NEED AN EDITOR FOR YOUR MEMOIR?
You’ve finished the last sentence of your memoir, turned off the computer, and gone out for your celebratory drink. Now what?
My advice is to wait at least a month without taking even a single peek at your manuscript. It takes at least a month, sometimes two, to get a fresh perspective. When you look at it again, you’ll see your writing more the way a reader would. You’ll see all the stuff that needs to be fixed, added to, fiddled with, and permanently deleted.
Next, ask some reader and writer friends to read your work, preferably ones who’ll give you honest feedback. If many of them are giving you the same advice, take that advice.
When you’re as happy with your work as you think you’re going to be, and before you send it off to publishers, agents, or decide to self-publish, consider hiring a freelance professional editor, preferably one who specializes in memoir writing if that’s your genre. Why?
Let me count the ways…or actually, just tell you a few of them.
After all the work you’ve done, your manuscript deserves the chance to compete in the very crowded market. Your readers deserve to get what they paid for. Readers expect books to be not only edited properly, but also well-written. With all the millions of books out there that are beautifully-written, why would anyone waste time on a book of low quality? Have you had the experience of trying to read a self-published book only to come across grammatical errors on the very first page? I have. Or you see that the writer has no focus, or doesn’t know how to create a scene, or write description, or use dialogue, or doesn’t understand that clichés kill writing, and very likely didn’t pass Grade 10 English? The main problem I come across is new writers don’t understand they have to show, not tell. They use adverbs instead of strong verbs. They use adjectives, sometimes even generic boring adjectives, such as ‘weird’, or ‘bizarre’ or ‘romantic’ when they should be cutting those out entirely and showing us how someone or something is ‘weird’ or ‘bizarre’ or ‘romantic’, letting the reader come to her own conclusions. Show, don’t tell is the number one rule of writing, yet so many new writers don’t understand this.
If these concepts are new to you, hiring an editor is the bare minimum you can do. But so many writers decide to skip this crucial step, crossing their fingers things will work out okay.
They usually don’t and you’re left with a book that gets rejected by agents and publishers, or else a self-published embarrassment that only your friends and family buy out of obligation.
A professional editor will coach you to find your main theme, cutting out rabbit trails that lead nowhere and don’t fit the theme. An editor will see if you’re getting preachy or self-helpy (often hard for the writer to see because he or she is too close to the material). A professional editor will challenge you to let readers in, so the writing is authentic and the author shown to be vulnerable and human.
I could keep going on all the hundreds of reasons why it’s important to hire an editor but you probably already know it’s important.
If you’d like to hire me, I have 20 years experience in editing and writing and I would love to polish your work so it sings. I can cut out the clutter, ensure that every sentence is clear and necessary, and tweak your writing so it says what it needs to say. As a published author with Penguin and Random House, I understand the need to preserve your style yet make your work professional and error-free. Whatever sort of writing you’re submitting and whatever you’re looking for in an editor (proofreading, full edits, coaching, consultation) I’m up for the job and always make my deadlines. I’m also a former English teacher and have a broad knowledge base in a variety of fields. I look forward to helping you!
My special interests are:
Memoir, Travel, Humour, Personal Essay, Themes of Family, Health and Childhood, but I’m open to any interesting nonfiction work. I’m drawn to writing that’s lyrical, honest and blends introspection with real-world experience.
I will read, assess and write editorial comments and suggestions on a portion of your manuscript and from there, we can decide if you’d like substantive editing on the entire work along with detailed line editing, or more of a consulting/coaching relationship.
I charge $40 an hour.
“Laurie is an astute editor, with great instincts for language and the human condition. With a light, deft touch, she quickly sizes up what needs to be done to improve a story or essay, and offers practical, realistic advice. ~Diane Bracuk, Toronto writer, author of the short story collection, Middle-Aged Boys & Girls (published by Guernica)
“Great insights and very meticulous with every paragraph. You saved me, Laurie!” ~Dawn Matheson, travel writer based in Guelph, Ontario
“Laurie gives timely, clear, and insightful feedback. She approaches writing with integrity. I would encourage anyone to work with her.” ~Ann Cavlovic, environmental writer and playwright