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News — editing

Should you contact an author?

Amy Leibowitz authors editing fans writing writing advice

This question arose for a number of reasons. First, some big-name authors were discussing this on social media because they’d been sent pretty hateful messages about their work. Some readers seem to think that it’s not a real, live human being behind a book and that they are welcome to rant at them for perceived flaws. One big-name author in particular mentioned how hurtful it was to read that kind of angry private message.

Second, there’s been ongoing talk about whether or not it’s polite to correct people’s spelling, grammar, and punctuation in...

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Can we use singular “they”?

Amy Leibowitz editing grammar writing writing advice

Ah, the ever-present debate: Is singular they/them grammatically acceptable?

Short answer: Yes.

And now for the longer answer.

It’s a bit more complicated than this, but use of singular they has been around for centuries. The context is different from how we use it now, meaning that probably very few if any English-speakers were using they as a personal pronoun. It’s safe to say, though, that this contemporary use is born from the long history of using it when gender is unknown or irrelevant. For example, “Someone left their umbrella here...

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Handling the Red Pen

Amy Leibowitz editing writing

Last week, I offered tips for authors on working with their editors. This week, I'm addressing my fellow editors. I've really enjoyed working with my clients, and developing a mutually satisfying relationship is the key to success for both parties. It's not one-sided. All editors have had clients who drive them bananas, but editors aren't immune from being difficult to work with.

1. Choose your words carefully.

I've made the mistake of saying things more harshly than I meant. Fortunately, it was with clients who already trusted...

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On the Other Side of the Keyboard

Amy Leibowitz editing writing

Today's writing tips are all about the editing stage. Although I'm an author, my primary job is as a professional editor and proofreader (not quite the same thing, though linked). I've edited all kinds of writing, both self-published and traditionally published. I've worked on fiction, non-fiction, memoir, and even a couple of PhD dissertations.

Here are some of the things that make it easier for me to do my job and for you to get the most out of your relationship with an editor:

1. Go over it yourself beforehand....

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Correcting Typos

Amy Leibowitz editing readers reviews writing

One question that comes up frequently associated with indie authors and small presses: "Should I message an author to let them know about typos in their published work?"

The answer is complicated. Some authors welcome this kind of feedback; others don't. Regardless, there are some things a person could consider before poking into someones DMs.

1. Is it actually wrong?

Authors of speculative fiction notoriously get emails about the spellings of names, places, and words.
If it's not spec fiction, check a dictionary, the Chicago Manual of Style,...

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