25% Discount on Editing Services for Students, U.S. Active/Retired Military, The Disabled, and Native Americans

Are you serious about moving forward as a writer? If so, you’re going to need to hire an editor. For all my readers who’ve found my posts valuable, I invite you to work with me on your manuscript. Furthermore, I offer a 25% discount to the following groups:

Students

Whether you’re in high school, college, or graduate school, if you’re currently enrolled as a student, yet still pursuing your writing career, I applaud your initiative and recognize that funds can be tight. That’s why I offer a 25% discount to all students.

U.S. Military

Many of my family members and friends are serving or have served in the U.S. military. The courage and sacrifice of these brave men and women should be rewarded. That’s why I offer a 25% discount to members of all branches of the armed forces, both active and retired.

The Disabled

The ability to persevere despite challenges is one of the best character traits a person can have, and instantly worthy of respect. To that end, I offer a 25% discount to all disabled individuals.

Native Americans

My grandmother donated to Native American charities her entire life. It’s a family tradition for us to respect the cultures of the Native American groups of this country. That being so, I offer a 25% discount on all services to any Native American.

To work with me, simply send an email here. To learn more about my copy editing, line editing, developmental editing, and critique services, click here.

Advertisements

Should You Hire A Line Editor For Fiction? A Copy Editor? A Developmental Editor? A Quick Guide To Making Sense Of It All!

March 2013 was a breakthrough month for me. It was the first time that I had my poetry accepted by a competitive literary journal. Despite majoring in creative writing at Beloit College, where I graduated in 2007, I didn’t have my first piece published anywhere until six years later. I didn’t think I was that good, and the professor who wrote “Don’t make a career out of this” on one of my short stories did wonders for my confidence. I quit writing for a while, but my friend Russell Jaffe got me engaged in poetry again, helping me with the basics of craft and offering me a spot in a poetry reading he had organized. I took the ball from there, rolled with it, and in short time started getting my poetry published in many interesting literary magazines.

As much as I liked writing poetry and enjoyed the works of Bukowski, Neruda, Ginsberg, and many of the alternative/outlaw poets on the Internet in the journals in which I was getting published, I had always been, first and foremost, interested in reading and writing fiction. After I quit my job as a college instructor/librarian I spent a lot of time working on short fiction. Given my friend Rairigh Drum’s generosity in offering me a rent-free spare room in her and her husband’s home in Clarion, Pennsylvania, I had plenty of time to devote to writing, considering that I didn’t have to work much over the next few months, as I had amassed a decent savings from my job. My stories were good. When I showed them to Rairigh, she was impressed. They were a far cry from the admittedly awful work that she remembered me passing her way when our campus clique would hang out. It was a big compliment to see how much, in her eyes, I’d improved. But improvement or good work isn’t enough. The fiction needed serious work. Rairigh again showed her generosity, working with me to develop the plot and characters, and showing me what to rewrite, helping along at times too. The result? A number of my stories were published. It wouldn’t have happened without Rairigh’s edits. They’d just be stories that were good, but not good enough.

rairalfonso.jpg

Rairigh was my developmental editor, but what exactly does that term mean? How is that any different from a copy editor or a line editor, and why do I need an editor in the first place? The answer to that last question? Because every serious writer needs an editor. Sure, you can catch some things here and there, and make your work better with multiple revisions, but every author has many blindsides when it comes to their own work. I would never release a novel or short fiction without going to Rairigh first, and I’d strongly suggest that all writers work with an editor before attempting to publish or self-publish their writing. Below are the types of editors and what they do:

Copy Editor

What they do: A copy editor ensures that your writing is free of any errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation.

What they don’t do: Improve the actual prose or structure of a work.

Line Editor

What they do: A line editor ensures that your writing is tight, focusing on paragraph structure, sentence flow, word choice, and forward movement. Line editing usually comes with copy editing as part of the process.

What they don’t do: Improve or suggest ways to improve the structure of a manuscript.

Developmental Editor

What they do: Hiring a developmental editor provides the most intensive level of improvement of a manuscript. A developmental editor trims, re-writes, rearranges, and writes new passages/chapters of their clients’ work. Some developmental editors may just critique your work, offering suggestions for a writer to implement on their own.

What they don’t do: For most intensive developmental editors, line and copy editing are standard additions; however, for those offering critiques, line and copy editing are not included.

In full disclosure, I provide copy editing, line editing, and developmental editing for authors of fiction, nonfiction, and short stories. I offer 25% discounts to writers who are either disabled, of Native American origin, are current or retired U.S. military personnel, or are high school or college students. If you would like a free consultation, or if you’d like to work with me, please email me by clicking here. If you’d like more information about my editing services, please click here. Thank you!

Happy Labor Day – Save Some Labor

First of all, happy Labor Day!

This is a quick post about a new service I’m offering: proofreading writers’ manuscripts. For only $10 per 1,000 words (so, for example, $250 for a 25,000 word short story collection), you can get your self-published (or attempting to be traditionally published, your call) manuscript completely free of errors in spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, formatting, and consistency. If you’re a student or active or retired U.S. military, I’ll offer you a 25% discount on the total price. If you’re interested, just let me know with an email by clicking here. Thanks for spreading the word!

How I Started Getting My Fiction and Poetry Published in Various Presses

I graduated from Beloit College with a BA in Creative Writing in 2007.

The first journal that published my writing was O Sweet Flowery Roses, a non-competitive journal put out by my friend Russell Jaffe. That was in 2008. He ran some more poems of mine in 2009.

It wasn’t until four years later that I published my first piece in a competitive press, Michele McDannold’s journal Citizens for Decent Literature. That was in March 2013. One month later, I had a second piece accepted by Jack Marlowe’s Gutter Eloquence Magazine.

I was finally getting my writing published in excellent journals, alongside MFAs, and prolific writers with many books to their credit. I had grown enough as a writer in the past decade to have reached a point of being able to write well, but the question was – what now?

I was employed at Monroe College as a librarian, English tutor, substitute professor, and advisor to the campus Poetry Club. I truly enjoyed my jobs at Monroe College, but I knew I had a choice to make. I could either stay in academia, and write a little bit here and there, or I could take a leap into the unknown and really move forward as a writer. I did what I knew was best, and left my position at Monroe.

Some might consider it crazy to leave a good job that you enjoy behind to pursue your literary dream. Maybe it is. However, if I didn’t do that, I know that I wouldn’t be the writer for an upcoming blockbuster TV series’ accompanying book. I know that if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have my writing widely published. I know that if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have had any time to write period.

I left New York for a friend’s home in rural Pennsylvania. She gave me a free room. I wrote, and I let her skewer my writing, working with me as my editor until my writing was flawless, and then I sent out my writing, and much of it got published.

Why did it happen? How did I go from 10 years of no publications, to someone beginning to make a name for himself as a writer? I credit it all to the bold move of burning my bridges, and just going for it.

Now, of course, it’s not just about being bold. You have to mix boldness with intelligence and hard work. I wrote incessantly. I worked with an excellent editor who gave me great feedback, because I knew that no writer can be objective about his own writing. I spent countless hours reading and researching various literary journals to find which ones would be appropriate matches for my writing. That’s how I did it. I realized that there is no other way, but that three part process:

1. Writing: You need to write all the time. Some of your ideas will be great, and others will not, but just keep writing. It’s the only way you will improve.

2. Working with a skilled editor: Rairigh Drum saved my fiction. My stories were good, but she made them excellent. I couldn’t have done it on my own. I needed her. All writers need editors.

3. Researching the publishers: No matter how great a piece of writing is, if you send it to a market that’s an inappropriate fit, it’ll get rejected. The hours I spent researching literary journals online was not only an exercise in finding other amazing writers, but it really allowed me to find appropriate homes for my work.

I hope you found this blog post helpful – now go out there and make your mark on the literary game!

Writers Need Editors

There’s absolutely no question about it: writers need editors.

I love writing poetry, fiction, and screenplays. It’s a lot of fun. It’s what I love to do. It’s why I do what I do.

I hate editing. Well, let me be more specific, I hate editing my own writing. I hate editing my own writing because it’s very difficult to view my own writing objectively. Sure, I can do a copy edit, but invariably, it will need quite a bit more to make it, well, good enough to publish.

Most writers, myself included, after completing their first draft have the delusion that they’ve created a masterpiece. They couldn’t be further off.

I’ve been lucky to work with two close friends who have helped me edit my poetry and fiction. Without them, I wouldn’t have published any of my poetry or fiction, and I wouldn’t have had a script solid enough worth registering with the WGA East.

I know it is disheartening to see an editor skewer your writing, but it’s the only way that you can actually grow as a writer. If you are serious about growing as a writer, you need to swallow your pride, and work with a skilled editor who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear (because no draft will be perfect, or even close, and mere copy-edits aren’t enough to get your writing published.)

I’ve worked hard to grow from an aspiring writer to an emerging writer. I received A LOT of rejections along the way. It was humiliating. It felt like I was in front of a firing squad. I had to swallow my pride, realize I wasn’t able to do it on my own, and work with some great editors. I started making HUGE strides. I started getting to know many writers doing similar things and forming close professional relationships with them, I started having people legitimately compliment my work, and, of course, I started seeing my name in reputable, competitive, literary journals.

I couldn’t do it on my own, and neither can you, or any writer for that matter. I’ve been through the wringer, and come out on the other side, and I know for a fact that without a top editor for your fiction, poetry, screenplays, or any form of creative writing, your work is going NOWHERE. As a result of my experiences, I want to help you grow as a writer, and help you edit your writing, so that you can advance in your literary career. I may be myopic when it comes to my own writing (as all writers are), but I can guarantee you that if you choose to hire me as an editor, you’ll learn firsthand what a top editor can do for your fiction.

To sum it up: I couldn’t do it on my own as a writer. I needed to work with some of the best fiction editors around to get things going. Any writer can do the same with a dedicated, critical editor.

The Literary Game’s Publishing Contest

Would you like to publish your manuscript? Do you know that you’re a talented writer, and just need an opportunity to prove it?

Talent deserves to shine. Submit the first chapter of your manuscript to The Literary Game’s Publishing Contest, and then sit back and watch your literary career get jumpstarted.

The three aspiring authors whose work I judge to have the most promise will win the following:

1. A complete round of editing for your manuscript, free of charge.

2. A complete round of publishing consultancy, free of charge.

There will be three winners, so please make sure to spread the word widely by sharing this post on social media and with your friends, your college, at your local literary gatherings, etc.

The Rules:

1. All submissions must be sent to theliterarygame at gmail dot com with the subject of the email being [LAST NAME – CONTEST].

2. Submissions must be received by September 9th, 2014.

3. Submissions are limited to one chapter.

4. One entry per individual.

5. Eligibility is limited to writers who have not published with a press (small or large). If you have self-published a book or eBook, you are eligible.

6. The contest is limited to fiction and creative nonfiction. Nonfiction, plays, screenplays, poetry, short stories, or any other form are not eligible for this contest.

7. Your work does not have to be complete by the date the winners are announced (10/1/14). The prize can be deferred until completion of your manuscript.

8. Eligibility is limited to individuals who have never personally interacted with Alfonso Colasuonno (the judge of this contest). Discussions via the Internet are okay. Having had a phone conversation with or having met Alfonso in person is automatic grounds for disqualification.

9. Winners will be announced on October 1st, 2014.

Six Mistakes That Publishers Hate

angrybaby

As an aspiring writer attempting to build a name, you don’t want to irritate publishers. There are many mistakes that publishers hate. Please make sure to avoid the following:

1. Responding to Rejections – If your writing is rejected by a publisher, don’t respond to the rejection under any circumstances. A response is inappropriate. A response trying to convince a publisher otherwise, insulting them for passing on your writing, or bemoaning the rejection is a huge faux pas.

2. Poorly Edited Material – Even if your concept is interesting, if your writing is poorly executed, you’re wasting a publisher’s time – and your own. You must have your fiction edited before sending your work out to a publisher. There’s no way around this step.

3. Material That’s An Inappropriate Fit – How do you imagine a publisher would feel if they had to reject (as they will) the most amazing piece they’ve ever read because it’s totally incongruous with their style? Show some respect and submit your writing to appropriate markets.

4. Fanfiction – I don’t really need to say anything more – it’s called copyright.

5. Ignoring Submission Guidelines – You can’t send seven poems to a literary magazine if they ask writers to send no more than three. You can’t send a short fiction piece as an attachment if the literary journal wants it copied in the body of an email. Always read the submission guidelines before submitting, and make sure to follow them.

6. Unprofessional Query/Cover Letters – You’re not displaying personality, all you’re doing is showing a lack of professionalism. A too informal cover letter rubs many publishers the wrong way, even when submitting somewhere that appreciates edgy work or presents itself on their website as rather informal. You’ll be seen as an amateur, regardless of the quality of your writing.

Have you ever made any of these mistakes? It’s time to ‘fess up about your tragic experiences so that other aspiring writers can avoid making the same errors.

I imagine that sharing these experiences will also have a cathartic effect, but don’t quote me on that…