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Thursday, March 21, 2019

My 200th Post!

Ahem. Drum roll, please.

This marks my 200th post since starting my blog in 2013!

When I started this blog, I didn't have a clue about blogging in general, other than it functioning as anything from an online diary to a teaching or advertising tool. I've learned quite a bit along the way, and have made a number of online friends and friendly acquaintances through the experience. I've seen a lot of those original blogging friends fall off the map, so to speak, and I genuinely miss some of them.

I thought it might be fun to revisit the top posts of each year from then to now. If you're newer to my blog, please do check them out. They're a lot of fun! And if you were around back in the day, do you remember these oldies but goodies?

MyTop Blog Posts


Green Eggs and Ham: A Fresh Look at a Dark Book AND Coffee Chat with S.K. Anthony

There were two top posts that first year, and they just happen to be two of my own favorites! The Green Eggs and Ham post was actually written by my Number Two Son, Jeff, then eighteen (he's now twenty-three and just got married last month). His "I don't know what to write" for a school essay tied with the original, very first, one-that-started-it-all Coffee Chat for the number one spot. This first Coffee Chat was special and fun, and in fact was so much fun that my readers asked for more, and CC became a regular feature for a total of twenty-nine posts full of ridiculousness, suspension of disbelief, and even good advice at times.


Coffee Chat 8.0 with S.K. Anthony: The Kidnapping of Janie Junebug

The number of blog visitors multiplied during 2014. Some of that was because we organized a huge giveaway, Share the Love, where four authors and I did the Rafflecopter thing. They gave away books, and I gave away an editing package. There was also talk of such dodgy prizes as an empty Thin Mints cookie box, "Pong" (the original video game), and a picture of David Hasselhoff holding an armload of puppies, but at the last minute, the authors involved decided to keep those special extras and only send books to the winners. That was also the year I first participated in the April A to Z Challenge, hopping all over the globe to other people's blogs while posting twenty-six times in April. However, those things aside, the real top spot went to Janie Junebug (who can be found at Righting & Editing). During one of the coldest winters in Erie, S.K. decided to kidnap a guest from Florida to "bring sunshine" to my kitchen. I'm pretty sure Janie has never really recovered.


Well . . . the interesting thing about 2015 is that I didn't blog at all. Not a single word. And it just about killed me. Just as my blog was gaining all kinds of momentum, I had a job switcheroo happen (not quite my choice, and not a bad job, but just super busy on top of homeschooling) and by the end of 2014, I had to acknowledge that there was just no time to write for a while. In October of that year, I announced I was in need of a short break. And truly, it was intended to be only a few months off—just enough time to settle into a better routine and get my bearings—but a few months turned into a few more, and when I finally got to the point where I simply HAD to write, it was almost fifteen months later. But here's the cool thing. My post about taking a break ended up with tons of hits on it because some of you wonderful people kept checking in on me here and there. And I'm so glad you all didn't give up on me.


Editor's Notes #23: Points of View Part 1—How Do I Choose?

Actually, all three parts of the POV series vied for the most-visited of 2016. Part 1 discussed the first-person POV, Part 2 talked about third-person point of view and the role of the narrator & viewpoint person, and Part 3 focused on how many points of view is enough, and when the line of "too many" has been crossed.


Do I Have to Love a Genre to Edit It?

Reading for editing purposes is vastly different from pleasure reading. Whether I enjoy the heck out of a manuscript or not, the job still needs to be done well, because that's what I was hired to do. This post about the balance between enjoyment and duty ended up being the top post for 2017.


Happy New Year!

Funny that a post on January 4 that talked about my previous year and the complete reboot halfway through it would be the most popular post of 2018, but there you go. The numbers don't lie. I think sometimes it's just nice to have a conversation with my readers, rather than trying to teach or inform, and I guess everyone else thought so, too. A close second was the first of my three-part series on Best Books on Writing and Editing, still worth taking a look at for the book recommendations.


Editors: We Are Not the Grammar Police!

We're not very far into 2019, so there weren't many posts to choose from, but this particular one definitely wins for most views in 2019. Editors have such a reputation for negativity and pedantic behavior that every so often, it's important to remind others that we really aren't anything like the stereotype.

So What's Coming Up Next?

The Future of This Blog

It's only fitting that my 200th post will be my last "real" post here on Blogger. I've decided, after much thought, wasted time (I'm a slow thinker), and a hard look at the analytics that it's time to move my blog to another platform. My website is on Squarespace, and given that Google has shut down an avenue (Google+) that was a social media failure overall but that made it easy to follow Blogger blogs, I think it's best that I make the change sooner than later. 

I hope you'll all make the move with me, of course. The commenting on Squarespace is through Disqus, and you don't have to create an account anywhere to comment or use it—you can log in through Facebook, Twitter, Google, Disqus, or simply comment as a guest. I'm hoping this will simplify commenting, as I've heard from a handful of people that they've experienced trouble commenting on this blog more often than not.

So thanks for following along this far! And come to the new blog at so I don't miss out on catching up with any of you there. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

But Why Does Editing Cost So Much?

Photo source: Skitterphoto via Pexels

If I had a quarter for every time someone expected me to edit their work for free ("have fun with it" was my all-time favorite) or questioned the project's cost, I'd be . . . maybe not rich, but I'd probably have enough to cover a project.

Whenever I hear someone complain about the cost of things, I mentally go through a few scenarios. First, I try to find out the specific item and the dollar amount that's being discussed, and then I attempt to reason out what is being provided for the cost.

In some cases, I want to know what it's made of (is this desk pressboard or solid wood?) before making a determination of value. Is $100 reasonable for a high-quality piece of stainless steel cookware because I'll only buy it once in my lifetime, rather than replace a cheaper type every few years because it wears out or cooks unevenly? (Spoiler alert: this is a no-brainer for me. I'm a firm believer in good cookware.)

A well-edited manuscript has greater value to the reader than an unedited (or poorly edited) one. A reader doesn't want to slog through sentences that need a second look to make sense . . . or typos, bad grammar, and so much repetition that the story becomes tedious. Well-written books are cherished and reread, given as gifts, and recommended to others.

If a service is being performed, I need to decide what's more valuable to me: the time that's freed up by having someone else do the task, or the money I'd save by doing it myself. It may well be worth paying someone to come to my home to vacuum, dust, and mop once every week or two if I'm extremely busy and the house is falling apart because we're all going different directions at once. On the other hand, if I'm home all day, am able-bodied, and don't have small children around, it might be difficult to justify that expense when I have the time and good health to take care of things myself.

Editing an average manuscript for a novel can take me about 40 hours or more. If the edit is a heavier one, that number can easily double. I've logged in over 70 hours on just a first round of heavy edits before. If a book edit is going to take weeks of my time, then it needs to compensate for weeks of income because it's time I can't use to schedule anything else. This is why it's always a good idea to get your manuscript in the best shape possible before sending it off to an editor. A more polished manuscript means the editor can often work faster, which usually means a lower cost to you. It's fine to not worry about it and "let the editor catch that," but that will directly affect the price.

Face it: there is no possible way for a person to exhibit a professional level of skill in every area of life. Just ask anyone who's ever done a major home renovation. There's a reason that contractors hire out the specialty things like drywall finishing, plumbing, electrical wiring, and more. I may be able to change an outlet, but it doesn't mean I'm capable or licensed to rewire my whole house. I can create decent enough images for the editing quotes I post weekly on Instagram or Twitter, but I hired a graphic designer to create the branding for my business because it was important for my logo to not look like a DIY project.

There's a great quote I love by Amy Einsohn, author of The Copyeditor's Handbook:
In many ways, being a copyeditor is like sitting for an English exam that never ends: at any moment, your knowledge of spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage, syntax, and diction is being tested.
You can love to read and not know all the rules. You can get irked by other people's grammar mistakes and still not catch the ones you make. You can be a writer and still have to look up some of the usage and trends of our ever-changing language. You wouldn't want someone who made a birdhouse once to be the person you hire to put an addition on to your home. Let the professionals do what they're best at; we love what we do and will take care of things you didn't even know were in need of attention.

I'll leave you with a direct quote from an editor I know, because I've also been hired for those re-edits she mentions.

My own thoughts when someone says they can "find someone else to do it for only $200" usually run along the lines of "Yes, you can. A lot of my work has come from re-editing those $200 jobs, so I know those kinds of prices can be found."
Respect the value. Respect the time spent. And respect the expertise. You won't regret it.