After several years providing screenplay services to writers and TV/film production companies in Hollywood in the early 1980s, I began offering editing services under the dba The Objective Eye. I edited small business literature, newsletters, promotional copy, employee manuals, musicians' promotional biographies, proposals, audio instruction booklets, and film treatments. Before too long I began securing nonfiction book editing assignments and continued throughout the 80s and 90s.
In January, 1999, I relocated to New York, where I continued operating my business under the name WordsArt Nonfiction Editing Services. In 2000 and 2001 I worked for Powered.com as content editor of online course curricula being developed for the learning websites of corporate clients such as Barnes & Noble, Dell Computers, VISA and Bloomberg. I helped develop interesting and challenging online courses in a variety of subjects ranging from fine art appreciation to consumer investing and finance. In 2002, when the company dissolved, I resumed offering book editing services (see web page Publications).
My Philosophy of Editing
Every manuscript requires different attention and no one editorial approach is suited to all. This is why I place emphasis on providing "tailored" editing services.
By this I mean that I work with authors not only to identify and help produce whatever their manuscripts need to achieve polished excellence and marketability, but I also work with them in the manner that suits them and their projects best.
On occasion I have had to rescue an author who has had a previous bad editing experience. An editor should attempt to determine what a client's actual needs are before jumping in and doing her normal "routine" with a manuscript. One editor gave a gentleman who later found me a critique and editorial directions that he could not begin to follow; he needed substantive hands-on editing but instead he was given a critique and a grammar tutorial. It is the editor's challenge to discover how to work effectively with each author and communicate in a way that the client can understand and agree with.
Many solutions are possible in selecting how to approach a manuscript. If, for example, if time is short and it is clear my jazz pianist author is not interested in becoming the next literary giant, I will do more revision and rewriting for him than I would for a professional writer. Or if I'm editing the manuscript of an anxious first-time author, I can e-mail her with regular updates so she is always aware of her book's progress. This keeps her confidence level high and avoids misunderstandings.
To take a third example, when I consulted with venerable Warner Brothers film director Vincent Sherman on a portion of his autobiography, Studio Affairs: My Life as a Film Director, and suggested a rewrite for a particular chapter, I was surprised when he phoned to set an appointment with me for the purpose of giving me his rewrite in response to my "notes." While this sort of meeting and terminology is business as usual in the film industry, I didn't expect a meeting, as it wasn't strictly necessary for our purposes. But that was the way Mr. Sherman expected to work, and I was happy to oblige, not to mention charmed at the alacrity with which he reversed his accustomed role to "taking," rather than "giving," the notes.
In short, I always try to perceive the actual book and author in front of me and evaluate and deal with each project newly, according to its own circumstances. I believe that within the bounds of the author's conception of the book, each book has its own ideal or best form, and I must do whatever it takes to help the author approach that form as closely as possible. Likewise, each author's writing skills, personality and preferences point toward at least slightly different styles of editorial assistance, one to the next.