Novelists, Inc. Blog Welcomes Joyce Lamb of Joyce Lamb Editing

- by Lina Gardiner

Welcome Joyce, thank you for being our guest this month.

What kind of business were you in for twenty-five years before going out on your own?

Thanks for talking with me, Lina!

I’ve been a copy editor for 25 years, the past 15 at USA Today in the Money section. My entire working life since graduating from college has been with one media company (Gannett, parent of USA Today). I was lucky enough to get a job at my hometown newspaper while still in college and moved around a couple of times within Gannett before landing at USA Today. I’m still a contractor for USA Today, as curator of the Happy Ever After blog devoted to romance novels. So I haven’t completely broken my ties, which is a good thing, because I’ve loved working for them.

What was it like to start your own business?

Scary as all hell! But once I decided freelance copy editing was what I wanted to do and I started doing it, it got a lot less scary fast. I knew I’d have to work even harder, but I love fiction, and there’s nothing more fun (for me) than copy editing a really great book. Yes, I’m a nerd through and through. Plus, with self-publishing being so hot, authors are in need of good copy editors, so I figured I’d have to try pretty hard to fail at freelance copy editing. : )    

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Chasing The Beatles

- by Karen Tintori

Are you as boggled as I am that 50 years have passed since a record 70 million of us sat around our black and white television sets to watch “The” Ed Sullivan Show?  I watched that night with a mix of exhilaration and worry. I was already a Beatles fan, and this was my first chance to see them perform, but I was seriously worried that I’d never get to see them perform live here in Detroit. On the advent of The Beatles’ arrival in the US, one of the fraternities at the University of Detroit had adopted brush haircuts and begun a “Stamp Out The Beatles Campaign.”

Not 15 minutes after their plane touched down at Kennedy Airport on February 7, 1964, The Beatles faced the media at a press conference in the PanAm terminal. Three questions in, my heart nearly stopped.

“In Detroit there’s people handing out car stickers saying, ‘Stamp Out The Beatles.'”

Paul: “Yeah well… first of all, we’re bringing out a Stamp Out Detroit campaign.”   His retort brought laughter.

“What about the Stamp Out The Beatles campaign?” the reporter pressed.

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Jenel Looney on being a Writer’s Assistant

- by Lina Gardiner

WELCOME JENEL!  Thank you for joining us and popping in throughout the day to answer questions.

How did you become a virtual assistant? (What interested you in this job, etc.) It’d also be interesting to hear about your Masters in Writing.

I had a lot of weird and seemingly unrelated skills I’d picked up over the years in various jobs and schools. I had a Bachelor’s in Spanish, a Masters in Writing Popular Fiction, a paralegal certificate, a real estate degree. I knew a little graphic design and basic HTML from my time as a curriculum assistant in Saudi Arabia, working on the school system’s internal website, but I didn’t know enough to be a graphic designer or a website designer.

When I first started as a VA in 2008, I marketed myself to small businesses. But then Susan Mallery, a classmate and friend from Seton Hill University, hired me for a small project, and then for another, and soon, she committed to me as her assistant and recommended me to two of her friends, Kate Carlisle and Maureen Child. I am thrilled to specialize in author assistance. I couldn’t be happier.

Can you give us an overview of what virtual assistants do for their clients?

Every VA has different skills and expertise, so it will vary greatly. A good VA will help with all of those time-consuming extras that keep you from writing. Here are a few of the things I do for my clients:

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Writers’ New Year Resolution

- by Lina Gardiner

It’s a new year and most of us have some sort of plan for 2014, depending on whether we write by the seat-of-our-pants or we’re big-time organizers. I’m guessing these methods, or lack thereof, gravitate to organizational skills in other areas, as well.

What works for you? Do you have the year laid out? In your mind? On paper? Do you schedule time to write, to blog, to network? Or, do you work when your muse strikes?

It’d be interesting to note the differences in working style and productivity. It makes sense authors who treat their writing time as business hours are more productive and therefore, most likely, more successful… (Good thing you can’t see the guilty expression on my face right now, I’m a card-carrying pantser)

There have been chats on social media about organizational programs for authors, programs that plot and keep every scrap of information characterized, color coded and catalogued. Ways for the planners of the world to organize themselves. That kind of planning might seem over-taxing for pantsers. But, I have to wonder — who gets more work done? Probably not the pantsers. At least not in the organizational aspect of their day. But does it make a difference when it comes right down to writing?

It’d be an interesting survey.