Lichen Craig

 

Please use the CONTACT page on this site to email Lichen at any time with questions about editing.
See an article discussing reasons why using an editor is a must for the serious writer HERE.   
 

 

What does this cost? 

Like many editors, Lichen will ask to see the first three chapters before agreeing to edit for you, and will usually edit those three for free so that you can see how it works.  Should you then hire her, Lichen asks for 50% when we begin, and the remainder at the end of the project.  Lichen is open to most genres, but is most knowledgeable in literary fiction, historical fiction, and non-fiction areas of humor, memoir, biography, animal sciences, history, and social science and commentary. She is always open to books on pets, livestock, horses and wildlife. In addition, Lichen will edit anthologies of poetry. 

Charges sometimes vary according to the depth of the project, but as a general rule of thumb, the average fiction manuscript will cost $700.00 for the first 60,000 words, and an additional $100.00 per 10,000 words after that. 

So what does Lichen do? 

 Lichen will edit most any type of work: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, screenplays, brochures, business letters, theses and term papers.

 
Lichen does both types of editing - content and proofing, for one price.  Because she is herself a writer, and has years of experience in both writing and in editing, she will also read your manuscript for quality of writing, and help you improve if necessary. Finally, she will guide you into the publishing process, whether you want to go the indie route or submit to a traditional publisher; in the latter case, Lichen will help you get your manuscript and query ready and sent out.

Lichen works differently than other editors, in that she gives you the option of working together in audio sessions on your manuscript, so that suggested changes are explained and shown to you as the edit progresses.  This gives you the opportunity to ask questions as you look at the manuscript together online, and to really be an active part of the editing process and learn writing skills that you may not already have. It's a true learning process for you, and a team effort. 

BACKGROUND.  Lichen has nearly 30 years experience in writing for money. For many years she wrote non-fiction, from politics to wildlife, to educational trends and disabilities, to profiles/interviews.  In 2012 she published a first novel. Her formal education is in writing and literature. She holds degrees in writing, in classical and modern literature, and in journalism (including editing). This prepares her to lend a critical editor's eye to any type of writing, from fiction to poetry to non-fiction. 

Why hiring a good editor matters . . .

Every smart writer uses a professional editor. Even experienced writers, and editors who also write - like myself, use outside editors. Why? Because we know that no one, no matter how meticulous or well-intentioned, can catch all the errors in their own work. When you read your own material, two things happen:

  • Your ego gets in the way. You don't see structural problems, or lack-of-clarity problems, in your own stuff, because of course you understood its meaning very well when you wrote it. It is very difficult to completely step outside your own head as the writer and read your text for comprehension. Someone else needs to do that. 
  • Your eye sees what it wants to see. This is actually a documented phenomenon, widely understood by experienced writers and editors. When you read your own material, your eye will fill in words that are not there, and even correct typos, so that you don't see objectively. The trained eye of an editor will be able to catch these errors, which if left in place make your prose seem amateurish to the reader, or worse, make you look bad in the eyes of a prospective publisher. 

It's hard to step outside your own head, and read what is really there, when it comes to your own work. 

Many an inexperienced writer wants to save some cost, and bypasses the professional editor by getting a few friends to read their work. If your friend has a formal education and years of training that will allow expertise in editing, then maybe it will work. But most people don't have friends with that kind of experience. Even someone who has written a book or two, may themselves have written a bad book or two, and is not qualified to polish your book.  You may have other friends who have college degrees in various subjects, love books, and whom you consider to be quite intelligent. But good editing is a skill that is learned over time and experience; and the best editors have studied it at a university level. Besides the fact that a friend without the necessary background will simply not be able to look at the things in your manuscript that an editor instinctively knows to look for, a friend will be reading with a very biased eye.  No matter how well-meaning, friends will not tell you the raw truth, nor will they be truly able to help you improve your manuscript.

 

Friends do not make good editors - they will always read with a bias.

What does an editor do, exactly?

There are two types of editing:  line editing (also called "copyediting") and content editing. Although most editors specialize in one or the other, some editors have the training and background to do both.  

Line Editing.   This type of editing is looking at your manuscript for things like typos and misspellings, but it goes beyond simple proofreading. This editor looks for issues with:

  • Misspelled words.
  • Incorrect punctuation; also, an editor will be able to suggest changes in punctuation that can make your sentence work better.
  • Uses of the wrong word in terms of meaning - the editor will help you find a better one.
  • Use of the wrong homophone: for example you might use the word "discreet" when you mean "discrete". 
  • Unclear, unwieldy, awkward sentences. 
  • Paragraph breaks - where they should be and where you don't need one and need to combine paragraphs.

Content Editing.  This type of editing is looking at the structure of your manuscript. This is very important because structure is what your work depends upon to carry the reader in the direction you want them to go, and it affects whether your work will be clearly understood to the reader, or will be a frustrating read.  The editor will look for:

  • Chapter beginnings and endings. Does the opening grab the reader, does the ending push the reader on?  
  • Chapter structure.  Does the chapter make sense to the reader as it is structured? Does it move the plot, or book, as it must?
  • Paragraph structure.  Does each paragraph make sense and does it move the piece in the way that it should? Do paragraphs need to be reorganized?  Your editor will be able to tell you if they do, and help.
  • Book structure.  Does the overall plot structure work to compel the reader to move forward?  Does the beginning set the tone, does the middle move as it should, does the ending work as it should to make the reader comprehend the story and feel satisfied?
  • Pacing.  The editor will be able to talk to you about the pacing in your book, and if there are issues, will be able to show you how to speed up a section or slow down a section, to make tension rise and fall and to enhance the reader's understanding and experience.
  • Research help. If there are issues with fact, such as there may be in historical or fantasy science fiction material, a good editor with an interest in your genre can spot errors and direct you to good information so that you can work together to get facts right.

A great editor is someone who can help you with passages that are not working, and can teach you writing skills you never knew about. An editor can be a writing teacher. 

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