Today, we welcome freelance editor Debra Butterfield to our blog. We are highlighting her newest book, 7 Cheat Sheets to Cut Editing Costs. You are sure to use this book over and over! It’s not a long book, but it is packed full of valuable information. Ever wondered what goes into the editing process? Have you ever been a bit daunted by the thought of self-editing your book before initial submission – to your critique group or publishing house? Whether you want to do a better job at self editing or critiquing your writing partner’s book, or just be able to partner better with your publishing house’s editor, this book is for you.
Debra created cheat sheets for Research, POV, Showing vs Telling, Chicago Manual of Style, Punctuation, Creating a Style Sheet, and 10 Things to do before Hiring an Editor. Her writing is to the point and easy to understand. This is one resource you don’t want to pass up.
Debra Butterfield is the author of 7 Cheat Sheets to Cut Editing Costs, Abba’s Promise, Carried by Grace: a Guide for Mothers of Victims of Sexual Abuse, and Mystery on Maple Hill (a short story ebook). As a freelance editor, she offers book and article editing, proofreading, critique, and coaching services, as well as Scrivener training. Her editorial credits include three award winners: Wilted Dandelions, This I Know, and Bethany’s Calendar. She is a former copywriter for Focus on the Family.
What kinds of interesting things have you done in your life? I’ve been aboard C130 airplanes and watched US Marines jump out. It’s tough to beat that! I also lived in Germany from 1987-1991, during which time the Berlin Wall fell and the Gulf War erupted. I saw a lot of amazing places, but there was also danger in being an American in Europe—we learned things like checking our car for bombs whenever we went off base.
When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing? When I’m not writing, I’m editing. As a self-employed writer/editor, I battle balancing my time. It can be all work and no play, but that’s not healthy. I enjoy reading and crocheting. When I lived in Colorado, I went hiking. I miss that here in Missouri.
What does your family think of your writing? My parents (now both dead), children, and siblings are very proud of my books. They actively help me market them as well, especially my book Carried by Grace. I’m very fortunate to have them help that way.
Tell us about getting your mind in a creative mode? How do you begin your writing process? There is no “getting in a creative mode.” I sit down and do it. When I’m working on a book, I often reread a portion first to get myself oriented to where I left off. If I want to capture a specific mood for a scene I’m writing, I’ll play instrumental music that fits the mood. The closest I come to getting in a creative mode is to play movie soundtracks while I write because music stimulates my creativity. I think every writer should spend time learning what stimulates her/his creativity.
What motivated you to write on this topic? The same kinds of mistakes pop up in all the manuscripts I edit, so I decided to help writers solve those errors before they send their manuscript to editors or publishers. All writers need professional editing and helping them reduce those costs is what the book is all about. Simple things they can do that make a big difference in the time editors spend doing the work.
What was the hardest thing about writing the book? The hardest portion of the book was the section on the editing process. I wanted to give writers enough information without overwhelming them with details. I hope by explaining the editing process and giving them a way to determine costs, it empowers writers to move forward with professional editing rather than blindly fearing the costs.
Which part of your book was the most enjoyable to write? Writing the cheat sheets. I do this stuff every day; that made them easy to write. That’s not to say I never reach for my style guides or catch every error when I proofread. But if writers follow this advice, they’ll create stronger stories and cleaner manuscripts, and that translates into saving $$$ in the professional editing process.
What has been your biggest challenge when it comes to self-editing?
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