Reviewed by Billie A Williams
The Frugal Editor by Carolyn Howard-Johnson is like having an editor ina box, or more correctly, between two covers of a book. Concise down-to-earthadvice about how to edit your manuscript before you even begin to think aboutsending it out into the red pencil world of publishers, where their editors getthe first chance to evaluate your hard work.
Frugal Editor is a veritablethesaurus of how to spot the gremlins that can mess up your prose. If edits andeditors paralyze you with fear, take heart. Carolyn Howard-Johnson makes thewhole process palatable. She intersperses her directives with light heartedhumor making the whole process nearly enjoyable.
If there is an error yourmanuscript could contain, you'll find the method for search and eradication inthis delightful book. You'll want to read it cover to cover, but then you willkeep it by your side as you write, rewrite and edit so you can be frugal whenyou do decided to hire that editor to give it one last polish before you submitit anywhere. As Howard-Johnson says; "The lesson here for all of us is thatattention to detail and craft counts, and that even experienced writers canflub an opportunity if they don't pay attention to the last great step towardpublishing, a good edit."
Howard-Johnson explains thedifference between and editor and a typo hunter. She also cautions that "...nomatter how skilled an editor is, the author needs to know a lot about theprocess too. The cleaner the copy you hand over to your editor, the moreaccurate she can be and her edit may cost you less in time and money." WhenHoward-Johnson says frugal in her book titles she means it and she goes togreat lengths to insure the reader gets her/his money worth by providingresources with links, examples of the often scary Query letter construction,and more. She doesn't leave the reader high and dry at any point. Furtheradvice or learning is a matter of using the comprehensive index to find thedetail you need and then following the advice, link or resource mentioned toguide you in your search for excellence.
The twenty plus pages of appendices is not mere fluffor padding of book length or word count, it is more than a bibliography ofrecommended reading (though it also contains that). You will find samples andlinks 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 anybook on your shelf. Spare no gremlin--search and destroy, polish and perfectbefore you send out your hard work. This book is the tool to help you do that. Ihighly recommend this power house of methods and means that will not onlyenhance your chances of publication, it will help you make any publishing housesit up and take notice - perhaps even pushing your book to the covetedbest-seller lists faster than you ever imagined