Need help editing your manuscript? I am a professional editor. Ask me anything you like!

So you've completed your first draft, but now you're unsure what to do next. You need someone with industry experience to read your manuscript and offer corrections and insights into how your writing and story can be made stronger. You need an editor, but finding a good one that understands both your style and your story is nearly as difficult as the writing itself.

 

Most publishing companies have a nameless, faceless freelance staff of editors they keep locked away from the author, leaving you with virtually no contact with the person responsible for shaping your draft into a polished literary accomplishment. After years of editing for large, corporate publishers, I've grown tired of this model and want to work with my authors directly rather than being stifled by company policies that make it impossible to develop an accurate understanding of my authors and what they need or expect from the process. So who am I?

 

I am a professional writer and editor, having spent the last decade as a newspaper columnist and writer for literary journals, magazines, and publishing projects. Over the last four years, I have edited more than 350 books for a large self-publishing company and editing agencies in New York, Seattle, and Charleston, South Carolina. 

 

I do both copy editing and line editing (sometimes referred to as developmental editing), in which I work with authors to strengthen many areas of their writing, including characterization and character development, tone and style, grammar, formatting and page layout, dialogue, structure and plot flow, and more. I am a member of the American Copy Editors Society and have served as the editor for such authors as Laurie Lake White, Robert Blumenfeld, and Julie R. Dargis.

 

More importantly, I'm here to help! If you have any general questions, ask me here. And if you would like to discuss an edit or evaluation of your work, visit my website for more information about me: www.mngodbey.com. 

 


image

M. N. Godbey


Comments

  • great. Thanks for this have saved for my next book
  • Would this not be a better link?

     

    http://www.mngodbey.com/professionnel/

     

    However even what is on there about your service is very vague. The site is almost 99% about yourself, your photos and your writing.

     

    When the blog link is clicked it is passworded.

     

    You need to set your site up like this example >>> https://www.scribendi.com/

  • Thanks for the advice, kevinlomas. I work mostly as a contractor with agencies and publishing companies, so my site is a personal site used as a type of online reference for managers to view some work samples and a resume. Before I launch a professional site, I just want to speak with authors, offer my advice, and learn how I can help them in a one-on-one environment as opposed to working through a third-party company that restricts contact. Your link is a good reference, though, so thank you for offering the recommendation.

  • I do have to say that I have worked with a great many publishers, ranging from HarperCollins, Smithsonian Books and Lerner Publishing to Workman, Franklin Watts and Zenith Press in creating nearly fifty commercially published books and have never even once run into a situation where I was not working directly with an editor. I would not hesitate suggesting that this has also been the experience of my professional author colleagues.

  • Ron is correct.

  • With traditional publishing companies, I'm sure that's correct. With the self-publishing companies and editing agencies I've worked for, that's not the case, as much as I wish that it was. In those instances, we have a liason that relays information and messages between editor and author. It's not the worst system out there, but it does leave room for some disconnect, as well as QC departments that focus more on the pedantic than the creative, more on trivial grammar and style rules and less on the author and his or her story as an individual work. 


  • MNG wrote:

    With traditional publishing companies, I'm sure that's correct. With the self-publishing companies and editing agencies I've worked for, that's not the case, as much as I wish that it was. In those instances, we have a liason that relays information and messages between editor and author. It's not the worst system out there, but it does leave room for some disconnect, as well as QC departments that focus more on the pedantic than the creative, more on trivial grammar and style rules and less on the author and his or her story as an individual work. 


    I cannot speak for self-publishing companies or editing agencies, but you did not make that distinction in your original post, which said:

     

    Most publishing companies have a nameless, faceless freelance staff of editors they keep locked away from the author, leaving you with virtually no contact with the person responsible for shaping your draft into a polished literary accomplishment. After years of editing for large, corporate publishers, I've grown tired of this model and want to work with my authors directly rather than being stifled by company policies that make it impossible to develop an accurate understanding of my authors and what they need or expect from the process. 

     

    If you are talking about only a specialized part of the publishing industry, then you may want to be a little more specific. You do not want to include traditional, mainstream publishers in such a description. It is not the way they work.

  • With traditional publishing companies, I'm sure that's correct. With the self-publishing companies

     

    How is that self-publishing then? With self-publishing the companies do only what they are paid to do, or nothing at all to the words if one uses the free services such as Lulu's. Self-publishing how it is done nowadays is as it's done by most people who use Lulu (and Createspace, and Blurb). They upload a preprepared file, be it good bad or atrocious, and no human vets it. ( Unfortunately ).

     

    and editing agencies I've worked for,

     

    It depends on what they are editing, surely?

     

    that's not the case, as much as I wish that it was. In those instances, we have a liason that relays information and messages between editor and author.

     

    But did you not say that is not the case? As long as that to and fro between the creator and the editor happens, does it really matter how it happens? But it will depend on if the creator is paying for a service or if the publishing company is as to how long will be spent on it.

     

    It's not the worst system out there, but it does leave room for some disconnect, as well as QC departments that focus more on the pedantic than the creative, more on trivial grammar and style rules and less on the author and his or her story as an individual work. 

     

    Every editor and publishing house has their own idea as to what is 'proper' English, and if the manuscript fails to meet house rules, and the creator refuses to change it, then the publishing house may refuse to publish, it's that simple. The same can apply to tweaking the text to make it more saleable in the eyes of the marketing experts. Oh and accountants will also have an input,

    If you are offering a proofreading/editing service to self-publishers even for a fee, then there's nothing you can do if the client refuses some changes, unlike if you are going to publish it.

     

    Self-publishing is not really akin to working for, or getting one's book taken on, by a publishing house.


  • kevinlomas wrote:

     

    Every editor and publishing house has their own idea as to what is 'proper' English, and if the manuscript fails to meet house rules, and the creator refuses to change it, then the publishing house may refuse to publish, it's that simple. The same can apply to tweaking the text to make it more saleable in the eyes of the marketing experts. Oh and accountants will also have an input,

    If you are offering a proofreading/editing service to self-publishers even for a fee, then there's nothing you can do if the client refuses some changes, unlike if you are going to publish it.

     

    Self-publishing is not really akin to working for, or getting one's book taken on, by a publishing house.


    Let me expand just a little on this since I have had experience in having both fiction and non-fiction published commercially.

     

    You will find house styles most prevalent in the publication of non-fiction, since many publishers will want a certain consistency among their books. Most will follow the Chicago Manual of Style, but there are other style manuals that publishers will use. Some publishers will even have their own in-house preferences.

     

    The insistance on following a house style is a little looser in the publication of fiction, since an author of a novel is granted more creative freedom than someone writing non-fiction. This is not to say that rules of grammar, spelling or punctuation can be thrown out the window, either. There has to be some purpose to bending rules...as, for instance, in "Flowers for Algernon," where much of the book is narrated by a person of limited intelligence.

     

    It is true that other people than the editor will have input into the creative process...though these suggestions are often in very general terms and are made through the editor. In any event, no professional editor or copy editor will make changes to a book directly (it is not their job to rewrite books). They will only point errors out to an author or make suggestions---it is up to the author to implement them. And good editors are always willing to listen to an author's objections or alternate ideas on ways in which a change might be made. The bottom line is, of course, that if they didn't think your book was saleable they wouldn't have accepted it in the first place...which is more than half the battle.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    In her book Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, Lynn Truss remarks upon the fact that she has, at times, fought full-on battles with her publishers over relatively minor points of style. Keep in mind that these were not points of correct or incorrect grammar, but merely questions of style.

     

    From this and other glimpses into the world of the house-published, I tend to believe Ron's point of view.

     

    For those who are curious, I recommend Herman Wouk's novel, Youngblood Hawke. And of course, it's never a bad Idea to read Lynn Truss's book, either.

     

    (I missed my calling in life... shoulda been a librarian...)

  • Hey can you help me with my manuscript please i need a editior for a long time

  • Are you not already getting help in another thread? Expensive help ...


  • AbdTumeh wrote:

    Hey can you help me with my manuscript please i need a editior for a long time


    Abd, this is not the kind of help that you need. First you need a friend to go through your story with you and help you with the issues there. Then you will be ready for a more professional editor.

     

    And when you do go to a more professional editor, you will want to shop around for a good deal. Do not give your money to the first person who asks for it.


  • Skoob_Ym wrote:

    AbdTumeh wrote:

    Hey can you help me with my manuscript please i need a editior for a long time


    Abd, this is not the kind of help that you need. First you need a friend to go through your story with you and help you with the issues there. Then you will be ready for a more professional editor.

     

    And when you do go to a more professional editor, you will want to shop around for a good deal. Do not give your money to the first person who asks for it.


    I'm afraid that Skoob_Ym is right: you need to work more on your writing skills before you can ask an editor to help you.

     

    Perhaps a teacher might be willing to work with you on your grammar, punctuation, etc. Or there might be an older student who is proficient in English who would give you a hand. 

     

    The importance of reading has been emphasized several times. Do you enjoy reading? What books and authors do you like most?

  • Editing a manuscript can be very beneficial to improve the credibility of your research paper. Once I was also in the need of complying my manuscript as per APA format and APA Dissertation Editors came as a saviour for me that time.

Sign In or Register to comment.