Help! I Need Somebody. Help! Not Just Anybody. Hel…el…elp!


Now that you’ve got that catchy Beatles’ tune looping through your head for the rest of the day and you may even have an Austin Powers-ish sashay as you bop around doing your business (wait, that didn’t come out exactly right), I have a favor to ask of you.  Yes, I realize, I may have to wait until you get the Beatlemania/Austin-tastiness out of your system, but I’m a patient woman…to a point.  It was one song, people.  Focus.

Apparently he can hear the music . Yeah, Baby.


I wrote an approximately 105,000-word manuscript memoir that needs professional editing before I release it to the public.  I know a little bit about memoirs, having read about 143 of them by various authors, having read about 59 books about writing them, and having written about 1 of them.  Here’s what I’ve gathered from my memoir research:

  1. Memoirs are supposed to have something people in the memoir-writing business call a “theme” that grabs the reader and holds them by the short hairs until the very end so that they will give your book 5 stars even if they don’t know you or aren’t related to you.  Themes are analogous to plots in novels, or at least that’s what I’ve been lead to believe.

    For those who are visual learners, here’s a theme for you. The boy, um, reader, is captured from the start; the theme is clear, but enough is left up to the imagination to keep the boy’s, er, reader’s, attention for a good long time.

  2. The “theme” can’t be obvious, as in:  “This is the theme of my book.  Blah, blah, blah. I hope you enjoyed this book and the theme I was all preachy-preachy about in each chapter. The End.”  Plots are supposed to be kind of obvious so the reader doesn’t get lost and decides to wait for the movie, which makes plots different from themes.
  3. You can get sued if you write a memoir, so you have to be very careful to remind readers that memories are subjective and you’re really writing about your feelings about your memories, which is even more subjective.  But still, your ex-husband might get miffed and seek legal advice about “libel, character assassination, slander, and deep disappointment.”  That rarely happens when you make up fictional crap instead of real crap.

    You said what about our sex life or lack thereof?


Here’s the favor.  (You know me.  I usually take the long way to get to my point.  I know it may be annoying to you busy people out there, but I’m retired, alone a lot and a sociologist–a dangerous combo when it comes to pithy posts.  But, I break up my posts with lists, zany pictures and captions, and colorful text, so it won’t be so painful for you.   Plus, this world is too fast-paced. Slow down and enjoy the blathering moment.  It will be good for you.  You and your cardiologist can thank me later.)

Okay. I over did it. These guys were cheerful, clean-shaven and much  less wrinkled when this post began.

Do you know a professional editor who understands the nuance of memoirs and who would be willing to read my manuscript to help me get it publication-ready?

If you do, could you reply to this post or at with her/his contact information?

Besides what I already told you about the manuscript (it is about 105,000 words long), you may want to know that:

  1. I’m having several people read it to ferret out obvious typos, awkward sentences, grammar gaffes, and other technical problems so that the manuscript is fairly “clean” when the professional editor reads it.
  2. My intention is that the professional editor read the manuscript and give me feedback and advice on how well the book reads and if I handle the theme effectively.
  3. I’d like advice on any legal issues the professional editor might see with the book.
  4. I’m expecting to pay for this service, but I have no idea what the going rate for this kind of service is.
  5. I just want this book as good as it can be before I put it “out there.”

Any other words of wisdom from you published authors out there would be greatly appreciated.  This is my first experience publishing a manuscript and I feel like a blindfolded kid alone in a thick, dark forest.  Get the picture?

Well, she looks like she’s having way too much fun. I suppose I am, too, for a writer who is pretty much in the dark. At least I can call myself a writer!

Thanks so much to all of you for helping out a writer/colleague.

Note: Casey Clifford has already given me a potential contact, for which I thank her most heartily.  She even told me to use her name when I make contact, which I will–but I think I’ll mention my name, too.

~ by Lorna's Voice on August 16, 2012.

14 Responses to “Help! I Need Somebody. Help! Not Just Anybody. Hel…el…elp!”

  1. […] Help! I Need Somebody. Help! Not Just Anybody. Hel…el…elp! ( […]

  2. Thanks anyway, Peg. You could give me tips on how to get Freshly Pressed–I know you have lots of pull in that department! 😉

  3. Thanks, Al. I remember the days when I had to check all my subscriptions. Then magic happened after bugging the cheerful WP support people for about 3 weeks non-stop. Actually, I think I went on a forum in the help area and complained. That is what got the ball rolling with a very helpful WP technician and the problem was fixed. Now I just light a candle and sacrifice a carrot each morning–works like a charm!

  4. I’m a lot closer than I was, but somehow it still seems impossibly far away…Thanks for the support and encouragement! I need it!

  5. It must be exciting to be at this stage! Keep breathing, you’re nearly there 😉

  6. I hate that I don’t get notifications anymore when you post. I have to remember to come to the site, and that’s challenging for my worn out brain.
    Anyway, good luck with the search. I am so looking forward to this.

    P.S. The picture and caption of the old guys had me doubled over!

  7. I have neither clue nor contact in the book world, but good for you for going this far!

  8. No problem, Elyse. I have a few leads and hope to get a few more. I knew not everyone would know of someone, but your support is always appreciated!

  9. Is that a web site? Thanks, Diana!

  10. The gal I used isn’t taking on anyone else right now. You might want to check out Editors and Preditors (or is it Preditors and Editors?) if you don’t get any referrals you’re comfortable with.
    I’m really looking forward to reading it! Best of Luck!!!!!

  11. Good luck, Lorna. I’m afraid I don’t have anyone to recommend.

  12. Will do! Thanks again.

  13. Oh, he wouldn’t know me by the name Totsymae, by the way. Tell him Tosh sent cha.

    I don’t know if he has the time but he can point you to someone who can help. If he did it himself, he’s comes with high credentials as a published linguist with a PhD. He also helped me a great deal with my novel. Hope this helps.

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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