Sunday, September 27, 2009


I am pleased to say that progress continues in the effort toward publication of the new book. An agent has offered to represent it, and once the contract comes back from my legal advisors, it will be signed, and the hunt for a publisher will begin (he already has three publishers in mind).

The agent suggested that I send the manuscript to a book editor (even though he had not yet read it at that point). I spent some considerable time looking for an experienced “book” editor, someone who is skilled in overall book quality, such as flow, reading dynamics and organization, as well as the usual copy-editing skill set. The agent read the manuscript while I was searching for the right editor and sent me several suggestions, which I immediately incorporated into the manuscript. Then I sent it to the book editor for a read through.

I was thrilled with the book editor's response. He loved the book, then he roundly chastised me for making him cry in public. Evidently he read through the manuscript sitting in Panera Bread! (Sorry about that, Ken.) I believe this is the first time in my life I ever made a grown man cry…at least with my writing.

He offered some wonderful suggestions, and I have taken his advice to heart and made further changes that improve the dynamics and flow and corrected the occasional typo. The manuscript is now in it’s last and hopefully final copy-edit phase. I am running through it with a red pen, while another copy is with a highly competent copy editor for an equal run through.

Those who know me well enough to know what I do for a living might want to know why I would bother having someone else do a complete edit on my work. Let me explain. I have spent the last 20 years writing and editing for a living, but I have learned a very important lesson. Your brain sees what it thinks you typed or what you intended to type, even when your eyes are seeing what your fingers actually typed. In essence, if you typed there when you really meant to type their, your brain makes the leap when you read it again and ignores it, much like the autocorrect feature of word. Once you tell it something is correct, it never highlights it again, even when it’s wrong.

I can take someone else’s work and catch 99.9%of their copy issues. If I’ve never seen it before and I did not write it, I am more competent to catch the problems. If I’m reading my own stuff, my brain is already biased. It is much harder to edit your own work with the same degree of accuracy that you can something you’ve never seen before.

Always have someone else read your work before submitting it to an agent or publisher! If you can’t find someone competent to read through it for you, then sit down in a quiet place and very deliberately read it out loud. This is the only way to stop the brain from making that leap and force it to recognize what is actually written there.

More information on the new book will be forthcoming!