Small World: The Tattered Cover Book Store

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.

Maggie Denning, Annie’s mom, and Chuck Rugh, an Espresso Book Machine staff member, hold copies of Brave on the Page, printed in Denver at the Tattered Cover LoDo in Denver.

Chuck Rugh demonstrates how a copy of Brave on the Page lands in the chute after the printing process.

Annie Denning Hille is one of two copy editors who worked on Brave on the Page, Forest Avenue Press’ first release.

Nancy Townsley, a Brave on the Page copy editor, recites her essay, “Running Commentary,” at the book launch party last Saturday.




  1. Kudos to Nancy and Annie (and you) because I haven’t found a glitch yet (I haven’t been looking for them, but a lot of times they jump out at me).

    In addition to good copy editors and proofers (certainly not instead of them) I do also recommend having a machine read your book to you. In the mystery stories I’m revising, which have been reviewed by several excellent beta readers, there have still been problems that nobody noticed (the/she, an/at, that sort of thing)

    • Anthony, I know how great you are with catching errors, so I’m especially pleased by your comment. Thank goodness for great copy editors!

      One of my critique group friends swears by using the read aloud function in TextEditor. I’ll try that sometime.


  1. […] and highlight some of the 42 authors, sharing their blog posts, photos and accomplishments. A favorite recent post features copy editor Annie Denning Hille and her mom Maggie, who works at the Tattered Cover in […]

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