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Great Editing Is Great Marketing

Your First Marketing Offense: Write and Edit Great Query Letters

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Use Your Writing References with Confidence

I almost always run an editing tip in my SharingwithWriters newsletter. Thought I'd share one from last month with those of you who follow this blog:

Grammar Guru June Casagrande says , “Mirriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is the default reference for the Chicago Manual of Style.” For those in the publishing industry that would include most SharingwithWriters subscribers and subscribers to this Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor blog. 

In other words, when you’re getting conflicting information (or when you want to be confident about your choices) use these two references. 

But what if?

  • If you’re a journalist or freelance writer who writes for newspaper or magazines, your two go-tos are Webster’s New World College Dictionary and the Associated Press Style-book. 
  • Of course,  the media you are writing for may have its own style guide. 
  • If you are an academic, check your university’s style guide first and then fall back on the publishing industry’s faves if you need more guidance.


PS: June is the author of Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies published by Penguin and syndicated columnist of "A Word Please."
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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Saturday, March 26, 2016

New Example for Old Grammar Conundrum

Today's post is no great news flash. Visitors to this blog will learn nothing new. I wanted to post it, though, because it's an example of how easily some of the stickiest grammar (and therefore editing) problems can be explained and how a great example can make a huge difference:

Sometimes getting a homonym or other wordtripper right doesn’t take paragraphs of explanation. So you use “less” when you modify a singular noun and “fewer” when you modify plural nouns. 
June Casagrande, syndicated columnist of A Word Please and author of Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies (Penguin), gives this neat example: “If three items are removed from your cart, you end up with ‘fewer’ items. But if just one is taken out, there’s one ‘less.’ That’s because ‘items’ is plural and ‘item’ is singular.” 

I figure every English teacher should memorize this example, write it on their blackboard in permanent paint, and test their kids on it regularly. (-: 

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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Old Grammar Rule Redefined

Longtime subscriber (and amazing book cover designer Chaz DeSimone) sends me this must-read link that you can add to your permanent editing file: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/08/donald-trump-may-win-this-years-word-of-the-year/


Using “they” in the singular has been a broken rule that’s been leaning toward acceptability for a long time. It's so awkward to do the he or she bit and choosing just he or she is always risky. Someone is going to be insulted including people who don’t identify with either gender. And trading around between he and she is just plain confusing anyway. I don't go along with this kind of proclamation until the Chicago Style Book says it's okay. The book industry is fu-u-u-ssy!
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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Do You Really Know What "Corn" Means?


Sometimes words mean different things to people who work in different disciplines. Sometimes, that can be important in both the understanding of what we read and in editing for a particular audience. The word “corn” is one of those words. To anthropologists and many others “corn” is not just the agricultural product known as maize; they may take it to mean a cereal crop of any kind. You may read about “Roman corn.” It is not the stuff of popcorn or corn on the cob dripping in butter and salt. It is probably wheat—or even barley. Often any grain can become “corn” in translation when a specific grain is uncertain.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Misinterpreting "Graffiti"

Sometimes I just can't help myself for dropping by with editing ideas that come to me--usually by way of something I'm editing. (-: 

Keep in mind that in some circles the word “graffiti” does not have negative connotations. Travel to Europe—places like Prague where architecture is often embellished with tromp l’oeil details like carved friezes and or read in disciplines like archaeology and you’ll find it means simply an inscription or drawing made on public surfaces. You’ll sometimes see variations on the spelling like “graffito” which is a tipoff that it is being used that way.



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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Veteran Editor Dishes Lowdown on "Like" and "Such As"



 Barbara McNichol on Word Choice—When to Use “Like” vs “Such As"
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by Barbara McNichol


When it comes to word choices and deciding what to use in your writing, check out these phrases from a book I’m editing:

. . . the answers that so-called geniuses like/such as Newton seem to embody.
. . . centuries of innovations like/such as the airplane and the space shuttle have resulted.

Here’s why such as is preferred instead of like in these phrases: The word “like” implies comparison while “such as” implies inclusion. Thus, being like something doesn’t include the thing itself. If the sentence was “they’re like a fish trying to swim upstream,” then it’s a clear comparison. 

Let’s examine this more closely. In the first phrase, the author does include Newton as a so-called genius, so “such as” is the better choice. Similarly, in the second phrase, the airplane and space shuttle are examples of innovations, so they’re meant to be included.

Do you see how your intended meaning within the context of your writing helps you choose which word to use?

Your challenge: When you’re about to write “like,” ask this question: Would I include this point in a list or exclude it? That’s your clue on selecting “like” (exclude) or “such as” (include).

Need help determining which word to choose? Ask a question with your example in this blog.

NOTE
This article appeared first on  Barbara McNichol Editorial Services under the title Word Choice: When to Use “Like” vs. “Such As." 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping authors add power to their pen through her editing and WordShops. Go to her website www.BarbaraMcNichol.com where you can sign up for her ezine Add Power to Your Pen.

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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Just a Reminder on Historic vs. Historical


It’s important to keep learning editing tidbits your English teachers never told you. My fave editing guru June Casagrande says this one on “historic” and “historical” best: “’Historic’ and ‘historical,’ as you’ve probably noted, carry different connotations. “’Historic’ has a grandiose quality, as if it means ‘momentous’ or ‘significant’ or ‘huge.’ “’Historical,’ on the other hand, conveys an idea of history in its most basic sense. You can see what I mean in a sentence like ‘on this historic occasion, we cite the historical record.’ Check out her Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies (Penguin).

 


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  Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Loving Wordtrippers! Needing Yours!


I'm collecting wordtrippers for the new booklet in my HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. I love this one:



Editing Tip: Here’s a homonym/misspelling that gets by way too may authors who are self editing and even editors who usually get it right. 

“Forego” with the “e” means to go before. When you mean to go without, ditch the “e” and make it “forgo.” “I plan to forgo the entrĂ© in favor of their spectacular tiramisu.” Those of us who are pretty certain we’ve never written it without the “e,” can be almost certain we have gotten it wrong at least once in our lives. Learn more about the trickiest homonyms in The Frugal Editor and Great Little Last-Minute Edits


If you have a favorite (or most confounding wordtripper), send it to me at hojonews@aol.com. Include a credit for yourself with a link to your book and if it isn't already in my little wordtipper booklet or in the wordtripper section of the second edition of The Frugal Editor, I'll use it.
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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Monday, July 6, 2015

The "Do" Word: English's Strangest Quirk

So What Exactly Is A Dummy Operator?
 
I am an avid reader of June Casagrande’s syndicated column A Word Please” in my local newspaper, but I was especially taken with  her column on what I call thedo conundrum” because its a little oddity that native speakers dont think about, are hardly aware of. So naturally I rushed over to the online post and left a comment. I thought youd like an example of how you might do this to broaden the exposure of your book. The secrets arent secret. Use an anecdote or resource that will add something to the conversation andwhen allowedlink back to your book that, of course, will be related somehow to the topic of the blog or article you are commenting on.
 
In spite of all my advanced grammar classes, I had never heard about (or even considered) the "do" in English until I began to study Spanish using Michel Thomas's CD course. As an aside, he explained that using "do" to ask questions is a new quirk in the English language and cites the King James version of the Bible as an example of the way the language sounded without it. By the way, I've tried other courses and nothing even touches Michel's for accent reduction, understanding, and speedy learning!

But back to the "do" conundrum. You can see from this little history of my exposure of "do" in English that I appreciate more than ever June Casagrandes column "AWord Please." Sometimes it is a refresher, but often it offers up information that is new--even for those of us who consider ourselves experts. And THAT is a lesson or two all its own. That is, the English language is so complex that we can never know it all, a lesson to keep reading columns (and books!) like that expand our knowledge. But knowing about the “dummy operator is the kind of thing that makes grammar fun!
 
By the way, "do" does some other odd things in the English language, but we'll save that for another day, another post. We don't need to expose too much of our quirkiness at one time.


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

William Zinnsser: The Nonfiction Writers' Mentor, Everywriters' Example


“Few people realize how badly they write.”

This is a quote selected by the LA Times for William Zinsser’s obituary. It is jarring enough to make writers sit up straight and listen to the wisdom this author shared in his On Writing, a mustread that I recommend in The Frugal Editor. He truly was a mentor and model for writers. But one of his most valuable lessons is something he didn’t preach but modeled for us. The author of his obituary, Elaine Woo, captured that lesson with, “
. . . he never portrayed himself as infallible.” How could he? He knew how much work and how long it took him to know what he knew and—based on that—knew how much he still might know given the time.

I like the way Woo worded this. She didn’t use the word “humble.” Zinsser knew he had something to offer other writers so if he had been a “humble” person he might not have passed along his store of knowledge to us. If we pattern our own careers on his—use his service and advocacy as a guide—we, too, may leave something behind when we go. We, too, if given the time (Zinsser was 92) have many years to contribute and build. It is not a race, but a gift. A gift more precious for being wrapped in knowing we are not infallible regardless of our achievements.

May we all use whatever time we have left sharing and perfecting that rare skill of knowing we are not infallible
 
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-: