Tag Archives: fiction

Interview with Professional Copy Editor, Beth Crosby

“Interview with Professional Copy Editor, Beth Crosby” by Joan Y. Edwards

Professional copy editor Beth Crosby empowers female entrepreneurs to reach their ideal clients through storytelling. She helps them mine and write about their unique experiences, education, and abilities.

Welcome, Beth Crosby.  Thank you for coming. I am excited to have you here with us today. My readers and I will learn a lot and enjoy every minute of our time with you.

“Thank you for inviting me, Joan. I can’t wait to get started.”

“That sounds good. Let’s begin.”

A. Where were you born?
Charleston, SC

B. Did you enjoy school? Why?
I enjoyed school because I am curious by nature.

My grandmother was instrumental in teaching me grammar and punctuation, and I enjoyed reading and learning. My seventh-grade language arts teacher, Mrs. English, secured my love for language. (Her name really was Mrs. Elizabeth English!)

I continued to enjoy learning and considered becoming a perpetual student several times, but the call to journalism won after I earned my degree.

C. What is your favorite hobby now?
When I have time, I enjoy reading southern and women’s fiction.

D. Where do you like to read?
When the days allow, I enjoy reading outside. Communing with nature while reading is a perfect day to me!

A friend got me a pillow that says “Reserved for Beth and her Book,” so the couch is my second comfy spot to read.

E. How did you get started editing?
As I mentioned, my grandmother excelled in English, and she taught me grammar rules early.

A high school English teacher failed any student who erred with a sentence fragment. While I was not in her class, she instilled in me the importance of accuracy.

In college, students took copy editing as a junior or senior. Unlike most students, I excelled in editing and pursued it as a career.

F. What genres do you like to read? Why?
I don’t mind reading for research, but because a good portion of my day includes nonfiction reading, I prefer fiction when reading for myself. Sometimes I need a break from input, and fiction lets me simply enjoy the story.

An added benefit of reading well-written fiction is the example of exceptional writing. Even nonfiction can evoke emotional responses and paint vivid pictures if the author has the desire and skill to draw readers into the story.

G. Which are your favorite genres to edit? Why?
Editing short-form nonfiction is my favorite.

I work with women who tell their stories through articles and posts to build rapport with their ideal clients. These are my favorite editing pieces because I support women through asking questions and helping each individual mine her experiences for reasons she is ideally suited for her field. In addition, I edit the writing so my clients deliver clear, concise, correct, and consistent pieces to their targeted client group.

I get to see every client grow and accept herself, appreciating how her unique experience, knowledge, and expertise make her the ideal person to provide a specific service or write a particular work.

Often, blogs and articles can be combined to prepare a book, making the author an expert to many. I edit those as well.

H. How can authors find the right editor for their manuscript?
Most important, an author needs to see what kind of manuscripts an editor accepts.

    1. Look on the copyright page of books like yours to see if an author is mentioned. Often, Amazon lists the editor.
    2. Consider visiting sites such as ACES: The Society for Editing to find professional editors.
    3. Ensure the editor enjoys editing in your genre. Ask for previous examples of manuscripts edited and ask how they were published: self-published or with a hybrid publisher, traditional publisher, or vanity press.
    4. Talk with the editor during a discovery call to see if you’re a good fit for each other. Listen to how the person speaks. Do they use proper grammar?

I. What is developmental editing?
Developmental editing comes after the writer finishes at least the first draft. These editors look for holes and inconsistencies in the characters, plot, and narrative, as well as characters’ arcs and flow.

A substantive editor meets with the writer before they begin writing. A publishing company often pairs this editor with an author who has a publishing contract and needs to be consistent with a second or third book in areas the publisher deems important.

J. What is an editorial assessment?
Author services companies or hybrid publishers often offer editorial assessments at a charge to see if the manuscript is viable for publication.

The assessment offers feedback about what the writer did well and how s/he can improve the work. This advice can span from changing the protagonist’s name to reworking the subplot or changing the ending. Those insights should help writers improve.

As with any editor, verify the skill and experience of the editor and for whom they have edited. Has the editor worked with your ideal publisher, whether traditional publishers, self-published authors, academic texts, or periodicals?

The editor should have a strong idea of what your target audience wants, but if you strongly disagree with feedback, discuss your concerns.

K. What is structural editing?
Structural editing looks into the manuscript’s structure, from organization to plot, character development, and marketability. Both developmental and substantive editors are considered structural editors.

L. What is a copy edit?
Copy editing is also referred to as line editing.

This specialty involves making sure the words (copy) are clear, concise, correct, and consistent. Clarity and concision are difficult for many writers, and a good copy editor generally cuts the word count significantly when eliminating unnecessary words such as that, there is, and would have.

Consistency is important in style and spelling, but also in names, dates, locations, and other facts used more than once in the manuscript.

Professional copy editors also know and use a specific style manual and dictionary to ensure consistency. I use The Chicago Manual of Style, Ed. 17, and The Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Ed. 11. These are the newest print versions.

Ensuring correct information is the most difficult part of a copy, or line, edit because it can be the most time consuming. I verify all facts that the writer doesn’t assure me are unquestionably accurate, and I check all footnotes and endnotes for style and active links.

M. How do you quote the price for copy edits?
To quote edits for manuscripts, I look at samples from the final manuscript to determine the amount of work to be done and estimate the time required. Unless something unforeseen comes up, I charge the quoted price. If a problem arises, I contact the client immediately.

Manuscript edits start at $1,500. Short-form edits begin at $100.

N. How do you determine what price you should charge?
My rates are based on years of experience in writing, editing, and a wide range of subjects and topics. People are often surprised when I pick up on spacing errors or the misspelling of names and wonder how I know miscellaneous facts.

O. What is line editing?
Line editing and copy editing are used interchangeably. See  Section L for more information.

P. What should an author look for when they search online for an editor who’s right for them?

    1. The editor should have a presence online, ideally a website.
    2. If the editor has only a LinkedIn profile or other social media account, look for evidence that the person edits full time.
    3. Look or ask for work samples and references. Also ask for contact information to talk with references.
    4. Search Amazon and the internet for any references to the person. If they support an organization opposed to your book’s theme, they probably will not provide an unbiased edit.

Something to consider is what service the editor provides. A copy editor should have exceptional skills in grammar, punctuation, and sentence flow. At the same time, a substantive or developmental editor thinks creatively, so his or her grammar isn’t as critical.

When interviewing a copy editor, ask how education and experience prepared him or her to provide detailed edits of grammar, punctuation, point-of-view, passive voice, parallel construction and other rules in grammar. (You can search the internet for terms if you want to ask them during the interview and know if the answers are correct.)

Additional questions are answered in a blog post on my website: https://editorbeth.com/hire-a-qualified-editor/

Q. What are three danger signs that indicate an author should not use a particular editor?
I caution people to avoid editors who cannot show examples of previous work, have typographical, grammar, or language errors on their sites; or whose sites are unclear.

R. What are the ten most prevalent errors you find in manuscripts you have edited?
Most editors have pet peeves and idiosyncrasies. Mine are, in no particular order of importance

1. Errant spelling that should have been caught with a spell check
2. Double spaces after a period. Word processing programs space words for easy reading, so the second space was eliminated in the early 2000s. Search and replace can be used, but I wish writers understood that the rule now is single spacing.
3. Excessive use of “that” and “there is,” along with other pet words that might be “so” or “I”
4. Writing from several points of view (POV) throughout the book, or “head-hopping” without a clear reason
5. Failing to vary sentence structure
6. Settling for bland descriptions
7. Using linking verbs instead of action verbs
8. Writing for themselves instead of their readers. A writer must consider what the reader wants to gain from spending the time and money on a book instead of what s/he needs to say. I recommend people write what they need to say then save the work. From there, cull what’s unimportant and rewrite to fill in the characters, plots, and arc for an engaging read.
9. Sending the work to an editor without proofreading or having someone else proofread their book. Having a beta reader review a manuscript and give feedback is an even better way to improve your work before engaging and paying an editor.
10 a. Expecting the editor to fix all errors without taking an interest in his or her own work to get it to its best state. Working with critique groups and beta readers can help improve the work. If the amount of work to be done before I can provide a quality edit, is extensive, I don’t accept the work.
10 b. Not taking an interest in improving their work in favor of “just” getting it published or any other reason

S. Do you have a word limit on the length of manuscript you will edit?
As I mentioned, I use many of these strengths in working with short-form editing, but I do not edit anything longer than 50,000 words.

T. Why do editors charge so much?
Editing takes a lot of time. I work only with the finished manuscript, and I usually edit at least twice before proofreading and returning the work to the writer.

In addition to paying an editor for her time, you also are paying for her knowledge, education, and experience. She often can refer you to editors, designers, marketers, virtual assistants, and others who can improve your product and sell it quicker, better, and sometimes for more profit.

U. How long does an edit take?
Short form editing requires about a week. Longer works take six-to-eight weeks.

V. Do you edit the manuscript after I make changes?
No, I work from a final manuscript with a specified word count. My edits should not require changes that require rewrites, so an additional edit should not be necessary.

W. What is a proofreader’s job and when you need one?
When a manuscript is deemed ready for print, a proofreader is necessary to catch any oversights or changes in a manuscript. The proofreader should be exceptional in spelling and know the style guide your publisher desires. Often, a proofreader will review a manuscript after it is laid out to catch odd hyphenation, widows, orphans, and irregular spacing. A publisher sometimes provides this service, and they should send you a proof copy or an advanced reader copy (ARC) to review before the book is published.

X. Should I give a copy of the book to people who worked on my book, such as editors?
Common practice is to provide those who worked on your book at least one signed copy of the book. If the person can help you promote your book, provide another copy that she can give or show to someone else.

Y. If I am publishing something other than a book, is it pushy to send my editor a link to my published work?
Not at all! Your editor is delighted to work with you and support you by celebrating your success. She might also share your work on social media, especially if you include a note about how much she helped you reach this goal.

Books and Articles by Beth Crosby

Free E-Book Written by Beth Crosby

Don’t Publish Your First Draft by Beth Crosby

Don’t Publish Your First Draft (free ebook) https://www.EditorBeth.com

Article by Beth Crosby
Linked in: “Show Your Expertise” describes developmental and substantive editors and talks about self-publishing: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-articles-show-your-expertise-beth-crosby/

Books Edited by Beth Crosby

You Map

You Map: Find Yourself. Blaze Your Path. Show the World! by Kristin Sherry

Your Team Loves Mondays

Your Team Loves Mondays…Right? and other books by Kristin Sherry,

The Power of Creativity: A Three-Part Series for Writers, Artists, Musicians and Anyone In Search of Great Ideas and other books by Bryan Collins

The Poisoned Glass

Poisoned Glass by Kimberly Tilley, and Cold Heart, to be released soon:

We Demand the Right to Vote

We Demand the Right to Vote by Meneese Wall

Unclaimed Blessings

Unclaimed Blessings and other books by Diana and Hany Asaad

About Beth Crosby

Website: www.EditorBeth.com 
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/groups/TheWritersCircleGroup
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bethcrosby/

How to Contact Beth to edit your work:

Email:  Beth@EditorBeth.com
In an email, send a summary of your manuscript, final word count, specific needs of the edit, and your ideal time line. Emails with attachments or manuscripts will not be opened or considered.

Joan: Wow! What a wealth of information you shared with us, Beth Crosby. Thank you very much.

Beth Crosby: You’re welcome Thanks for the opportunity to be here and share with you.

Please feel free to ask Beth questions in the comment area. I’ll add pertinent ones and her answers to this interview post.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2009-2020 Joan Y. Edwards

Subscribe to Joan’s blog for new articles of inspiration, information, and humor. Receive free gifts. Join over 223 subscribers and over 1,062,000 visitors. Thank you.



Which of These Best-Selling Romance Pitches Is the Best? Why?

“Which of These Best-Selling Romance Pitches Is the Best? Why?” by Joan Y. Edwards

Rules for a Romance Novel

  1. The protagonist in a romance novel may be either the hero or the heroine. The writer decides.
  2. Both hero and heroine must be introduced in the first page of the book – no later than the third page.
  3. A romance novel states the problem situation of the protagonist in such a way that readers are  pulled emotionally into the story.
  4. In a romance novel, it must seem like it’s almost impossible for things to work out for these two people.
  5. A romance novel must end happily ever after (HEA). Readers who pick up a romance novel, expect and demand that happy ending.

Components of a Pitch Summary for a Romance Novel

  1. Tells about both the hero and the heroine.
  2. States the problem situation of the protagonist (hero or heroine) in such a way that readers are  pulled emotionally into the story with a universal theme to cheer and root for the protagonist. Tells what the main character wants or needs and why they can’t get it. Hints that character has to change before he can get what he wants.
  3. Makes readers wonder if it’s possible for things to come to a Happily Ever After (HEA) ending for both the hero and the heroine.

I went through the internet searching for the best Romance novels. I chose the pitch summaries for ten of them to study. I highlighted the heroine’s description in red and the hero’s description in blue so you and I could see if the pitch summaries had information about both the protagonist and the matching hero or heroine.
I stated my guess or the protagonist – the hero or the heroine. I also put how many words the pitch summary contained.

When I did a pitch workshop for the Catholic Writers Conference Online in 2012, we discovered it took more words to get the pitch summary for the romance novel than for the regular fiction.  You have to explain enough about both characters to make the pitch summary intriguing and pull people in.

How to Write a Pitch That Sells Workshop with Joan Y. Edwards
Description of Workshop: Share your present pitch. What is a pitch? How many words should a pitch be? Why does a writer need a pitch for his book? Study pitches of the pros. Write a pitch for a favorite book. There are exercises to get you going. Create an effective pitch for your story that no editor, agent, or reader will be able to turn down.

Which romance pitch summary did the best job of pulling you into the story? Why?

I’ll repeat the question after the last pitch summary.

1. Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan

194 word pitch summary
Female Protagonist
If Sadie Turner is good at anything, it’s putting stuff in order. So when she finds her “perfect” life in disarray, she hopes a summer vacation at her aunt’s lake house will help her piece it back together. She wants to relax, reboot, and heal the wounds left by her cheating ex-husband. And that requires time away from men. All men.
Or so she thinks.
With two slobbering dogs and two cousins living there—one a flamboyant decorator intent on making over Sadie—it’s hard to get a moment’s peace at eccentric Aunt Dody’s house, especially with everyone so determined to set her up with Desmond, the sexy new neighbor.
Desmond is Sadie’s worst nightmare. Tall, tanned, muscular…and to top it off, he’s great with her kids. But he must have a flaw—he’s a man—so Sadie vows to keep her distance.
As summer blazes on, the life Sadie is trying so hard to simplify only becomes more complicated—a new career presents itself, her evil ex haunts her, and Aunt Dody reveals a tragic secret—but maybe a little chaos is just what Sadie needs to get her life back in order.

2. Charade by Nyrae Dawn (Kindle)

Female Protagonist
171 words in the summary pitch
Nineteen-year-old Cheyenne tries to portray the perfect life to mask the memories of her past. Walking in on her boyfriend with another woman her freshman year in college threatens that picture of perfection.

Twenty-one-year-old Colt never wanted college and never expected to amount to anything, but when his mom’s dying wish is for him to get his degree, he has no choice but to pretend it’s what he wants too.
Cheyenne needs a fake boyfriend to get back at her ex and Colt needs cash to take care of his mom, so they strike a deal that helps them both. But what if Cheyenne’s past isn’t what she thought? Soon they’re trading one charade for another—losing themselves in each other to forget about their pain. The more they play their game, the more it becomes the only thing they have that feels real.
Both Cheyenne and Colt know life is never easy, but neither of them expect the tragedy that threatens to end their charade and rip them apart forever.

3. Losing It by Cara Carmack

Female Protagonist
117 words in the summary pitch
Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible– a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if if that weren’t embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She’d left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.

4. Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer

Male Protagonist
146 words in the summary pitch

Tall, dark and handsome Will Parker has served time for the killing of a Texas prostitute, but keeps losing jobs as his reputation becomes known. In the small town of Whitney, Ga., at the beginning of WW II, he answers the advertisement of a pregnant widow and mother of two, the abused and reclusive Eleanor Dinsmore, who is looking for a husband. Soon in love with ostensibly plain, bedraggled Ellie, Parker dotes on her two boys, and works to support the family. Fittingly for this sort of bucolic idyll, Will and Ellie, despite their rudimentary educations, love books and develop a special friendship with wise old Miss Beasley, the local librarian. Alas, brazen and rapacious Lula Peak, the town floozie, sets her sights on Will, waylaying him in the library; meantimes, Lula is blackmailing her lover, the cowardly Harley Overmire, who is no friend of Will.

5. Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Female Protagonist
119  words in the summary pitch
Physics professor Dr. Jane Darlington spends her 34th birthday in tears. She wants a baby, but not a husband. Where can she find an average or, preferably, stupid man? She decides that Cal Bonner, legendary quarterback for the Chicago Stars is perfect. Jane sets her plan into action and after some trail and error she succeeds. But the results are more than she bargained for when Cal discovers her duplicity. How can a football player with an interfering family and a nerdy professor who has never known family love ever fall in love? With lots of honesty, understanding and a whole lot of humor. Don’t miss this one! It’s filled with engaging characters, laughs galore and a feel-good ending.

6. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Female Protagonist
122 words in the summary pitch

Tough minded Jessica Trent’s sole intention is to free her nitwit brother from the destructive influence of Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Diain. She never expects to desire the arrogant, amoral cad. And when his reciprocal passion places them in a scandously compromising, and public position, Jessica is left with no choice but to seek satisfaction… Damn the minx for tempting him, kissing him…and then for forcing him to salvage reputation! Lord Diain can’t wait to put the infuriating bluestocking in her place — and in some amorous position. And if this means marriage, so be it — though Sebastian is less than certain he can continue to remain aloof…and steel his heart to the sensuous, head strong lady’s considerable charms.

7. Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale

Male protagonist
133 words in the summary pitch

Christian Langland, Duke of Jerveaux is the ultimate hero. A brilliant mathematician and a complete rake, Christian is a man of contradictions. When a stroke leaves him permanently unable to speak, his family believes him to be mad and relegates him to a sanitarium. Fortunately, Maddy, a righteous Quaker and do-gooder, recognizes that Christian is not insane–he just can’t talk! Maddy may not be the most likable heroine you’ll encounter, but she has depth and character, and is probably one of the few people you could imagine who would have the patience and understanding to accept and live with Christian’s intense anger and frustration. But she never dreamed her gentle, healing touch would alter his life and her own so completely — and bind them together in need, desire … and love.

8. The Bride by Julie Garwood

Male Protagonist
99 words in the summary pitch
By edict of the king, the mighty Scottish laird Alec Kincaid must take an English bride. His choice was Jamie, youngest daughter of Baron Jamison…a feisty, violet-eyed beauty. Alec ached to touch her, to tame her, to possess her…forever. But Jamie vowed never to surrender to this highland barbarian. He was everything her heart warned against, an arrogant scoundrel whose rough good looks spoke of savage pleasures. And though Kincaid’s scorching kisses fired her blood, she brazenly resisted him…until one rapturous moment quelled their clash of wills, and something far more dangerous than desire threatened to conquer her senses…

9. Mackenzie’s Legacy: Mackenzie’s Mountain\Mackenzie’s Mission by Linda Howard

Female Protagonist
139 words in the summary pitch

A great romance novel about Mary, a schoolteacher who just can’t let Joe quit high school, so she sets off up the mountain that he lives on with his father, Wolf, to see what she can do to get him back in school. What she finds up on that mountain is a passion she’s never imagined existed before with a tall, tough and rugged warrior with a past. Wolf, for his part, has been to jail for a rape he didn’t commit and isn’t willing to ruin Mary’s reputation in their small town, so he refuses to begin a relationship with the sweet lady. Then, a real rapist is on the loose in this quaint, little town and targeting people who are close to Joe and Wolf Mackenzie. And Mary is one of the top targets on his list…

10. It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Female Protagonist
104 Words in the summary pitch
The Windy City isn’t quite ready for Phoebe Somerville-the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not ready for the Stars’ head coach, former grid iron legend Dan Calebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Calebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises-a meddling bimbo who doesn’t know a pigskin from a pitcher’s mound. So why is Dan drawn to the shameless sexpot like a heat-seeking missile? And why does the coach’s good ol’ boy charm leave cosmopolitan Phoebe feeling awkward, tongue-tied…and ready to fight?

Which pitch summary did the best job of pulling you into the story? Why?

Please put your opinions in the comment area. I look forward to “hearing” what you think.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2013-2019 Joan Y. Edwards


  1. Joan Y. Edwards. “How to Entice an Editor or Agent with a Pitch/Logline:” https://www.joanyedwards.com/how-to-entice-an-edit-or-agent-with-a-pitch-logline/
  2. Joan Y. Edwards. “How to Write an Effective Selling Pitch:” http://joanyedwards.com/2012/11/09/how-to-write-an-effective-selling-pitch-for-a-romance-novel/
  3. Joyce Lamb. USA Today. “What’s Your All-Time Favorite Romance Novel:” http://books.usatoday.com/happyeverafter/post/2011-10-21/whats-your-all-time-favorite-romance-novel/556533/1