Friday, April 25, 2014

Editor Interview with Cheryl Lim

Hello. My name is Cheryl, 20 years old, I also go by the alias Gwyneiira. I'm an aspiring editor trying to build up my resume and reputation as an editor, and break into the industry. I'm a huge bookworm and I thought, why not try my hand at editing? 

I am thorough in my work and a stickler for grammar, punctuations, spelling and all that jazz. If you're interested in my services, do email me at snowywings_cheryl@hotmail[dot]com

What type of stories do you most enjoy editing?
I enjoy editing romance, it's what I mainly edit. All sorts of romance novels from YA to NA to erotica to GLBT, with the exception of historical, sci-fi and fantasy.

Do you work for a company or are you a freelance editor?

What is the best book you've read/edited this year?
There are so many books I've read this year that I think are the bests. It's hard to choose one. I'd say all the books by Shayne McClendon and Belle Aurora. If I have to choose one, it'll be Reaper's Property by Joanna Wylde.

What does your editing process look like from start to finish?
Well, I use track changes on words while editing. As I edit, I would put in comments about certain things that I'm unsure of or things that come off as weird and I'll explain why I change and edit certain words and phrases. I'll also point out "bad" habits of authors if I come across any.

Are your rates affordable for indie authors? How do you decide your pricing?
I'd say my rates are affordable as I'm just starting out and am trying to build up a resume of sorts. I currently charge $0.5 every 100 words, though it depends on the amount of work I have to do as well. I'll do a trial edit of the first 2 chapters or so for authors who are interested.

What things should a writer have done before contacting an editor?
Their manuscript should be done and ready to send out. It would be good if they have a list of what they expect of and from the editor and a rough timeline planned out.

What do you think makes a good editor?
I think being a good editor is more than just correcting the mistakes the author has made, making the story flow better, pointing out plot holes etc. It's also about building a connection and understanding with the author and story. I think it's important for the editor to like or love the story that they are editing as well. Most importantly, a good editor is someone who is willing to improve at their craft.

When you're not editing what do you like to do?
I love to play with my dogs, shop and eat. I read a hell lot. I love to sing; I'm also a singer-songwriter as well as an audio engineer on the side. I also run my very own book blog.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Books and Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

As a new company devoted to helping indie authors, we're still looking to get our feet wet in the social media world. As we've said before, our blog and website are dedicated to helping writers grow their writing skills, from improving their style to having better grammar. Whether you plan to go the traditional route or become independent, or even if you just write for fun, we want to help you get better at it. We at Phantom Owl provide resources for writers everywhere to help them get published, and pursue all of their writing dreams.

To celebrate our recent launch and get the word out of our mission, we're giving away paperback copies of Lauryn April's A Different Kind, and Jen Naumann's Paranormal Keepers, plus a $10 Amazon gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 18, 2014

Editor Interview with Victoria Bright

Victoria Bright is a freelance editor at Edits By V as well as a self published author. Being her editing journey in September 2013, she already has eight successful projects under her belt as well as projects contracted out to her from publishing companies. She currently resides in Greenville, South Carolina. Her main goal is to help authors by giving their manuscript the red carpet treatment it deserves!

What type of stories do you most enjoy editing? 
Man, it's so hard to choose! I really love romance the most, but I also enjoy new/young adult and paranormal stories as well. 

Do you work for a company or are you a freelance editor? 
I'm a freelance editor for my own company, but I am also contracted with Hall & Muscato Publishing.

When you’re not editing what do you like to do?  
I usually participate in my usual loonish endeavors (which includes a lot of procrastinating). But when I want to be "normal", I love playing Call of Duty, The Sims 3, reading, writing (I'm also an author), and working out. 

What are some of the typical mistakes you see writers make?  
One of the most common mistakes I come across is when the writer uses unnecessary commas. A comma is not necessary before every "and" that you have in your manuscript! I also come across a few inconsistencies in verb tenses every now and then.

What things should a writer have done before contacting an editor? 
The most important thing a writer should have done before contacting an editor is editing their manuscript! An editor goes behind you to pick things you may have missed and polish your manuscript for publication. It is very time consuming to have to comb through minor mistakes that the writer could have easily fixed on their own. Trust me, it will make the editing process with the editor much quicker! A writer should also know what type of service they may need. There's no need to pay for a service that you don't really need, right? Money doesn't grow on trees, so do your research so that it's spent wisely!

What book are you most proud of having edited?  
I think I would have to say that Bluffing the Devil by C.L. Foster. It was my debut novel as an editor and it definitely received great feedback, which led to new clients for me. It was also my first paranormal book that I'd read, which was really cool. That's what I love the most about my job; I always have the opportunity to broaden my horizon when it comes to books!

Do you have any advice for new writers?  
My advice is simple: believe. There will be days when you believe that your story doesn't make sense and there may be days where your characters will drive you mad. If you feel stuck, just write until it makes sense. There are a bunch of lame trolls on the internet whose purpose in life is to bring down those with a dream, especially when it comes to the self publishing community. As long as you have faith in yourself and your craft, there isn't much anyone can say to deter you from your goals. Just stay focused and stay true to yourself. The right people will appreciate you and your work. 

What do you charge?  
I offer proofreading, basic editing, content editing, and an extensive editing service called "The Works". Proofreading is $0.50 per page and is usually for authors who just need a final review to check for spelling, punctuation, grammar, subject-verb agreement, etc. Basic editing is $1.00 per page; it includes proofreading as well as checking verb tenses, making sure that the writer's thoughts are flowing consistently, etc. Content editing is $1.50 per page; it includes both proofreading and basic editing. This service includes rewrites if necessary and checks for proper character development and consistency in the story as well as checking for plot holes/issues. "The Works" is $2.00 per page and it is my most extensive service. This service is for an author who may need a lot of work on their manuscript due to issues with grammar, punctuation, spelling, issues with clarity or expressing thoughts clearly, ect.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Editor Interview with Sara McCluskey

My name is Sara McCluskey. It is my goal to provide quality editing at a price the author can afford. I’ve combined my love for reading and writing, my education, and obsession with grammar into a career that benefits myself and the authors I work with.
I am twenty-four years of age and currently working on my Associates in Liberal Arts. After I obtain that degree, my plan is to transfer to a university where I can get my Bachelors in Creative Writing. I live with my husband (and a lot of animals) in the High Desert of California. I spend my free time reading, blogging about books, and writing my own novels. I do like to do non-book related things as well! I love playing my guitar, attempting to dance, video games, and discovering weird movies on Netflix.

What type of stories do you most enjoy editing? 
Although I will edit any genre, I most enjoy fantasy and paranormal romance. I feel those stories can lack believability, especially if it’s the type where the fantasy elements are ‘new’ to the character. I enjoy assisting the author in areas where they can increase this aspect.

What other books have you edited?
The WishingWell Curse by Lynn Donovan (Alt Wit Press) – Content Editing
MastemaBlood by Whitney Lee - Content Editing
Toys andSoldiers by Ashlyn Forgetting – In-Depth Critique
Running Backto You by Suzanne Sweeney - Content Editing
Secrets Kept by J.L. Mbewe (Alt Wit Press) – Content Editing
Running Into Love: Take a Chance by Annalisa Nicole - Content Editing
Curve Day by L.R. Currell – Content Editing
Confessions of a Redneck Zomie by L.R. Currell – Content Editing
A Dead HorseNamed Caleb by L.R. Currel – Content Editing
Soul Consumer by L.R. Currell – Content Editing
When You Wake Series: Without Knowing by Ashley Parker – Content Editing
Running into Love: I’ll Take a Chance by Annalisa Nicole - Content Editing
Justice For All by Cary-Barner-Nelson - Content Editing

Do you work for a company or are you a freelance editor? 
Both. I have my own “company” which is just myself, called Serendipity Editing. I am also employed through AltWit Press.

What is the best book you’ve read/edited this year? 
Savage Seduction. I don’t believe it is published yet. The author is Jennifer Woods.

Are your rates affordable for indie authors? 
I believe so. I also offer payment plans.

What do you charge? 
$0.0022 per word for copy editing. $0.0033 per word for content editing.  All prices are negotiable.

What are some things you think writers should look for/be wary of when hiring an editor? 
If they don’t seem professional, then I probably wouldn’t hire them. I make use of contracts and invoices, so as to cover both the author and myself. If they aren’t willing to work with the author and their needs, provide daily to weekly updates, or answer questions after the service is completed, then they probably aren’t very professional.

What things should a writer have done before contacting an editor? 
Beta readers! I don’t require this, but I do highly suggest finding several beta readers. It’s not because I don’t like to work “hard”, it’s because I don’t want the author to have a lot of re-writing and need even more editing.

Do you have any advice for new writers? 
Don’t give up! Especially if you get negative reviews, keep pushing forward. I see so many authors pull down their stories due to negative reviews. Sometimes that’s okay, because it needs to be edited professionally or examined. However, if there isn’t anything “wrong” with the novel, just think of it like this: You book found its way to people who are not your target audience. No big deal!

How do you feel about serial commas, and why? 
Ah, that’s a tricky question. I leave it up to my author. I inform them about the debate surrounding them, and just tell them that whatever they choose, they need to be consistent.

When you’re not editing what do you like to do? 
Read! In fact, when I’m not editing or going to class, I spend most of my time reading. I also enjoy web design, Netflix, and attempting to cook.

Sara McCluskey 
Serendipity Editing

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Seeking Editors to Interview

Phantom Owl is currently seeking editors interested in being interviewed. If you are an editor interested in talking about your craft and possibly gaining a few new clients, please pick 8-10 of the following questions to answer. E-mail your answers to with a short bio, photo, and links to any social networking sites you'd like to include. We may respond with follow up questions and will let you know when your interview will be posted on the Phantom Owl Blog.


What type of stories do you most enjoy editing?

What other books have you edited?

Do you work for a company or are you a freelance editor?

What book are you most proud of having edited?

What is the best book you’ve read/edited this year?

What does your editing process look like from start to finish?

Are your rates affordable for indie authors?

How do you decide your pricing?

What do you charge?

What are some of the typical mistakes you see writers make?

What are some things you think writers should look for/be wary of when hiring an editor?

What things should a writer have done before contacting an editor?

What should a writer expect (or not expect) out of an editor?

Do you have any advice for new writers?

What is the difference between developmental, substantive and copy editing?

What do you think makes a good editor?

What style guide do you use, and why?

How do you feel about serial commas, and why?

What annoys you most about the current publishing industry?

When you’re not editing what do you like to do?

Again, please pick 8-10 of the questions above and e-mail us at

Sincerely the Phantom Owl team.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Revelling in Cliché (Guest Post by Lucinda Elliot)

Lovely Lauryn April (lovely in all senses of the word) some months ago wrote a thought provoking blog post about plagiarism and every author’s fear of being accused of ‘copying’ ideas, characters, key situations, etc. (Rip-Offs, Inspiration and Coincidences)

When she kindly invited me to post on the Phantom Owl blog, I decided to do something on what might be called ‘Revelling in Cliché’, which is something I love doing in my own writing.  

Another writer, Mari Biella, was kind enough to state at the Edinburgh EBook Fair that she thought that in deliberately using cliché in my novel ‘That Scoundrel Emile Dubois Or The Light of Other Days’ I had managed to make the problem of the hackneyed in the horror genre into a strength, and I was immensely flattered.

That is my way of coping with the problem, the sideways wink at the readership:

Lord Ynyr: I would remind you, Lucien, that we are not in a Gothic novel now.
Lucien: That is hard to believe, Your Lordship, down at Plas Planwydden. 

In my latest, ‘Ravensdale’ which is due out this month (hopefully not Famous Last Words), I really enjoyed doing a spoof of an immensely hackneyed theme – The Disinherited Earl Falsely Accused of Murder Through the Machinations of a Conniving Cousin Turns Highwayman (or Smuggler)

I remember coming across variations of this theme in books which I read as a teenager when snowed up in the great, isolated old house my parents were renovating in the Clwyd Valley, North Wales, one winter (yes, and it was haunted, but that’s another story). 

As I paced those long corridors, fuming with boredom, I was reduced to reading all sorts of books which my mother had acquired in job lots from auctions. During this time I read some of Georgette Heyer’s Regency Romances, including, as I remember, ‘The Talisman Ring’ (Disgraced Earl Falsely Accused of Murder by Conniving Cousin Becomes a Smuggler) and ‘The Black Moth’ (Disgraced Earl Falsely Accused of Murder Through Machinations of Etc Etc Becomes a Highwayman), one on a similar theme by Barbara Cartland, the name of which I have forgotten. By a weird co-incidence, at this time I came across another Victorian take on this by the now almost unknown best selling writer of cheap sentimental novels Charles Garvice, ‘The Outcast of the Family Or a Battle Between Love and Pride’ (Disgraced Heir to an Earldom Falsely Accused of Murder by Machinations of Conniving Cousin takes to the high seas and then becomes a hand on a ranch; well, it wasn’t easy or profitable to be a smuggler or highwaymen by Victorian times).

You’ll find variations of this theme in numerous historical novels, classic and otherwise. It features in a play on which many of the classic robber novels are based , Fredereich Schiller’s ‘The Robbers’ (though there the villain of the piece is a brother). 

However, we can’t always be reveling in the clichéd, and this is a problem that worries a lot of writers, so on this question of originality:
As far back as 1916 George Polti argued that there are only thirty-six dramatic situations, taking his basic list from Goethe, who took it in turn from the Italian writer Carlo Gozzi who compiled his list sometime before 1806.  

1. Supplication (in which the Supplicant must beg something from Power in authority)
2. Deliverance
3. Crime Pursued by Vengeance
4. Vengeance taken for kindred upon kindred
5. Pursuit
6. Disaster
7. Falling Prey to Cruelty of Misfortune
8. Revolt
9. Daring Enterprise
10. Abduction
11. The Enigma (temptation or a riddle)
12. Obtaining
13. Enmity of Kinsmen
14. Rivalry of Kinsmen
15. Murderous Adultery
16. Madness
17. Fatal Imprudence
18. Involuntary Crimes of Love (example: discovery that one has married one’s mother, sister, etc.)
19. Slaying of a Kinsman Unrecognized
20. Self-Sacrificing for an Ideal
21. Self-Sacrifice for Kindred
22. All Sacrificed for Passion
23. Necessity of Sacrificing Loved Ones
24. Rivalry of Superior and Inferior
25. Adultery
26. Crimes of Love
27. Discovery of the Dishonor of a Loved One
28. Obstacles to Love
29. An Enemy Loved
30. Ambition
31. Conflict with a God
32. Mistaken Jealousy
33. Erroneous Judgement
34. Remorse
35. Recovery of a Lost One
36. Loss of Loved Ones.

Reading through this (admittedly, archaic sounding) list inspires you at once; but you see what I mean. That is all the plots there are; thirty-six...

What fills them out is characterization, historical setting, vocabulary, humour, style, etc.
And here the minefield begins. How many original characters are there?

None again. I suppose we MIGHT write about an original character, if we wrote about someone, say, whose only interest in life was keeping a pet spider, who had an obsessive need to count pillar boxes, and who went about wearing a pair of football boots, a grass skirt, and a top hat – but how many people would want to read about such an individual? 

(On this note, I have to say that I always wanted to read a story someone described to me about a man who did nothing but sit with his feet up all day resting on a door knob; sadly, I was never able to track this story down). 

How many original situations are there? Very few again, unless we chose to write about something totally recondite.

So, if we want to write about people who have a reasonable appeal, and write about interesting situations, by definition we must write about something that has been used before – many times…
Many, many times.

The freshness of the whole thing is in how themes are treated.

As Lauryn says in her original article – it isn’t plagiarism to use an idea that has been used recently, because almost certainly that idea was explored several times before that recent use of it. 

Sherlock Holmes wasn’t the original private consulting detective – but Conan Doyle’s creation so vastly outshone his rivals that he has acquired mythical status. 

The originator of the vampire story wasn’t Bran Stoker in ‘Dracula’, or Sheridan la Fanu in ‘Carmilla’ or the writer of ‘Varney the Vampire’ J M Rymer, or even Dr Polidori in his novella ‘The Vampyre’ written in a competition with Lord Byron and Shelley. 

We have no idea who it was – the traditional vampire legends in Eastern Europe go back many centuries.

So I don’t think that authors should allow themselves to become too paranoid when readers and reviewers can too eager to accuse writers of ‘copying ideas’ too quickly. As Lauryn says, it can’t be avoided. 

I remember doing a short story writing course and my tutor was dismayed by the fact that I set a ghost story in a rambling, isolated old house. ‘That’s been done to death!’
Quite. But it’s still a lot of fun.

(Glances around in alarm as a hooded figure appears in a flash of lightening, followed by a dreadful, resounding clap of thunder).     

I suggest we all revel in a bit of cliché…

For more from Lucinda Elliot visit her on:

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