Why You Need a Proofreader

How many times have you read something—a book for pleasure or copy for a website—and found an error? Maybe it’s something minor, but still, it’s an error. Of course, no one is perfect, and mistakes are going to happen, but even the smallest goof can cause big problems. Mistakes in your content can hurt your credibility and cost you money. Here’s how:

  1. Let’s say you put a new product up on your website that sells for $1,000. You’ve worked long and hard to get this product to market, and it’s finally out there for the world to see! Your phone is ringing off the hook with orders! But wait—why is everyone so upset when you tell them the price? You look at your site, and find that the price for the product is listed as $100, not $1,000. Oops…now what? It’s a minor error that will end up costing you big.

OR…This same new $1,000 product is up on your site, and you’re getting absolutely no calls. What the heck? You know it’s a great product that will solve a lot of problems for your customers. Why is no one biting? Again, you peek at the website, only to find it’s been listed as $10,000. Oh boy…no wonder no one is calling! Again, lots of money in potential sales lost because of a proofreading error.

  1. You’ve just opened a new restaurant. Your website is ready to go, with mouth-watering photos of your best dishes, your menu, your hour—you’re all set to tantalize diners. But, at the top of the home page, the headline reads: “Come visit us at the XYZ Restaurnat.” What? What’s that word? It’s only two letters transposed, but it’s the first thing that visitors see when they come to your page. It might not seem like a big deal, but it could be. If you don’t take good care of something as basic as your website, what else are you neglecting?

What if you’re an author with a great book? It’s a terrific story, one you’ve worked on for months, and it’s finally ready to share. You can’t wait to see the reviews! You dive into Amazon or GoodReads, and see a two-star review with this comment: “Great story, but the errors drove me nuts.” Or “I really wish this author had someone proofread this before it was released.”

Don’t leave your money, credibility, or reputation on the table because of errors in your content. If you’re looking for help with your proofreading, let’s talk. I can help. You can reach me here.

So You Want to Write a Book…

You’re a business expert. You know your stuff in your chosen industry. You’ve had years of experience. Why not share your knowledge with potential clients? There’s no better way to do that than to write a book. Here are just a few ways a book can help you:

  1. A book will position you as an expert in your field. You’ve spent years learning all the ins and outs of your industry, and you’ve become a success. Why not let others know that? Sharing your knowledge will let your clients—and potential clients—know that you are a thought leader in your field. What better way to inspire confidence from those who are thinking of hiring you?
  2. You can use a book as a business card. Think about it. How many business cards have you saved? They get stuffed in a briefcase or jacket pocket, only to be forgotten about. That’s not going to happen with a book. When you leave prospects with a book, it will stay on their desk, and they will refer to it when they have a question. Again, you’re the expert, and you won’t be forgotten!
  3. Your book can get you great business perks. Looking for speaking engagements, publicity, more customers? Use your book to put you on the fast track to all of these exciting opportunities.

This all sounds wonderful, you’re thinking. But I don’t like to write! And I don’t really have time to write a whole book! Here are a couple of hints to help you get started:

  1. Start with an outline. Make notes about your area of expertise, Think about all the things you do in a day. Then decide what would best help your clients, and put that material into an outline.
  2. Look back at other written material you have. Blogs, e-newsletters, articles, etc. that you’ve written in the past can be the start of a book.
  3. Work with a professional writer. If you’re completely stumped as to how to get that book out of your head and onto the page, a professional can work with your ideas and do the writing for you.

Are you ready to get started on your book? Let’s talk. I can work with you to put together a well-written, error-free, professional piece of work. Contact me at 973-362-5382 or sue@suetoth.com and we can get started.

Can a Calendar Cure Writers’ Block?

You use a calendar to keep all of your important appointments, right? Doctors, dentists, date night, kids’ pick-ups? You’d be lost without your calendar. Why not keep a calendar of important events or news in your industry. Then, when it’s time to write your blog or newsletter, you’ll have your ideas all ready to go! Say goodbye to writers’ block with an editorial calendar!

How does an editorial calendar work? It’s simple, really. You can Google Editorial Calendar and find a template, or you can simply use a sheet of paper or an Excel spreadsheet.

The important thing is what goes on the calendar. This is where that thinking cap that sits on your top shelf collecting dust comes in handy. Put it on, and think about your business and industry.

  • Are there important events that happen weekly, monthly, annually? Put them on the calendar.
  • Are there times of year when things happen that your readers need to know about? Put them on the calendar.

You get the picture. Anything that is important in your industry should be on the calendar, so you can write about it.

So how do you put this into practice? Let’s pick a business…how about an auto mechanic? What might a six-month editorial calendar for such a business look like?

June: Get your car ready for summer

July: What to do if your car overheats

August: Fuel economy and your car’s air conditioner

September: Prepping your car for winter

October: Watch out for those slippery wet leaves

November: What do to when your car hits an ice patch

Now you have all this great information at your fingertips. When it’t time to sit down and write, the idea is right there waiting for you.

Need help getting started? Reach out to me here. I can help!

How to Make Commas Cool

comma

 

In addition to my editing and writing work, I also teach writing skills classes to college students. It’s a pretty basic course, and covers all the things that they learned back in grade school, most of which have been long forgotten, if they were even paid attention to in the first place.

A recent lesson was on the use of commas. Since the semester is nearly over, it’s getting increasingly difficult to get through to the students and actually get them to care about things like correct usage of commas. I tried the standard “Let’s eat grandma,” which got a few chuckles, but I still didn’t feel like it drove the point home well enough. And then I remembered THIS article.

It has to do with a woman who fought a parking ticket and won. The reason she won was because the wording in an ordinance was unclear due to a missing comma! That did it! I guess it gives new meaning to the saying that money talks!

Read the full article here.

What do you think? Are commas a problem for you? If you need help with commas, or any other writing issues, feel free to reach out at the contact form here, and I can help get you through the tough stuff.

Your Website and Your Credibility

It goes without saying in today’s technological society that nearly everyone uses the Internet to search for information they want. Looking for a house painter? Google it. Looking for a good book to read? Try Goodreads or Amazon. Want to know what time that movie you’ve been dying to see is playing? You can check that out online as well. While everyone is talking about how important it is that your website be mobile-friendly—and it’s true that your website must be mobile-friendly—there’s one other important element your website needs. And that is to be correct.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Of course it should be correct. That doesn’t just mean that the information should be right. That also goes without saying. It also means that everything should be spelled correctly, sentences should be structured properly, subjects and verbs should agree in all sentences, and each sentence should end with proper punctuation.

Think about it. Would you consider eating at a restaurant that couldn’t properly spell the name of the town it is located in on its site? Would you hire a tutoring company with a sentence like this on their site: “We will helps your student gain understanding…” Probably not, right?

What you say on your website has a direct effect on your credibility. Remember that whatever product or service your website offers, your aim is to be looked upon as the expert at that thing. Whether it’s the best restaurant, the best house painter, whatever it is, you want to be seen as the authority in that area. Mistakes on your site can easily turn off potential customers, because they may not think you are the best at what you do if you don’t take the time to read your own content and make sure it is correct.

Look carefully at your website. Is it saying what you want it to say? Is it correct? Does it make sense? Look at it as if you were a potential client. Would you buy what you are selling based on your site’s content?

If you need help updating your website copy, contact me about my current web editing special at 973-362-5382 or sue@suetoth.com.

 

Six Tips to Help You Find an Editor

You’ve worked and slaved and worried about everything from word count to character development to a compelling plot to a great ending. Now your book is done (you think), and the next step is editing. How do you find the right editor? There are so many out there, and it’s so hard to choose. Here are some tips for finding the right editor to work with you and your manuscript.
Continue reading Six Tips to Help You Find an Editor

Onward and Upward

Expansion can be very exciting…it can also be very nerve-wracking. As I work to expand Editing By Sue, I am experiencing both of those feelings in abundance.

But this post isn’t about me, it’s about you. So with that, please allow me to introduce you to Editing—And More—By Sue. While editing is my first love, I have a passion for anything having to do with the written word, and I’m ready to share that passion with all of you.
Continue reading Onward and Upward

How to Save Money on Editing

Why, you ask, would an editor give advice on how to save you money on her services? Won’t that make less money for her, you ask? In the short term, yes. But looking at the bigger picture, you’ll get a better editing job if I don’t have to worry as much about the small stuff. Therefore, I would love it if you’d read and take to heart this article on running spell check before submitting your work for editing. Thanks to libroediting.com for their wise words.