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Tools of the Trade: How Editors Find Writers

Take the current economy, add the downsizing of many publishing houses, the need for manuscripts and writers, the hand-tied agents who can’t afford to take on new clients, and the abundance of writers since the advent of the computer. Shake and toss on the table and one solution will surface: Writers who are serious about being published will take matters into their own hands. They will self-publish, write blogs or e-zines, have a website dedicated to their topic, and be active on Facebook and Twitter. Let the team of professional editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy help you to get your manuscript and query into the best possible shape, and to guide you in staking your claim in the world of publishing.

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Bias in the Thesis

We can never divorce ourselves from the perspectives we bring to our work, of course, but those perspectives don’t have to determine the outcome of our research; if an academic is going to make any kind of real contribution to thought, his or her work has to be free of bias.

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Getting Away With Plagiarism: A Thing of the Past

After years as a professional editor, following upon nearly two decades as a college professor, I’m astounded by the number of papers I’ve read that have involved plagiarism—even at the doctoral level, where the stakes are extremely high. I like to think that most of it is unintentional. That, in itself, is rather unnerving, however, since it means that you can fall into this trap, too! If your intention is to pass off someone’s work as your own, there’s no advice I can give other than, “Proceed at your own risk, and be prepared for the consequences; any professor who cares to catch you probably will.” If your intention is to avoid plagiarism of the unintentional variety, however, here are a few tips that might help.

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One Month, One Novel

A week into National Novel Writing Month, it's a good time to think about what you are trying to accomplish this month--not a final, publishable work, but a worthy first draft. And in the process of taking that first draft to a better second draft and an amazing third draft, consider enlisting the support of the coaches and editors at Edits Made Easy, who will give you just the feedback you need to turn your manuscript into a published book.

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How to Identify Your Ideal Reader

Have you identified your ideal reader? Keep in mind that this exercise will not only make your memoir more attractive to a potential publisher, it will help you focus your writing and dig more deeply into the significance of your message. If you have difficulty grasping the concept of this stage of writing, a professional editor, like those you find on the team at Edits Made Easy, can easily guide you through the process.

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What's New in APA-6? Headings

If you’ve been working in APA-5 and now must switch to using APA-6, certainly one of the most obvious changes will be the formatting of headers. Both editions of the APA Manual of Style provide for up to five levels of headings and subheadings, and both direct that numbers and letters should not be used. But the details of each of those levels have changed. The academic editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy can help you to navigate these changes with each and guarantee that your thesis or dissertation is in full compliance with the latest version of APA style. 

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What's New in APA-6? One Space or Two?

If you're used to working in APA-5 and now must switch to APA-6, one of the notable differences is the number of spaces that follow final punctuation (periods, question marks, exclamation points) in sentences. Reverting to an earlier practice, and setting itself apart from Chicago, Turabian, MLA, and many other style sheets, the newest version of the APA Publication Manual specifies the use of two character spaces between sentences in draft documents. If you're having trouble with the formatting of your thesis or dissertation, the team of editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy can help ensure that your work is in full compliance with current APA standards.

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The 5 Questions to Ask Before You Seek an Agent

Remember that the working relationship between an agent and an author is a very close, very involved one. You will be corresponding with them via email and phone a lot. You will go back and forth with your manuscript and receive a lot of consultation. You need someone that you are able to work with to a great extent on a professional level. In this post, Gordon discusses some of the fundamental questions you should ask as you look for an agent. And as always, the team of professional editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy stand ready to help you to write your query letter and synopsis, and to edit your manuscript so it is in the best possible form when you finally send it off.

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How to Find an Agent

Finding the right agent and then submitting just what he or she is looking for requires some advance prep work on the part of an author. In this article, EME editor/coach Gordon, who is also an agent for memoirs, offers some tips on identifying the right agent for your book and then approaching that agent in just the right way. And as always, the whole team of editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy stand ready to assist you in preparing your query letter and synopsis, and in editing your book manuscript so it is in the best possible shape before you send it out.

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Why Write Short Fiction?

I go to a lot of conferences and talk to a lot of writers, and one of the most common things that these aspiring novelists don’t take advantage of is writing in the short form. “But I write novels. Why should I write short stories?” It’s a fair question, and I wouldn’t recommend writing shorts unless it helps you find success with your novel. It does, both from a technical and a business standpoint. Read on, Grasshopper.

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How to Get the Most Out of a Writers' Conference

Spring has arrived, and for me, that means writers’ conference season is in full swing. I have well over a dozen events this year, and I’m looking forward to them all. I love the chance to get out and meet writers and hopefully find the next big thing. If you approach a conference in the right way, it can be a wonderful opportunity for you to fill that role.

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The Value of Blogging

Agents ask for it, but it’s best when they don’t have to. The unsolicited keeping of a good blog shows a prospective agent (and later, publisher) that you are serious, proactive and effective in building your platform and marketing your work. I greatly prefer an author with an established blog. But if you don’t have a blog and your project is just too attractive to pass up, I may still sign you and then have you start a blog. Blogs are just about necessary these days. They may take time and effort, but I wouldn’t waste yours if it wasn’t worth it.

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Getting Started on Your Memoir

Like most nonfiction writing, a memoir can best be accomplished by starting with an outline. The outline should be chronological and contain the specific people or events you are most interested in writing about, along with the specific timeframe you would like to cover. To start out by trying to cover your entire life is probably not the best way to go, since it will dilute your story and make the task seem onerous right from the start. Once you have a basic working frame, you can begin to gather information to fill in the blanks around the story. Then, if you feel there is more to be added to the story, you can always add to your outline. Think of each outline entry as a possible chapter in your memoir. And as always, the team of editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy stand ready to help you with your memoir!

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Strategies for Falling in Literary Love

I turn down easily 95% of the books pitched to me without even reading a single page. And yes, I am sure that some of them are just as brilliant as yours. Plenty of talented authors slip through the cracks because they simply do not articulate their skill and the brilliance of their manuscript in a well-crafted query letter. Others don't get picked up by agents because they don't demonstrate the dedication to a successful, mutually beneficial, long-term publishing relationship the agent is looking for. This article highlights a few of the qualities your agent will be looking for when you pitch your book to him or her. As always, the team of editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy stands ready to help you craft your query letter and synopsis and get your manuscript into final form as you begin your foray into the world of literary publication.

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A Medical Editor's Dilemma: Where to Get Medical Expertise

Most medical and technical writers and editors, as well as medical writing firms, pride themselves on the fact that they have X, Y, or Z subject-matter expertise. But is it really an essential requirement for successful writing or editing of medical documentation? This is a heavily debated subject within the technical and medical writing communities. The simple answer is absolutely “Yes.” Here's why.

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This Blog Post is Not Yet Titled

One of the most important parts of your completed novel is the title. Not only does it need to be catchy and creative, but in a handful of words it also has to get at the core of what your entire book is about. Not an easy task, but an enormously important one. 

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To Split or Not to Split ... Infinitives

Splitting infinitives will not get you arrested by the grammar police, but neither is it something to be done carelessly. It is a matter for conscious choice. And in making the choice about whether or not your infinitive should be split, the most important considerations are emphasis and naturalness of expression. The old rule (if, indeed, it ever was a rule) no longer applies. But the result is not less need for concern over the issue—it is more. In the absence of a rule, what is needed is skill.

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Hyphens and Dashes

At Edits Made Easy, one of the problems that our academic editors encounter rather frequently in all genres of writing is confusion over the use of hyphens vis-à-vis dashes. I’d venture a guess that most writers aren’t even aware that there is a distinction between these two kinds of punctuation marks, so it’s a mistake we find ourselves correcting quite often. And if that distinction doesn’t cause enough confusion by itself, there’s also a further distinction that has to be made—between two kinds of dashes: the em-dash and the en-dash. (Minus signs, negative signs, figure dashes, 2-em dashes, and 3-em dashes all complicate the matter further, but they are of lesser importance and will be mentioned only briefly in this post). Since the uses of the hyphen, the en-dash, and the em-dash are clearly distinguishable, my hope is to clear up some of the confusion here.

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Finding Your Voice in a College Essay

As a professor of composition and rhetoric, I’ve read countless college essays. I’ve read students’ thoughts about everything from justice in Plato’s Republic to salsa dancing at the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. What I’ve discovered in these essays is that while students often struggle with choosing a topic and sticking to it, their biggest difficulty in writing is finding their voice. By “voice” I mean the expression of their thoughts in a mode that fits both the assignment and its intended audience. Conquering this much-dreaded hurdle, however, requires only three simple things: thought, a clear grasp of the assignment, and an awareness of the reader. 

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