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Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success

Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success

4.9 12
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

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Red Engine Press
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6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

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Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Jozette More than 1 year ago
Do you know what a dangling participle is? Are you aware of the gremlins that lurk as you type? How about the gerunds, ineffective passives and adverb redundancies? How familiar are you with Word when using it for your work in progress? Do you know how to track your edits and ideas or readability statistics?

I don't consider myself to be computer illiterate but I couldn't answer these questions without the help of The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. I started reading the book and became so engrossed, I was halfway through before I put it down. It is engaging, entertaining and extremely informative. No writer should be without a copy in their library of references. On these pages are answers to many of the issues I face as a novelist. There are links to useful websites, a list of agents and what they are looking for in your submission, sample query and cover letters and so much more.

I highly recommend The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success as required reading for every writer whether you're a novice or well published. It is an easy to use, reader friendly guide to help you clean up your work to "put your best book forward!"
Guest More than 1 year ago
Should you be your own editor? The Frugal Editor will answer this question while giving you an insight to editing. In the end, it is up to the author, whether or not they want to self-edit their manuscript. Carolyn will give you information and links to information while also giving you some tools in Microsoft Word, albeit, pre Vista and Word 2007. With a bit of internet searching, you can find the subtle differences, I did. Word 2007 will also save your work in a format that someone using an earlier version will not be able to read. You will learn this also as you become more familiar with Word 2007. Hint: save your docs as Word 97-2003 that way people using earlier versions of Word will be able to read your docs easily. In The Frugal Editor, Carolyn gives you a wealth of information gleaned over the years by trial and error. It is easier to learn from someone that¿ been there and done that than fight it yourself. I know I have, and I welcome the information to help me save time and energy by reading this book and visiting some of the links. Unfortunately, as the internet is, links don¿t seem to last. I found a link here and there that didn¿t work that being said, I found more than enough links that did work for me to bookmark many sites for further perusal. No matter what level of writer you are, The Frugal Editor is a must read, whether novice or pro, you will gain something. I plan on telling my writer friends about this book. I found it fun and informational at the same time. As a freelance writer, The Frugal Editor, can be, and, should be, used if you are considering writing of any type. Do yourself a favor, pick up a copy and read it. You will not be disappointed, and you might just learn something new about writing in the process.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carolyn Howard-Johnson¿s ¿The Frugal Editor¿ is an eye-opening journey into the often tedious realm of editing. Carolyn¿s book is both informative and entertaining in the way she presents the technical subject matter as she interjects bits of wit and humor throughout an otherwise dry topic. Her explanations for solving common writing problems were informative and detailed. In one illustration, she not only demonstrates how the limitation of adverbs can strengthen one¿s writing, she also follows through with clear and concise instructions as to how to locate and eradicate these often redundant verb crutches, in addition to solutions to other writing problems. This 167 page, information-packed book runs the gamut of valuable tips from attracting renowned literary agents, to the proper use of apostrophes. In the appendixes the reader finds sample query letters, valuable reference materials, literary agent recommendations, and other insightful tidbits that a writer needs in order to succeed. Even readers with a professional knowledge of Microsoft¿s Word program will discover great editing tools designed to assist authors in their quest for a perfected end product. For example, one of every writer¿s nightmare pitfalls is the excessive use of passive tense. Carolyn explains how to use the Readability Statistics tool in Microsoft Word to gauge the writer¿s successfulness at avoiding this nod-inducing tendency toward passive tense writing. This book will add a whole new dimension to the neophyte writer¿s use of the basic Grammar and Spell Check feature of Microsoft Word. As Carolyn states, publishers of today want a ninety-nine percent finished product when receiving a proposed manuscript. It¿s a matter of cost-cutting for the publisher, so a full edit prior to submission is paramount for success. Should the reader choose to hire a professional editor, the book even provides a chapter devoted to finding the perfect author/editor match up, and how to better work with her or him. In the confines of this brief book review, I found myself editing my text using tips, tricks, and techniques that I acquired from reading ¿The Frugal Editor.¿ I highly recommend it to anyone in the business of writing, whether it be novels, non-fiction, short stories, news articles, or business letters. Carolyn¿s expertise in the art of editing will make whatever you write more effective, understandable, reader friendly, and most importantly, editorially correct by way of not only grammar and punctuation, but context as well. As an author, I found ¿The Frugal Editor¿ an enlightening read and a valuable reference book, and one that should be used by everyone looking to perfect their writing skills.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Frugal Editor will be on my desk, within arm's reach! I want to keep it much closer than the bookshelves! I didn't realize how little I knew about self editing! It will become my most used reference. Your book is a godsend!
Guest More than 1 year ago
THE FRUGAL EDITOR, Put your best book forward to avoid humiliation and ensure success. by Carolyn Howard-Johnson ISBN 978-0-97851-7-4 Red Engine Press Reviewed by Billie A Williams In this day an age, when according to some studies, over 81 percent of Americans feel they should write a book and more than six million of them actually have at least written the manuscripts. What are your chances of getting published when that is just over two percent of the population? Most of these manuscripts however, are doomed to failure because they don¿t understand the intricacies of polishing (read that as editing) their manuscripts before sending them out, and/or hiring an editor to give it the final tweak before they send them off. According to a recent article by Robert McCrum in The Observer and I quote, ¿¿according to the New York Times, there's a new book published in the United States every half an hour, and - wait for it - that's just fiction. RR Bowker, the company that compiles the Books in Print database in the USA, has calculated that no fewer than 175,000 new titles were published in 2003. That's one book roughly every 20 seconds.¿ And as you can imagine that trend has only increased since then. As McCrum says, the new books have the shelf life of yogurt, but that quality will always stand above the rest and will persevere. So how do you bring that quality to your own work? The Frugal Editor by Carolyn Howard-Johnson is like having an editor in a box, or more correctly, between two covers of a book. Concise down-to-earth advice about how to edit your manuscript before you even begin to think about sending it out into the red pencil world of publishers, where their editors get the first chance to evaluate your hard work. Frugal Editor is a veritable thesaurus of how to spot the gremlins that can mess up your prose. If edits and editors paralyze you with fear, take heart. Carolyn Howard-Johnson makes the whole process palatable. She intersperses her directives with light hearted humor making the whole process nearly enjoyable. If there is an error your manuscript could contain, you¿ll find the method for search and eradication in this delightful book. You¿ll want to read it cover to cover, but then you will keep it by your side as you write, rewrite and edit so you can be frugal when you do decided to hire that editor to give it one last polish before you submit it anywhere. As Howard-Johnson says ¿The lesson here for all of us is that attention to detail and craft counts, and that even experienced writers can flub an opportunity if they don¿t pay attention to the last great step toward publishing, a good edit.¿ Howard-Johnson explains the difference between and editor and a typo hunter. She also cautions that ¿¿no matter how skilled an editor is, the author needs to know a lot about the process too. The cleaner the copy you hand over to your editor, the more accurate she can be and her edit may cost you less in time and money.¿ When Howard-Johnson says frugal in her book titles she means it and she goes to great lengths to insure the reader gets her/his money worth by providing resources with links, examples of the often scary Query letter construction, and more. She doesn¿t leave the reader high and dry at any point. Further advice or learning is a matter of using the comprehensive index to find the detail you need and then following the advice, link or resource mentioned to guide you in your search for excellence. The twenty plus pages of appendices is not mere fluff or padding of book length or word count, it is more than a bibliography of recommended reading (though it also contains that). You will find samples and links such as the query letters mentioned above, helpful groups to investigate, grammar helps and books. It¿s hard to believe more could be contained in any book on your shelf. Spare no gremlin¿search and destroy, polish and perfect before you send out your hard work. This book i
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carolyn Howard-Johnson has compiled a book full of useful information that could help each and every author or aspiring author out there. The Frugal Editor would also be great for a book reviewer to add to their collection. Included inside this bright green eye catching cover you will find gremlins, (not the ones from the movie) very clever guys bent on chaos--are always at work throughout the entire publishing process, and how to work around them. This book is full of helpful guidelines one could use to improve your writing as well as possibly saving money. If you are an author and decide to hire an editor which after reading this I would recommend, you could possibly save money by having the key points editors look for already mended. Also when choosing an editor, try to find one with experience as new editors may overlook something that a senior editor may spot a mile away. One thing that helped me most in this book is the section on punctuation. I am a comma addict and I freely admit it. Carolyn Howard-Jones explains the correct usage as well as position for comma's, colons, semi-colons and so on. I would recommend The Frugal Editor to anyone thinking about a career in writing, this would be great college or even high school reference material. I honestly expected to just read guidelines and how to's but was pleasantly surprised at some of the antics and humor Carolyn threw in to keep the book interesting. Ms. Howard-Johnson knows what she is talking about and is as witty as they come. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. I know this book is not going to get much shelf time as it will be right by my computer, and every time that I go to write a review I will probably turn to The Frugal Editor to make sure my punctuations are all in the right spot. 5 hearts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The publishing world is so incredibly competitive nowadays, both aspiring and experienced authors who wish to succeed need to make sure that their submissions¿be that queries, proposals, partials or complete manuscripts¿are as flawless as they can possibly be. It goes without saying that these submissions must be free of spelling and grammatical mistakes that¿s only the beginning. Editors and agents pay attention to a lot of other amateurish mistakes in a submission. In this her latest book, award-winning author Carolyn Howard-Johnson reveals what those other mistakes are, what you can do to spot them on your manuscript and, more importantly, correct them. Johnson demystifies how to spot dangling participles, gremlins of the passive voice (which stubbornly keep appearing after having edited your manuscript twice), and innocuous agreement errors, among other sneaky problems like overuse of adverbs and adjectives, gerunds, unnecessary question marks and exclamation points, handling possessives and apostrophes, hyphens, double adjectives, and more. You¿ll learn how to make the editing process more effortless, including how to set up your Word program to make markings easier, as well as manual and electronic techniques for spotting errors. The book also includes helpful sidebars with particularly important information on all aspects of self editing. Johnson also discusses the most common amateurish mistakes writers often make. At the end of the book there is a chunky appendix with lots of pertinent and relevant resources. One of the things I found more interesting about this book is the `inside¿ information from the point of view of various agents. I also think Johnson gives very valuable advice when she recommends NOT doing the final two edits on the computer screen, but on printed copy instead. I particularly like the chapters on how to set up Word for optimizing the self editing process I have read many books on editing but never came upon this practical element before. Moreover, Johnson writes in a friendly, engaging style, making the reading of this book both an enjoyable and enlightening experience. Ideally, hiring a professional editor is the best way to go, but unfortunately, not every writer has the resources to hire one. Getting a copy of The Frugal Editor and using it as a reference guide is the next best thing. Highly recommended for authors who are serious about their work and willing to beat the odds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book from cover to cover without missing a beat. As a first-time nonfiction author, I grabbed every book on the shelf that had anything to do with writing, and this is the only one that offers useful information with every word. As a former English teacher and English lit major, I shamefully admit my grammar skills are a bit dusty. Howard-Johnson helped me brush up and polish them off without having to think too hard. Her advice is practical, and digs into the nitty gritty details us lazy writers often neglect. This book will sit by my side through the whole editing process.
Robert_Medak More than 1 year ago
The Frugal Editor is a book that belongs on the desk of anyone that is either an author, or an aspiring author. This book contains a wealth of information about what it takes to have your manuscript pass the mark toward publication. This book gives writers needed information on how to create queries, cover letters, book proposals, and manuscripts that are not sloppy which will get you into the round file. Reading this book will assist you in why you need an editor or at least two other sets of eyes for you writing. If you use Word, the de facto standard, there is information about using the Tracking feature and more to help you with your writing and editing with easy and practical steps in this book. The Frugal Editor applies to all types of writing. Even those that write business letters, e-mails and more can gain a unique insight into making them better. This book is an invaluable resource for anyone putting words on paper or a computer screen. The book is conversational in tone as if talking to a fiend that is imparting their secrets and tips to make your writing more professional and your manuscript pass muster with agents or in-house editors. No one wants to submit something that is not their best, which is why writers need a copy of The Frugal Editor. Do yourself a favor, and find a copy of this book for your reference; you will appreciate it.
Franceslynn More than 1 year ago
I used to think I knew everything about grammar until I read "The Frugal Editor". If I'd read Carolyn Howard-Johnson's new book (her previous one was the invaluable "The Frugal book Promoter") before I edited the manuscripts of my novels, it would have saved me a lot of time and anguish. If I had read this tome before attempting to edit my last manuscript before submission, I would have avoided making several glaring hyphenation mistakes, which Carolyn writes about in depth. 'Quick test for Hyphenating double adjectives,' she headlines. Similar to a lot of the topics in her book, her helpful text is backed up by a relevant link for further in-depth details. Carolyn Howard-Johnson stresses that "The Frugal Editor" doesn't focus on the craft of writing or revision. She assumes that all authors have done revision before they edit their books. 'A good editor will help a writer to find her voice, remain true to it and still move the manuscript from a tough rock to a polished gemstone,' she says. She even gives practical advice on how to find a good editor, like asking professors in the writing department at one's local university to recommend a good one. And to always ask for references in order to avoid charlatans. I thought it was particularly interesting that Carolyn edits every document as if it were a manuscript. She stresses it's imperative to carefully edit query letters, cover letters and book proposals. It makes sense as these documents are sent to agents and publishers. For writers who are confident they know everything about grammar, the book also acts as a useful grammatical refresher course. Howard-Johnson is practical and advises authors not to lose any sleep if a writer doesn't spot a typo or a grammatical mistake. Even experienced writers make glaring grammatical mistakes, so Carolyn gives practical and humorous advice on how to search for 'gremlins', especially adverbs in one's manuscript. 'You may have wondered why in the world-of-writing I would want to search for adverbs, which we all know are perfectly good parts of speech used frequently by the most scholarly among us. They're ugly, that's why. They're often redundant. They cloak weak verbs. In fact, they are probably first cousins to the gremlin you usually want them out of there. The good news: You can use your Find Function to root them out.' Carolyn explains each grammatical point in explicit detail. She is also a humorous writer which makes her advice seem entertaining. For instance, she talks about 'gremlins' as 'very clever guys bent on a writer's destruction.' Her nonfiction prose is full of gems like, 'editing your adverbs is like mining metaphor gold. Death to Gerunds, Participles and Other Ugly ings, Gerundings can keep you from laughing all the way to the bank and Participle ings are not a gerund's twin.' 'I want you to learn from this book,' she says, 'but I'd also like you to enjoy the editing challenge.' She gives useful tips on Revision, Editing, Line Editing and Proof reading and insists that your editing will go more smoothly if you've thoroughly revised your manuscript first. Her invaluable book is about making the editing process easier and gives innovative tips on how use both manual and electronic techniques (like the Find Function) for eliminating errors.
Julie_Trevelyan More than 1 year ago
Okay, folks, here¿s the scoop: If you are serious about being a serious writer, you need to read The Frugal Editor. And by serious writer, I mean one who can do more than just write, but can write correctly (hello, grammar) and is able to self-edit with a critical eye. Not to mention that these days, frugality is all the rage. So let¿s give this title a whirl, shall we?

The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success by Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a fun read (yes, I did just say ¿fun¿ about a book on editing) that contains truly excellent gems of advice for writers in all stages of their careers. Her tips are straightforward but not obvious, there is an index (I hate books of this type that don¿t contain indices), sample query letters, eye-friendly little sidebars, and simply sweet ¿n short little chapters that demonstrate the basic tenet of not saying more than is necessary (thank you, Strunk & White).

Think you don¿t need a reminder of how to edit? Think you¿re all that? Here¿s a little nugget from the book about gremlins, those editing mistakes that trip us up whenever they can. Tell me what¿s wrong with this sentence, which started off an essay submission by a New Yorker-published writer: ¿Growing up, there were two types of food in my family.¿

Yeah, that essay was rejected right off. Got it? Good. Not? Then you definitely need The Frugal Editor! Even if you did catch the sly grammatical monster in that sentence, you can still benefit from reading this book. Enjoy. I sure did. (And here¿s hoping this post is grammatically correct¿)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago