Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Authors Supporting Authors

As I wind down to head off to bed, I can't help but think how amazing the last two years of my life have been.  My son just turned two, and my my first print book of children's folk tales becomes available in just a few weeks.

Reflecting on why things have been so great, I keep coming back to the other writers and authors who have supported my on my journey toward become a children's author.  While I have a long way to go, I feel blessed to have made so many wonderful contacts, acquaintances, and yes–friends.

Just as many have supported me an my works, I'd like to give a 'shout out' to them.  Here's to the great authors I've come in contact with along the way.  I hope you find them and their writing as inspirational as I have, and choose to support them as I have.  It's a tough business we're in, and these are some of the strongest men and women I know.

The writers in my local critique group–Linda VanderHeyden, Angie Flanagan, Elizabeth Jaeger, Stephenie Hovland, and Jennifer Daniels.  Without you, my work would be frogs instead of toads!

Kristin Simons–one of the most inspiring people I've met, her picture book "I CANcer" is forthcoming in late April / Early May 2011.

Susan Manzke–Writing her column for longer than I have been alive, Susan has taught me much about life, writing, and how to never give up on the things you love.

Kelly Bradley (Kelly Hashaway)–Although I wish I knew her better, she's taught me a lot through her blog and on focusing toward a desired goal.  Plus, she rocks at "What Am I?" games :)

Lynne Marie Pisano–Here's a woman who is going places–big places.  How many picture book authors can say their first book was picked up by, um, Scholastic?  I know my daughter will be reading "Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten" the night before her first day of Kindergarten this fall!

Daniel Errico–If there's a heart that's bigger than his, I don't know whose.  He publishes his stories for children, for free.  And, he illustrates them.  The most talented and unselfish picture book writer/illustrator I've come across to-date.

Claudia Mills–I owe Claudia a good bit of thanks for her insights and comments into one of my manuscripts.  It's going out to publishers and agents this year...thanks for the encouragement.  Also, thanks for signing books for my son and nephew–I know they are going to change the world!

Jill Esbaum–If it weren't for Jill, I'd have never made it to Iowa and my daughter would have no idea what Stink Soup is.  I realize that sounds strange to everyone reading...  But her books (e.g. "Stink Soup") are fantastic and she's an honest, friendly writer who is sincere about helping other writers through her critiquing service.

Nancy Sweetland–A lifetime of writing, and still going!  You inspire me to remember the reason we write, and why children read.  The children at my daughter's school can't wait to meet you.

Crave Cravak–One of the most imaginative writers who has ever shared his rough manuscripts with me, I have learned a lot about keeping enthusiasm and passion alive when writing for children.

Lucille Clifton–My first instruction on how to write children's books came from one of the best poets and children's authors ever.  I feel blessed that I got to study amongst the best during my undergrad years.  I hope you've thrown away every assignment I turned in eight years ago...

Michael Glaser–The writers' retreat at St. Mary's, the Lannan Fellowship for Poetry, all those experiences–I can't believe I never took your class!  Anyway, a little belated, but congrats on the poet laureate of Maryland thingy...well-deserved.  (It's fun to say "I know him!")

Kaia Sand–Taught me the importance of substance.  Write stuff, not fluff–and shove it in the Man's face!  Thanks for giving me my first audience at the Women in Poetry 2003 summit.

Melissa Gorzelanczyk–Last, but certainly not least.  Perhaps one of the most influential people in my writing career.  She quit her corporate day job (she was my editor!) and wrote a novel in 30 days.  Driven, passionate, inspirational woman.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh Where, Oh Where Have the Editors Gone?

As I mentioned in previous posts, I got an eReader for Christmas (thanks, hubby).  Now that I've gotten a chance to use it quite frequently, I've found myself...confused.

Where have all the editors gone?

From what I understand, digital publishing is cheaper for writers and publishers–at least in terms of up front costs.  So, why is it that more than half (maybe even two-thirds) of the downloads on my eReader have serious typos, grammatical errors and even misspellings?

To be clear, I'm not downloading personal blogs or internet marketing eBooks.  Some of the classics, including Tales From Shakespeare, left me scratching my head, wondering if an editor was hired at all to proofread the electronic version of each book!  Granted, some of them are free downloads (like Jane Eyre, for example) but I think that the original authors would be rolling in their graves if they saw their novels published with such glaring mistakes.

The world of self-publishing is both exciting and scary to me.  Will I soon go to the library only to see "print on demand" versions of books that never went through a formal editing process?  Will my kids be reading...junk?

I support authors who want to skip the tedious path to publication, but I do want to urge everyone who does:  hire an editor!  Don't skip that crucial step.  Recently, I took on the job of editing two folk tales for a British author and she was so delighted that she didn't skip that step.  After some serious consideration and changes to the text, the books are in much better shape.

As both author and editor, I would NEVER edit my own work (well except a blog with, like, a dozen followers).  Remember:  An author is NOT their own best editor.  This includes you, me, and every other person in...the universe.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What My Clients Say About My Writing

This post isn't meant to brag...wait, yes it is.  I am very proud of my accomplishments in 2010 and early 2011 as a writer, ghostwriter, editor, and author.  I love writing, addictively (hence the name of my blog).  I am excited that I get to share that love with others and that they are satisfied.  Oh, and that they pay me for it, too!

Here are what my clients had to say about my recent writing work:

Job Description:  Short Toddler Stories for iPad/iPhone App
Client Feedback:  “Great work, great communication, and delivered ahead of schedule... I am delighted all around and will definitely use her again for future projects.”

Job Description: Chinese Children's Folk Tales
"The perfect combination of self-motivated, professional team member, pride in work, and creative soul. 300+ pages later, I have exercised all three talent areas and have a great product as a result. Looking forward to working with Miranda on our upcoming projects."

Job Description:  Website Copy Rewriting
"[Miranda] did an excellent job on my project. The quality of her work and the professionalism she possesses makes it easy for me to recommend her to anyone in need of her expertise."

Job Description:  Ghostwriting A Book of Short Stories for Girls 8-12
"This provider is simply AWESOME and cannot be replaced. Five star rating does not do her justice. In my book she is a 10."

Job Description: Young Adult Novel Manuscript Edit/Rewrite
"It has been great working with you. I have learned so much from working with you. I highly recommend Miranda Paul. I can hardly wait to work on another project with you. Thanks for everything."

Job Description:  Novel Manuscript Line-by-Line Edit with Revision Suggestions
"Miranda did an excellent job editing my manuscript and offering good solid advice. I appreciate her professionalism and dedication to my project."

 Job Description:  1000-word Article on Sustainable Tourism
"Delivered article on time, well written and researched."

Job Description:  Copywriting for a Non-Profit Organization
“I highly recommend this provider. Her work, insights, and expertise surpassed my expectations. I look forward to working with this provider again.”

Job Description:  10,000-word eBook
“Great job!! The end product was better than expected and with very little guidance needed. Will be coming back!”

Job Description:  Online eBook

“Everything went smoothly and professionally with this provider. The writing is good, and exactly to my specifications. This provider comes highly recommended.”

Job Description:  Creative Product Descriptions for Online Boutique
“This provider outdid everything I asked her to do. She is immensely talented, the ultimate professional who was always there, ready to offer her assistance. She is clever, intelligent, and always takes a proactive approach. I have contracted her to prepare my web blogs on a monthly basis, which means that I can stay in touch with her....I am going to recommend she give herself a raise right after my project is finished...”

Job Description:  Edit/Revise Children's Picture Book Manuscript
“Thank you very much. I love working with you. Your work is very professional at all levels."

Job Description:  Opening Chapter to Academic Book on Entrepreneurship in Africa
“Miranda Paul worked consistently on my project, giving timely reports and seeking feedback. I am very satisfied with the product.”

Job Description:  Caribbean Travel and History Articles
"[Miranda] met all the requirements of the job, and was very prompt and professional with high quality writing. She is thorough in her research and has a solid writing style."

Job Description:  Researched Online Articles, Multicultural Topics
“Miranda exceeded my expectations on all levels. She was professional, knowledgeable, efficient and more. I would recommend her services to anyone and I do plan on hiring her again for future projects of my own. Thank you Miranda!”

Job Description:  Travel Articles (Africa)
“Thank you so much for your excellent articles! I required a writer with knowledge of Africa and passion for the subject matter and you more than delivered in quality, timeliness and professionalism. This provider comes highly recommended!”

Job Description:  Creative Auction Descriptions for School Fundraiser Event
“Miranda provided work of the highest quality and completed the project before its deadline - all at affordable rates. She is a 'must hire.'”

The list goes on...

But for now, suffice it to check out my Elance profile, where you can hire me to edit your novel, revise your latest picture book manuscript, write a blog post, or ghostwrite your website copy.

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