My first contact with Kathy Ide was when she was the editor for my book, Pirate’s Prize, fairly early in my writing career. She loved the book, which warmed my writer-heart. Then soon after, we were at a writing retreat at the edge of the
. Janice Thompson had put the retreat together. All who were there became long-time friends. I was thrilled when Kathy wanted me to send information to be included in this book.
Welcome, Kathy. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
One thing that often surprises people when they find out I’m a professional freelance editor is that I didn’t go to college … well, except for a hockey game at the
once. I learned how to write and edit by reading books about the craft, attending writers’ conferences, talking to other writers and editors, studying the industry-standard style guides—and a little bit by osmosis, since I’ve been an avid reader my entire life.
I also seem to have a natural affinity for catching mistakes in written material. I’m one of those people who notices when billboards and magazine ads and signs in grocery stores have misspelled words or punctuation marks in the wrong place. I used to drive my family crazy complaining about those things. Now that I get paid to do it, they don’t mind so much.
Tell us about your family.
I have an amazingly supportive husband—there’s no way I could be doing what I do without Rick, that’s for sure. When I lost my day job 15 years ago, after working for 30 years as a secretary and graphic designer for companies, he asked me what I’d do for a living if I could do anything. I immediately said, “Write!” But we’d just bought a house in
based on my income with a well-established career. So he asked, “What would your second choice be?” I told him the members of my critique group seemed to really like what I did for them. He suggested I see if I could turn that into a career. And I did!
I also have two grown sons. Both have moved out of the house (twice) and are now living in other states: one in
and the other in
Since my hubby and I live in
, our extended family members come to visit us a lot! We love being the “bed-and-breakfast” for our relatives while they explore all the tourist options within an hour or so of our home.
Have you written other nonfiction books?
I’ve self-published two books for writers: Christian Drama Publishing and Typing without Pain.
Do you have any other books in the works right now?
Of course! If my Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authorsdoes well, I plan on doing more books in the Secrets of Best-Selling Authors series: Editing Secrets, Publishing Secrets, Marketing Secrets, Keyboarding Secrets … and maybe Secrets of Best-Selling Fiction Authors, Best-Selling Children’s Authors, etc. The possibilities are almost endless.
I’m also working on a series of devotionals with a unique twist. When I get a contract for the book, you’ll definitely hear about it!
And I have a novel manuscript that I’ve been working on for years, off and on. It’s near-future speculative, which is a bit of an odd duck. But I believe it will find the right home someday.
I know that more and more publishers are looking for speculative books right now. Maybe it’ll be soon. What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
My husband says that editing is my job and writing is my hobby! That’s because editing results in a much better income than writing. But I love both! And I tend to spend a lot of my free time doing things related to one or the other. Traveling to speak and teach at writers’ conferences is “work” but it’s also tremendous fun. Running my two organizations for editors (Christian Editor Connection and The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network) takes several hours a week, but I enjoy that too.
I’ve always been an avid reader. But to be honest, it’s harder now to find books I can just enjoy, without doing at least some editing in the back of my mind! When I find a book that captivates me so much I stop analyzing it, that’s a real treasure.
Still, all work and no play, even when you enjoy your work, is a recipe for disaster and burnout. So I make sure to spend leisure time with my hubby (I drive to his office to have lunch with him every week, and we have date night at the movies at least once a week), my BFF (she comes over to exercise and pray every week, and she brings her family along for dinner and a movie or a Wii game a couple of times a month), and my totally adorable five-year-old goddaughter, Zoe.
We just bought a motor home, so I’m looking forward to some leisurely trips in that.
I also love going to the theater, and
has a lot of options for that. I’ve seen Phantom of the Opera, my favorite, a half dozen times—three times with Michael Crawford.
Why did you write the featured book?
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors started when I was proofreading galleys for Moody Publishers. If I wanted to make any change, I had to prove I was right by citing a rule from The Chicago Manual of Style or look up the spelling in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. I found myself looking up the same rules and words over and over, so I made a little “cheat sheet” for myself. That list got longer and longer. And I started rewriting the explanations from the
manual in words that made sense to me.
When I shared that list with other writers and editors, they wanted a copy. So I started printing them and giving them away. When the list got longer, and more people wanted it, I self-published it as a book and sold it. I called it Polishing the PUGS: Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling Tips for Writers. It became so popular, I was awarded the nickname “the PUGS lady”!
When I found a commercial publisher for the book, I decided to change the title, put in more PUGS guidelines (based on input from my readers), and add a new feature: tips from multi-published authors on how to proofread a manuscript for typos, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies.
Which best-selling authors are featured in your book?
Lisa Tawn Bergren
Suzanne Woods Fisher
Gail Gaymer Martin
Kay Marshall Strom
And it is a great privilege to appear with these wonderful authors. What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
Mostly, I’m hoping readers will grasp the importance of carefully proofreading their manuscripts. One of the things that prevents me from enjoying more books is all the mistakes I find. And these days, with more and more writers going with indie publishing, the number of books that are not carefully proofread is growing like crazy.
In my book, I highlight a few of the industry-standard guidelines for punctuation, and I address a handful of grammar rules, and I reveal some of the most commonly misspelled (or misused) words I come across in my editing. And many people have told me how great it is to have a handy go-to reference. But I’m hoping my readers will take that a step further and study the rules for themselves … and get in the habit of looking up words in the appropriate dictionary, even if they’re absolutely positive they know how to spell them! (My hubby says the definition of positive is being wrong at the top of your voice.)
Where on the Internet can the readers find you?
A year ago, I would’ve just told you to check out my website: www.KathyIde.com. But now I’m all over the place on the Internet! I have two Facebook pages:
My book has its own Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ProofreadingSecrets
And here are my social media “homes”:
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ kathyideauthoreditor
I’m also very active with my two organizations for editors.
The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (www.TheChristianPEN.com)
This is a professional support organization for aspiring and established editorial freelancers, offering tips and tools on the website, a free e-mail discussion loop, online courses, and added benefits for contributing members.
Christian Editor Connection (www.ChristianEditor.com )
Here I personally connect writers, agents, and publishers with established, professional freelance editors who fit their unique needs.
Thanks so much for the privilege of being interviewed on your blog,
! You have been a dear friend for many years, and I’m so grateful to God for making sure our paths have crossed so many times!
I've been blessed by that association, too, Kathy.
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Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors - paperback
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors (Writing With Excellence) - Kindle
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