Big Picture (Small Fee) Editing

Through the years, I’ve worked with a number of writers get their books ready for agents or the self-publishing press. It’s a real pleasure to help them tighten up their prose, correct common grammatical or usage mistakes, and work out plot holes and inconsistencies. However, as many folks as I’ve helped, I’ve had just as many—if not more—walk away when they find out what it costs to have their entire book edited. Because, well, it ain’t cheap.

With that in mind, my editing services aren’t all or nothing. In fact, many books aren’t ready for an all-encompassing edit. Rather, what they need is a pair of eyes that can identify issues quick and point the writer in the right direction. And that’s what I provide to writers who decide a full edit is a bit premature or expensive.

What does this service entail?

You send over the first bit of your manuscript—no more than twenty pages. I, in turn, read over the document and point out issues that your specific writing style present. You then use this knowledge to clean up the entirety of your book. Once these revisions are made and you feel your book is as error-free as possible, you can then seek a full edit.

Should you come back to me after making the revisions, the full edit price will drop as you already took care of much of the work. Regardless of what you use the edits for, take heart! In the end, having some of your favorite mistakes shown to you will make you a better writer.


Getting Paid to Take Criticism

Every once in a while, a client has changes to what I’ve written. The conversation usually begins with the client saying, “Please don’t get offended, but I really wanted…”

To this, my typical reply is, “No problem. I get paid to take criticism.”

Disagree with this sentiment? Then you’re either not a writer, you’ve not written for many clients, you’ve not written for demanding clients, or the only place you write is in your journal. For those of us on the copywriting side of things, however, writing is about neither glamor nor self-satisfaction. It’s about giving clients what they want. And what they want isn’t always clear on the front end. That means I’ve got to do some editing on the back end.

Which is great.

Great? Isn’t it a pain to do edits?

No way, Jose. (If I may call you that.) Because when a client explains where I missed his or her vision, I gain clarity of their vision. And since I don’t typically invest in one-off jobs, learning that vision ensures a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t get paid to just have people criticize my stuff. (Though that would be a sweet gig.) I get paid because I take that criticism and use it in a constructive manner. When a client tells me an intro doesn’t work or the article should have been arranged differently, I don’t say thanks for the critique and hold out my hand for a paycheck. I thank the client for the input and go fix the article, web page, email, or ebook.

Guess what happens the next time I write for that same client? The copy is as clean as my police record and as spot-on as perfectly placed spots.

Of course, there was a time when I had a hard time throwing my preference out the window and bowing to my clients’ desires. But even when I thought a client was crazy to toss my amazing prose for something I deemed more robotic or stale, I did it. Eventually, I realized that keeping clients happy keeps me happy. Because doing this ensures my paycheck and, contrary to popular belief, I can actually find satisfaction in providing great copy and pleasing clients—even if the client prefers that I write like a machine instead of a person.

This attitude has opened a lot of doors. Through the years, I’ve written for one of the most successful and influential fitness consulting businesses in the world, helped multiple colleges promote their message to their respective audiences and target audiences, have been trusted with a tattoo shop’s online presence, and I have your attention. All because I’m willing to take criticism and not go into the fetal position.

So the next time someone comes to you with some criticism about your writing, tell this person, “Thank you.” And mean it. Your craft requires it.


Do Things You Don’t Like

I give blood. And I never like it. In fact, you could say I practically dread walking into my local Blood Assurance office. (Okay, dread may be too strong a word.) The last time I gave, I passed out immediately after.  But I do it. Because it’s the right thing to do. (Note: I passed out again last time. May be time to reconsider.)

This isn’t just for humanitarian arenas. It’s for your everyday life. It doesn’t matter if you hate doing the dishes or washing clothes. These things have to be done. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t want to edit another story about how colonoscopies can be used to catch cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages. You’re getting paid for it. So get to work.

Is this inspiring? I suppose that depends on your perception. But as human beings, we are given things to do every day. You either accept that your life is full of ordinary stuff you have to do or live in denial and keep waiting to do something big enough for people to notice.

In the meantime, your kitchen sink is overflowing and your rent is due.

Time to wrap up this li’l entry. I’ve got work to do.


We Don’t Need No Stinking Seams

By now, you should know that I love what Bath Fitter did for our girls’ bathroom. Because not only has Bath Fitter taken a raggedy old tub and turned it into a glistening, shiny shower tub, but they did it without any seams.

Okay, there are seams. But they’re virtually invisible. And where there are visible seams, the caulk is so consistent and clean that there’s no way water is going to get behind the tub liner or walls.

And if water does somehow sneak back there, what’s it to me? With Bath Fitter’s lifetime warranty, I don’t have to find someone else to replace the tub and repair the water damage. Bath Fitter will do it for me. But with these seams, it ain’t happening! (Pardon my Southern. It comes out when I’m excited.)

What’s the secret to perfect seams? I’m no pro, but I suspect it has to do with the accurate measuring our local Cleveland, Tennessee, representative did on the first visit. He carefully mapped out the exact dimension of the tub and surrounding walls to make sure everything fit nice and snug. After all, you only get one chance to get a good fit, and if you start with a single wrong measurement, everything will be off. If you don’t believe me, come look at the playhouse I made for my kids.

Anyway, that didn’t happen with Bath Fitter. As a result, I’ve got the best remodeled bathtub I’ve ever seen. Way better than that porcelain paint stuff or the hollow plastic mold you can get from the hardware store. And making the Bath Fitter experience even better is that there is none of that difficult clean up required with tile on the wall.

Speaking of cleaning…I plan to talk on this at length with the next blog. So stay tuned!

Want to get an idea of what Bath Fitter can do for you? If you’re in Cleveland or Chattanooga, Tennessee, call them at (423) 648-4580. And tell ‘em Daniel sent you!


The Remodel Continues!

Next up in our bathroom remodel was getting the walls fixed. That meant hiring someone to put up beadboard and to otherwise smooth out the walls. Yes, I’ve installed beadboard before, and no, it’s not very difficult to get on the walls. The hard part is doing it in a way that I can tolerate—doing it well enough that I don’t criticize it every time I look at it. So yeah, I hired someone.

The fella we hired did a mighty fine job. Got the pieces put in place with ease and gave it a nice finish with a chair rail at the top and corner pieces to prevent the corners anything from getting roughed up in the future.

And once that was done, it was time for what we’d been really waiting for: the tub and tub wall installation. After having the bathroom out of commission for a short while, we were thrilled to be at this step. Called up our Bath Fitter rep and they showed up quick as quick.

But it wasn’t just that they showed up quick. The process to install the new tub and wall liner was faster than a day at work. That’s right—the entire thing was done while I wasn’t even home. With a single day, the bathroom went from useless with good-looking walls and floors to one-hundred percent awesome.

The finish on that tub is just what we wanted—clean lines, great seals at the joints. Once installed, I decided it didn’t just give the bathroom the final touch. That Bath Fitter tub is the touch that makes the bathroom work.

What’s next? Enjoy using it and find out just how easy it is to clean. Keep your eyes peeled to see if this tub is as easy to keep sparkling white as they claim!