My old boss really liked the book but when he said it needed editing I was a bit offended at first. What are you trying to say about my English! While I realise every book needs an editor, to be actually told so was a bit of a smack in the mouth.
While I am not a writer as such, I have worked in marketing for the past 20 years and fancy myself as a bit of a copy writer. My spoken English is appalling but when it comes to the written word and delivering a certain message in a specific number of words I’m quite good.
When you are managing a finite marketing budget and there are experts coming at you from all angles looking to charge a fee for a specific piece of work, you very quickly have to sort out what you need to pay someone else to do and what you can do yourself, or within your team, to save a bit of money. Copy writing was one of those things. I’ve written copy for all sorts of things. Mainly short more direct pieces, both in print and broadcast.
But I realised for this type of writing that an editor was needed. The question was what type. There are so many types of book editors out there. Developmental editors, who offer ‘intuitive and intelligent changes’ to the copy, for example. Thats a whole long term process, looking at ongoing dialogue between the writer and editor to develop the book far beyond the original writing. To be honest, that was a bit over the top and not what I was looking for.
The writing style in my book is conversational and immediate. Its coming straight of my head, through my fingers and onto the page (iPad actually at the moment). Its similar to this blog to be honest…but don’t let that put you off! When you’re talking about football and a game that has happened right in front of your eyes, you need that immediacy. It works much better than when you are reflecting on writing a book. I know full well that every one of these paragraphs could be edited and wordsmithed until the cows come home – but thats not what I’m looking for.
I’m looking to retain that style but ensure that the spelling, the grammar and the punctuation is correct. To do that, I need a copy editor and I have found a brilliant one – Ken. I found Ken on fiverr, where all the creatives bid for jobs. Ken wasn’t the first editor I found. There were a couple of others but I think I burned both of them off with the amount of ill advised questions I was asking. When they stopped replying to me, I eventually went on Google and researched it myself. By the time I found Ken I was far better informed and its been plain sailing ever since.
I explained to him that I didn’t really need an editor, that I’d done the spellcheck on Word TWICE, and that it was pretty much clean but could he give it the once over for me! I thought it would take him a couple of days so you can imagine my surprise when he said three weeks. THREE WEEKS!?
So he’s working on it now. The manuscript that I thought was nearly clean was anything but….it has a typo in the bloody title! How embarrassing! Who knew there was an apostrophe in Lets!?
He’s about three quarters of the way through and has already made over three thousand changes. Three bloody thousand! Most of them are punctuation, but there are so many changes to the grammar I feel a bit embarrassed. It’s absolutely appalling!!
What he has done though is retain that writing style in the book, made small changes that make it flow better but retained that immediacy. It’s brilliant really seeing what a professional can do. Worth every penny. The only thing he can’t seem to do is spell Grobbelaar properly…I think I’ll let him off!