SIGRID MACDONALD: AUTHOR AND EDITOR
- Manuscript Evaluations
- Free Sample Edits
Have you just completed that special manuscript? Months or even years of research, toil, and overcoming roadblocks are finally behind you. Your book is finished—almost.
Every author needs a professional editor before going to print. Even the most seasoned writers no longer have any objectivity about their work in the final stages and for first-time authors, a highly-skilled copyedit is essential. Staring at a manuscript, day in and day out over a long period of time, prevents us from seeing our own mistakes, or stepping back to ascertain flaws in our plot line and inconsistencies in characterization.
Stephen King recommends giving a manuscript to a trusted reader once you’ve reached the point where you've written all that you can. After receiving important feedback from your reader, it's time to hire an editor.
THE ROLE OF THE EDITOR
What constitutes a good editor? It depends on what you're looking for. Some people only want to have their work checked for basic spelling and grammatical errors. Why is that necessary, you might ask, in the age of spell-checkers? A spell-checker can only determine if a word is misspelled, not if it’s being used out of context. For example, if you wanted to say, "My aunt came over for tea," but you wrote, "My ant came over for tea," the spell-checker will accept that as being correct. Likewise, it will consider both "everyday" and "every day" to be spelled properly. That's true but "everyday" is an adjective whereas "every day" is a noun preceded by an adjective.
Other people want a more comprehensive copyedit. They tend to use the same words repeatedly, yet their work would sound much fresher with synonyms. Some sentences are constructed awkwardly or phrased in the passive tense. Often writers use too many adjectives or adverbs. An editor can easily turn those problems around by forming active sentences with strong verbs. Last, new writers may be unsure about the flow of their ideas. They want a critique of their manuscript. With fiction, they're looking for tips on character development, background setting, and plot resolution. If the book is nonfiction, writers often need a professional opinion as to whether or not their language is understandable, their concepts are clear, and their research is up-to-date.
Editors are usually familiar with several different types of English. I grew up in New Jersey, so I use American English as my default, but I've lived in Canada for more than twenty years, so I'm familiar with Canadian spelling (e.g., I spelled “nonfiction” the American way. If I had written that as a Canadian word, I would have written "non-fiction"). And, out of the 85 books that I've edited, at least fifteen were written by authors in the United Kingdom; therefore, I know British spelling, as well as Australian.
In addition, I rely on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, as well as Collins Gage Canadian Dictionary; generally, I use my own good judgment for punctuation, but I own a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style and use it whenever clients request me to do so.
COMBINATION AUTHOR AND EDITOR
I’m not only an editor; I’m also an author. I know what it's like to work for a year or two on a book and feel nervous about giving it over to a stranger. I’ve written three books and numerous articles that have been published in American periodicals such as the Women's Freedom Network Newsletter in Washington, D.C., and the popular magazine, Justice Denied. In Canada, my works have appeared in the national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, as well as The Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario's Newsletter, and Carleton University Women's Center's periodical entitled 52%. I had an article published in the Toastmaster (Toastmaster International's magazine), which went out to more than 250,000 people in eighty countries, am a frequent contributor to True North Perspectives and She Unlimited magazine, and recently had a dark piece published in a horror mag. And I've been affiliated with four publishing companies.
Consequently, I understand the world of publishing and marketing. Writing a book is only half the job! Marketing, networking, and promoting comprise the other half.
RATES AND SERVICES
Copyediting Per Page
Counting a Page As Size 12 Text, Times New Roman Font, Double-spaced
Level I — this involves correcting your spelling, grammar, punctuation, and typos. I also standardize Canadian, American, British, or Australian spelling, so that you don't spell center the American way and neighbour the Canadian way in the same document. Two dollars a page
Level II — this involves all the above including substituting synonyms for repetitious words, and changing passive sentences to active ones when indicated. Three dollars a page
Level III — this involves a line-by-line analysis of your prose and sentence structure. Are you too wordy? Inconsistent? Do you contradict yourself? Do you use acronyms that may be confusing to readers? This comprehensive edit ensures that your manuscript is well-organized, readable, clear, consistent, and salable. Four dollars a page
Level I — a basic critique of your work, along with a short report indicating strengths and weaknesses, as well as noting areas where you could improve your material. Two dollars a page
READ MY TESTIMONIALS
QUERY LETTERS, SYNOPSES AND BOOK PROPOSALS
The thrill of completing your manuscript is fleeting once you realize that now you have to compose a letter to publishers. How will you even find a publisher? What will you say? How can you make your letter stand out from all the rest that wind up in the garbage pile?
Publishers often require a synopsis of the book, as well as the first three chapters. In order to summarize your 275 page manuscript in one page, you'll need to be clear, concise, and original . You want to highlight the best parts of the book and grab the publisher's attention instantly.
IS SELF-PUBLISHING AN OPTION?
For years, writers felt inferior when they published their own works. They were told that if their writing was good enough, it would be accepted by a traditional publisher. Often it was hard to obtain reviews for self-published books. Fortunately, this stigma is disappearing. Smart people realize it could take months or years to submit a manuscript to conventional publishing companies, only to be rejected in the end.
Why not do it yourself? Finish your book and get it out there. Make higher royalties than you could with a company.
Sounds simple, but there is much to know about navigating the complicated self-publishing highway. Should you use iUniverse, Lulu, Author Solutions, Trafford, Smashwords, or a local printer? How much will you have to pay for shipping? How can you sell your book on your website? What about e-books?
I’ve been publishing books for myself and for clients for ten years. I know the ins and outs, and can recommend the highest quality, least expensive options. And I'll customize a program just for you. I also have great contacts who can do page formatting, headers and footers, and create awesome cover art!
If you want me to ensure that the titles of books, movies, or names of cities you refer to are spelled or phrased correctly, I would be happy to do that for $30 per hour. This generally doesn't take long because I make a note of references to check when I am doing my first read on your manuscript.
I offer one-stop shopping.
First, I specialize in copyediting so that I'll polish and perfect your language and sentence structure, remove redundancies and repetitions, and eradicate typos and problems with spelling, grammar, or punctuation.
Second, I offer a comprehensive critique of your manuscript, which will make it more salable.
Third, I have assistants, associates, and a number of important connections in the publishing field who will provide you with all the help you need to publish a book. Because I'm part of a team, you won't be left hanging after I've edited your manuscript. You don't want to randomly type in publishers' names or genres into Google or Yahoo! in the hope that you can find someone who’s looking for your type of manuscript. I'm familiar with publishers who are looking for general manuscripts, sci-fi and fantasy, children's books, feminist or women-related novels, and erotica. And I know the best self-publishing companies, which will save you money and aggravation in the long run. Twenty-six of my clients have found traditional publishers!
Start with me and watch your rough manuscript blossom into a polished book with an engaging book proposal, synopsis, and query. It will then metamorphize into your own baby with a special message; you’ll learn how to deliver it directly into the hands of the right publishers, and zoom out onto the Internet with a specific, targeted marketing plan geared exactly to your intended audience.
HOW TO SUBMIT MANUSCRIPTS AND SHORT STORIES
My turnaround time is generally four to eight weeks for a full-length book, and ten days to two weeks for articles. I accept manuscripts as e-mail attachments, on CD or disk, or as printed documents, and I edit directly on the manuscript using a tracking program.
Please put something about your book in the subject title of an e-mail, so it isn't destroyed by my spam filter!
Don't forget to read what my clients have to say in my blog entitled "Sigrid's Testimonials." Several of my former clients would be happy to write to you, if you want further reassurance about my work.
CONTACT ME: email@example.com
Thanks so much for stopping by.