Author of several books published by the trade between 1979-2006.
Series Editor for Prima Publishing's line of eleven Crafting for Fun & Profit books published in 1999-2000.
Nearly 40 years' experience as editor of countless publications, from self-published books, eBooks, directories, and print newsletters, to direct mail catalogs, news releases, and brochures; plus ten years of publishing The Brabec Bulletin and hundreds of website articles.
Author, editor, designer, and typesetter of self-published memoir, The Drummer Drives! Everybody Else Rides (2010).
Now writing, editing, and publishing eBooks as well.
Over the years, my trade books and their various editions were copy edited by no less than twenty different editors. With each new book manuscript I submitted, there were less things the copy editor could find wrong with my writing because I never stopped trying to improve it. And I'm still trying today after nearly forty years because I've always wanted to be the best writer I could possibly be.
I read many books and periodicals for writers during my early learning years, but some of my best writing lessons came in the form of the corrections my professional book editors made in my book manuscripts. Somewhere along the line, I began to keep an "Editing Checklist" for myself as a reminder of all the mistakes I wanted to avoid in my writing. You should do the same.
In time, I began to do serious self-study in the rules of grammar and punctuation until I felt confident enough to begin to offer my editing services to writers in 2004. Since then, I've helped many first-time authors whose books are getting rave reviews on Amazon. (See some of them here.)
Copyright © 2014 by Barbara Brabec.
Electronic Editing: A Great Way to Learn How to Improve Your Writing
Electronic on-screen editing is not only easier and faster for the editor, resulting in a lower editing fee, but a great time saver and learning experience for the author who can see every little thing the editor has changed, and, with a click of the mouse, immediately accept or reject that change.
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A VERY EXPERIENCED EDITOR and author on the Web who works exclusively with paper manuscripts (the norm in the trade publishing industry) has published an article on his site saying that "Hiring an editor to work directly with your electronic file actually excludes you from the learning process you would otherwise experience by making corrections to the manuscript yourself. If you're serious about a career as a professional writer, you should take the time to learn what your editor points out to you so that you won't make those same mistakes in the future. I will work with electronic files, but must charge a higher fee."
I agree that beginning writers who want to become professionals must make an effort to learn how to write better, and studying the changes an editor makes to your book manuscript is one way to do this. But that study can be done as well on screen as on paper. It's what the author does with the lessons here that count. (See left for how I learned from the editors who copy edited my various books.)
As a writer who practically lives on her keyboard, editing electronically is not only easier and faster for me, but a real time-saver for the author who simply has to click to accept or reject my editing changes. It's also less expensive and stressful. Why should an author have to bear the expense of printing and mailing a copy of the manuscript and then pay for its return as well, all the while worrying that the edited manuscript might possibly be lost in the mail? That's needless worry and money down the drain.
And why should an author have to learn how to decipher the many different copyeditor marks on a paper copy and then spend hours manually making all those changes to his or her copy on computer?
Study My Electronic Editing and Learn
Using Word's excellent tracking function, every word, sentence change, or corrected punctuation mark I make shows up in color. Deleted text shows up in a box to the right with a line that shows exactly where that content originally appeared. By studying all my editorial changes, you will learn VOLUMES about common writing mistakes you are making and will be able to avoid them in the future. After you've made any notes for yourself on what you've been doing wrong, with a simple click of the mouse you can accept or reject each change, addition, deletion, or comment I've made.
Comment Boxes. Expect to see many comment boxes when I edit your manuscript. During the editing process, I also read for understanding, and if something doesn't make sense to me, I'll comment on it. Some comment notes will highlight text that needs to be rechecked or rewritten while others may justify some change I've made (in anticipation of the author's question). Sometimes I simply give the author a helpful writing tip so a mistake they're making can be avoided in the future.
Note that when you use my editing services, you also gain from my extensive research and layman's understanding of copyright and trademark laws and other legal issues that could get you into legal or financial trouble. (These are topics I've discussed at length in my various home-business books and periodicals.)
Second Editing Go-Round
As you work through the edited manuscript in the first editing go-round, you may need to rewrite some sections I've pointed out, or you may decide to add or delete other content. I may have asked you to double-check your source material or provide additional information so I can complete the editing of a particular section of text. And you may wish to write a few comments of your own about changes I've suggested or challenge one of my editing changes.
Of course I don't expect you to accept every change I've made. And the author must understand that it's impossible for any editor to catch every error in just one pass through a manuscript. That's why I give every manuscript two complete passes, one in the first editing go-round, the second after the author has checked and accepted as many changes as possible in the first editing check.
I'm very good, but I'm not perfect. If the first editing check of the manuscript requires considerable content editing or has structural problems, that's where my focus will be the first time through, and I'll only catch some of the most obvious copy editing errors that will ultimately need to be made. After the author has checked the manuscript and returned it to me (with all delete boxes and comment notes removed save for feedback to them) I'll then give the manuscript another complete editing check to pick up things I missed earlier, along with any new errors the author may have added by making content changes. That copy of the manuscript will then be returned to the author for another check and any last-minute minor word or sentence changes the author may desire. I'll then give the manuscript a third and final check and return a clean copy.
NOTE: The editing fee I've quoted will cover this "second editing go-round" and third final check of the edited manuscript, but if the author decides to make additional changes after this that they want me to check, I will be happy to keep working with them, but will have to charge an additional amount based on the time it takes me to do this work. This is necessary because some authors simply can't stop making "one more change" that needs an editorial check, and before I know it, I've had to make four or five complete run-throughs the manuscript to locate all the additional changes. This can eat a lot of my time.
This is why you should never send your manuscript to me or any editor for editing until you're SURE you're completely finished with the writing and self-editing and don't plan to make any content changes after the editing has been completed. Of course you have every right to do this, but if you make content changes after the editor considers the work complete, you' are very likely going to insert new errors.
Email and Phone Support
Many editors on the Web take a manuscript editing job, do the editing for a set fee, return the manuscript, and that's it. They do not encourage personal contact with the author beyond the initial email exchange, and the author may be lucky to get answers to questions they have about the editing they've received. And if they aren't happy with the editing job they've received . . . well, that's too bad.
But that's not how I work. I not only guarantee complete satisfaction with my work, but consider my author clients my friends. As my satisfied clients have confirmed, I work closely with them throughout the editing process, and frequent back-and-forth email exchanges are the norm, with an occasional telephone chat included if the client lives in the U.S. or uses Skype. (Sometimes when I'm in the middle of the editing work, it's just faster and easier for both me and the client to discuss something by phone rather than email back and forth several times.) No extra charge is made for this kind of communication. Note, however, that I will not provide guidance on the self-publishing process during the editing process. You'll need to set up a paid telephone consultation if you need more information than what I've provided in the Writing/Publishing Department.
As one of my author clients, when your editing job is finished, you will become part of my Author's Network and may receive additional support from me in the form of an occasional informative email message from time to time. In some cases I may give your book a mention in one of my Brabec Bulletins. If you will send me a few comments about your experience in working with me, I will add them to my testimonials page of satisfied clients and link to your book on Amazon.
Ready to work with me? Go back to my Book Manuscript Editing page and follow the instructions there to get started..