How to Content Edit Like a Pro: Overall Content Checklist

19 11 2012

So, you finally finished writing an amazing novel or academic paper and, after basking in the glory of your finished work,  now what? Editing. Editing polishes a good idea into a great product. It irons out all the little devilish details and can be overwhelming. I am frequently asked by clients how to begin editing. With so many little things to fix it is hard to figure out what things should be fixed first.

I always do content (substantive) editing first. In my opinion you can’t fix how to say an idea until the ideas make sense.

Content Editing Checklist: Overall Content

  1. Does the work clearly focus on one topic?
  2. Does the introduction grab the interest your intended reader and offer a clear purpose for reading?

  3. Throughout the work is there a clear, logical point that is supported in each paragraph

  4. Are the facts accurate?

  5. Does the work follow a logical plan from beginning to end?

  6. Does the body of the work present well-ordered paragraphs of main ideas with relevant, supporting details

  7. Does the conclusion leave readers feeling satisfied, feeling a sense of conclusion now that they have reached the end and know what to do with the information?

  8. Is the necessary background information given?

  9. Does the work moves smoothly from one idea to the next?

  10. Do the transitions make sense and ameliorate the flow of the work?

These are the ten most basic things to go through when beginning content editing. Tomorrow I will teach you how to line by line content edit like a professional.

Do You Want to Have Your Book Reviewed?

17 11 2012

Dear Readers!

Charles Henry Editing is looking for books to review! We were hoping to debut the book review series next Saturday, November 24th, with, Correction Line, by Craig Terlson.

If interested in having your book reviewed please email Carolyn Elias at to schedule a date for your review to be published on the blog.

In the email include:

  • Name
  • Pen Name (if applicable)
  • Book Title
  • Book release date
  • Cover JPEG
  • ISBN
  • Where it can be bought
  • Contact info for our readers to connect with you, such as: FB Page, Twitter, website, blog , etc.

This information will be used in the introduction and conclusion of the review. A promotional reminder will go out to our blog followers, our twitter feed, and on our FB page so people will tune in to see the review.

Please send a copy of your book by kindle or hard copy. Hard copies can be sent to:

Carolyn D. Elias

Charles Henry Editing

4867 Quarton Road

Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301

Please note that just because we are reviewing your book that does NOT guarantee a good/positive review. The review spots are filling up quickly so many will be appearing in December and January.

Thanks for your interest and I look forward to reading your book!

An Interview with Susan Bays of Arbutus Press

16 11 2012

Hello Readers!

Today we have an interview with the founder of the small literary press, Arbutus Press, Susan Bays.

Can you tell my readers about Arbutus Press?

My company was established in 2002 with the self-publication of the award winning book, Historic Cottages of Mackinac Island. People began to ask me to publish their books and I began a rewarding career in Regional Book Publisher.

Why does Arbutus Press focus on literature with a connection to Michigan?

Starting small, it was what I felt I could handle and it was what I knew since I am a life long Michigander. We have expanded now to the Midwest but have no plans to expand beyond that reach.

When reviewing a submission, what do you look for?

I look for what a reader would look for. A well-written compelling story or history. I have learned through experience what sells and what does not. Literary fiction is a tough sell, no matter how well-written, however some stories must be told. I believe that I have an obligation to publish great stories regardless of their potential profit.

Does Arbutus Press publish authors without an agent?

Yes. All of the manuscripts that come my way are unsolicited and without agent affiliation.

What should an author expect, if anything, when dealing with a publishing house?

I can only speak about Arbutus Press’s writer-publisher relationships. Small presses like Arbutus are readily available and responsive to writer participation at every phase of the process, from editing to marketing.

Any suggestions or comments on how a writer can break into the publishing industry?

By breaking into the publishing industry do you mean work for a publisher? There is an active jobs listing on Publisher’s Weekly web site and perhaps others. Working for a local newspaper or even the college newsletter will provide some experience for creating a resume that would relate to publishing.

Aside from excellent writing skills, what are the literary factors that make an author successful?

I have seen one factor consistently in successful authors, but it’s not a literary factor: a tireless marketing efforts. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, book signings, library talks, event sales, interviews, book club interviews, anything you can think of to get your book out in front of people.

How does Arbutus Press distribute their titles?

 I have contracts with many distributors ranging from national distributors to regional ones. We also have distribution for specialty markets such as libraries and box stores.

Where can my readers buy titles from Arbutus Press?

 Books are available from bookstores everywhere. If they don’t have it in stock, they can get it. Online through and Barnes and and through Arbutus Press directly through or by contacting us directly at

Are there any upcoming releases from Arbutus Press that you would like to tell my readers about?

Snowblood’s Journal is an American novel about men and dogs in Vietnam. This literary fiction is described by Jerry Dennis, author of the Living Great Lakes.

I’ve long been a fan of Bob Linsenman’s writings about the outdoors, but nothing I’ve read by him prepared me for Snowblood’s Journal. With a cast of unforgettable characters, both human and canine, and set in a place brought to vivid, poignant, and sometimes terrifying life, it is a wild ride on foot and by chopper through a war. From the moment Jason Snowblood set foot in Vietnam I was hooked. I couldn’t put this astonishing book down.”

Look for this title, Snowblood’s Journal in summer 2013

Interested in being interviewed for this blog or purchasing editorial services from Charles Henry Editing? Email Carolyn at or go to

Promotional: Interview with Arbutus Press

13 11 2012

Hello readers!

On Friday, November, 16th Susan Bays the founder of Arbutus Press is doing an interview with Charles Henry Editing. Arbutus Press specializes in literature that has a connection to Michigan. Recent titles include :Page One Vanished by Nancy Barr and Motorcycling Across Ohio by William Murphy. Interested in submitting a manuscript? Read the submission guidelines here:

Contact by email :

Arbutus Press

2364 Pinehurst Trail

Traverse City, MI 49686

Are you a publisher who wants to get interviewed? Email to set up an interview. Want 1/2 Off all editing services through out the month of November? email

Interview with fantasy writer, Dyane Forde!

6 11 2012

Welcome, Dyane Forde!

Dyane Forde is the author of Eagle’s Gift, a children’s fantasy book and The Purple Morrow which is the first book in her epic fantasy series.
From Dyane: 

Writing has been a passion of mine since I wrote my first story in the first grade. At the time, I was amazed by the fact that by combining everyday words, I could create something new or generate a reaction from a reader. Most of my writing background is in short stories and poetry, so The Eagle’s Gift and The Purple Morrow are my first books. Regarding my work in general, what people tend to appreciate the most is my ability to craft realistic, memorable and multi-faceted characters as well as in creating a ‘sensual’ reading experience, meaning that readers often feel that they are ‘in’ the story. One of the greatest compliments a reader could give me, would be that they were ‘moved’ or ‘transported’ to another world by something I wrote.

1. Where did the inspiration came for using eagles as the narrators for The Eagle’s Gift?
Charlotte’s world in The Eagle’s Gift is made up of humans and a lordly race of eagle protectors, or Ancients, as they are referred to in the story. Basically, I was looking for a creature that naturally invoked a sense of stateliness, wisdom, and beauty as well as a certain wildness, and eagles fit the bill. I also loved the idea of depicting flight in a book. Thinking of Charlotte being ‘lifted up’ by the eagles so that she soared above the horrors occurring in the world below also seemed a perfect metaphor for the story.

2. Do you see The Eagle’s Gift as a children’s story or as an adult fantasy novel?
That was always a tough question for me to answer. Originally, I intended to write an ‘adult’ fairy tale. I’ve always loved fairy tales and children’s stories and still get lost in stories like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit or tales like Arabian Nights. I suppose I just couldn’t believe I was the only adult in the whole world who wanted that sort of escape from reality, and figured there must be others like me who wanted to be immersed into the whimsical world of a fairy tale, but with a different slant than the traditional stories we’ve heard all our lives. That said, despite the slightly advanced language and rich descriptions, I like to think that young people could still love the story. I was 12 when I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time and loved the challenge of getting through it. I like to think there are other advanced younger readers who also crave a similar challenge and that they might gravitate to a book like The Eagle’s Gift.

3. Why do you think Charlotte is such an engaging heroine for readers?
Charlotte’s world is in the verge of crumbling because it has been invaded by an evil spirit, and she battles feelings of helplessness and frustration since she believes she can’t do anything about it. That is until she discovers she has been chosen by Terryl, the eagle king, to stop the evil. At its root, The Eagle’s Gift is a story about Charlotte’s journey from self-doubt and despair towards hope and finally towards action. In the process she ends up discovering things about herself she didn’t know were there. Despite how dark things appear, she chooses hope over despair, which is a message I think many people could be encouraged by.

4. What is your the favorite part of the Purple Morrow?
There are so many! First, I enjoyed creating an entire world with different people groups, like the Northmen and the Southernmen, as well as developing cultures for each of them. It forced me to stretch my imagination and my skills as a writer. In terms of storylines, though, I think one of my favorite parts was moving Jeru from his outright refusal to remarry after the death of his wife to unexpectedly falling in love with Nyssa. He’s actually surprised when it happens! Both of them have to overcome such difficult personal issues as well as situational ones that it was so satisfying when he finally expresses his feelings to her. Writing that scene actually made me smile. A lot.

5. What makes the Rover’s so evil?
The Northern Rover army, led by their commander Kelen, are the epitome of an evil army: ruthless, merciless, and driven. Whether it’s enslaving their enemies, razing villages to the ground, or slaughtering whomever crosses their path, they do not hesitate for a moment. In chapter 4, Nyssa’s village is attacked, which gives the reader the first glimpse of the evil they are capable of. On the other hand, one of the things I enjoyed about writing the book was letting the reader in on their side of the story, revealing what is at stake for them and what it is that drives them to do the terrible things they believe they must do.

6. How many books will be in The Purple Morrow Series and can you journey in each of them?
There are three books planned. The second, Wolf’s Bane, is in the process of being completed and I’m very excited about that. It follows Jeru’s journey as he continues to discover his role as the savior of the Southernlands, and as he searches for Kelen, whom the reader learns has an unexpected role to play in Jeru’s life. Kelen himself realizes that he has been wronged by the very people who raised him and so sets off on a mission of revenge. We also get to see more of the Northmen’s way of life and of their endgame. Book three is yet unnamed and is still in the development stage but it concludes the story of the clash between the Northmen and the Southernmen, and all mysteries are revealed. Big surprises await the faithful reader!

7. The settings are described vividly in both your books are they based on real places or purely imagined?
All the locations are fictional, but certain details are inspired by real places or things I‘ve seen in movies. For example, Erne’s Drop, Nyssa’s Water clan home in The Purple Morrow, was inspired by a scene from a movie. As soon as I saw the village built into the cliff and the ocean crashing against its base, I knew I wanted to recreate my version of that. In general, I don’t tend to write long descriptive passages, but I try to maximize what I do write so that the end result packs the greatest punch. Words are tools, and I like to use them to build images that evoke an emotional reaction so that whatever I’m describing has meaning to the reader that is beyond the intellectual.

8.Which character in any of your books has been your favorite to write and why?
That’s an unfair question! I am so passionate about each and every one of them, and I spend so much time crafting them that I am loyal to each! In regards to Eagle, I love Enian, the eagle prince. He’s like the perfect man only in eagle form: brave, caring, and full of integrity. In Morrow, I loved writing Jeru’s transition from a state of melancholy and his stubborn, martyr-like resistance to change to a man of substance and determination, committed to doing what is right regardless of the cost to himself. I also loved that he got blindsided by love. Lastly, I have to say that I fell in love with Kelen from the moment I conceived of the character. He can be vicious and cruel but he guards a sensitive heart. It was a challenge to write such a complex character since I had to walk a fine line between making readers hate him or love him. Hopefully, the result will make the reader squirm a little.

9. What is the most challenging aspect about writing for you?
On a practical note, not having as much time to commit to writing as I would like. I do have a full time job as well as a husband and family, so as much as I would love to spend 12 hours writing and improving my craft, sadly I can’t. On writing itself, I would have to say planning out the story. I wrote Morrow with a loose mental outline, focusing first on defining my characters and setting specific goals for what I wanted to say in each chapter. As the story progressed and as the characters matured, the story took on a life of its own and the results are so satisfying. But this method of writing makes writing a series difficult because now I have to write a coherent story that spans three books! So I’ve been working on keeping better notes, following my outline more carefully but also trying to be flexible enough to ‘go with the flow’. It’s not an easy balance at all!

10. Tell us about any upcoming projects or publications.
Right now I am working hard to get The Purple Morrow into the hands of agents and publishers. I’m also working hard to complete Wolf’s Bane, the sequel to Morrow, as well as preparing to outline the third and final book. As stated above, my journey as a writer started with short stories and this is something I would love to get back to. However, Jeru’s story won’t let me rest until it’s all told, so it looks like I’ll be involved with this project for a while. Lastly, I’ve been approached to co-author a book, which is something I have never done, but which presents a really interesting challenge. I am really looking forward to that project when the time comes.

Finally, I love to hear from readers, so I invite anyone to message me on Twitter @PurpleMorrow or on Facebook at Support and encouragement are important, so if you like what you read or want to know more about the books, let me know!
My greatest thanks go out to Carolyn and Charles Henry Editing for the chance to do this interview. It was a real pleasure.

You can read her work at:

Read more about her on Facebook

Or friend her on Twitter @PurpleMorrow

Would you like to do an author interview or do you need an editor? Email Charles Henry Editing at Check out our website for services and fees

Promotional: Author Interview with Ica Iova.

4 11 2012

Charles Henry Editing is interviewing Ica Iova, author of My Children, His Victims which is available through Xlibris, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Her book My Children, His Victims is about Hostile-Aggressive Parenting (HAP) and the psychological damage it inflicts on a family, especially the children. She is currently working on another novel, I Never Got to Say Goodbye, and her true life story The Rocky Road to Dreamland. She also writes parenting articles for

Iova experienced the behavior of a HAP, which contributed to her determination to raise awareness on how traumatic, exhausting, and disturbing HAP actions are to everyone around them. She especially wants to emphasize how damaging that conduct could be to a young child.

To learn more about her go read her bio at Xlibris:

Follow her twitter account:

If you are interested in being a featured author on our blog, email to set up an interview time. Please visit for your editing needs and follow us on twitter:

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