Nonfiction Editing

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As I said at the end of last month, to stop myself losing momentum on my ‘goals’ for the year I am writing a little review of my progress at the end of each month. This report is supposed to show that I’m on track and (hopefully) stop me from getting fed up and grumpy that things never seem to happen as fast as I would like.

But while this might be beneficial to me, it’s annoying as hell to read.

So, I’ve had a rethink and have decided to post a thoughtful little something-or-other based on something that has happened during the month.

This month’s topic …. Nonfiction and editing.

At the end of January, I finished the first of the LawCat guides. This guide focuses on how people injured in Road Traffic Accidents that are caused by uninsured or unidentified (aka hit and run) drivers can still claim for compensation, by bringing their claim to the Motor Insurance Bureau. The guide will walk you through making a claim, step by step, there are even template letters and forms to make it nice and straight forward for you.

sticky-notes-to-do-listI was euphoric when I finished the guide, even if it was a lot shorter than I had envisioned when first starting. But the goal of LawCat is to keep things straightforward and simple. You do not need to know that the legislation changed from version A to version B X amount of years ago, you do not need to see the immense copies of the legislation, and you do not need to know my opinions are on the change. What you need to know is what the change means to you, what actions you must now do because of the change and how to do said actions. Turns out keeping it simple cuts out even more of the waffle than I expected.

With a draft in my hands that had come as far as I could take it, I began my search for an editor.

As those who read my blog for any length of time will know, I am a firm believer in investing in your product via a damn good editor. Being dyslexic had left me with an overwhelming sense of “I wrote this so it must be wrong,” so even before I started writing semi-professionally, I was a huge fan of getting as many people as possible to read and comment on my writing. I’m fortunate to have amassed several readers for my fiction and a few for my nonfiction. But nothing beats a professional editor, so I began my search.

computer-on-desk-5I’ve used a few different editors for my fiction work, but this was the first time I had ever started a search for a nonfiction editor, and it felt very different. When I tried a simple google search all the editors I came back with edited fiction works. I made my search more accurate and still came back with mostly fiction editors. It seemed that nonfiction editors were a rarer breed, or more likely, that I just wasn’t looking in the right places. I tried searching on nonfiction groups on Facebook with very limited results, I tried searching through websites but found more writers than editors.

Eventually, after a few weeks of searching I narrowed my results down to a handful I liked the look of and reviewed these. I sent off a couple of pages to said editors who offered free samples and was pleased with all the results. As they all seemed great at their jobs, I made my decision based on speed, and cost effectiveness.

I have now sent the very first LawCat guide off to an editor. I’m excited to get it back and see what they thought of it, what kinds of changes they will have made and how much better the guide will look.

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