It’s so important to have extra sets of eyes look at a manuscript as part of the publishing process. I’m a clean writer, and I’ve worked professionally (and as a freelancer) on various editing projects, but it’s notoriously hard to spot your own mistakes. An outsider perspective can be invaluable.
When I set about publishing Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life, I knew I needed copy editing help, especially with the interviews, which I conducted and then updated for print. And with forty-two contributors, there were bound to be style considerations and consistency issues that wouldn’t be as prominent in a one-author book.
I asked two women–Nancy Townsley and Annie Denning Hille–to help. They worked on the manuscript one after the other, looking for different things and carefully editing each of the forty-two pieces in the book.
Nancy and I used to work for the same chain of community newspapers, and I knew she’d be great at finding style questions, spotting grammar snafus and making things clearer. Annie and I were preschool parents together for two years, and she had expressed interest in copy editing while telling me she loved to find errors in printed works. The two–without ever meeting–formed an amazing team on this project. They took such care with everyone’s words.
One of my favorite moments in this project occurred when I first sat down with Annie to hand her the stack of essays that needed editing. Apparently, I hadn’t explained that I was going to publish Brave on the Page through the Espresso Book Machine. When I mentioned the technology and why I chose to use it, she immediately said, “I think the Tattered Cover has one of those machines.”
I was totally surprised that Annie had heard of the Espresso Book Machine and even more surprised that she knew the Tattered Cover had one.
As it turns out, her mom, Maggie Denning, works at the Tattered Cover! How amazing is that? Of all the people I could have asked to copy edit, she had a connection with a bookstore that has an Espresso Book Machine.
If you don’t live near an Espresso Book Machine, you can buy Brave on the Page directly from the Tattered Cover. The staff there–including Chuck Rugh, who very nicely posed for some photos–will print the book just for you and then ship it to you. The store is one of eight independent bookstores and universities that offer online ordering and shipping services for Espresso-published books.