Friday, May 30, 2014

Editor Interview with Victoria Shockley

Victoria Shockley is a writer and editor, an avid reader of fiction, and a senior at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She’s majoring in English with a concentration in language and writing and will be graduating in May of 2014, a year ahead of her class. She's proud to have a GPA that falls within the top 7% of the senior class at NCSU, and she's made the Dean's List every semester of her college career. In January of 2013, she was named Student of the Month for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Currently she works virtually as a self-employed freelance editor. She launched her business in the summer of 2012; since then she's edited manuscripts of all genres for dozens of clients, both international and domestic. In addition, she also works as a Public Relations and Communications Assistant for Stephanie Wolf PR, based in New York City. During her senior year of high school, Victoria wrote The Elevator, her first novella, published by Wandering in the Words Press. Aside from work and school, she enjoys dance, yoga, and modeling.

Do you work for a company or are you a freelance editor?
I'm a self-employed freelancer.

What book are you most proud of having edited?
Honestly, I don't have a sole favorite that I've edited. I put my best work into each manuscript I receive, and I'm proud of all of them. I'm also glad to help authors take one step closer to their goals of being published. However, I am proud that even though I'm still in school, I can provide the level of quality editing that allows me to work with distinguished writers such as New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Colleen Gleason, who's published roughly twenty novels.

What type of stories do you most enjoy editing?
I'm happy to edit all genres of fiction and nonfiction, but I personally enjoy reading romance and sci-fi.  
Are your rates affordable for indie authors?
Definitely! I've worked with many indie and first-time authors, and they've found my rates to be very affordable for their budgets. In fact, the last author I worked with, Kingsley Osuala, wrote me a testimonial saying, "The quality edits I received would have cost me 5-10 times more had I used a local book editing service.  She is truly a treasure and has made my dream of publishing a novel closer than ever.  Absolutely amazing!"

How do you decide your pricing?
Because every manuscript is different, I base my rates on each specific project. When I receive an editing inquiry, I ask the writer to send me a five-page sample so I can determine how much editing it will need. Using that plus the word count, I determine a competitive, affordable price for each project.  
What other books have you edited?
A lot! You can check out a list here, which includes links to books I've edited that have been published:

What are some things you think writers should look for/be wary of when hiring an editor?
Writers should always ask for a sample edit before hiring an editor so they can see exactly what style and level of editing will be performed on their manuscript. I would be wary of an editor who isn't willing to edit a short sample, but I haven't yet met an editor who doesn't offer that service, so I wouldn't expect writers to run into that problem often. Also, writers should read the testimonials page if the editor has one of his/her website to get an idea of what past clients have thought of the editor's finished work.

Do you have any advice for new writers?
I would advise that new writers work hard to grow their networks on social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Creating an online presence and forging relationships with people this way helped tremendously when I was just starting out, and even now I get emails and leads from people who found me on LinkedIn and Twitter. For authors, it's also helpful to be active on other sites like Smashwords and Goodreads.

How do you feel about serial commas, and why?
I support using them, and I will add them into a manuscript unless an author requests that I leave them out. I know it's become a controversial grammar subject, but I grew up using them and feel that sentences make more sense when the serial comma is in place.

When you’re not editing what do you like to do?
I love dance, yoga, and modeling. I'm a bit of a fitness junkie, and most weeks I work out five of the seven days!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Editor Interview with Melissa Andriana McKay

I’m Melissa Andriana McKay, owner of Andriana Editing. I’ve always been a reader, rarely without a book nearby, but had never considered editing until a friend suggested it and suddenly I found a career to be passionate about. I’m a major grammar nerd and delight in finding typos on signs around town (most recently at Wal-Mart: “If you park your vehicle and the leave the propert at any time, you will be ticketed and/or towed away at owners risk and expense”).

What type of stories do you most enjoy editing?
I enjoy editing sci-fi / adventure books because it is one of my favourite genres to read so, when editing in this genre, it often takes the “work” out of working.

What other books have you edited?
I’ve also edited YA and romance books, including Young Annabelle, Always Wanted, The Last, and Ghost God. On top of novels, I edit academic papers (including Master’s and PhD theses), business plans, website content, and any other type of text that needs to be polished.

Do you work for a company or are you a freelance editor?
I’ve been a freelance editor since 2008.

Are your rates affordable for indie authors?
I charge $3/pg for full-service editing with rush services available at an additional cost. To some this may seem high, but to others it seems like a bargain; it all depends on how much you plan to invest in making your manuscript into a masterpiece. Some editors out there charge mere pennies per page and promise super-quick turnaround times, but I want to put as much love and care into the editing as you put into the writing.

How did you decide your pricing?
I spent a long time skulking about on other editors’ websites to see what they charged and what they offered. As I edged into the industry, I threw out some tentacles to determine what rate felt right to both myself and my clients.

What things should a writer have done before contacting an editor?
Please, please, please read your work at least once (if not several times) before going to an editor. This will save you money and the editor time.

How do you feel about serial commas, and why?
I am a definite advocate of serial commas because it makes writing so much clearer. For example, “I went to the store with my two friends, a teacher and a doctor.” Did you go to the store with four people? Or are you explaining that one of your friends is a teacher and the other is a doctor?

When you’re not editing what do you like to do?
I love to travel, and I’m an avid knitter. Anyone need a scarf?

Melissa McKay | Andriana Editing

Friday, May 16, 2014

Editor interview with Eileen Proksch

 I'm 23 years old, I love reading, writing and everything books. I've studied English and History for about three years and I work as as freelance editor since 2013. If I'm not editing, reading or writing I'm probably watching a TV show. Not only do I buy too many books but also too many DVDs and CDs. I'm still waiting for the day when Amazon's one-click option ruins my life.

What type of stories do you most enjoy editing?
I'm a romance, NA, YA and chick lit reader, so that's what I enjoy most when editing.

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

I'm a freelance editor.

What book are you most proud of having edited?
I think I'm most proud of Changing His Game by Justine Elvira. It's such a great book. I enjoyed editing as much as reading it.

What does your editing process look like from start to finish?
I offer sample edits for authors so that would be the first step. I send the edited sample back to the author with an exact price. As soon as I start editing it takes about 6-10 days, always depending on how much editing needs to be done, the word count, how much I have to do. I edit the book, including comments when there are issues with the time frame, characters, plot, etc. When I send the edited MS back to the author I include a longer comment with advice here and there. When the author went through the whole MS once again they send it back to be for the final proofread. I'm always open for discussions with authors, brainstorming, and trying to make the book as best as it can be.

Are your rates affordable for indie authors?
Yes, totally. I'm always open for discussion when an indie author needs my help and they have a tight budget. My prices aren't set in stone.

What things should a writer have done before contacting an editor?
For me it's important to know how far they are with their writing process and if they set a rough word count. Most authors expect a price when contacting me but I can't give that if I don't know how much words there will be approximately. It doesn't matter whether there are 5,000 words more or less in the end, I can match the price to that. But to give them a rough price I need to know how much editing needs to be done and the word count. I offer free sample edits for that.

What should a writer expect (or not expect) out of an editor?
They should expect that their book is ready to be published after the final edit or proofread. And advice! I don't wanna change an author's work, I wanna help them make it better. So I give them advice but what they do with it that's totally up to the author. And I make that clear from the beginning. I'm an honest person and I think it's really important to not sugar coat things. The book will hopefully be read by a lot of people and it should be as good as it can be.

Do you have any advice for new writers?
Don't think an editor wants to harm your book or your writing. We try to help you, make it better, we see things you might have not realized in that way. Try to accept an editor's opinion and think about it before throwing it overboard. I like to discuss things and talk them through, and I try to be always there for the authors I work with and they know that they can always contact me. A lot of indie writers think it's not important to let someone edit their book, but it is. There are always readers to whom a well edited book is as important as the story itself.

What do you think makes a good editor?
I think a good editor should be passionate about their work. Just like an author, but on a more impartial level. They should know the genre they're editing, they should know books from that genre. Personally, I like to read reviews about books before reading them, because that makes me also see what the reader thinks, what the reader wants, and what they dislike. It helped me with my work so far.

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

Reading and writing are probably the things I enjoy the most. But I do have other things to do, I just don't enjoy them as much. I might be a tad bit addicted to TV shows.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Editor Interview with Gerald William Shaw

Gerald William Shaw has worked as a writer and editor for books, newspapers, magazines and online sites. His latest edited books include TheBlood Feud, The Blood Tie and the soon-to-be-released The Blood Trail by Shelley Young, and Vibrations: A Psychic Journey by Tammie Whalen Buckler. He is also an author and ghostwriter. 

What type of stories do you most enjoy editing? 
Right now, I like thrillers, including erotic thrillers. I’ve recently edited the novels of Shelley Young, who is getting quite a following with her Dardian Dreshaj series – The Blood Feud and The Blood Tie.

What other books have you edited? 
I’ve edited science fiction and adventure novels. The DreamChaser, a romance-adventure by Anne Higgins Petz, has been getting great reviews. I’m editing a science fiction in the young adult genre for a new writer. I just completed editing a wonderful memoir by a woman with psychic abilities, Vibrations: A Psychic Journey by Tammie Whalen Buckler. I’ve also edited a science textbook, The Young Amateur’s Guide to Radio Physics. So, I pretty much cover a wide range.

Do you work for a company or are you a freelance editor? 
I am a freelance editor. My past experience includes a position as executive editor for a small book publishing company.

What book are you most proud of having edited? 
I’d have to say The Young Amateur’s Guide to Radio Physics because I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I did to the author's delight. It’s very technical. It’s aimed at young ham radio operators who want to consider the future of using radio communication with space exploration.

What is the best book you’ve read/edited this year? 
That would be The Blood Feud by Shelley Young. She’s an amazing writer who knows how to detail thrilling action, peppered with just enough sensuality. She has completed two novels in this series and is nearly done with the third, which I will also be editing. Her fans keep waiting for the next Dardian Dreshaj novel. 

Are your rates affordable for indie authors? 
I would say my rates are very affordable for indie authors. There are a lot of good writers out there and it can be privilege to help them publish their books within their means.

How do you decide your pricing? 
I generally have set fees, but let authors know I will negotiate with people who just can’t afford the prices of some professional editors. I work out fees with new and experienced writers.

Do you have any advice for new writers? 
Write, write and keep writing. Let your imagination go. Let friends or colleagues review your work, and take their criticism. It always helps. Then write again.

When you’re not editing what do you like to do? 
I like to write myself and have authored books, including TheComplete Guide to Trust and Estate Management, a popular how-to on property management from Atlantic Publishing. I have also ghostwritten books on health, skin care and home improvement.

Twitter: @Jerosaur

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Indie Books Read: April

Here at Phantom Owl we support indie authors. We've asked book bloggers to share their indie book reviews with us, and at the beginning of every month, we're going to share with all of you the wonderful books they've suggested. We hope to not only bring attention to indie books, but also to promote the bloggers that are taking the time to read and review them.

The list includes books of all genres.

Books are arranged by rating.

Beauty Is for Suckers by M.A. Carson
Amsterdam Assassin Series Blog Rating - 4 Stars
Goodreads Rating - 4.40 Stars

"This incredibly funny vampire tale was well-written, with engaging characters and ludicrous situations that were nevertheless so viscerally described that they were ultimately believable." - Martyn V Halm

The Arrival by CM Doporto
 Bookwyrming Thoughts Rating - 4.5 Stars
Goodreads Rating - 4.27

"The Arrival is completely different... Miranda is a determined heroine." - Bookwyrming Thoughts

Voice by Joseph Garraty
Amsterdam Assassin Series Blog Rating - 4 Stars
Goodreads Rating - 4.10

"From the prologue, that gets the chills going, the story plunges the characters in a downward spiral that is both inevitable and horrifying." - Martyn V Halm

Six Dead Spots by Gregor Xane
Amsterdam Assassin Series Blog Rating - 4 Stars
Goodreads Rating - 4.07 Stars

"Disturbingly funny, or hilariously disturbing, Xane’s wonderful Six Dead Spots chronicles the protagonist’s floundering descent into madness." - Martyn V Halm

Crazy For Cowboy by Roxy Boroughs
Icequeen's Bookshelf's Rating - 4 Stars
Goodreads Rating - 3.34 Stars

"An entertaining light read. Which I enjoyed immensely." - Icequeen's Bookshelf

Fall of Venus by Daelynn Quinn
Bookwyrming Thoughts Rating - 3 Stars
Goodreads Rating - 4.21

"Fall of Venus is a really interesting story." - Bookwyrming Thoughts

Looking for Chet Baker by Bill Moody
Amsterdam Assassin Series Blog Rating - 3 Stars
Goodreads Rating - 3.56 Stars

"I enjoyed Evan’s first person narration, and I know Mr. Moody is a musician himself by the way he can write interestingly about performances and the life of musicians." - Martyn V Halm

Sark by Steven Price
Amsterdam Assassin Series Blog Rating - 3 Stars
Goodreads Rating - 3.25

"Recommended to fans of Douglas Adams/Terry Pratchett." - Martyn V Halm

Severance Kill by Tim Stevens
Amsterdam Assassin Series Blog Rating - 2 Stars
Goodreads Rating - 3.75 Stars

"Only recommended if your suspension of disbelief is made out of sturdier material than mine." - Martyn V Halm

The Killing League by Dani Amore
Amsterdam Assassin Series Blog Rating - 2 Stars
Goodreads Rating- 3.62

"I had high expectations of this book, due to the enticing blurb, but the story failed to deliver." - Martyn V Halm

Girl Fights Back by Jacques Antoine
Amsterdam Assassin Series Blog Rating - 1 Star
Goodreads Rating- 3.83

"I understand how the author probably created a kick-ass teenage heroine that other teenage girls could empathize with, but in my opinion that would require a heroine who would also feel doubt and fear and anger and sadness." - Martyn V Halm

The Cleaner by Mark Dawson
Amsterdam Assassin Series Blog Rating - 1 Star
Goodreads Rating - 3.81

"John Milton sounded interesting until I got too much information in the worst way possible." - Martyn V Halm

Agent In Training by Jerri Drennen
Amsterdam Assassin Series Blog Rating - 1 Star
Goodreads Rating - 3.53

"So, for those who enjoy a good laugh, this book comes highly recommended if you can overlook the poor editing, but people looking for romance or suspense might better look elsewhere." -Martyn V Halm

Aristocrats and Assassins: Detectives Chen and Castilblanco by Steven Moore
The Good, The Bad and The Bizzare Rating -Good
Goodreads Rating - 5 Stars

 "Leaves the audience satisfied, fulfilled, and looking forward to the next big adventure." - The Good, The Bad, and The Bizzare

 Chains of Prophecy: The Samuel Buckland Chronicles by Jason Crawford
The Good, The Bad, and The Bizzare Rating - Good
Goodreads Rating - 4.25

"We seriously hope that this is a series. Although it ended with an actual ending, we were left craving more." - The Good, The Bad, and The Bizzare

The Elect: Allison’s Story by Elle Todd
The Good, The Bad, and The Bizzare Rating - Good
Goodreads Rating - 4.11

"What really makes this story shine is its characterization and emphasis on personal interactions. Each of the characters felt unique and real, and we really enjoyed the mystery of figuring out what was happening." - The Good, The Bad, and The Bizzare

Strange Eight by K.L. Nappier
The Good, The Bad, and The Bizzare Rating -Good
Goodreads Rating - 4 Stars

"Strange and unexpected in the best of ways." - The Good, The Bad, The Bizzare

Reprobate: A Katla Novel by Martyn V. Halm
The Good, The Bad, and The Bizzare Rating - Good
Goodreads Rating - 3.91 Stars

"An impressive set of writing, plot, and suspense. If you like foreign settings, police procedurals, and insight into the criminal mind, then this is a definite plus." - The Good, The Bad, and The Bizzare

How to be Bad: A Decision Select Novel by Michael La Ronn
The Good, The Bad, and The Bizzare Rating - Bizzare
Goodreads Rating - 4.57 Stars

"For those who like to see a story’s inner workings, this book presents a fascinating extra layer." - The Good, The Bad, The Bizzare

The Wired Man by David Suski
Easy Reader Book Reviewer Rating - Unrated
Goodreads Rating - 3.56

"The Wired Man is a very interesting look at the current trend of on-line social networking.  It is an action adventure science fiction work." - Easy Reader Book Reviewer

See what books were suggested by bloggers in March

If you are a blogger who would like to contribute to the "Indie Books Read: May" post, you can do so HERE. Reviews submitted must be for books read in May of 2014, must be self-published or  published by an independent or small press (like Phantom Owl), and must be added by the reviewer not the author. You can add a review for a book that we've already featured, but cannot submit the same review twice.

How can we improve this post? Let us know, leave a comment.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Editor Interview with Kaelie Foy

Hello!!! My name is Kaelie and I just recently got my foot in the door of the editing world. Editing is something that I have always done when reading a book or story. At a younger age, I had no idea editing could be a hobby, let alone a career! My cousin is an aspiring author and she is who introduced me to this industry. This is something that we both enjoy and we have decided to go into business together; she the writer, I the editor. Although I am her editor, I am still trying to get myself out there for more experience and for the times that she doesn't have a story for me. I am beside myself with excitement for what this current hobby could do for my future career!! :) Anything else you would like to know please don't hesitate to ask. This is all new to me so any advice or anything is welcome!!!

What type of stories do you most enjoy editing?
I honestly don't mind editing whatever is thrown at me but if I had to choose I guess I would pick something with an unexpected ending.

What other books have you edited?
The only story I have edited so far is a short story that my cousin wrote. I don't know what I loved more, the editing or the story!!!!

Do you work for a company or are you a freelance editor?
Well I am a freelance editor but I just recently got accepted by The Oddville Press as one of their editors. As well as being my cousin's editor and hopefully yours too!

What is the best book you’ve read/edited this year?
The best book I have read this year is probably The Notebook. I am a sucker for romance. :)

How do you decide your pricing?
So far I have not been paid for my editing but if someone chose me to edit their piece it would depend on how long the story was. The author and I would come to an agreement since I do not have a set price.

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

They rush their writing in order to get all of their ideas out and finish the story. If an editor gets a story that has been rushed, the editor might not understand what the writer was trying to get the reader to feel or understand and by fixing the story to make it flow, the story may lose what made it unique in the first place. OH and always get a sample edit from the editor because if you hire them and pay them but they do not do what you hired them for then it can be a real mess!

What things should a writer have done before contacting an editor?
They should definitely do their research on pricing so they know who to look for. If the writer is unfamiliar or new to this just like I am, they may not know if they are getting a fair deal. Also, the writer should read the story over just to make sure that it is how they want. The little errors and what not can be saved for the editor.

When you’re not editing what do you like to do?
I love to hang out with my man, my animals and kick back at home. I also enjoy parties, get togethers and spending time with friends and family. Anything that involves laughing and fun times has me written all over it!!!