What is a Writing Coach?

By: Charlotte Lackney

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Even the most distinguished authors get stumped from time to time. Writing isn’t easy and ensuring that everything you want to say is properly communicated takes a lot of work. Getting stuck can happen for many reasons, the most common being poor planning, fear, and procrastination. This is where a writing coach can lend a hand. Writing coaches are an invaluable asset to those who are working on dissertations, novels, or nonfiction monographs, providing support and guidance that a peer cannot. This service is first and foremost a collaboration, the coach and writer working alongside each other to get the manuscript where it needs to be.

A writing coach will help the author identify and overcome fears, recognize the reasons they’re stuck, assist in breaking through blocks, and find the areas where the work might need to delve to a deeper, more personal level. They will also help the author develop their voice as a writer to make their work more compelling and authentic.

They are not, however, a stand-in for an editor. An editor is also a valuable asset to the production of a manuscript, but a writing coach should come first should you feel you need one.

CambridgeEditors’ writing coaches offer guidance through the writing process, whether you are just starting out or have a nearly complete draft. Whether helping you work your way through a writer’s block or providing you with structural line edits that enhance the organization of your manuscript, our writing coaches take a hands-on approach to editing—which may just be exactly what you need.

Our clients meet with their coach via Zoom or phone call, from twice a week to once a month. The frequency and arrangement of coaching sessions are tailored to each writer’s requirements. This schedule may change over time as the work develops.

If you have any questions, please contact us at editors@cambridgeeditors.com or (617) 876-2855.

To request a quote, visit our website.

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Meet Our Editors!

By: Charlotte Lackney

https://inventingrealityediting.com/2016/11/26/professional-book-editor-in-kansas-city/

The wide range of academic and creative editing offered by CambridgeEditors is made possible by the editors working with us. Our editors are all native English speakers with advanced degrees in a variety of disciplines, and the majority have attained a Ph.D. in their respective fields. CambridgeEditors will assign an editor most familiar with a project’s subject to ensure that the best possible service is being provided.

Meet some of the editors that you might have a chance to work with in the future!

Charles

Charles Coe
Creative writer and editor Charles Coe is the author of two books of poetry and one novella. His next volume of poetry, Memento Mori, was published in April of 2019. He has taught at numerous writing conferences and served as poet-in-residence at Wheaton College and the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York, and he was a 2017 Artist-in-Residence for the city of Boston. He has taught in Dingle, Ireland for the Bay Path University MFA-Abroad Program and is on the faculty of Newport’s Salve Regina University, teaching poetry in their new low-residency MFA Program.

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Susan J. Cavan
Susan J. Cavan, Ph.D. (Political Science and International Relations, Boston University), is a writer and editor with over twenty years of experience in international relations, political science, and policy analysis. As an editor at the Atlantic Council, Dr. Cavan specializes in US foreign, security, international economic, and military policy. She is the publisher of the Eurasia Analyst blog and former editor and analyst for the ISCIP Analyst blog and Perspective quarterly journal from the Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy at Boston University.

Deborah

Deborah Lapp
Deborah Lapp holds a BA in Art and Art History from Oberlin, and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. As an editor and indexer, she has worked for Little Brown, John Hopkins University Press, Columbia University Press, Cambridge University Press, Pearson, Elsevier, and others. Her editing experience spans over 30 years, and she continues to work part-time as a reference librarian in Brunswick, Maine.

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Jay R. Berkovitz
Jay Berkovitz is a Professor of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Editor-in-Chief of Jewish History. In Amherst he served for over a decade as department chair and as founding director of the Center for Jewish Studies. An expert in early modern Jewish history, he specializes in Jewish law and religion, ritual, rabbinic scholarship, and communal governance. Dr. Berkovitz is the author of four books: The Shaping of Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-century France (Wayne, 1989); Rites and Passages: The Beginnings of Modern Jewish Culture in France, 1650-1860 (UPenn, 2004); Tradition and Revolution in Early Modern France (Shazar Center for Jewish History, 2007); and Protocols of Justice: The Pinkas of the Metz Rabbinic Court, 1771-1789 (Brill, 2014). His forthcoming books include Courting Change: Jewish Law, Authority, and Community in Early Modern Metz (Brill) and Jewish Law in Early Modern Europe: Community, Religion, and the Dynamics of Social Change (Cambridge University Press).

For more information or to request a quote, contact us at editors@cambridgeeditors.com.

To learn more about our editors, visit our website.

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The Developmental Edit

By: Charlotte Lackney

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Editing comes in many shapes. Aside from copyediting, the most popular shape is that of developmental editing. Whether the manuscript is academic, fiction, or poetry, developmental editing is essential to ensuring the clarity and readability of the work. Leaning more towards the form of critique, this process looks specifically at issues such as sentence phrasing, plot holes, confusing dialogue, and other areas of concern in the manuscript’s elements. A developmental editor’s job is to assist the author in developing the body of work they had their mind set on.

Accepting this help is a difficult task for many writers. It’s hard to be open-minded to critical feedback that an editor will suggest—be it changes to dialogue or cutting out whole sections entirely. As a comprehensive big-picture edit, however, a little bit of patience and objectivity regarding the editor’s suggestions will go a long way. Frequent rewrites are a sure thing when it comes to this process. It’s important to remember that while it may seem that the story is being ripped apart, it is being reworked in a way that will enhance the original manuscript to its fullest potential.

CambridgeEditors offers developmental editing services for both fiction and nonfiction and is here to assist authors with the process of transforming ideas for a manuscript into a finished work. Our developmental editors will work with the writer to patch up plot holes, pacing, and dialogue in fiction, but also help to attain the clarity necessary to convey ideas to readers in nonfiction. Whether they are unsure of how to develop an idea into a manuscript or they have a preliminary manuscript but feel it isn’t ready to submit to readers, the developmental editors at CambridgeEditors will aid in the realization of their ideas in an effective and appealing work of writing.

For more information or to request a quote, contact us at editors@cambridgeeditors.com.

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Copyright After Copy-write

By: Charlotte Lackney

Photo Credit: Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

Disclaimer: The following is an overview of the copyright process and should not be taken as legal advice.

In today’s digital world, keeping tabs on who owns what is getting increasingly more difficult. More gray areas pop up around every turn and we lose track of original creators in an opaque fog of copycats. Copyright law is simple enough to understand in its most basic form—what you didn’t make isn’t yours. With the way of the web, however, it is easy to simply take without repercussions. It is often up to the viewer to speak out and inform other viewership of an uncredited work. On most platforms, this is common and works well. However, it isn’t always as effective. In the world of literature, such plagiarisms are more difficult to keep in check.

Registering books for copyright might not prevent plagiarism, but it will provide a level of legal protection that will keep your mind at ease. To attain this copyright is simple and can be done in a few easy steps.

  1. Visit the official copyright website.
  2. Find your category. In the case of a book, it will be listed as “Literary Works.”
  3. Fill out the Standard Application.
  4. Pay the US Copyright Office filing fee.
  5. Submit the final version of your work.

Even though the act of creating your work alone gives you copyright, having official proof of your ownership strengthens your defense against infringements. In the event your work is plagiarized, having the copyright made official will allow you to take legal action as well as qualify you for statutory damages.

When it comes down to it, though, it’s up to the author and their feelings towards the necessity of attaining official documentation. While works published through a house are copyrighted no matter what, self-published authors have the choice of whether the process is worth it or not. With or without documentation, the rights belong to the creator, and for some that knowledge alone is enough to satisfy unease.

To learn more about the process of copyrighting a book, visit www.copyright.gov.

Another article worth visiting is Kindlepreneur, in which the author breaks down literary copyright and the process of attaining it.

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The Academic Edit

By: Charlotte Lackney

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Different documents require different editorial attention. A fiction manuscript and an academic manuscript are objectively night and day and thus need specialized approaches. Academic publications consist of essays, dissertations, theses, papers, journal articles, and books, and therefore editing must serve to enhance the author’s ideas to better reach their intended audience. These documents are not only meant for submission to colleges, schools, or universities as part of training or employment, but also are often intended for publication in academic journals. Papers with this intent must meet the publication standards, and this is where having an academic editor comes in handy.

Academic editors have subject-matter expertise and are paired with projects that best suit their specialties. The editor uses their skills and experience to make the paper fit those strict standards set by journals, evaluating and improving the tone, grammar, documentation style, and format. There are two main tasks of an academic editor: enhancing the coherency of the project and refining the author’s thesis. The elimination of any reiterations or ambiguity rids the paper of incoherency, streamlining the author’s thoughts and strengthening the paper’s thesis. Ridding the paper of repetition will also make it both clear and concise for readability. Highlighting the key thesis help it to stand out among other submissions and amplify the author’s message.

Even well-written academics miss errors in their own writing. Falling into repetition without knowing is easier than it sounds. Being blind to these mistakes, no matter how minor they may be, can lead to the rejection of a manuscript. An academic editor serves as a second set of eyes to ensure that all thoughts are being conveyed effectively and will greatly improve the author’s chances of publication. The benefits of seeking out an editor for your academic manuscript are not to be overlooked!

As a leading specialist in academic editing, CambridgeEditors provides services for all areas of study, from the humanities and social sciences to business, law, and STEM fields. To learn more about what CambridgeEditors offers for authors of academia, visit our website!

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The “New Adult” Bandwagon

By: Charlotte Lackney

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We are all familiar with Young Adult and Adult Fiction as publication genres and are aware of where the differences lie. Looking at titles, mentally categorizing them in one or the other has become second nature. We have preferences—romance for one individual may be better in Adult, while for another, Young Adult Romance is more appealing. It’s convenient and helpful to have these two categories to separate titles for the reader’s easy perusal. What, then, do we do with the newer, up-and-coming genre of “New Adult”?

New Adult as a genre is young, coined only in 2009 by St. Martin’s Press. They had held a special call for fiction manuscripts that are “similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an ‘older YA’ or ‘new adult’”. Generally, this new classification is meant to be marketed to readers in the 18-30s range. It covers topics relating to those going through changes such as leaving home, development of a career path, furthering education, and the exploration of sexuality. The genre saw a spike in popularity within the past couple of years. The rise of platforms like TikTok have contributed to this, as the titles boosted by users are often referred to as “New Adult” by the content creators and their audience. Examples include Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses and Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.

The genre has received mixed reviews from publishers, however most lean towards the positive due to the genre’s marketability. The targeted age group provides a bridge between YA and Adult Fiction, making the audience broader. Some readers who grew up on Young Adult can no longer relate to the younger protagonists traversing the trials that come with that under-18 mindset. However, they can’t relate to protagonists over 25 with established careers and lives either. New Adult has been popular among readers because it gives somewhere for them to land, and that popularity makes the genre all the more appealing to publishers.

It has been argued that New Adult as a genre is simply a passing trend and therefore not worth investing in. Additionally, it is thought that the genre is a tossed together label for Young Adult publications that include overtly sexual themes. Although more and more publishers are beginning to get on board, the discourse continues over whether the genre is legitimate or not. The development of New Adult is something to keep an eye on—not only for the readership, but for writers and publishers as well.

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Winter Book Recommendations!

By Charlotte Lackney

https://www.ebsco.com/blogs/novelist/warm-winter-reading

Winter is one of the cozier seasons for reading. The scenery of snow falling outside the window and the crackling of a fireplace—real or, if you’re like me, a ten-hour video of a fireplace on YouTube—and a fluffy blanket make for the best kind of reading day. It’s made even better with the perfect book selection. So, I’ve accumulated my three favorite winter reads and am offering them to you today!

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

An enchanting tale about Le Cirque des Rêves and the fierce competition that’s underway behind the scenes. Magicians Celia and Marco have been trained since childhood to compete on this whimsical stage in a battle that was designed to leave only one standing. Despite their best efforts, though, the two tumble into a forbidden romance amidst a fatal game that must play out to its end. Morgenstern writes in rich prose that will captivate you from beginning to end. Interspersing the story with a second-person narrative, not only will you see the circus from the perspective of the performers, but as a patron yourself.

2. The Eternal Husband by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Don’t let the author’s name scare you away! This novella of only 137 pages is a quick and masterfully suspenseful story about the dualities of love and the effect of grief and guilt on the psyche. The tragicomedy begins in the middle, with Trusotsky and Velchaninov beginning the rocky navigation of a love triangle’s aftermath. Although lighter than Dostoevsky’s other much bulkier novels, The Eternal Husband is a testament to his immense talent. It’s one of his most complete works in terms of development.

3. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

A retrospective story about despair and love set against the frozen backdrop of a harsh New England winter. Trapped in an unhappy and luckless life, Ethan Frome becomes obsessed with Mattie, his wife’s spirited cousin brought into their household as a ‘hired girl’. To him, she is the hope for happiness in his future, and is heavily tempted by her vivacious optimism. The short and captivating tale will leave a lasting impression. It is one of Wharton’s most intense and impactful stories.

Happy reading!

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The Question of Author Narration: Do or Do Not?

By: Charlotte Lackney

https://republicamericas.com/money/how-to-become-an-audiobook-narrator/

Audiobooks have been a rising star in the publishing industry since their debut in 1932. In Audio Publishers Association’s 2016 annual report, audiobook sales totaled 2.1 billion, an increase of 18.2 percent from the previous year. About 55 million people listen to audiobooks each year, and that number only continues to climb. Why shouldn’t it? Audiobooks are convenient and are accessible no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Deloitte, a consulting and research firm, predicts audiobooks to grow 20-30 percent annually, with a revenue of 3.5 billion.

What makes audiobooks such a success? What is the difference between a good audiobook and a bad one? A common opinion is that success lies not with the story but with the one who narrates it. Similar to the responses to podcasts, if the narrator isn’t likeable or doesn’t have the right voice it completely throws the potential of the audiobook out the window. Here is the question, then: why not have the author read their own stories?

Who knows a book better than the one who wrote it? The author will be aware of the characters’ personalities and how to best portray them. They’ll know where to give emphasis, which sections of the story need more attention, and what emotions are intended to be invoked. In addition, if the author is well-known and the book is popular, having the author read their own work would even bring in a larger audience. Not to mention that it would be less expensive for production. It sounds like the perfect arrangement, so why do we not see more often?

There are a few reasons. For one, at the time of audiobook production (just after the completion of the final manuscript) the author is expected to be working with the publicity and marketing teams in preparation for the launch of the book. Realistically it would be difficult to arrange the necessary amount of time needed for the author to record the audiobook. Another reason lies within what was mentioned earlier: their voice. Not everyone is cut out to be a voice actor, it’s an art that takes practice and dedication to master. Audiobook listeners want a narrator that they wouldn’t mind listening to for 16 hours, and that might not be the author.

This isn’t to say that it never happens! An example of this would be Neil Gaiman. Gaiman often reads his own books, simply because he is very good at it. A reviewer of the audiobook for Coraline said, “[Gaiman] doesn’t drone, and you won’t fall asleep,” which is high praise for an audiobook narrator! In 2009, The Graveyard Book even won the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year. It all comes down to the author, their voice, and their experience. What would the author bring to the table to increase the listener’s enjoyment?

Having more authors narrate their own books would be worth a try. There’s something about the idea of it that feels complete, and I personally would love to see what differences it brings to the experience. So long as the author doesn’t put me to sleep, that is.

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The Principal Tasks of a Copyeditor

By: Charlotte Lackney

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Receiving a manuscript back after a round of copyedits can be an overwhelming experience. The sight of red lines and restructured sentences and highlights and so, so many questions and comments and suggestions—it’s enough to give any writer anxiety. It’s common, too, for writers to believe their work has been thoroughly ruined by the pen (or cursor) of a copyeditor. This isn’t true! The service provided by copyeditors is important to the development of a manuscript. To understand why, you must first consider the copyeditor’s six principal tasks.

1. Mechanical Editing

Mechanical editing is the conformity to a particular editorial, or “house”, style, focusing on the make and feel of the manuscript. Copyeditors looks specifically at punctuation, capitalization, spelling, abbreviations, etc. in accordance with the house style. The most common among houses being the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) and Associated Press (AP) Style. A house style is established through the use of the same dictionary and style manual made available to the copyeditor by the house. This form of editing is especially important in ensuring consistency across all multi-author publications, such as journals or anthologies

2. Correlating Parts

The correlation of parts within a manuscript refers to fact-checking, important primarily to academic and nonfiction works. Copyeditors will verify cross references, foot/endnote numbering, content to text correlation, the placement of tables, and the correctness of the table of contents

3. Language Editing

Language editing is the correction of errors, grammar, usage, and diction without imposing stylistic preferences. Copyeditors are not hired to defend language against innovation and are therefore not going to change what isn’t grammatically incorrect. They are encouraged to ask themselves “is this sentence acceptable as the author has written it?” before changing anything simply because it looks or sounds different.

4. Content Editing

Content editing is when the copyeditor calls the author’s attention to internal inconsistencies or the need for additional information for the purpose of readability. These polite thoughts/questions are referred to as “queries.” Before changing the wording of a sentence unnecessarily, copyeditors are encouraged to query the author to verify anything they are unsure about. Illusory knowledge (what you think you know but you don’t) is dangerous for copyeditors. It’s important to not accidentally change the author’s meaning when correcting grammar in content editing.

5. Permissions

In this task, copyeditors ensure copyright law is followed and that proper permission for use of copyrighted material such as texts, tables, and illustrations is obtained prior to publication.

6. Markup

Within digital copyediting, markup refers to the tagging, styling, and typecoding of a manuscript. The copyeditor tags all part and chapter numbers, titles, subtitles, headings, and subheadings. Markup like this is used primarily for in-house projects that require a typesetter before being sent off for production.

A copyeditor’s job is important! They’re tasked with getting your work to shine the way you want it to, buffing it to perfection with every fixed serial comma. It may look overwhelming initially but trust your editor. They’re here to help!

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Clara Wu and the Lunar New Year

By: Charlotte Lackney

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Just in time for the Lunar New Year, long-time CambridgeEditors client Vincent Yee announces the release of the second book in the Clara Wu series, Clara Wu and the Jade Labyrinth. This immersive five-part fantasy series follows Clara Wu, a Chinese American teenager, who finds herself whisked away into a fantastical world to fight an evil Warlock in order to save Earth along with Sung Kim, Yuka Satoh, and Daniel Nguyen. Following the events of book one, Clara Wu and the Portal Book, book two sees the main characters returning to Azen to embark on another journey to save the Panda Kingdom and uncover the secrets of the Jade Labyrinth.

Clara Wu and the Jade Labyrinth was released on February 1st, 2022, falling perfectly on the 2022 Lunar New Year. Yee expressed to CambridgeEditors the importance of overlapping the two events. As an Asian American author writing for better Asian American representation, his goal is for Asian Americans to be able to see themselves as the heroes in his stories and life beyond. It’s because of this goal that he celebrates the release of his newest installment in tandem with one of the most important celebrations in Asian culture.

Vincent Yee entrusted the Clara Wu Books with CambridgeEditors in 2021. One of our talented editors, Felicia Lee, worked with him closely as he wrote all five manuscripts in 2021. He is aiming to release the remaining three books in 2022.

Praise for Clara Wu and the Portal Book:

“An epic adventure book with Asian American representation! Even though the Clara Wu books are aimed at young adults, as an adult, I really enjoyed this book.” – Linda C., January 2022

“I love every moment of Clara’s adventures. She learns a lot about herself and her culture—it’s a great read!!” – Jean K., January 2022

“It’s an extremely good book. It’s a fantasy and a group of people in another realm. It’s a story that supports Asian Americans, too. All in one, I think you’ll enjoy it!” – Joseph C., January 2022

Both Clara Wu and the Portal Book and Clara Wu and the Jade Labyrinth are available for purchase on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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