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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Editor is IN - and easy to use
THE FRUGAL EDITOR,
Put your best book forward to avoid humiliation and ensure success.
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
ISBN 978-0-97851-7-4
Red Engine Press
Reviewed by Billie A Williams

In this day an age, when according to some studies, over 81 percent of Americans feel they should write a book and more than six million of them actually...
Published on September 28, 2007 by Billie A. Williams

versus
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frugal on Content but Not in Price
Good book but mixed feelings. Here's my take on the pro's and con's of the Frugal Editor.

The Format of this book: It is noted that it is a 208 page book, but it's actually 192 pages. Subtract from that, 29 blank pages and 6 pages of paragraph length chapters and you have a 158 page book for 18.95. Now in her book, the author states that formatting standards of...
Published on August 17, 2008 by Livvy


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Editor is IN - and easy to use, September 28, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
THE FRUGAL EDITOR,
Put your best book forward to avoid humiliation and ensure success.
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
ISBN 978-0-97851-7-4
Red Engine Press
Reviewed by Billie A Williams

In this day an age, when according to some studies, over 81 percent of Americans feel they should write a book and more than six million of them actually have at least written the manuscripts. What are your chances of getting published when that is just over two percent of the population? Most of these manuscripts however, are doomed to failure because they don't understand the intricacies of polishing (read that as editing) their manuscripts before sending them out, and/or hiring an editor to give it the final tweak before they send them off.

According to a recent article by Robert McCrum in The Observer and I quote,
"...according to the New York Times, there's a new book published in the United States every half an hour, and - wait for it - that's just fiction. RR Bowker, the company that compiles the Books in Print database in the USA, has calculated that no fewer than 175,000 new titles were published in 2003. That's one book roughly every 20 seconds." And as you can imagine that trend has only increased since then. As McCrum says, the new books have the shelf life of yogurt, but that quality will always stand above the rest and will persevere. So how do you bring that quality to your own work?

The Frugal Editor by Carolyn Howard-Johnson is like having an editor in a box, or more correctly, between two covers of a book. Concise down-to-earth advice about how to edit your manuscript before you even begin to think about sending it out into the red pencil world of publishers, where their editors get the first chance to evaluate your hard work.

Frugal Editor is a veritable thesaurus of how to spot the gremlins that can mess up your prose. If edits and editors paralyze you with fear, take heart. Carolyn Howard-Johnson makes the whole process palatable. She intersperses her directives with light hearted humor making the whole process nearly enjoyable.

If there is an error your manuscript could contain, you'll find the method for search and eradication in this delightful book. You'll want to read it cover to cover, but then you will keep it by your side as you write, rewrite and edit so you can be frugal when you do decided to hire that editor to give it one last polish before you submit it anywhere. As Howard-Johnson says; "The lesson here for all of us is that attention to detail and craft counts, and that even experienced writers can flub an opportunity if they don't pay attention to the last great step toward publishing, a good edit."

Howard-Johnson explains the difference between and editor and a typo hunter. She also cautions that "...no matter how skilled an editor is, the author needs to know a lot about the process too. The cleaner the copy you hand over to your editor, the more accurate she can be and her edit may cost you less in time and money." When Howard-Johnson says frugal in her book titles she means it and she goes to great lengths to insure the reader gets her/his money worth by providing resources with links, examples of the often scary Query letter construction, and more. She doesn't leave the reader high and dry at any point. Further advice or learning is a matter of using the comprehensive index to find the detail you need and then following the advice, link or resource mentioned to guide you in your search for excellence.

The twenty plus pages of appendices is not mere fluff or padding of book length or word count, it is more than a bibliography of recommended reading (though it also contains that). You will find samples and links such as the query letters mentioned above, helpful groups to investigate, grammar helps and books. It's hard to believe more could be contained in any book on your shelf. Spare no gremlin--search and destroy, polish and perfect before you send out your hard work. This book is the tool to help you do that. I highly recommend this power house of methods and means that will not only enhance your chances of publication, it will help you make any publishing house sit up and take notice - perhaps even pushing your book to the coveted best-seller lists faster than you ever imagined.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewed for Midwest Book Review, September 4, 2007
As the literary market continues to tighten its proverbial belt, today's writer must assume more of the responsibilities surrounding book publishing than ever before. No longer can a writer depend on a publisher or agent to accept a manuscript in need of editing, and submitting a manuscript that isn't as near perfect as possible will, in all probability, result in rejection. To the rescue comes acclaimed author Carolyn Howard-Johnson with The Frugal Editor, the latest in her How to Do It Frugally series. This little gem is a must-have for any writer, published or not, bestselling or unknown. Filled with valuable tips, The Frugal Editor touches on all aspects of self-editing, such as how to spot common grammatical errors, from superfluous adverbs to confusing dangling participles, as well as how to organize the workspace, format the manuscript, and use Word's tools to the fullest. Also included are sample query and cover letters, and pointers on correcting intrusive taglines, when to use an ellipsis, and correct spacing, to name a few. The book takes the reader step-by-step through the editing process, from rough draft to galley. No questions are left unanswered, no topics left uncovered. This generous writer goes so far as to recommend resources through other books and websites, with plenty of advice from agents and editors.

The Frugal Editor is one of those reference books every writer should have by their computer for constant use and study. Highly recommended.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frugal on Content but Not in Price, August 17, 2008
By 
Good book but mixed feelings. Here's my take on the pro's and con's of the Frugal Editor.

The Format of this book: It is noted that it is a 208 page book, but it's actually 192 pages. Subtract from that, 29 blank pages and 6 pages of paragraph length chapters and you have a 158 page book for 18.95. Now in her book, the author states that formatting standards of what side a chapter should start is the culprit of white pages (because chapters should begin on the right side). However, this standard gets overused, so the format stretches a small book into a roughly 200 page book. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. As it seems lately, many self-published books are using this tactic. I don't mind purchasing a 90 page book filled with excellent information as long as it is priced right. But a 150 page book for $19 plus shipping made me feel cheated.

On the plus side, she does include shaded boxes to highlight important tidbits or summaries of information, which I found extremely helpful, especially for the visual learner.

Now for the content. On her website/blog, she promotes how this book goes into the Flesch-Kincaid Readability tool. Something that I was really interested in knowing and it is what finally prompted me to purchase the book. But the only info. her book delves into is on how to access it. She does NOT offer any concrete interpretation on what the Flesch scores mean and how to specifically use it. She does, however, send you to a link of audio files she produced on using the Flesch for an additional cost, of course. Albeit, you can't even purchase that audio because it is not even available on the websites listed within the book. For me, that was slick advertising and left me really disappointed. Thankfully, I own another book by James V. Smith, "The Writer's Little Helper" which goes into the Flesch tool quite a bit. I was just looking to find more innovative ways to use it thru the Frugal Editor book, but I was left empty handed.

A main premise throughout this book is on the utilization of Microsoft's Find and Replace tools and how to search for redundancies in terms of adverbs, gerunds, and the such. I found these sections very helpful because it never occurred to me to use this tool in such a way. If you are not familiar with this, then the purchase of this book will make it worthwhile.

There are a few sections on grammar that the Frugal Editor delves into with enough explanation to help you implement the author's points within your editing. But then there are many other sections where she just wraps it up with a very brief summary of a few lines and sends you off to various website links. Although, some of these sources were excellent, for 18.95 and having about 35 blank pages within the book, the author could have summarized better and offer more examples on the topics she touched so that one could utilize her book as a usable reference. I didn't need to pay 18.95 for a list of website links for grammar usage tips when a Google search would cost me nothing.

On the plus side, the Frugal Editor does contain an extensive set of appendixes and some were very beneficial such as a website that offered free searching tools of adverbs, prepositions, passive words, word & phrase frequency. You can find it at [...] . Then there is another similar tool for about a hundred dollars on a U.K website for a Concordance Tool that does the above, as well as indexing and other tools. I wasn't aware of these tools, so just finding out about it within this book did help to lessen my other gripes.

The author also included sample query letters and cover letters although meant to be helpful, had no connection with the editing purposes of this book. Just seemed like "helpful" filler - a nicety.

All in all, the author seems very likeable and enthusiastic especially about her books. She has an extensive professional background and seems to be a respectable member of the community. Her advice is not to be taken lightly. I really liked what she had to say about the editing process and had only hoped that she would have dispelled more of her experience and background into her book as she does in her audios (she has an extensive list of audios - each about 60 minutes long, but I found no way of purchasing many of them). Perhaps a future updated edition of this book is due soon (Hint).

If you can find this book elsewhere for a lot less, then I definitely recommend purchasing it.

***********UPDATE****************

This is my second writeup for my update. Somehow it got suspiciously deleted. Hmmmm. For reasons I don't understand because all I wanted to relay to you prospective buyers is another book by BOBBIE CHRISTMAS titled "Write In Style: Using Your Word Processor and Other Techniques to Improve Your Writing", which surpasses the Frugal Editor book in so many ways. Christmas's book offers very detailed explanations about style and punctuation, as well as a few other elements of craft as it pertains to using the "search and find" function in your word processing program. This book is everything and more than what the Frugal Editor offers and should have been. Although, the Frugal Editor has its merits, buy this book instead.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Frugal Editor: Put your best book forward to avoid humiliation and ensure success (How to Do It Frugally), September 7, 2007
I used to think I knew everything about grammar until I read "The Frugal Editor". If I'd read Carolyn Howard-Johnson's new book (her previous one was the invaluable "The Frugal book Promoter") before I edited the manuscripts of my novels, it would have saved me a lot of time and anguish.

If I had read this tome before attempting to edit my last manuscript before submission, I would have avoided making several glaring hyphenation mistakes, which Carolyn writes about in depth. 'Quick test for Hyphenating double adjectives,' she headlines. Similar to a lot of the topics in her book, her helpful text is backed up by a relevant link for further in-depth details.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson stresses that "The Frugal Editor" doesn't focus on the craft of writing or revision. She assumes that all authors have done revision before they edit their books.

'A good editor will help a writer to find her voice, remain true to it and still move the manuscript from a tough rock to a polished gemstone,' she says.

She even gives practical advice on how to find a good editor, like asking professors in the writing department at one's local university to recommend a good one. And to always ask for references in order to avoid charlatans.

I thought it was particularly interesting that Carolyn edits every document as if it were a manuscript. She stresses it's imperative to carefully edit query letters, cover letters and book proposals. It makes sense as these documents are sent to agents and publishers.

For writers who are confident they know everything about grammar, the book also acts as a useful grammatical refresher course. Howard-Johnson is practical and advises authors not to lose any sleep if a writer doesn't spot a typo or a grammatical mistake. Even experienced writers make glaring grammatical mistakes, so Carolyn gives practical and humorous advice on how to search for 'gremlins', especially adverbs in one's manuscript.

'You may have wondered why in the world-of-writing I would want to search for adverbs, which we all know are perfectly good parts of speech used frequently by the most scholarly among us.

They're ugly, that's why. They're often redundant. They cloak weak verbs. In fact, they are probably first cousins to the gremlin you usually want them out of there. The good news: You can use your Find Function to root them out.'

Carolyn explains each grammatical point in explicit detail. She is also a humorous writer which makes her advice seem entertaining. For instance, she talks about 'gremlins' as 'very clever guys bent on a writer's destruction.' Her nonfiction prose is full of gems like, 'editing your adverbs is like mining metaphor gold. Death to Gerunds, Participles and Other Ugly ings, Gerundings can keep you from laughing all the way to the bank and Participle ings are not a gerund's twin.'

'I want you to learn from this book,' she says, 'but I'd also like you to enjoy the editing challenge.'

She gives useful tips on Revision, Editing, Line Editing and Proof reading and insists that your editing will go more smoothly if you've thoroughly revised your manuscript first. Her invaluable book is about making the editing process easier and gives innovative tips on how use both manual and electronic techniques (like the Find Function) for eliminating errors.

She also advises the reader to get useful reference books like "The Chicago Manual of Style", and "Garner's Modern American Usage" (Hardcover).

"The Frugal Editor: Put your best book forward to avoid humiliation and ensure success" is worth buying alone for the numerous links, especially those of the literary agents who 'care enough' to comment on the submitting process.

This is an invaluable book for writers, aided by a comprehensive Appendix to help the reader focus on vital information like battling those dreaded gremlins!

Authors will do themselves a disservice if they don't have Carolyn Howard-Johnson's bible within reaching distance of their desks. If nothing else, it will (re)educate them about the English language.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Formatting errors everywhere, July 12, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Frugal Editor: Do-It-Yourself Editing Secrets, from your query letters to final manuscript to the marketing of your new bestseller. (How To Do It Frugally series of books for writers) (Kindle Edition)
It's odd that a book about editing and formatting your work properly to avoid embarrassment has so many errors itself. I'm about 40% through and haven't read a single page that doesn't have multiple formatting errors: missing spaces, extra spaces, extra returns, odd characters that don't belong, inconsistent indentation -- and that's just scratching the surface.
I hope the author will have an editor fix this book and repost it, and then let us re-download the corrected copy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy Kindle version - you've been warned!, February 17, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Frugal Editor: Do-It-Yourself Editing Secrets, from your query letters to final manuscript to the marketing of your new bestseller. (How To Do It Frugally series of books for writers) (Kindle Edition)
Do not buy this book on Kindle - I mean it! It's basically unreadable. Words run together, letters are separated within words with large spaces, random periods and other punctuation all over the show, random capital letters in the middle of words - I cannot describe how bad it is. I mean, it's not just one or two formatting errors, it is hundreds of them throughout the entire book! The author has NO credibility - lecturing readers about how they should be aware of their formatting and of their readers' experience. The author preaches (at length) about the importance of supervising the e-book edition of your book. Really? Is she serious?? How can she bleat all this and then put out such a shocking online edition? If you don't believe what I say, get the free sample before you pay the ridiculous amount of money for it. You'll see it's completely unreadable and thus not useful.
Maybe there were some useful things in this book. I'll never know. The formatting was so bad that I literally (not figuratively) couldn't read it! It was nonsense.
I'd advise Carolyn to read her own book and put into practice some of the advice regarding the importance of good formatting.
I note that a previous reader has offered the same criticism and she has done nothing about it. Why hasn't she fixed the issues? Why would she continue to sell a product that she knows is sub-standard?
I expect more from a supposedly experienced author who has written a book advising other authors.
Disgusting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Guide For The Overconfident, October 16, 2007
A Kid's Review
There are many different types of writers. Some writers are petrified to be rejected so they never send in their work. Years ago I was in a critique group with one of these types of writers. He had a drawer filled with full-length novels which he had written but never submitted. As we read his work, we learned the stories were well-crafted and encouraged him to get his work out into the marketplace. Thankfully most of those novels have appeared in print with traditional publishers.

Then you have writers at the other end of the spectrum who are constantly submitting (and getting rejected) yet have little craft or writing technique nor do they study the market for a particular publisher or magazine or literary agent before they send off their project. The editorial piles around the country are glutted with these types of submissions. Most writers fall somewhere between these two extremes. Their work would profit from some feedback from an editor or another pass or two to edit through it.

Now Carolyn Howard-Johnson has created The Frugal Editor, Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. In a straight-forward style, Carolyn guides writers in how to prepare their manuscript for submission. It's anything from learning how to use the tracking changes feature of Microsoft Word to grammar tips on getting rid of adverbs and passive tense sentences complete with examples. She walks writers through the entire publishing process including galleys and gives some seasoned advice. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, you can get some solid insight from this new book. I recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping up with Grammar and Punctuation., November 14, 2013
By 
When Carolyn Howard-Johnson offered me the opportunity to own The Frugal Editor, I was deep into resurrecting an incomplete mystery manuscript that definitely would require editing. Having begun my writing and editing career in what some would characterize as “the old days,” I am always open to reading articles or books that might inform me about the latest trends or refresh my stuffed memory regarding grammar and punctuation.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson deserves commendation for taking the time to explain much about the editing process, especially in this self-publishing era. Her goal is to help authors to obtain a finished product worthy of Simon and Shuster. The book guides readers through the changes evolving in the English language that has no governing academy regulating it.

When I learned to touch type, for example, our teachers emphasized putting two spaces between sentences. Computers have changed the rule to one space. This habit is ingrained so deeply that now I have to make a conscious effort to strike the space bar only once or to use the wonders of Word to correct those that Gremlins (or Poltergeists) sneak into the piece.

If you are just beginning to create articles, stories, or books, you will find The Frugal Editor a great tool. As a veteran to the craft, you may stir up a memory of something you had stored in the file cabinet of your mind. If somehow the book fails to benefit you, pass it on to that budding writer who will be ever grateful. I, for one, am delighted to have it in my e-book library.

Helen Dunn Frame
Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida (Second Edition); Greek Ghosts Website: [...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different breed of cat., December 16, 2012
Let me tell you, it's intimidating to post a review of a book by someone who writes so well and knows so much. But here goes:
Besides 'rejected,' a writer's least loved word is probably 'editor.' Editors can seem arbitrary, arrogant, and impossible to please -- a cat with claws, a necessary evil, with the emphasis on both words. 'The Frugal Editor' is (if the author will pardon a cliche) an entirely different breed of cat -- one well-worth adopting. Howard-Johnson writes in a friendly, personable style and takes the mystery (and threat) out of much of the editor's job. This is a book that sits comfortably next to your keyboard, waiting for you to ask questions, and supplying answers along with a big dose of encouragement.
I hope I'm not misunderstood when I say that it's hard to think of the author as an editor. She seems more like the kind of person you meet for a glass of wine, and complain to ABOUT your editor. The kind of person who then pats your hand, tells you you're absolutely right -- and then explains why you should do what your editor is telling you to do.
Writing and editing are enormous subjects. A book this size cannot possibly cover all of the material in full -- nor would it be able to reconcile the differences in style and opinion that exist. But Howard-Johnson covers the basics (and some frills), and does it in a clear and informative way.
For some, the book will take the place of an editor. (God Bless those folks.) For others, it will point out the need for outside help. For all it is an enjoyable read, a good companion, a font of information -- and well worth the price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An invaluable tool for any kind of writing, August 27, 2011
Over the years I've collected a shelf full of books on editing, grammar, punctuation and style, but if I could afford only one book, this would be it.
No writer should be without it. I find it invaluable in my work.
Virgil Jose
Author: "The Examined Life," a murder mystery in Kindle, Nook and paperback
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