Category: About editing

Freelance editor working on beach

Part II: Steps to becoming a freelance book editor

In March of 2015, I wrote an article on the steps for an aspiring editor to take to start a successful editing career. It has been, by far, the most visited blog page of all the posts I’ve written. Recently, I’ve had a number of inquiries about issues and questions I didn’t address in that March 2015 post. So this is a follow-up post, with more information about what it takes to become a successful freelance editor.

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Arlene Prunkl with Dan Poynter

My tribute to self-publishing pioneer Dan Poynter

The world of self-publishing was touched and deeply saddened by news earlier this week of the passing legendary self-publishing pioneer Dan Poynter. Dan passed away on Monday, November 2, 2015, at the age of seventy-seven. Although I posted on Facebook about this great loss to the worldwide self-publishing community, I thought I owed Dan’s passing a more detailed mention on my blog. Dan was my friend, my mentor, my client, and above all, my inspiration, especially throughout the early years of my editing career.

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A sign with the text "To edit is human"

When editors make (or miss) mistakes . . .

Editors make mistakes? What? Are you thinking, “Did I read that right?” Right off, let’s get one thing clear: editorial errors are inevitable. If that surprises you, it shouldn’t—we are only human, after all (I know that’s hard to believe). While many editors are perfectionists, most of us also know perfection is impossible to achieve. Let me tell you from firsthand experience that the quest for perfection in a world where perfection doesn’t exist is an issue that causes many of us a great deal of anguish and even sleepless nights. It’s just one of the hazards of the job.

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A woman sits behind a stack of books, holding an open book over her head

Part I: Steps to becoming a freelance book editor

During my thirteen years in the book editing business, I’ve regularly been asked how I became a freelance editor and what it takes to become a part of this fascinating business. In this post, I’ve pulled together all my tips and advice for those interested in taking the first steps toward a freelance editing career. Please note that these guidelines are specifically for those who are interested in a freelance career, not in-house. Although I’ve done some freelance work for Penguin Random House Canada, the bulk of my work has been as a freelance editor and proofreader for self-publishing authors.

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A chalkboard with many names written on it

Characterization in fiction: a 10-point checklist for naming your characters

It’s exciting to name your characters—it gives them solid identities that take shape in your mind, hopefully growing and developing into fully rounded, unique individuals as you write. Your first inclination may be to assign your characters your favourite names for boys and girls, men and women, but the responsibility of giving your characters names readers can relate to and identify with goes beyond your own personal favourites. While much of the process of naming characters is just common sense, it’s a good idea to keep several naming principles in mind as you undertake this important task.

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A woman sits on a couch, leaning on the arm, reading a book and drinking coffee.

Characterization in fiction: writing realistic character reactions

Many complex aspects are involved in creating authentic characters in fiction, characters who evoke sympathy and empathy in your readers. Despite what you may read about the importance of plot—and I don’t mean to detract from that importance at all—most fiction is primarily character driven. In other words, you may have a thrilling, original plot idea, but if you can’t bring your characters to life for readers, they may put your book down in frustration without even knowing why.

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