Saturday, August 23, 2014

Freelance Editor Susan Lakin

C. S. Lakin headshot
Freelance editor Susanne Lakin

 An update on the process of hiring a freelance editor to edit my two books is the topic of today.

I've been silent for too long, folks. Ah, yes, that's right, I do have a good excuse.

My freelance editor Susan Lakin has kept me busy with homework. Yes, it's just like school, folks. I sent in my pages, she edited them and sent them back. She noted in Track Changes things like this: "Do you mean to say . . .". Or she would write this, "I don't know what you mean here."

I got too many of those from my wonderful editor, but I bit my lip and rewrote.

Ninety-nine percent of the time I took her suggestions, even when I thought I wouldn't at that moment I was reading what she thought. I'd let the edits sit overnight and come back to them the next day. I'd think, "Well, Susanne's correct. I'll do as she suggests."

The hardest part came at the end of my first book, Just Claire. Susanne felt it needed a resolution. Resolution? But I thought I did well with that. I let that idea sit for more than overnight, grumbling that I wanted to be done with book one. Sure enough, Susanne was spot on right. Of course.

Susanne and I began the process of edits in February 2014, and over the five months, we finished up the two books. Both are not terribly long, one is an upper middle grade and the other is a memoir devotional.

BTW, at the end, at the very last few page edits, Susanne, writes, "Don't you think it needs a more kid friendly title?"


Then I nodded. Of course. This is Susanne talking. I'll look over my story and see if it's not already there. Sure enough. I found it.

The title changed from ClaireLee A.D. (After Denial) to Just Claire. The title is perfect in my and Susanne's opinions.

For the moment.


A publisher might come along and want to rename the book. But then that's another story and one I'd be all too happy to shout out.

Find Susanne on Twitter and her blog Livewritethrive.

Until next time . . . seek a freelancer and get to work writerly friends.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Experience in Hiring a Professional Freelance Editor

At my writing desk

Nearly four months ago I hired a professional freelance editor, and I can't say enough for how much she's helped me and my work. She edits and proofreads, and she's thorough. I'm pleased as can be. We're half way done with my first book, and she recently began work on my second book.

I highly recommend my freelance editor, Susanne Lakin

The best part is I'm learning from her. Now I don't remember by heart all the places in my sentences that she's taken away the comma or added in one, or why, but I'm getting the rules into my brain just the same. I've learned to take what I do learn and add it into the next chapters before I send those to her. It saves her time and me money. All because I'm learning from a professional.

I bought Susanne's book Say What? The Fiction Writer's Handy Guide to Grammar and I'm reading it a little at a time. Some of the rules of grammar are sticking in my brain from there, also. And if I have a grammar question when I'm working, I go to Susanne's book.

I prayed for a long while before I found Susanne, and God answered my prayer. I was ready to stuff my first book into a file never to look at it again. But I prayed about doing that and in the process found Susanne on Twitter. Then, I read over her website in detail. Afterward, I asked her a few questions and she replied. I was pretty sure she was an answer to prayer and that it was high time to hire an editor.

Susanne is just right for my needs as a writer. I needed someone who would work hard and yet take a moment along the way to encourage me. I needed someone who is honest and not afraid to tell me where I'm not clear in my story. I didn't want an editor to tip-toe through my story, but to go in and clean up what isn't working. Someone that makes me take the time to think of how better to phrase a sentence.

Making the decision to hire a professional editor took me too long. Go here if you want to learn more about Susanne Lakin's editorial service.

Until next time . . . hire a good editor before you decide to trash your story.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thank You, Author James Patterson

It's been a few weeks ago, when I came across this news release about Author James Patterson. On September 2, 2013, Mr. Patterson announced he has set aside one million dollars to give out as grants to independent bookstores over the next twelve months. He's also encouraging other authors to jump on board to help the struggling stores.

Mr. Patterson does have a few requirements they must follow and, so far as of the date of the Publisher Weekly article, no bookstore has been turned down. Some of the bookstores have even received more grant money than they requested.

Here you may read the article.

Thank you, Mr. Patterson, for helping the Mom and Pop bookstores. You've put a smile on so many faces.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Why Hire A Professinal Freelance Editor?

When I'm not working at my writing, I'm doing goat chores.

Hiring a professional freelance editor to edit our work is top notch important in this publishing climate.

I had no idea how important, until recently. You can hire one to help you with the mechanics of your work. I've done that before, and it was so helpful. I'm finding, though, I needed to flesh out my story: plot points, theme, exposing the emotional needs of my protagonist.

Presently, I've hired someone who is also a writing coach. She charges more, but for me with this current novel I'm working on, it's do or die.

What do I mean by that?

I either do this or my story dies in a drawer.

I came to a place over a month ago, that I had to ask the hard question: should I put away my current book project forever? I prayed, willing to do whatever the Lord leads. The answer surprised me. Lord God gave me a "go for it" to continue. I prayed over my pages and asked Him to give me the words needed to make this story shine. He needed to help me because I was sick of my story.

So He did.

During all this time, a name kept coming up. Someone that had critiqued a few chapters of my story two years ago. We drifted apart, but now her name kept coming to my mind. I became bold and emailed her. She was glad. She was willing to become my critique partner once again.

My critique partner goes through my pages first, then the freelance editor does her job. These two ladies are pressing me to go deeper into my story. It becomes quite mind boggling. It hurts to dig deeply to find out what my protagonist wants. I remember to pray and let God help.

I've read about many Christian authors that claim praying through your project is a must. I never tried it until my Christian devotional book, which is still a work-in-progress. Praying works. The Holy Spirit does His job and I obey. Perfect.

Hiring someone who can tear apart your work to bring out the jewels, like a regular publishing editor would do, is costly. My writing is my business. I must invest in my business.

Until next time . . . pick that perfect critique partner/partners and professional freelance editor and get to work. Don't forget to pray along the way.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Much To Do About Writing: Healing After Injury

Anise, my best milker, with a halo of webs between her ears

Hi readers,

It's been too long since I last posted. I injured my back: four torn ligaments and various other injuries to hips, neck and pelvis.

I have a goat farm, with two does to milk, so how do I heal properly with all that responsibility? Or how do I heal at all, for that matter?

The Lord was gracious and sent caregivers to my home. It was rough going, no sitting, only reclining, no standing, stooping, or lying flat. Heat and ice a million times a day, and doctor's orders: walk, walk, walk.

I found I could cook our meals, though. Whew, at least I was good for something. I still had to have help with pot and pans lifting and someone else doing the cleanup (my husband did mountains of dishes). :))

I even discovered mountain climbing while we deer hunted helped my lower back. I started out with small inclines and when my back didn't hurt, I graduated. My husband and I climbed our first ever mountain, and that's the day he shot his first deer in thirty years. Wow, huh.

What does this have to do with writing? Much to do about writing.

I now know what it's like to feel the pain of torn ligaments, so I can write about it with authority. I now know what it's like to teach people to milk goats. I've learned it's humbling to ask people a half a dozen times a day to pick up what I've dropped on the floor. I've been embarrassed when someone younger than me, a 13-year-old, mine you, shakes a finger when she's caught me bending to pick up something I've dropped.

I observed the people who cared for me. I learned more about different types of personalities for characters in future stories. What I learned the most is that I'm a projects person and when I'm down, I lose a bit of who I think I am. I'm a doer. I have two speeds: fast and faster. I'm still moving a bit slower these days, but I can do fast once again. Every so often. When it's a better day. :)

To sum up, a writer never, ever let's life experiences go to waste. And a Christian never, ever passes an opportunity to see what God may have in mind for us as we suffer in the moment.

Until next time . . . live life and use it to write.