tutor at the Student Writing Center, and interned as Assistant Marketing Director and Editor at Press 53. Sarah has been writing and getting published since high school, and has been a freelance editor since 2006. She currently lives with her husband in Arizona, where her home-based business allows her the freedom to enjoy the blue skies and warm sunshine.

Connect with Sarah on her website, on LinkedIn and on Facebook.

11 Comments

Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Editor Spotlight, Guest Writers & Bloggers

Sinking my Shark teeth into Barbara Forte Abate

Barbara Forte AbateEditing Barbara Forte Abate’s third novel, Painted From Memories, was an extreme pleasure for me. Barbara is an incredible writer.

She took critique and suggestions well, and she also told me where I was off or just plain wrong. We have had a steady stream of correspondence going ever since, both professional and personal.

I now count her among my bestest of best friends.

With no further ado, see what Barbara has to say about getting The Word Shark treatment –

Cleaning up my mess.

Oh, this is fun!

And stay tuned – I’ll be assisting with Barbara’s Painted From Memories release day, Tuesday, June 24.

Barbara Forte Abate PFM

6 Comments

Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Special Events

What do you expect from an editor?

DSC01710And what do you expect it to cost?

My last several potential clients strung me along for a while, asking questions, getting feedback and critique…

When I finally told them my fee, they all balked.

My fault

This is my fault. I should ask straight up –

Have you budgeted for an editor?

What do you expect to pay your editor?

What do you expect to get from your editor?

What do you expect the turn-around time to be?

Full stop, wheels screeching

I’m changing my game plan! I’m going to stop wasting my time (sorry, but it’s true) on writers who know nothing about editing, the costs involved, or what they might expect from a really chop-chop-I-am-taking-an-axe-to-your-novel kind of editor.

Subscribers – can you help me? DSC01711

I have a few questions for you –

Have you budgeted for an editor?

What do you expect to pay your editor?

What do you expect to get from your editor?

What do you expect the turn-around time to be?

No, you’re not having déjà vu – I typed those questions twice.

If you have been edited

What did you get for your hard-earned money?

Were you satisfied?

Was your previous editor not what he/she promised? (Please, don’t mention by name.)

What did he/she miss and when did you discover it?

If this feels icky

If you feel uncomfortable posting comments here on the blog, you can email me – karenrsanderson@midco.net.

10 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Editing & Proofreading, Publishing