Yes, I dared to go there. Many self-publishers pride themselves on the fact that they did not have to hire a professional editor to edit their work and yet, still came out on top. By coming out on top, they usually mean writing and publishing a book, be it an e-book or its print version. And while those two things are indeed admirable feats, what many self-publishers don't realize is that almost anyone today can call themselves a successful published author, and readers are still looking for quality.

What Makes a Good Read?
A good book, if written well and edited properly, must connect with readers on an emotional level. There must be something in the book that hooks the reader from the minute they open the first page and until the last page has been flipped shut. A good editor can guide a writer through the process of what works well and what doesn't. View your editor as your test reader and worst critic, whose only job is to make you look good. I have read some really well-written and amazing self-published works
, just as well as I have read some horrifyingly bad ones. (Let it also be known that not all traditionally published works are first-rate either.) And each time, the difference between the good and the bad has always been that one was professionally edited while the other was not.

When Self-Editing is Not Enough

Many writing forums argue that professional editing is not necessary as long as a writer can self-edit several times before publication. What is missing in this well-meaning advice is the fact that publishing a good book is not just about catching incorrect grammar and spelling errors, and even if it was, self-editing doesn't always catch all the errors. Besides that, professional editing is about structure, tone, voice, character development and so much more - something a professional editor can help bring to light. A book that reads like your first draft is not what readers want to read. They want a story that reflects care, talent, voice, emotion and so much more. An editor can help get you there.

A Beautiful Marriage
A good professional editor is the partner you need on your journey through the writing process. They are your professional coach, cheerleader, friend, confidante, and adviser all rolled up into one, and their main responsibility is to make sure you sound like your best possible self. A good professional editor knows about the publishing process, is a ferocious reader, most likely a writer too, and can offer the support authors need to make it from blank page to print.

Regardless of whether you choose to use a professional editor or not, remember that before all good
reads go out to the reading public, they must go through a series of mills. Self-publishers often skip over these processes in an effort to either cut costs, satisfy their burning desire to get published, cut out what they see to be an unnecessary middle (wo)man, avoid criticism of their work, or for fear that a third-party edit will dilute their voice. However, any good editor worth his or her salt will know how to work with an author to address those fears and to maintain the integrity of the author's work. A good editor is there to help authors and not to hurt them, to make them better. And as an author, it is your responsibility to hire someone you can trust to deliver their best possible work. Your readers deserve the best from you, and trust me, they will remember if they don't get it. So, unless you plan on being a one-time author, you might want to consider your readers, for they will tell you in no uncertain terms the second time around, what they could not tell you before they went out and bought a copy of your first book. Allow them to trust your work as an author by giving them your best work the first time around, and they will be loyal to you throughout your writing life. Plus, you never know what opportunities are passing you by because you neglected to put care into your book. You never know who's going to pick

Do you have questions? Please feel free to ask them in the comments below, or send us an email at service@thebrielleagency.com.
 
 
The Brielle Agency recently added a new service to its copyediting and proofreading package. The new service provides editing and proofreading assistance for business and individual LinkedIn profiles. LinkedIn is increasingly becoming the top place for employers to seek out potential candidates, and how your profile represents you can either propel you to the next phase of your career, or taint your reputation. Remember, your LinkedIn profile is your online resume, it matters!

The aim of the new service is to help individual and business profile pages stand out among their peers, by correcting grammar and spelling mistakes, removing the fluff, and by helping page owners stay within LinkedIn's company guidelines regarding word usage. Prices start at $25 and can go up depending on the amount of work required to tidy up a profile. Contact services@thebrielleagency.com for more information on this new service.
 
 
Weather or not you prooffread your articles says a lot about how you view those who will read them. In four words, it says “I just don’t care.” But is that rely what you wont to say to your readers and clients? That you donot care that they have to sift through your use of bad grammar and spelling errors in orda to make sense of what you’re saying?

Thank you for hanging in there, if you have read this far! Apparently my lack of useful grammar and correct spelling has not scared you. Or perhaps, you kept reading because you could not believe I was writing about proofreading when my own writing was ripe with mistakes. Well, prank over, have a good laugh and continue reading, please.

As I was saying earlier, whether or not you proofread your articles says a lot about how you view your readers. It sends a message that you’re most likely not trying to send, without you even knowing that you’re sending it. It shows unprofessionalism, lack of care and lack of basic intelligence, and as a business owner, the last thing you want is for your potential clients to pass you by because you come across as lacking in what they need to get the job done.

So, the next time you hit the “send” or “publish” button, print out a copy of what you have written and read it out aloud to yourself. This will help you to spot those mistakes you wouldn’t have otherwise spotted while reading it on the screen. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m able to spot errors better on a print-out than I am able to on the computer screen. Somehow, my eyes just seem to be trained to seek out errors on paper so that I can see where I have used “cause” when I meant to use its correct form “course,” or vice versa.

Reading your paper out aloud will also allow you to follow your train of thought a little more clearly, and help you analyze whether the reading flows or needs a few paragraphs re-structured. Because people are prone to write the way they speak, a free flow of words is not always the best way to present a written piece of correspondence. There must be a difference between the way we speak and the way we write.

Proofreading will also help you to spot errors in punctuation. Are you missing commas, periods, or closed parentheses? Punctuation can be the difference between “Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking her family and dog” and “Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking, her family, and dog.” The first sentence is exactly what appeared on the cover of an issue of Tails Magazine. What an embarrassment that must have caused them when they noticed the mistake after the publication had already reached several of their readers. Or picture this snafu made by Goodwill on one of their billboards, which read: “Thank You! Your donation just helped someone. Get a job. Amazing.” Versus this one: “Thank you! Your donation just helped someone get a job. Amazing.”

Obviously, as you can see, the proper use of punctuations and proofreading can mean the difference between earning the respect of your readers versus earning their ridicule. And they’ll never take you seriously after that.

Which is why I cannot stress this enough: In order to send the right message as an individual, writer, business owner or website owner, you must ALWAYS read through what you have written before hitting that “send” “print” or “publish” button, because whether we wish to acknowledge it or not, our readers are judging our intelligence and seriousness based on what they read from us. (Just as I am sure most of you would have thought I was a joke of an editor if the errors running through that first paragraph, run through the rest of this article.) A few minutes to proofread will save you a great deal of regret and embarrassment later. So please, please, please, proofread your work before you send it out. Or, if you are too tired to do so, or you simply need help, hire a proofreader to do it for you.

 
 
Your company's blog is a great tool for getting the word out about your company's products and services, but are you using the blog in a way that truly reflects the mission of your organization?

What many business owners don't know is that your company's mission statement should serve as a guide when  placing content on your blog. Are the two of them aligned or is the blog creator simply writing about things that don't matter to the company? For example, an organization whose mission is to bring about awareness to the issues faced by women should not be posting content on its blog about last night's NBA playoffs. This might seem like an exaggerated example, but I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a company whose blog's content has nothing to do with what's happening inside the organization.

A blog should be a place to toot your company's accomplishments, goals, events, related news stories, etc. If not, then you are misusing and under-utilizing your blog in a way that you may not even be aware that you are. To help you get back on track (it's never too late to turn things around)
, here are a few things to consider before you write your next blog post:
  • What is your organization's mission statement?
  • Are your posts focused on accomplishing your company's mission/goals?
  • Are you more interested in your potential reach rather than the quality of the message you're sending out?
  • Will the blog post serve to promote something related to your company?
  • Are you sharing your knowledge and expertise with your readers?
Most importantly, are you reaching the right kind of people with the right kind of message that properly reflects the mission of your company? Think about these things the next time you get ready to click publish for a blog post. And if you need help, the Brielle Agency is here to help. We provide free consultation and offer reasonable proofreading and editing services for company blogs.

 
 
In February 2014, The Brielle Agency partnered with UK-based publisher Accomplish Press to offer editing services to their publishing clients. The partnership, based on mutual interest, will link Accomplish Press clients to the outstanding editing services provided by the Brielle Agency, and link the Brielle Agency's clients to the superb and high-rated publishing services provided by Accomplish Press. To date, the Brielle Agency has been contracted to assist two clients with their soon-to-be-published manuscripts. We're excited about the wonderful opportunity to work with just a reputable company, as we strive to continue to grow as a first-rate business, while serving our world-class, first-rate clients.
 
 
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The Brielle Agency has joined GalleyCat's Freelance Editor Directory online. The directory is a free service offered by Media Bistro's GalleyCat to freelance editors looking for clients, and for writers searching for editorial services. We think the directory is a wonderful idea that would assist both editors and writers to find matches that work best for their needs.

The coolest thing about the directory is that it is downloadable as an excel spreadsheet.



 
 
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I'm excited to share with you a new testimonial from Tolulope Popoola, author of Nothing Comes Close. In June 2012, the Brielle Agency was hired to edit the 53,000 word, chick-lit manuscript, Nothing Comes Close. We worked tirelessly with Tolulope over the next 2 - 3 months to perfect her draft and we finalized the manuscript on August 27, 2012. Nothing Comes Close was published by Accomplish Press later that same year.

Book Synopsis:

"Confident, sassy, career girl, Lola meets cool, handsome, unpredictable hunk, Wole at a party in London. He pushes all the right buttons for her, and sparks fly. Wole is also irresistibly drawn to Lola, and before long, they get together in a wonderful romance. But Wole is not all that he seems, and he is holding back some dark secrets. Things start to unravel when Wole’s past begins to catch up with him and Lola has to decide if Wole is worth the trouble that threatens to overwhelm her. Find out in this captivating book if their love will overcome the trials of a murder investigation, an arrest, a meddling relative and a trip halfway across the world, or whether they both give up and go their separate ways." 

Nothing Comes Close was shortlisted for "Best Books of 2012" by the Africa Book Club. Copies can be purchased here. See testimonial below:

I contacted Amma when I needed a professional edit for my novel "Nothing Comes Close". Her thorough command of language really helped to make sure that the book was well expressed and free of errors. She helped to tighten the prose, correct mistakes and add more emotional impact to my work. I plan to use Amma's services again for my next book project. I highly recommend her to writers and authors who are looking for an excellent editing service.

Tolulope Popoola
Author, Nothing Comes Close
 
 
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After reading a few books and blogs over the weekend, I feel compelled to write about the benefits of proofreading.  Please be aware that when a reader picks up your book or clicks to read your blog, they are getting a sense of who you are as a writer through the way you present your craft.  In other words, how you write, is a representation of yourself.  As such, a careless representation of your writing skills, be it in the form of spelling errors, misuse of grammar tenses, and misplaced punctuations, or their absence thereof, is important no matter which medium you use.  Not to mention the fact that such careless mistakes can damage your reputation as a writer.  

Here is a list of the common mistakes I came across: whether instead of rather
. This one was new to me.  And horrific, if I may add.  Then instead of than. (i.e, rather then instead of rather than, or I like that shoe better then instead of I like that shoe better than) This mistake always has me scratching my head because I just don't get how people (especially people who call themselves writers) get these two mixed up.  Another one I kept coming across was Your instead of You'reYour bag looks really expensive.  Not you're bag looks really expensive.  Your is a possessive adjective (i.e., is this your bag?  I like your watch.You're is the contraction of "you are" (i.e., you're going with us.  You're singing too loudly.)  Also notice how the use of you're is mostly followed by verbs in the present participle ing ending.  A few other mistakes I kept seeing over and over from the same writer, was the use of where instead of were, there instead of their, and affect instead of effect.

Let's be honest, I read with an editor's eye, so, perhaps, the chances that I would very easily catch things the average reader may not, is a lot higher.  But be that as it may, you can never underestimate the writing/reading abilities of your readership.  Put a little effort into the way you present yourself to the world, or hire a good proofreader to do that for you.  Either way, never send out something you've drafted without giving it at least 3 read-overs.  Impressions are long-lasting and the last thing you want is for your readers to be so focused and turned off by your spelling errors, wrong use of grammar tenses, and misplaced punctuations, that they miss the larger purpose of the text - the message you're trying to drive home.

 
 
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Every great piece of writing requires several edits and proofreads to reach perfection, but who has time to read the same document over and over again, especially if you're the one who drafted it? An editor, that's who. But only because it's what we do. If you're looking to perfect your document but think you can skip the editing part, please think again. Even the greatest writers make mistakes and miss those mistakes. A good editor will help you catch those mistakes because:

An editor is a fresh eye to your document:  It takes a fresh eye to see the things you yourself may have missed after several hours and hours of drafting and re-writing the same document.

An editor saves you time:  Writing, editing and re-writing can be very time consuming for the average reader, especially one seeking a perfect end product. This is where an editor comes in. What could take you hours, weeks, or months to edit can very easily be edited in half or a quarter of the time. 

An editor is a fresh mind:  If you've ever spent time trying to edit your own document, you can definitely attest to the fact that the mind gets tired after a certain number of reads and attempts at editing. This is when an editor can save you time by bringing a fresh eye and mind to your document, allowing you to focus on the things that matter most to you. 

An editor is a rational voice: Because an editor is not emotionally attached to your project, they are better able to bring a rational and unbiased voice to it from a reader's standpoint. A good editor should not be afraid to tell you the truth and help you bring out the best in your work.

So, before you submit your next piece of writing, be sure that you are presenting your best by having an editor look it over for you.