First-Time Presenter: Writers Conference

Well, the Houston Writers Guild annual conference went really well, according to everyone. I was one of the breakout speakers and did a presentation called “Preparing to Work with and Later Working with an Editor.” I was super nervous and felt I messed up a good amount, but I got great feedback about it afterward. The audience was perfect: they took notes, laughed in the right spots, and asked questions. Below is the title page of my PowerPoint presentation.

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I also had a little table set up that I stayed at for most of the rest of the conference, and people came by to ask advice about their books and get information about the editing process. I tell you, it’s such a rewarding feeling doing what you love, being able to help others reach their goals, and having people look to you for guidance.

Later in the day I participated on a panel with a few literary agents and one other editor. That was definitely helpful to a lot of writers. Those agents were available during the day to hear book pitches, and I got to hear all about several people’s encouraging sessions with the agents. Such excitement all day.

So, though I was a nervous wreck for a good part of the day, it was totally worth it. I’m looking forward to next year’s conference already.

Editor Amy

Houston Writers Guild Annual Conference

Tomorrow will be a big day for this editor! I’m going to be a speaker at the Houston Writers Guild annual conference. My presentation is called “Preparing to Work with and Later Working with an Editor.” It was an honor to be asked to speak. I’ll also serve on the Q&A panel again with a few literary agents.

This conference is a big event in the Houston writing community, and it offers so many great resources for writers (both beginners and pros). Some writers set up tables to promote their latest works, other professionals in the publishing industry feature their skills and services, and a few agents make themselves available to hear pitches from writers. Registration is available via the link above. Come say hi if you see me!

Editor Amy


A Great New Children’s Book

I had the pleasure of working with author Denise Ditto Satterfield on her first book in the series The Tooth Collector Fairies. It’s truly a sweet, special children’s book, and I’m so happy that it came out how it did. Check it out here.

Here’s a brief description:

“In the magical land of Brushelot, it is Batina’s first day collecting teeth. She is determined that her humongous wings will not interfere with her mission. But on her way back, with a tooth secure in her pouch, her wings cause her to tumble, and the tooth is lost. Batina must call on her best friends, Lainey the brainiac and little Lulu, to work together to save the day.”

This book is even coming to life as a musical at a local performing arts center!

I enjoy keeping up with many clients, even after our work together is done. Many of them have produced amazing works and are on their way to making even more. There are a lot of great ideas out there, and I’d love to help as many authors as possible reach their goals.

Editor Amy

Another Successful Client

I just love when my clients meet their ultimate writing goals. It’s a great feeling when they come back to me and excitedly tell me that their books (that I edited) have been published. I know how important their work is to them, and it’s a privilege to help shape those books into even greater works.

This children’s book was written by Cathey Nickell, and it’s such a unique concept and has beautiful illustrations to go with it. It’s available here.

Here’s a description: “Arthur Zarr is a quiet man with few friends. His life is rather plain, and his car is plain too. But not for long! Mr. Zarr finds happiness and makes friends by building an amazing art car. In this whimsical story, children learn about recycling, community, friendship building, and the power of imagination. The book includes a History of Art Cars page for readers who’ve never heard of this creative form of artistic expression.”

Those of you still working toward publishing goals, keep at it! And if you’d like my help, please let me know.

Merry Christmas!

Editor Amy

What I See When I Read Anything: An Editor Explained

Minor confession: Like many people, I check Facebook soon after I wake up. The little red notification indicator lures me with the hope that someone has left an interesting comment on one of my statuses or liked at least one of the many pictures of my dogs. Today is no exception. So, because of my Facebook curiosity, I’ve started my job (independent editor) before I’ve even changed out of my pajamas or had breakfast. (No one is paying me for this one, mind you.) But, there it is in my news feed: Someone wrote “I just love this kitten Apollo he lives in the multipurpose room, we adopted him.” I cannot ignore it—not on my life. No matter how groggy I may be, the part of my brain that drives my editing has snapped to life. As soon as I see the first error in that status and keep reading, my brain fanatically starts adding punctuation and changing words, rewriting the status as each new word registers. Now the corrected status reads: “I just love this kitten, Apollo, who lives in the multipurpose room. We adopted him.” Relief. Even though the real status will live on filled with errors, I have improved it, even if it never leaves my head.

Apparently it can be daunting being friends with an editor; multiple people have told me they’re afraid to write anything, for fear that I’ll tear apart their words. I can truthfully say that I have never done that. (It’s called tact!) So, I correct everything in my head—with my invisible pen on the invisible paper that will never become tangible to see the light of day. That’s just one status on one website. The day has barely started. I decide to turn on the morning TV news while getting ready, knowing it’s inevitable that I will hear reporters use words incorrectly and will see bulleted graphics on the screen with capitalization gone wild (“If a Passenger is in Distress, notify a Crew member immediately”). (Editor, editor, anywhere?)

Oh, and I bought this new face mask online, so I have to read the directions on the bottle’s label to know how long to leave it on. “Apply to dry Face, leave on face untill cracks appear.” Oh, no. Well, that just won’t do. Why in the world has someone determined that “face” is important enough to be a proper noun? (Hence the capitalization, which is only applied to one of the mentions of “face,” BTW.) Also, there’s an ugly comma splice staring at me as though it just doesn’t care. Don’t bring in a measly comma to do a period’s work! While we’re at it: Was there no spell check available at any point during this label’s life? Who dropped the ball and misspelled “until”? Finally, don’t even get me started on the ambiguity! “Untill” cracks appear in what? My face? I hope the writer means the mask, but I’m not so confident with that person’s competence so far! How hard is it to write “Apply the product to a dry face. Leave it on until cracks appear in the mask”? At least it’s filed away in my invisible, mental filing cabinet. Crisis rectified! I feel better. Still, maybe I should hold off on the mask and check the reviews again to see if anyone got any weird results thanks to the rest of the instructions.

Now, all that exasperation and mental turmoil happened much faster in person than it took to explain, but it was no less intense. (And no, there’s no off switch; I can’t unsee errors.) At last, after a few more steps that don’t involve reading, my morning routine is complete, and I’m ready for the real work. Come at me, you filthy, pathetic wannabe sentences! I. Will. RUIN YOU! Ahem. I mean . . . This is your friendly, peaceful Texas editor signing off and saying have a nice day.

Editor Amy