Authors helping book shops
Writing is certainly a passion of mine, but I also adore the editorial process. For six years, one of my duties with an advertising firm was copyediting.
Reading for the purpose of correcting and "cleaning up" a document was both challenging and interesting. As a copy editor, I had to stick to grammar and style corrections. It was also acceptable to include the occasional gentle suggestion for sentence reconstruction (in pencil in the margin with a smiley face and heart).
Re-writes were taboo unless a copy writer asked for help. And that made sense because copy writers participated in concept meetings and knew what the client needed conveyed.
My job was to proofread. I made sure the subject and verb were in agreement, names like "North Carolina" were spelled correctly, fonts and spacing were consistent, and phone numbers we accurate and included all 10 digits (just to name a few examples).
Recently, I had the great honor of re-awakening my inner grammar and style drill sergeant. I was tapped to help copyedit Piedmont Authors Network's first anthology, Writers Crushing COVID-19.
The anthology, which was released in July, includes short stories and essays inspired by or related to the pandemic. The expansive list of contributors includes best-selling and award winning authors as well as local (to Piedmont North Carolina) writers.
This copyediting experience was special. I so enjoyed reading the varied and talented works included in this anthology. Unlike the advertising scene, where so many people have their hands in the work resulting in lots of little typos and mistakes, there weren't many corrections needed outside of ensuring formatting was consistent.
Also, when you proofread for an advertising agency, the work can be monotonous and boring. I went through a lot of coffee in those days.
Not so with the anthology. (Okay, okay, I drank coffee, but for different reasons.) The work was uplifting, thought-provoking, and inspirational. I thoroughly enjoyed each essay and story. I've already started buying copies for the 2020 holidays.
In addition to serving on the editorial team, I also contributed a short YA story. It's a little dark, unlike my other works to date. However, I believe it reflects the array of fear, strength, and triumph many of us are and hope to experience as we move through and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
What I loved the most about helping to create this anthology was not editing or writing for it. Rather, it was that every one of the contributors agreed to provide their talents for free to raise money for independent book stores who have been struggling in the wake of this pandemic. Piedmont Authors Network is donating proceeds from sales to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation.
This anthology project is the embodiment of authors extending a helping hand to independent booksellers who are part of the small business backbone of America. That's pretty cool.