Category Archives: Editing

Solving a Problem – Day 16 of the 31 Day Challenge

A friend wrote to me recently complaining about having several projects "almost finished."

Sound familiar? I've been in that situation once or twice myself. 😉

Fortunately, all this person needed done was editing. This is something I happen to do well - so now those "almost finished" projects are complete. (I wonder if they mentioned it hoping I'd have some available time.  😉  )

And the answer, fortunately, is always that simple. Yes, always.

It's even simpler than Continue reading

Articles – Are You Missing The Opportunity?

Hi,

Yes, I am diligently avoiding doing more of the serialised articles from Writing E-Books for Fun and Profit. Well...actually, I've decided to just use one day each week for serialised articles.

Why? Did I hear someone ask why?

I was really hoping someone would ask that. Thank you.

Articles are a great way of putting content out into the world and getting people to notice you. On the other hand, I'm don't think serialised articles are particularly good content for a blog. That's what newsletters and ezines are for.

My compromise is to put articles on the blog just once a week. That way, you get to see the articles, but my lovely little blog here doens't get boring. You can always see any of my articles by visiting http://www.ezinearticles.com/?expert=Conrad_Hall.

You can even subscribe to an e-mail alert system that lets you know when I've published a new article.

Are you getting the idea of how important writing articles is to your online presence?

Especially when you put them to work for you with www.EzineArticles.com. You can join for free, it's free to submit articles, and they have a very high level of respect in the online community.

For example, you have to start by submitting 10 articles. Those 10 articles get checked over and published. Once you have 10 published articles, your account is reviewed for platinum status. Platinum status is free, and it means you can submit an unlimited articles.

EzineArticles.com even has a free service that let's you tweet your articles. Yes, every time you publish an article, EzineArticles.com will tweet all your followers about the new article.

I used my serialised articles for the e-book to jump start my account. By the time I had 9 articles live, my profile had been viewed 49 times, my articles had been read 336 times, and one of them had been published.

That's in less than two weeks.

Plus - and here's the big plus for me, personally - I'm submitting articles for my clients. Just think about that for a minute.

A client hires me to write an article, or to edit their work. They get to publish it in their own newsletter and on their site. Then I take it and post it on EzineArticles.com.

Here's the cool part: They get the byline, but the article is submitted through my account. That means everyone who see the articles knows I either wrote it or edited it, and the person with the byline is my client.

You can see how that's a portfolio and an endorsement wrapped up in one spot.

So start writing some articles.

Need some help? I'm already doing it for clients and myself. Drop me a line and ask if there's room in my schedule for your project. conrad@conradhallcopywriting.com.

And make sure you visit www.EzineArticles.com. They have a TON of information to help you write good articles.

Conrad

Focus – Your Attention Is Valuable

Hi,

I have to remember - when I write a Friday post - not to say I'll be writing "tomorrow" when I mean "Monday." I apologise.

Which brings me to Focus.

Would I have made the same mistake if I were more focussed? Would you have still broken the vase, Neo, if I hadn't said anything? hmmm...

Anyway, on Friday, I was writing about focussing - or working - on just one project at a time. You get to enjoy the fruits of your labour sooner. I also mentioned I'd tell you how making that change has been going for me.

The simple answer is - slow, steadily and I'm enjoying the results.

Anyone who wants a little more detail - just keep reading.  😉

You know it's more than just a matter of waking up one day and saying "Okay, I'm only working on one project at a time from now on."

I have my own e-book tele-workshop series launching in March, clients to write and edit for, plus books to research and write. Following Rich Schefren's advice about working on one project at a time is something I have to work at deliberately.

As much as any individual project, this is something I have to plan. Let's start by looking at the kinds of work that are on my plate right now.

1. the e-book tele-workshop series. 21 teleseminars focussed on showing business owners the step by step for how to enter the information marketing arena. A one time sort of project.

2. copywriting clients - writing for them, and editing their material. This is ongoing stuff - they pay a monthy retainer.

3. books - these are a combination of the other two. Writing the book is a one time thing, but it's ongoing because of the marketing of the book, and planning to write an updated version.

So, how can I work on one project at a time when I"ll always have clients sending me things to edit - or asking for something to be written?

Good question. Here's how I'm finding the answer.

The most important project is the e-book tele-workshop series. (It also happens to be the biggest - just coincidence.) It involves a lot of joint ventures, creating support tools for affiliates, plus promotional copy, call scripts and e-mails. Remember, it's also a one-off thing.

So I"m taking five hours out of each day to work on it. Sometimes more, but I am promising myself to spend at least that much time on the project.

Then come the books. In the big picture, these have longer lasting importance than the tele-workshop series. First, I'm working on just one at a time.

The Instant Amazon Best-Seller Formula is done and in the hands of the designer. It'll probably be out this month. Now I'm working on Marketing Web Sites for Freelance Copywriters - Bob has given me his first set of edtis.

When that's done, I'll put my energy into the book on List Building.

Right now, I'm putting four hours each day into books.

Okay - we're up to a nine hour work day.

Then there's work for copywriting clients. For the most part, I can get that work done by putting in two hours each day. I don't take a lot of copywriting clients - I prefer writing books, actually.

So now we have an 11 hour day. Add to that the time I spend writing a blog post each day, writing an article, doing admin stuff, etc. etc. etc.

It's a good thing I enjoy being up at 4:30 and going to bed at 10. I need all 17 1/2 hours!

This should make it EXTREMELY clear why Rich Schefren's adivce is worth following. If I were working on just one project - that's PROJECT - at a time, I'd have a lot more time to myself each day.

Writing copy for clients is something I'll always do. It's fun, I like meeting people, and there's always something new to learn. There will always be admin work, blog posts, and articles to write.

That "part" of every day is a constant.

The problem right now is that I have the tele-workshop series (a project) and two books (two projects) to work on. That's three projects at one time.

Dividing up the day like I have works for me. It isn't the burden you might think it is because everything I'm doing is pleasing to me. That said, I don't want this kind of workload to continue indefinitely.

So, I've decided to work six days each week. The extra day gets put into the tele-workshop series.

When the current book is written, I won't accept another. The book on List Building has a planned release for the end of the year anyway, so there is lots of time to work on it.

What I'll do in the future is plan one big project every two years - a project like the tele-workshop series. When I'm working on something like that, I won't take any book projects.

I'll keep copywriting commitments down to about 4 or 5 hours each day. This will keep part of each day open for working on every current project.

There it is. My way of putting Rich Schefren's advice to work for me, and enjoying the results.

What do you think? Would you do it differently? How will you put Rich's advice to use for yourself?

Conrad

Book Publishing – Lulu is a High Value Service

Hi,

That's a lulu, isn't it?

And I'm not talking about a fish tale.

Lulu.com is just about the largest online self-publishing tool today. It's a free service - until you reach the point of being ready to actually publish your book.

They offer a huge array of free tools and services to get you started. Everything from advice on setting up a Google Book Preview, to cover design and paper choice. There are also five FAQ forums and a Help page with tutorials, caculators and tempaltes.

I suggest you use Lulu for both e-books and hardcopy books.

It gives you a place to work on the layout of your book, and the marketing tools Lulu makes available will help you with both book types. Here's one example:

Have you ever thought of publishing an e-book in a 6X9 format? Do you realise that is very close to a regular sheet of paper in landscape format?

It's time for all of us to start thinking about readers who are picking up our e-books and using an electronic device while their reading. You know, something like Amazon.com's Kindle reader. They're ideal for a paperback format (6X9).

When you have one, two or several books, you should also think about taking hardcopies of all of them to conferences. Storing your projects with Lulu will allow you to print a few or a hundred copies of each book.

It will be a boost for your reputation, and a stroke for your ego, when people ask about one of your books and you are able to produce a hardcopy for them. It's amazing how one person buying a copy of a book can stimulate everyone around you to start buying.

It's a free service so nobody gets any affiliate commissions for recommending Lulu.com. And it isn't going to do the work for you, or magically make your manuscript into a bestseller.

This is a site for everyone who knows success comes from daily, consistent effort. (Have you read that phrase here before?)

Conrad

Editors – Anywhere, Anytime – Always Valuable

Hi,

Suzanne Richardson has a great, short article in today's ETR newsletter.

The address for the article is listed as a trackback with this post - but I'm still not clear about how trackbacks work. So, this link takes you there (I hope  😉  ).

There are also several past articles Suzanne has written listed at the bottom of the page. You should take some time to read those, too.

What I'd like to add is that almost anyone can help you as an editor. The only real qualification is that they have to be willing to be honest with you.

Yes, professional editors have more qualifications than that. But your sister, neighbour, or co-worker can read your piece and tell you if they understand it (reading for clarity). The fact that Charlie took a while to pick up on Suzanne's use of "and" shows you that even good editors can miss something.

Take your work and show it to several people. Get their honest opinion and make use of it.

There's a bonus in this for you, too.

You know how we all have this thing about showing our work before it's finished? Heck, sometimes it's even hard to show it to our editor. Well, when you start to think of everyone as a potential editor it's a little bit easier to let them read that unfinished piece.

And guess what? Letting someone read a piece, getting their opinion, and using it to make the writing stronger - ALSO BUILDS CONFIDENCE.

I didn't even realise that until I was reading Suzanne's article this morning.

I used to be really afraid of showing anyone my writing until it was done. Working with a mastermind group and making the effort to do exactly what I've just suggested has helped me get over that fear.

Sure, I still get a little twinge when I send something out for feedback, critique, editing - whatever you want to call it. Then when it comes back, it's like sitting down to a good supper when you're really hungry.

It's invigorating to dig into the comments someone makes and look at how to make your own writing better.

Give it a try. Soon you'll be able to find an editor anywhere at anytime.

Conrad

Editing – Moving Past the First Draft

Hi,

This happens to be a big thing in my mind right now because I'm working on the second draft of two books, and the first draft of another.

It's the first time I've been in this situation. Being able to look at my editor's comments on two books while working on a third has turned out to be a great learning opportunity. Let me share a couple of insights so you can make your first drafts stronger, and get more benefit from your editor's comments.

The first thing to keep in mind is that an editor's comments are not "aimed" at you. I know it feels bad when anyone says your writing is unclear, off topic or in any way less than perfect. This is something I struggle with, and it helps me to just keep reminding myself that the editor is thinking about how readers will react to the book.

Your editor's comments are "aimed" at making you a better writer, and your current work more marketable.

Now what do you do with those edits?

My suggestion is to read through the draft with the edits and make notes about what you agree with, don't agree with, and what you don't understand. This is the first step in planning the changes you'll make in the next draft.

The edits you agree with are easy to handle. Just put a mark next to them that shows you accept the edit. By the way, I do this with pen and paper so making marks is easy for me. If you're doing this in Word, then you can use the Accept features of Track Changes.

Edits you don't agree with are only a tiny bit harder to handle than the ones you do agree with. You can't just throw the edit away - that defeats the purpose of having an editor. The trick is to find a wording that gives you a compromise between what you want to say and how your editor wants it said.

When the edits suggests additional content, or replacing content, you have to step back and look at the whole project. Ask yourself whether the additional content belongs in that spot or might be better used elsewhere.

In the case of being asked to replace content, the same question applies. Is the content you are removing still useful somewhere else? And, have you connected the content you are inserting to the rest of the manuscript? (Update the table of contents, index, text references, etc.)

Something I have noticed about editors is that most of their comments come in the first couple of chapters. For me, that makes those first chapters hard to read because it seems everything is being criticised.

I get past this by reading through all the edits and making my notes, then I start making changes a quarter or halfway through the draft.

It helps me to get rolling because there are fewer edits. There are lots of pages that I get to just flip past because there are no changes to make. This gives my ego a boost, and builds my momentum to handle the harder first chapters.

When there happens to be a lot of edits in a particular chapter, I sometimes skip that chapter. I know it means leaving the harder stuff for last. That's balanced by the harder stuff being the smallest part of the work. By the time I get to the chapters with lots of edits, most of the changes are done.

At that point, I make a list of the chapters left to work on and tick them off as they're done. It's usually a short list so it feels great to check each one off.

Something I use to give me a break between the easier edits and the hard parts is making the "global" changes.

Sometimes you will use a phrase in the manuscript that gets changed. For example, I used "Amazon Push Campaign" in one of the drafts I'm working on now. That's being changed, and there are lots of places to change it. In addition, there are places where I'm going to add the new phrase.

To do this, I'll search for every occurrence of "Amazon" and make the necessary changes as I go. You can see how this is a real change of pace from working on edits. It makes for a nice break, and gives you the opportunity to get some necessary work done.

One last thing to keep in mind about working on the edits is to keep a copy of them.

By the time you're finished the second draft of your manuscript, you should have three distinct files. One file for the first draft, another for the first draft with edits, and the third file is your second draft.

When a similar project comes up, I often go back to files where I can read the edits. Seeing some of the spots where my writing was weak, or where I got new ideas for research, helps me to make new projects stronger.

There's my two cent's worth. Let me know what you think. I enjoy reading your comments, and would like to know how you deal with your editor and the editing process.

Conrad