Editing IS Marketing: Boning Up on First Impressions

Since we are on the topic of editing (see yesterday’s post), I thought we should follow that line of thinking into another area: marketing. This gives us another way to look at what we do when we edit our work or have professional editors help us polish our writing.

To do this, I’ve asked Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers, back again to write another blog post—this time about the relationship between editing and marketing. She explains how the writing we send out into the world—especially the writing we are trying to sell—must put our best foot forward. As the adage goes, you only get to make a first impression once. If your writing is making that first impression, you better make sure it “looks good” or reads well

Editing IS Marketing: Boning Up on First Impressions
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

First impressions are important. We all are aware of that as we brush our teeth and try to unknot the rat’s nests from the back of our hair each morning. In fact, first impressions are part of our marketing efforts, whether we are marketing ourselves (for example, an interview or a TV appearance) or marketing our books. And, yes, editing is an essential part of that first-impression effort, thus an integral part of marketing and promotion.

Here are a scattering of helpful tips gleaned from my HowToDoItFrugally Series of books.

Five Editing Myths Waiting To Trip Up Your Campaign to Market Your Work

If your English teacher told you something is OK, it is.

No! Language rules and style guidelines have changed since you were a sophomore. And your English teach may not be familiar with the variety of style choices.

If a manuscript or query is grammar-perfect, you’ll make a great first impression.

No! Lots of things that are absolutely grammatically correct will annoy publishers, agents and others.

Always use your Spell and Grammar Checker.

Maybe. Some well-known editors suggest you don’t use it at all but The Frugal Editor gives you dozens of ways to make it your partner instead of your enemy.

Your publisher will assign a top-flight editor, so you don’t need to worry about your manuscript or article.

Maybe, but don’t count on it. Besides, you can be a better partner for an editor if you know something about the process—and you’ll also know better when to nix her suggestions! In any case, I suggest hiring an editor of your own before you submit your copy.

Formatters and editors will take care of the hyphens, ellipses and all the other grungy little punctuation marks that English teachers avoided teaching, because they didn’t know how to use them either.

Chances are, you’ll catch even great formatters and editors in an error or two if you know your stuff!

About the Author

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction, a former publicist for a New York public relations firm and an instructor for the UCLA Extension’s renowned Writers’ Program. She is a former journalist and editor with years of publishing and editing experience including national magazines, newspapers and her own poetry and fiction. Her The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) won USA Book News’ best professional book award and the Irwin Award. The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (www.budurl.com/TheFrugalEditor ) is a top publishing book for USA Book News and Reader Views Literary Award winner.


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