Happy 2nd Birthday to Us: What I’ve learned from two years of being a business owner

It’s The Book Shelf’s 2nd birthday! In this blog, I talk about the challenges of being a boss and what I’ve learned from two years as a small business owner.

“I want to write a nonfiction book, but what should I write about?”

80% of adults have thought about writing a book at some point. But if you’re an aspiring nonfiction author, the big question is: what do you write about? Here, we’ll give you our top tips on topics.

The E-Myth: The book every business owner needs to read

The E-Myth business book by Stephen Gerber

Are you a small business owner, entrepreneur, or wantrepreneur struggling to figure out why your business isn’t working? Michael Gerber’s #1 business book The E-Myth has the answers…

Which is the best proofreading software—Grammarly or Word’s Spellchecker?

You no doubt know that your writing needs proofreading to ensure that it’s error-free before you publish. But do you know which is the best proofreading program—Grammarly or Microsoft Word’s Spellchecker? What if it’s neither of them…?

How Not to Write a Book: 5 mistakes to avoid when writing nonfiction

When you’re writing a nonfiction book, there are 5 common traps you might fall into. If you can avoid making these mistakes, you might save yourself the cost of hiring an editor! So, let’s look at the top 5 nonfiction writing mistakes…

The Worst 5 Pitfalls of Self-Publishing and How to Avoid them

Self-publishing can be a magical thing, as it means that anyone can publish a book. However, there are many potential pitfalls. Here’s your insider’s guide on how to avoid self-publishing mistakes…

Editing vs. Proofreading: What’s the difference?

As a writer or author, you may want a professional to add that extra polish to your work. But do you need a proofreader or an editor, or both? Here’s your insider guide to proofreading vs. editing…

5 Reasons to Write a Non-Fiction Book during Coronavirus Lockdown

In these unprecedented and worrying times, writing a book might be the last thing on your mind! However, here are five good reasons why you might want to write a nonfiction book during the coronavirus lockdown…

Fact Check: Should books be checked for accuracy before publishing?

We know that newspapers can be inaccurate, but what about books? You might assume that nonfiction books are FACT, but a few famous cases show that they’re not. So, are books fact-checked, and if not—why not?

An Editor’s Review: Brief Answers to the Big Questions, Stephen Hawking

A review of Stephen Hawking’s ‘Brief Answers to the Big Questions’ from a scientifically-useless nonfiction book editor…

To Hire an Editor or Not to Hire an Editor?

I was delighted to be featured as a guest blogger on author Sally Jenkins’ writing blog recently. You can check out the original post here

Ameesha Smith-Green

Whether you’re a professional writer making a living from your words or someone who enjoys hobby blogging, there will no doubt come a time when you wonder whether it’s worth hiring an editor. In fact, “Do I need an editor?” is a question I often get asked by writers. As an editor, you may think I’d leap up and shout “YES!”, but the answer isn’t cut and dry. So, let’s look at some of the things you should consider before hiring an editor.

 

Are you writing for pleasure or business?
If you’re writing for fun or catharsis, then an editor isn’t really necessary. It’s more important that the writing fulfils your personal needs and desires. However, if you’re a freelance writer, an author, or a blogger hoping to make money from your work, then it might be worth hiring an editor, because your writing needs to be of a higher quality than if you were just writing for yourself.

What value does an editor add?
A good editor knows the industry relevant to your writing and what your readers want. They understand genre standards, word counts, structure, and flow. Importantly, they’re objective and honest about whether your writing is good enough—and how to improve it. A good editor should make you a better writer, not just fix your errors. Even the best writer can sometimes find themselves unable to see the wood for the trees, and that’s where an editor is invaluable.

What do editors do?
The term “editor” is very broad, but in writing there are two main types: content editors (also known as developmental editors) and copy editors. The former look at the big picture—structure, content, message, narrative, and so on. The latter focus on the small picture—grammar, language, wording, punctuation, and so on. It’s worth noting that the role of a copy editor is often confused with that of a proofreader. However, proofreading is merely checking the final version of the text (such as a designed book or website) for any last typos or errors.

Which should you choose?
If you’re a book author, you’d normally start with a content edit, then progress to a copy edit, then a proofread. If you’re writing blogs or website content, then you’ll probably only want copy editing and/or proofreading. Some editors offer both content and copy editing services, while others specialise in just one. If you’re confident in your writing skills and don’t need an editor, it may be worth hiring a proofreader to ensure there are no embarrassing typos before you hit “publish”.

Where do you find editors?
You can find editors and proofreaders through generalist freelancing sites such as Upwork, niche sites like book-specific freelancing site Reedsy, or industry organisations such as the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). Before hiring anyone, carefully read their feedback and have preliminary discussions about your requirements to see whether they’re the right editor for you. With copy editing and proofreading, you can request a sample to see their skills in action. Alternatively, you can get in touch to hire one of The Book Shelf’s team of editing experts.

Sally Jenkins

A few weeks ago I met freelance editor Ameesha Smith-Green at a networking event and was impressed by her full order book and great enthusiasm for her job. She generously offered to share some advice about when an editor is required and what tasks that editor might perform.  Ameesha Smith-Green

Over to Ameesha:

Whether you’re a professional writer making a living from your words or someone who enjoys hobby blogging, there will no doubt come a time when you wonder whether it’s worth hiring an editor. In fact, “Do I need an editor?” is a question I get asked fairly often by writers. As an editor, you might think I’d leap up and shout “YES!”, but the answer isn’t so cut and dry…

Are you writing for pleasure or business?
If you’re writing for fun or catharsis, then an editor isn’t really necessary. It’s more important that the writing fulfils your personal…

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