Manuscript Evaluation Christmas Cards

Gray Christmas CritiqueAre you struggling to find a perfect holiday gift for the writer(s) in your life? Send a some seriously supportive love to their mailbox this season! For the next month, I’m offering my new 50-page critiques with a special card you can have mailed straight to your literary loved one. You can choose from either a minimalist gray card or a bright, Looseleaf-green card.

Once they have the cards, writers can use the provided codes to schedule a critique whenever it will be most useful for them and their work.Green Christmas Critique

Order a manuscript critique today by visiting Looseleaf’s online store.


Promotional Posters for Followed by Frost

Earlier this year Charlie N. Holmberg asked me to put together some promotional pieces she could use prior to the release of her fourth novel, Followed by Frost. For these, she picked out a series of photos from iStockphoto and gave me a list of significant quotes from the book. From there, I paired the best quotes with the best images and combined them. Some of the images needed some minimal manipulation to better match the book, and each piece needed to be in both rectangular and square formats so it could be used well in different social media outlets.

I loved working on these—they were a fun project that got immediate use promoting a delightful novel.









Recent Fairy-tale Projects

Since I last posted, I completed my master’s degree in English, moved house, worked on dozens of projects, and got a dog and six chickens. But today I’d like to highlight three recent-ish projects that are on the same topic: fairy tales.

Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales and Television, edited by Pauline Greenhill & Jill Terry Rudy

The first project, Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales on Television, is a collection of scholarly essays edited by Pauline Greenhill and Jill Rudy and published by Wayne State University Press. I indexed the volume, and it was a pleasure to read (not to mention the fact that it fed into research for my master’s thesis). The topics contained in the book are broad, and the various authors bring unique concerns, interests, and perspectives to the discussion about fairy tales on television. And look at that cover! Isn’t it nice to find an academic press that takes a little pride in the designs as well as the content?

The book spawned another project I worked on: Fairy Tales on Television. I was one of many research assistants and contributors who made the searchable database and functional data visualizations possible. The database is a research tool for researchers and creators whose interests intersect with fairy tales and television. I’ve used it for research of my own, and I might be preparing an infographic summarizing my findings. (So stay tuned for that.)

PersinetteOutside of academia, I also had the opportunity to work with Laura Christensen, a French-to-English translator who translated “Persinette,” a literary French fairy tale similar to “Rapunzel.” Laura translated the tale, wrote a delightful introduction, provided some biographical information on the author, and included introductions to and public-domain translations of the Grimms’ “Rapunzel” (which was published after “Persinette”) and Giambatista Basile’s “Petrosinella” (an Italian tale published before “Persinette”). I copyedited the text (except the public-domain translations) and formatted everything for its upcoming ebook release. Laura lets you know where you can find her collection on her translation website.

New Project: The Folklore Historian, Volume 29

My most recently completed editorial project isn’t technically a Looseleaf project—I’m the temporary managing editor for this one, not a freelancer, exactly—but I wanted to share it anyway. The last project was a novel, but this one was a scholarly journal focusing historical approaches to folklore (or folklore in a historical perspective). I present volume 29 of The Folklore Historian, a member of the American Folklore Society’s family of publications.

Cover of The Folklore Historian, volume 29

I didn’t do all the work on this issue. I took over at the beginning of the semester, so I proofread the final text, managed final revisions with the authors, laid the journal out in InDesign, designed the cover, and took the files to and checked the proofs from the press.

The Familius Christmas Anthology: Just for Kids

Ever wondered how to create some fun family time with your kids around Christmas? Never fear! Last year I worked on the annual Christmas anthology from Familius, and I did it again this year. Packed with Christmas stories, holiday songs and poems, wintery recipes and child-appropriate activities, the anthology this year was a bundle of fun to put together.Familius Christmas Anthology: Just for Kids

The recipes and activities were my realm of creation: Rick Walton gathers the stories and poems and helps me rank the best of them, and I put it all together. This year, instead of grouping all the stories together, all the poems together, and so on, we grouped one item from each category together according to a theme. In theory, you could use these groups to center an entire night around a single theme. Themes range from silly to thoughtful, so you can vary them according to what your little ones can handle on any given day in December.

Right now it looks like the book is only available in its paperback form (which, given the recipe-and-activity nature of the book, I think is a huge step up from the ebook-only run we had last year). You can get it from …

Enjoy the book and tell your friends. I will be posting a giveaway page soon so I can share some of these awesome author copies I have!


New Project: Unraveled by Michelle C. Eging

I’m pleased to present Looseleaf’s most recently completed book-length project: Unraveled by Michelle C. Eging. It’s an adult fantasy novel, the first in a trilogy.

Threads of Sole: Unraveled by Michelle C. Eging

Michelle was a joy to work with. I completed the interior layout for the print version, the ebook layout, and the cover designs for both the print and electronic versions. (Remember, cover design does not mean the same thing as cover illustration. The lovely illustration is the work of Michelle Wilber.) I also did the final proofreading. Here is the back-cover copy for the novel:

In the aftermath of the War of Awakening, the King and his Council condoned the Purge, methodically executing members of the magically gifted Blessed so no person’s power will threaten Sole again. After years of political negotiation, the Purge has ended, requiring the Blessed to brand their faces and creating a rift that has Sole on the brink of civil war. Enwyck, the daamon half-blood Prince of Sole, Joslynn, a woman whose mask hides her deformed and poisonous spider-silk skin, Windle, a former Godmother now hiding as an old man, and Kasimir, a blind cripple no longer able to transform into a raven, find themselves struggling to preserve the kingdom while confronting the trauma of their pasts and the broken pieces of their present. One false move and everything they fought for will unravel, if it hasn’t already.

If that tickles your fancy, go forth and buy the book here. It’s available in both paperback and electronic forms from Amazon. (If you’re an ebook-reading Amazon Prime member, you’ll also be interested to know that the book is a part of the lending library.) If you have a non-Kindle ereader, touch bases with Michelle here at let her know you’re interested. Sometimes the other distribution channels can take a while to get things up.

2013 Editorial Availability, September–December

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m hard at work on my master’s degree. Once I have it, I will be an even more awesome choice for all your editorial needs. In the meantime, I have a very limited schedule for new projects. Currently I’ve got a pair of large, long-term projects, and between them and a few minor projects, I am booked through the end of the year.

However, if you have projects in the works for which you’ll want an editor, but do not need an editor until next year, feel free to contact me and preschedule. I’ll be in my degree program until June of next year, so until then the schedule will be tight. The earlier we touch bases, the better the chances that I’ll be able to work with you to help you reach your audience with clarity, credibility, and style.

A Brief Update

Brigham Young University Logo

I apologize for the lack of free editorial advice, delightful book reviews, and other bookish content available here in recent months. Obviously the past eight-ish months have not been prime time for my blogging. Book reviews are sparse, because at the moment I’m pursuing my master’s degree at Brigham Young University, so I spend a lot of time reading books that have been published for a while (although the oldest I’ve read for this degree only dates back to the very end of the 1600s), so there are a few hundred years’ worth of people to tell you if it’s any good or not. All my analytical brain cells that could write other sorts of posts are directed toward my seminar papers, my thesis, and the paying projects I’m still plugging away at.

If you miss my blogging, take it up with this face.

I also spend a lot of time tending to the newest member of my family, my now ten-month-old son. I’m quite proud of him: he runs around the apartment, voluntarily submerges his face in swimming pools, and spends a good chunk of every day bringing me books from his bookshelf. (Maybe I should start writing reviews of his books, since they tend to be the most recently published books I read these days.)

Anyway, updates shall be sparse. I’m going to be documenting some parts of my thought process and research as I go about writing my master’s thesis, which is about internet narratives on the broad scale, fairy tales on the internet more specifically, and a few examples of internet fairy tales in the most particular. Most of the updates on what my Thesis Neurons are up to will be on my new Tumblr blog: Internet Narrative. If I have spare time to construct blog posts that are particularly useful to writers or readers (I have a few outlines for posts that have been sitting around for eight months), I’ll be putting them here. I’ll also be posting Looseleaf news, like notable newly published projects, my availability, and such. However, these will be few and far between (especially since I’m taking on fewer projects while getting my degree).

So stay tuned to the things that most interest you. Maybe when this whole “master’s degree” thing blows over I’ll be able to get back to regular blogging. I miss it.

The Familius Christmas Anthology 2012

Familius Christmas Anthology coverRemember not too long ago when I mentioned I had a book coming out? Well, now it’s out! Actually, it’s been out for a few weeks now, but it took awhile for it to post to all the major stores. I give you The Familius Christmas Anthology 2012, compiled by yours truly and Rick Walton:

Christmas is a time for family and there’s no better way of helping your family enjoy the Christmas spirit than by taking time each night to explore the annual Familius Christmas Anthology. Filled with stories, poems, recipes, and activities to make Christmas time enjoyable, this collection is literally stuffed with feel-good content and activities that will bring your family together. The stories include such favorites as the “The Gift of Magi” by O’Henry to the moving “The Child Who Had Everything But—” by John Kendrick Bangs. The anthology also includes favorite poems like “Long Ago” by Christina Rossetti and, of course, “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen,” among many others. And delicious family favorite recipes provide an invitation to spend time at the family table, whether you’re enjoying Spiced Sugar Cookie Truffles or a simple pot of White Hot Chocolate. And don’t forget to round out your Christmas holiday with family activities like building Graham Cracker Cottages or playing Jack Frost Tag. The Familius Christmas Anthology is a fantastic way of enjoying this wonderful holiday and making sure your family enjoys it, together.

I love Christmas, and I’m happy to have been a part of putting this anthology together. The whole point of the anthology is the help families enhance the holiday time they spend together. I’ve always loved spending time reading stories and baking with my family around the holidays. (When I lived at home we used to light candles and read a Christmas story every night in December.) This year, I’m looking forward to starting some family traditions of my own with my husband and my son (even if the little guy will only be a couple months old by the time Christmas day rolls around). Maybe this little book can help you with some traditions of your own.

The book is currently available as an ebook from all major ebook sellers.

(These are not affiliate links.)

Familius Christmas Anthology cover

Honest Editorial Feedback without Gatekeepers

Iron Gate of PublishingThe rise of electronic self-publishing has led many authors to circumvent the traditional “gatekeepers” of the publishing world. In some instances that means a wonderful book with a niche audience or a cross-genre appeal finds its way to an audience even though a large press can’t afford to take a risk on it. Sometimes a great author gets more control over his or her process. Other times it means something awful joins the abundance of books already on the market because the author used self-publishing as a last resort.

Edan Lepucki, a literary fiction writer, recently talked about the issue of last-resort publishing when she wrote an article entitled “Reasons Not to Self-Publish in 2011-2012: A List.” Her reason #5 was “I Value the Publishing Community.” She talks about how she values editorial input and the layers that get added to a novel when an editor works on it. She says:

I know you can hire experienced editors and copy-editors, but how is that role affected when the person paying is the writer himself? What if the hired editor told you not to publish? Would that even happen?

As far as Looseleaf is concerned, the answer to whether or not that would happen is sometimes. It depends on what I’ve been hired to do. If I’ve been hired to copyedit, then I will copyedit. The publishability of the manuscript is not the problem I’ve been hired to solve: I’ve been hired to address its coherency on a grammatical and syntactic level. I will do what I’ve been hired to do. Likewise, the copyeditors at your favorite publishing house probably don’t control what goes to press, just the grammatical state in which it goes to press.

Copyediting is not the only thing you can hire an editor to do, though. Looseleaf offers manuscript evaluations (as do many other editing companies), which are essentially an in-depth way of answering the publishability question. In an evaluation I look at plot, character, and overall coherency, which also means I put myself in the reader’s shoes and analyze whether or not the book in my hands adds anything to the market. In the editorial letter I send to the author afterwards, I include positives, negatives, and an overall judgement on the manuscript.

Lepucki asks how the editorial relationship is affected when the editor is an employee of the author. The truth is that the freelancer–author relationship is not the same as the in-house editor–author relationship. A freelancer does what he or she is hired to do. If you want honest editorial feedback, hire a freelancer to give it to you and you’ll get it.

But Lepucki asks a question I can’t answer: “What if the hired editor told you not to publish?” That is a question for the author, a question that applies to all self-publishing authors. If you’ve decided to publish something on your own and hire someone to offer his or her opinion on your decision, are you going to listen if you get told you’re wrong?

Image by Rawich via