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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Want to better communicate with your reader? Hire me as your copy editor, aka the grammar and spelling police, but I'm so much more. In my former career, I was a legal assistant. That experience serves me well in this my second career, where I can share with you any of my concerns that may need an attorney's input. Plus, when I have projects, I work every day of the year. Happy to do it too.

I am also available to do developmental edits. My current rate is $0.007/WC (per Microsoft Word's tally).

As a US copy editor, I've worked the traditional publishing arena as well as the Indie-pubbed side. As an Indie author myself, I have a real heart for making Indie authors' work outshine the trad-pubbed books. While I may have started in the romance genre when working with Harlequin, I have branched out to encompass so many other genres: sci-fi/fantasy, thriller/suspense, mystery, self-help nonfiction, memoir and more.

CURRENT AVAILABILITY: As of 05.17.2019 at 12:30 p.m. CST, I'm currently in one of those rare pockets of time with nothing left in my queue. Everything seems to be backlogged (more than usual) per the authors I deal with. Can't say how long this will last or how slammed I will be all at once when the jam is cleared in the production process. I still have another twentysomething titled projects expected to reach me in 2019. HOWEVER, I do pad my deadlines on each and every project to allow for eventualities (internet outages, sickness, etc.). So, with each project I finish early, I can then move ahead to the next one and finish it early. Rinse and repeat until my queue is empty. Contact me directly at [email protected] or at [email protected] at any time for my current status, as any delays in ETAs of projects can lead to a week off for me a couple times a year.

UPDATE as of September 8, 2017: Before this date I could always say that I would (and did) complete the projects in my queue within thirty to sixty days of receipt at the outer limits. But I'm busier now, so expect any new project to have outer limits of four months or more. HOWEVER, as of September 18, 2018, this year's projects have arrived more evenly spaced out, so I find my outer limit is more like two months. This business is fluid, not set in stone. So please contact me for my current availability.

As a copy editor ($0.012/WC as of June 2018), I'm the spelling and grammar police (with 17CMS, released September 2017, and Web11 as my US guidelines). But I am so much more. I've expanded my list of writing criteria to become the Nine Cs of Effective Writing, which include:

Continuity
Clarity
Conciseness
Communication
Consistency
Coherence
Correctness
Chronology
Credibility

I'm also a proofreader ($0.01/WC as of June 2018), of MSWord docs (not PDFs), catching spelling and grammar issues, plus obvious snafus that present themselves without actively checking time lines or major plot points or fully activating the various copy editor duties listed above. However, once that copy editor mind-set is activated, I cannot turn off my hypersensitive attention to details.

I work on Microsoft Word docs only (no Mac docs), using Word's Track Changes program. I have never missed a deadline and turn in projects early in 99 percent of the cases. The remaining 1 percent are turned in on the due date. Prepayment in full via PayPal is required before my work begins. I'll share my PayPal business email address with interested parties as it does not match any of my currently used email addresses.

Two important things to share here: (1) I do two complete read-throughs for each manuscript to catch as many errors as humanly possible. (2) I reserve the right to refuse to take on any project if the dialogue punctuation is so massively wrong that it would entail a third read-through by me to fix it. The one time I ventured to change just the horrid mangled dialogue punctuation within a manuscript took fifteen hours. I'm not doing that again. Not even if paid $1 million. No matter if paid in cash or gold or bearer bonds. Ha!

My Process

1. Once an author chooses to work with me, the "final" version of their Microsoft word manuscript (MS) should be sent to me via email to [email protected], and their prepaid funds are to be sent in full to my special business address via PayPal (which I share individually with each author once I am commissioned to work on a document).
2. I can only give my actual (but padded) deadline once #1 has been done. I work in a first-come/first-served order.
3. I send an email to the author, confirming receipt of both the MS and the required funds in full. My prepaid statement is sent at this time, noting my padded deadline for return of my Track Changes (TC) doc to its author.
4. I send updates, as needed, regarding the status of my queue to the other authors with projects for me to work on. Say, if your MS is Project #4 in my queue, I'll send out FYI emails, stating Project #1 sent off; Project #2 starting tomorrow. That way each author is updated as to when I may start their particular project.
5. I do two complete read-throughs, correcting spelling and grammar as needed, noting any time line discrepancies and/or plot holes I have found, etc.
6. I return all TC MSs to their respective authors on or before my stated deadline for each.
7. The author then has final say as to whether to Accept or Reject each of my edits and any suggestions made as well.

NOTE: In my former career, I was a legal assistant, using these same grammar and spelling skills, my detail-oriented focus, among other things. Your IP is safe with me as I totally respect each creation as the unique product it is. I don't even mention my authors' names who I work with. That is left up to them. Plus this added work experience can come into play when I address certain issues in the manuscripts I work on. I am not an attorney. If I add a suggestion to a manuscript about a legal issue I am worried about, I will direct you to your attorney of choice.

For even more details about my copyediting process, see my blog post here: http://livingthedreampublishing.blogspot.com/2015/12/denise-barker-freelance-copy-editor.html.

Expect a nominal rate hike annually.

Thank you for considering me. Find me in the KB Yellow Pages and at LivingTheDreamPublishing.blogspot.com. Best wishes to all us Indies!

Welcome to My World, Readers and Authors, Where Every Day Is a Saturday

Denise Barker
US Editor/Copy Editor/Proofreader
DFW Metroplex, TX, USA
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I will consider doing one-page double-spaced sample edits up to 250WC per Microsoft Word, for those who are interested. However, I have to limit this activity to be done only after all my paying copyediting jobs are completed. As for authors I have worked with, D. W. Moneypenny has graciously given me a recommendation in this feed. Thank you, David! Also R. J. Castro and Zachary Jones have listed me as their copy editor for one each of their books on Amazon's website.

Otherwise, I consider the authors I work with (both their names and their work) to be intellectual property (IP) and do not share either.

Thanks for considering me.

Denise Barker
Freelance Copy Editor
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm an Indie author myself, plus worked with patent and trademark attorneys in my previous career, so I come armed to professionally copyedit Indie authors' manuscripts with these two advantages as well. I'm not a professional formatter, but I know enough by experience uploading my sixteen books to date to offer valid advice to other Indies. Thanks for checking me out!

Denise Barker
Freelance Copy Editor
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In my previous career, I was a legal assistant, working with lawyers of various specialties, but of particular interest here to Indie authors was my work with patent and trademark attorneys. While I'm still not a lawyer, I am sensitive to certain issues that need to be reviewed by an attorney, said topics noted in related comments within my Track Changes document the author receives from me. Just another reason why I'm especially gifted for the job of copy editor.

Thanks for considering me.

Denise Barker
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to my loyal clients and some new referrals, I have at least one (long) project already scheduled for each of the remaining months of 2016. I appreciate you guys so much more than you know! I still have room for more manuscripts, but, instead of faster turnarounds given for these early bird authors, I'll have to give longer deadlines for completion (like one month or maybe more). Just FYI.

Denise Barker
Freelance Copy Editor
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am so lucky to work with my favorite authors (who write long books, over 100K WC, and/or who are prolific, putting out two to three or more books a year), which, as you can imagine, fills up my calendar with projects pretty fast. But I still have room for more books to edit/copyedit/proofread: fiction/nonfiction, long/short. So keep me in mind ... Thanks!

Denise Barker
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here are more details about my process:

1. I only work on Microsoft Word documents (no Mac docs).
2. I use Track Changes in Microsoft Word to edit the document.
3. My guidelines are The Chicago Manual of Style, Sixteenth Edition (16CMS), for US English grammar rules and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Web11), for US spelling of words (which may or may not be the same dictionary as used with Microsoft Word's spell-checker).
4. I prepare documents for publication in the United States (so I'm not using UK English guidelines, for instance).
5. Prepayment in full via PayPal is required before my work is begun.
6. Once you and I agree to work on one of your books, I will provide you with my special PayPal address to make payment and also my deadline for returning the Track Changes doc to you. I have never missed a deadline.
7. For even more details, see my blog post here: http://livingthedreampublishing.blogspot.com/2015/12/denise-barker-freelance-copy-editor.html. NOTE: I have special rates for KB authors, which is why my advertised fees here are less than those mentioned in my blog post for my 2016 rates (see link given above). So be sure to mention you saw my KB ad to lock in these 2016 KB rates.

Thanks for considering me.

Denise Barker
US Editor/Copy Editor/Proofreader
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
As of the date and time of this posting, I'm booked through 06.30.2016, with other projects penciled in for receipt/prepayment later on anticipated dates throughout the balance of this year. Once a project is prepaid, I set its deadline to complete same and return to its author. I do buffer my deadlines (for uncontrollable electrical outages, for if I were to be sick, etc.) so that I never miss a deadline but fully intend to turn in each and every project earlier than stated.

Denise Barker
US Copy Editor/Proofreader
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
June 2016 was and continues to be a busy month for me, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel now as I work on my two remaining novels. While I have penciled in two more for next month, otherwise July 2016 is wide open as of this date and time, subject to the receipt of my next prepaid project.

Meanwhile, on this the first official day of summer, I hope everyone has a great one!

Denise Barker
Freelance US Copy Editor
[email protected]



 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
For July and August 2016 only, I'm offering big-picture editing (developmental editing aka DE) for $500 per MS of less than or equal to 75K WC (per Microsoft Word's tally).

In September 2016, my price returns to $1,000 for 75K WC MS (pro rata for MSs above 75K WC). All fees are to be prepaid in full via PayPal. I'll share my PayPal info as needed.

This differs from the jot and tittle detailed work that I do as a copy editor (grammar and spelling police stuff). For DE, I look to see that your main characters are believable, empathetic, so your reader can identify with said characters. I check your plot for holes. I watch for too much or not enough dialogue (which is considered action), narration, introspection, other action or too much of one character and not enough of another (say, one who dies at the end but nobody cares because we didn't connect with him throughout the novel). Overall I see if your narrator is credible and if your storyline is believable (not a melodramatic tale that won't keep your reader involved). If you are interested, send me your first five pages of your MS to [email protected] as I reserve the right to refuse some MSs due to certain subject matters (like spousal/child abuse, etc.) and to confirm my availability. Thanks for considering me.

Hope everybody in the States had a safe and fun Fourth.

Denise Barker
Developmental Editor, Copy Editor, Proofreader
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We're hitting some one-hundred-degree days here in Texas. Hope it is pleasant wherever you are. Enjoy your summer. Get out a bit. Remember to even out all that hard work with some playtime, some downtime.

Denise Barker
Freelance Copy Editor
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
For those authors more in the beginning stages of creating their books, I understand what you're going through. I've been a hybrid planner for many years, part seat-of-my-pants and part plotter (knowing two things: as many as seven main plot points and up to sixty possible scenes). That's worked for me the three times I completed NaNoWriMo. But that resulted in three stand-alone novels in draft form, not Books 1 through 3 of the same series.

A series is a different animal. It takes forethought, much more so than for a single novel. To write a series, I needed a setup and a cast that I would enjoy working within and with for years. Also the wherewithal to add new characters. I needed an overarcing storyline that ran through each of the books (like murder mysteries solve the murder in each book, except I'm not writing murder mysteries), yet each book within the series was a self-contained unit. It's a major undertaking. You don't want to end up in the middle of Book 2 with no way out for your characters and no plausible plotline while staying true to the setup given in Book 1. Contemplating a viable series was daunting.

So I've written books to help me in plotting a single book, which I would apply to preparing my series, projecting even three books into the future. My latest publication was the Build A Book Storytelling Checklist which contains 110 items to make note of when plotting a book. I took gems amassed from myriad books on plotting, then took the best of the best and arranged them chronologically. My other releases that help me in plotting are my four volumes of quotations. To me, they represent writing prompts. When I'm stuck in the plotting process, one of the things that can help me the fastest is to read a few pages of quotes. I'll hit upon a theme, about which I can talk/write forever (spanning three or more books even, I hope), or I'll find a few quotes that evoke a rush of emotions. Then I play around with those themes and emotions, brainstorming and/or mindmapping to see where it leads me.

Invariably I have to let it simmer on the back burner of my mind. Then, in the shower, unloading the dishwasher, mowing the lawn or whatever mundane chore I'm doing, I'll have a moment of inspiration where it all falls together. It's wonderful when that happens.

At this magical moment, I have to immediately write everything down. Usually as a letter to myself, stream of consciousness fashion, just getting it on paper or into my laptop before I forget a thing. Afterward, I work through the Snowflake software, from a logline to a fully fleshed-out plot and scenes list.

Anyway, that's my process. And I've started Book One of my proposed series in my daily hour or two of downtime, with future books in this series becoming more and more apparent. I'm proof positive that the muse visits those while writing (not just waiting).

Hope this helps someone else get over the plotting hump. Take whatever resonates and toss the rest. Happy plotting!

Denise Barker
Author, Blogger, Freelance Copy Editor
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
My seventeenth book was just released, entitled DON'T DO THAT! Common Grammar Errors in Manuscripts. Amazon seems to be getting even faster about reviewing and making live these brand-new e-publications. I pressed Publish about 11:00 p.m. yesterday and bought the first copy only a half hour or so ago. Amazing.

Here's the online description for those who may be interested:

I'm a professional US copy editor, working since 2008, the first 5.5 years with a well-known traditional publishing house. Since then I've worked totally with Indie authors. Over all these years and these hundreds of books I've copyedited, what I find odd is how the same grammar mistakes are made over and over by myriad authors, both pro and newbie alike, akin to about four hundred unrelated Americans all having the same dream on the same night. But our US English language rules are not easy to learn, as the rules are not always consistent and do not always make common sense. Plus the rules have exceptions. Some of those exceptions even have exceptions.

Thus this book represents an organized compilation of those "universal" errors I've collected over the years, specifically gathered for American authors publishing fiction and nonfiction in the United States, using accepted spelling and grammar practices for this venue: The Chicago Manual of Style (Sixteenth Edition) aka 16CMS and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) aka Web11.

However, copy editors, like me, do much more than catch grammar errors and misspellings. I also look for what I call the:

NINE Cs OF EFFECTIVE WRITING
Chronology
Clarity
Coherence
Communication
Conciseness
Consistency
Continuity
Correctness
Credibility

The Nine Cs of Effective Writing are among the more than seventy topics covered in this seventy-one-page (single-spaced) book, serving as a shortcut for you, making your life easier and helping your writing shine brighter. You may be amazed to find a rule or two that you didn't know about. Better to read these few pages than the 1,026 pages of the 16CMS or opening up Web11 fiftysomething times a day, right? Okay, you may still have to consult Web11 more than you thought possible, but my general hyphenation rule as to joining base words with prefixes/suffixes will save you valuable time and will yield the correct spelling more times than not.

As any professional author will tell you, this writing career is all about continuing education, about the growth of the author's expertise. I'm here to help with that.

Let's dig in.

Denise Barker
Freelance Copy Editor
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Sending prayers and well-wishes to all the people displaced in Louisiana from the recent flooding (like two feet of rainwater fell in twenty-four hours). I was born in Baton Rouge so my heart goes out to those people there and in Ascension Parish and related areas.

Denise Barker
 
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