Blog posts

editors can't be perfectionists

Editors Can’t Be Perfectionists

I just finished copy editing my first full book manuscript. After I had read through the entire thing, I was searching for “their” to check agreement, and I came across a sentence that was missing a word.

I stared at my computer in horror and blathered incoherent noises for a minute.

Later, as I was doing a final scroll-through of the Word document, I spotted an “every” that should have been “ever.” Oh no! I fixed it, obviously, but the negative thoughts rushed into my head: The manuscript is probably riddled with errors—egregious, noticeable errors—and I will be found out and never trusted with a book manuscript again. I’ll be stuck editing blogs until I go blind.

But then I remembered a very important lesson that I’ve had to teach my perfectionist self: Editors can’t be perfectionists.Read More »Editors Can’t Be Perfectionists

books i didn't finish

10 Books I Didn’t Finish Last Year

Almost everyone says the same thing about books you don’t finish: Just move on. Read something better, read something that’s more engaging. But for some reason, I stubbornly want to finish books that I’ve started.

If I start a book, I want to finish it so I can either write a review of what I didn’t like or be pleasantly surprised when the book improves as I read. And if I’ve gone to the trouble of buying a book and spent time reading it, it seems like a waste of time and money to abandon it.

Despite good intentions, I abandoned several books in 2017. Here are 10 books I didn’t finish last year:Read More »10 Books I Didn’t Finish Last Year

the end we start from

To Read or Not to Read: The End We Start From

I first came across The End We Start From on a LitHub list of new releases in November. The initial description checked a lot of boxes for me: literary fiction, lots of overarching metaphors, beautiful prose. It sounded promising (and the cover looked gorgeous). When I saw it on the shelf in Barnes & Noble, I had to pick it up and decide for myself: To read or not to read?Read More »To Read or Not to Read: The End We Start From

cold emailed

How I Successfully Cold Emailed My Way Into Two Publishing Internships

‘Twas the summer of 2016, and I was desperate for an internship somehow related to publishing. After my searches for internships showed that there were no relevant ones in St. Louis, where I would live for the summer, I had to figure out how to get the professional experience I desired. I had a list of publishers and literary magazines in St. Louis, so I started cold emailing. Not all of my cold emails were successful; most recipients never acknowledged my emails, in fact. But two were successful.

I emailed Amphorae Publishing and Open Books Press/Brick Mantel Books, introduced myself, and asked whether they needed an editorial intern for the summer. Both publishers responded that yes, they could use an intern.

Now, I’m not suggesting that I know some special secret about cold emails. I don’t—I just got lucky. But if my emails succeeded, maybe they’ll work as helpful templates for writing your own cold emails.Read More »How I Successfully Cold Emailed My Way Into Two Publishing Internships

sexy content marketing

‘Sexy’ Isn’t Sexy When It Comes to Content

I edit one or two dozen articles each week and skim through dozens more on various websites. Over the course of a normal day, I come across overused words and phrases. Most of the time, I can hold my breath and deal with a “disruptive” here or 20 repetitions of “that” there. But there’s one word that I can’t handle anymore: The word “sexy” needs to be deleted from your content.Read More »‘Sexy’ Isn’t Sexy When It Comes to Content

the art of ordering my bookshelves

The Art of Ordering My Bookshelves

Clothes, clean and dirty, often line the top of my dresser as I anticipate wearing something the next day or just haven’t put laundry away. Our fridge is a Jenga puzzle: a bag of sausages perches on top of a cinnamon roll pan; a pot with last night’s chicken tikka masala is squeezed in; various cheeses shoved into a shelf on the door. And please don’t ask about my desk.

But my bookshelves? They’re not just neat or organized; they’re ordered. This specific ordering, the rules of which can change from year to year, keeps the chaos of hundreds of books manageable. I sequence my books alphabetically by the author’s last name and sort books by the same author alphabetically by title. If the books are part of a series, I arrange the series by number. While it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing order visually, it’s efficient. I know where any book is within seconds.Read More »The Art of Ordering My Bookshelves

personal professional website

Your Career Column: Building Your Personal Professional Website

First of all, what is a personal professional website? It’s basically a website about your professional goals and accomplishments. This could include a portfolio of your work, whether that’s descriptions of your teaching philosophies and classroom experiences, links to articles or poetry you’ve written, descriptions of career-related projects you’ve developed and completed, or collections of your artwork or photography. Your personal professional site could also double as a blog if you want to write regularly about a certain topic.

If you’re worried that you don’t have enough to show off, your personal professional website can just be a more detailed version of your resume or LinkedIn profile. For example, when I created my first professional website, I made pages for each section you’d put on a resume: skills, education, work experiences and more. On each page, I went into detail about projects I’d worked on, what I learned from my classes, etc. I also included links to samples of my work, such as blog posts I’d written and social media accounts I had started. My goal was to show future employers what I was passionate about and show them how my education and experiences made me a great candidate to work with.Read More »Your Career Column: Building Your Personal Professional Website