So, it’s Hubby’s birthday on Saturday. I am predictable in my predictability. He’s a musician, so I buy him music gear every year—he buys himself better presents. I can’t even remember what I bought him last year, some gadgetry or leadery, mixery or recordery. And then he topped it and treated himself to the best birthday present ever—he bought a three-grand Emerald guitar—beat that Black.
For Christmas last year, I bought him some super-duper high-tech piece of recording equipment, at the measly cost of two-hundred and fifty quid. I have no idea how it works—and neither does he. However, he will use it—one day—and when he does, the sound will be phenomenal.
And then, I’m going to find some time in mythical Timeland to do audio recordings for my books and try this new-fangled audible lark. However, his gear is way too complex for me—more buttons than fingers. So I’ve had to buy myself a condenser mic for £25.00 and download a background suppressor when we already have a full-blown recording studio in-situ.
This year he’s been talking mics. We counted up, and have fifteen microphones in this house. He’s a musician, and when the world is sound, I run a karaoke business around the area. We have a lot of good quality mics—but he needs a new one. Of course, he does—stands to reason.
His favourite is a copy of the old metallic vintage Sure Microphone—but it’s a copy. He’s found a good deal on the real thing. I had questions.
‘But, will it sound any better than our other fifteen mics?’
‘Are you mad, woman? Of course, it will. And it’ll look damned cool.’
‘Okay. And will people be able to tell the copy from the real-deal?’
He nearly choked on his coffee. I’m a philistine. I know nothing. It looks identical to me.
I have bought him the same mic. It’s five times the price of the one he already uses for his gigs. If that man doesn’t out bubble Buble and turn P!nk green with envy, I’m not playing anymore.
Four years ago, on his birthday, we went to Morecambe for the day and fell in love. We’d only been seeing each other a few weeks. I’d like to recreate that day—but this time with the dog, and substituting the posh restaurant for Fish ‘n’ Chips by the ocean.
So not really recreating it at all, then?
However, we can’t. Granddad is too frail to go out anymore, so we’ll have our usual karaoke date night—but I’ll bake him a cake. Which will have unreliable results. It depends if I get distracted while it’s in the oven.
I watched Davina McColl’s program about menopause this week. I like her and thought it might be worth a watch—just to prove there are women like me, and I’m not a complete freak. We’ve been together four years. We have Granddad as contraception—we don’t swing from the chandeliers the way we used to, or as often. I wanted Hubby to watch it with me to see that the shine goes off sex for a lot of women. I needed to hear women say, ‘I feel it, too.’ I love him, and we’re comfortable—too comfortable, and maybe it’s just not as exciting as it used to be. To be honest, the documentary was a load of old bobbles. It was very All-Women-Together, and plasticine smiles. Davina almost managed to release a tear in the appropriate places. She laughed at every quip and did sad-eyes when she should—but it didn’t tell me where to find my missing libido. I even looked under the sofa, but it isn’t there, and even if it was, the dog would have chewed it up. But, we find a way to make it work.
We’re over halfway through our editing marathon. Barbara’s book Consequences of Crime, Greed & Love has been returned after the second pass edit. Her book is with the typesetter this week, and she has a launch date of 10 June 2021. We’ll be giving her lots of free marketing and support. Her book is an excellent crime/romance thriller. She said lovely things about us.
To; Katherine Black
Date: May 18,2021
I feel the book is ready for formatting, typesetting, and publication. I have removed all suggested wording that does not add to the story. I added more contractions as suggested and hopefully changed the last of the stilted talk (that’s my civilian-military training). I have taken your recommendations. Only made changes this time where suggested, so it was not much to change.
Note: You and your help with this book have guided me to understand the importance of person and tense better. I wish I had that with my first book. Thank you for all the mentoring. You should start teaching classes online.
We do kind of teach classes. I offer Skype Consultations at £25.00 for the first one and £20.00 for subsequent sessions. We have different consultations for different needs including, general writing improvement, writer’s block, and novel charting and encouragement.
Jake Shuford’s book Keep the Knife Close came in, got done and went back to him. Jake is going mainstream, and his three books (all standalone) are under consideration with agents now. He writes horror/sci-fi and is an excellent writer.
I always ask our clients to provide a testimonial, so it’s not as if they are unsolicited, but they are all very kind. Most of my clients are friends now, and some are like family. It’s because of our Puppy for Christmas ethos. We take on every client as an ongoing concern and give marketing and support for the life of their book/our company.
Within twelve hours, Jake sent me this:
Jake Shuford for Keep the Knife Close 1st Pass 20 May 2021
During my tenure as a writer, I’ve had several editors, all of whom disappointed me in some sort of fashion. Then I met Katherine of Best Book Editors, and it was love at first write.
Katherine takes professionalism to a whole new level, and I’m happy to say my hunt for editors is officially over. She’s edited three of my books, and all three I’m very pleased with.
She’s quick, punctual, accurate, and above all, AMAZING at what she does.
I know she hates exclamation points, but it’s the only symbol that reflects my happiness with her. Katherine is the best! Can’t wait to show her book four when it’s complete.
You won’t be let down with Best Book Editors. I promise you that.
I only change my name if my real name is used and the site links. Everything else is the author’s own words.
It’s been like a conveyorbelt this month, we had a nice, laid back start, and then everything went crazy because I’ll always fit extra clients in to please them. Jake would have waited until next month, no problem, but our aim is to give the best service we can, and what the customer wants—the customer gets. I love my job.
So Jake’s book went back, I had a coffee, did two Skype consultations, some client marketing and then straight into Jenna O’Malley’s 1st pass edit. I opened her second book and found this dedication from the first book, Bound by Fate and Blood.
Saint Editor, Katherine Black:
You’ve become more than my editor and mentor. I enjoy our enlightening conversations so much. Thank you for teaching me and encouraging me through Book 2’s ups and downs.
That made my day. Sometimes I feel a bit sad—never resentful—just sad that I spend all my time working on other people’s books and have no time for my own writing. When I see something like this, it reminds me that I’m far better at running Best Book Editors than being a writer. My books are doing okay, but any chances I had to make it as an author are long gone. I’m not hungry for it anymore and, frankly, not good enough. Some of my clients are far better writers than me.
This is the first paragraph of the second book in Jenna’s series. How beautiful is this writing?
“Please forgive me, Bjorn. The die is cast.”
“And you weighted the results to land as you desired, Rochelle. You asked permission and sought forgiveness after knowing my answer in the first place.”
The werewolf chieftain glared into howling winds, his peridot eyes sweeping the waning night sky for signs of the blizzard’s pace. With autumn’s early and harsh arrival, traveling from Sancta Terra’s ruins in Flanders to his hidden stronghold in Sweden’s frozen mountains took longer than planned. The moon cycled through its phases during the journey, and he hoped to shelter in Amaranth’s mountain halls as the second, full moon passed.
Jenna’s books are period fantasy. The language is rich and expressive. Because of the style, I have to curb my natural urge to strip back. This is not a book to strip, and it would be a travesty to do it, though believe me, anything that doesn’t need to be there still gets a red line through it. This highlights that every commission is different. Every author is individual. An editor has to be able to adapt to that and learn the author’s ‘voice,’ You can’t take one editing style or set of rules and apply it to every client, and you can’t treat them all the same.
I’m psychological thriller to the bone marrow, and they wouldn’t be my usual choice of reading. However, and this is not to denigrate any of my other clients—most of them are good, some I’d call great, but this book is blowing me away. The writing is just beautiful. It’s the best book I have edited so far this year.
What I love about this series is that Jenna has decided to go indie. When there is so much badly written dross out there, she gives us indie writers a good name. The industry needs good writers that know their craft. These writers are what we need to persuade the reading public to buy indie.
In a way, it surprises me that she didn’t put out to agents, but going mainstream can be a long process.
I edited the first of Jake’s latest three books last year. He is also an excellent writer, and I think he has a great career ahead of him. His decision to go mainstream is absolutely right for him—he’s good, and I think he can do it. If he’d been a poor writer, I’d have tried to guide him towards the indie market to add to the endless list of bad books out there. I admit I have polished some turds in my time. Almost a year on, and his books are still under negotiation—he’s playing the long game, and we wish him every success.
We have many clients, but I’ve had three great writers through the company in a little over a week. Barbara and Jenna are going indie—Jake is opting for mainstream. Two roads, each with advantages and disadvantages. As an author, it is vital to choose what is right for you.
Barbara came back to me last night, and we had a discussion about pricing and came up with a plan for her to work with.
I love that we are more than just an editing company and that our guys come to us for help with every aspect of their writing.
We have created a new Cover for A Queston of Sanity this week. I’ve decided to give it a month and monitor sales, if it doesn’t work we will revert to the updated original that was selling well. It’s all tweak and adapt, be flexble and be prepared to make changes.
And, I had a catastrophe with eggs yesterday—but that’s another story.
Katherine Black / Susan (Sooz) Simpson
Founder of Best Book Editors
Katherine has held almost every single job imaginable, from painting gnomes to zookeeper. She spent most of her life in the caring profession and has managed both a nursing home and a care agency. But her passion for the written language always brings her home to novel writing.
Born in Tyne-and-Wear, North-East England, she has settled in the beautiful Lake District, Cumbria, with her partner, two dogs, a cat, an iguana and a python (just don’t ask her which of those six things is her favourite!).
She specialises in content creation and social media outreach, and has been a developmental editor for hundreds of clients. She owns and operates bestbookeditors.com where she helps foundling authors polish their skills. However, after being diagnosed with a dramatic brain condition in 2022, she has had to let 23 staff go, and scale back the business. BBE is still very much open, we are just fewer and can’t take as much work on.
Katherine Black is the author of psychological thriller/detective/fantasy adventure novels.