I don’t know about you all, but most of the year-in-review blogs I’ve read from publishing professionals have mentioned not only the impact of indie publishing on the industry, but also the fact that this segment of authorship is growing. For years I’ve been reluctant to go this route myself, and I’m glad, as Heather Day Gilbert mentioned a few weeks ago on IC, I didn’t. I wasn’t ready and the resources to improve my writing were not as available back then as they are today.
Well, the times they are a-changing. That’s why we, here at InfiniteCharacters.com, want to help both readers and writers find what they need in this changing world. So we’ve decided to provide readers more opportunity to peruse a greater breadth of reading material by interviewing more indie authors, as well as provide resources for indie authors to polish their work and make it the best it can be.
Today, I am interviewing Sally Bradley about her editing services. This can help the author prepare his/her work for acceptance into the traditional markets, or to polish it for indie publication. She has also graciously offered a free substantive edit on the first fifteen pages of a book, plus a one-page synopsis, to a randomly selected commenter this week. This could help an author polish that 2014 Genesis entry ;o). The winner would need to redeem the service before March 1, 2014.
Thank you, Sally, for stopping by InfiniteCharacters.com. To begin, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a book lover. I admit it—my life revolves around books. Currently I’m reading four books at the same time and having no problem keeping the characters or plots straight. What can I say? I think God made me this way.
Is there life outside of books? Of course. I’m married to a pastor who’s also a part-time cop, and we have three kids who keep us busy but make life a lot of fun.
Wow, a pastor/cop? That sounds like the set-up for an inspirational romantic suspense right there. Hmmmm. <Connie scribbles in her notes>
We’re all big sports fans, and we’ve brainwashed our kids to be die-hard Chicago Bears, White Sox, Blackhawks, and Bulls fans. Clearly, we’re great parents!
Tell us about your services.
My goal in any edit is to help my client make the book the best it can be and to also grow their skills as a writer so that their next book is even better. I have a teaching style, and if a technique or idea isn’t understood, I do my best to use the story itself to show how that technique could work or how the writer could use it. I try to give a lot of feedback—not to overwhelm the reader, but to make it clear where there are issues and to explain those issues. You’re not going to hear from me that characterization is weak so work on it. I’ll point out in the manuscript itself that the hero right here sounds more like a woman than a man or that here, here, and here is where we need more internal monologue from the heroine in order to understand what she does.
That sounds awesome.
As for types of services, I offer substantive or content editing which covers plot, characterization, setting, hook, dialog, etc., and line editing which focuses on word choice, grammar and punctuation, story details, and tight writing.
How did you get started doing this?
I was putting my bio together for a novel proposal, and it hit me how much real-world experience I had—writing sales copy, editing, and copy editing at two publishing houses. Sometimes we know ourselves too well to see our strengths and weaknesses, and that was the case. My critique group encouraged me to start an editing business, and I did. That was seven years ago. Since then I’ve worked with clients who’ve gone on to sell to traditional publishers and clients who’ve been semi-finalists, finalists, and winners in ACFW’s Genesis.
Wow, you must know your stuff.
What are your strengths?
Characterization and deep POV are my strengths. I also just think in stories, which I believe is a strength and is the reason I work almost entirely with fiction. My biggest strength may be that each client gets their money’s worth. Years ago I worked with an editor who gave a short summary letter on what to work on and little feedback in the manuscript. It wasn’t as helpful as it could or should have been. So my clients get their money’s worth. I have a page on my website with client referrals that support this.
What do you like most about your work?
I love seeing a client’s work improving. That’s so encouraging. I’ve worked with writers on query letters that were getting form rejections and heard later that they signed with their dream agent. I’ve shown a client that a certain technique was the story’s main weakness and what they needed to work on, and the client came back a few months later with a new version where the technique was so much stronger. That’s exhilarating. And when the book is Christian fiction and offers truth and hope to the reader, that’s even better, because I know the writer’s message matters.
How long does it usually take you to complete a job?
It depends on the size of the project and the need of the client. A full manuscript can take about three weeks. A partial manuscript might take a week. If a client needs a faster turnaround, I can usually make it happen.
You are a writer yourself. What kinds of stories do you write?
I write Christian fiction that focuses on God fixing the unfixable messes we make. I like drama and deep characterization with real-life scenarios because so many people today have messy lives and no hope. We forget that God, if we submit and follow his way, can fix anything.
Yes! He! Can!
I know my readers are now clamoring to find out more. How can my readers contact you?
Don’t forget to comment below to enter to win a substantive edit of your first fifteen pages plus synopsis. I will choose a winner after midnight next Thursday January 23, 2014.
Sally Bradley has worked for two publishers, writing sales and marketing materials, sorting through the slush pile, and proofreading and editing fiction. She has a BA in English and a love for perfecting novels, whether it’s her work or the work of others.
A judge in fiction-writing contests, Sally is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, The Christian PEN, and the Christian Editor Network. Among past clients are five Genesis finalists, one Genesis winner, and a handful of published novelists. She’s also a three-time Genesis finalist and has won two other writing contests for her work.
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