About Magic Words - Magic Words Editorial Services
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I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I’ve eaten; even so, they have made me.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Everyone has a story.

You’ve reached “The End.” Those long nights, the bottomless cups of coffee, so many rewrites and revisions and read-throughs finally behind you. You’ve done it, magic writer. You’ve spun words into a finished book, and you’re ready to put your tale into the eager hands (and e-readers) of your awaiting fans.

Your readers deserve the best
story you can give them.


But readers can be tough. (I know you’ve seen those reviews. Yikes!) They have high standards for writing craft and will catch every goblin and troll lurking in your pages. Your self-published book should be just as good as anything Tor or PRH releases to satisfy those expectations.

Never fear! That’s where I come in, waving my trusty red pen—er, keyboard—to help.

Hi! Hey! Hello!

I’m Shawna, and my job is to walk with indie authors like you on the journey to publish your book. I ease your manuscript over the editing potholes in the path so you can put your final product out there with confidence.

Magic Words: Book Editor for Fantasy Authors | Shawna Hampton, Editor @ Magic Words Editing


Magic Words: Book Editor for Fantasy Authors | Shawna Hampton, Editor @ Magic Words | Mrs. Cook's kindergarten class

I read my first words when I was two. By five, I was leading reading circle in Mrs. Cook’s kindergarten class. At nine, I wrote my first action-adventure story about a girl who shipwrecks on an island in Alaska (complete with a custom-designed Strawberry Shortcake–themed cover, courtesy of my mother).

To say words are in my blood is only mostly true. I’d say: words are my blood.

Yup. I was the nerdy kid always with her nose in a book.

The one scribbling poems and stories in her math notebook. The English teacher’s favorite student.

Degrees in literature and communications set me on a winding career path: high school English teacher, communications specialist, web designer.

Through it all, I read: scary stories that kept me up into the wee hours and thrilling fantasies that made me long for a world where magic was real. (Pssst, it is.)

Through it all, I wrote: stories, novels, poems. I won NaNo. I ate, drank, and breathed words.

When the pandemic very kindly demanded that I decide what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life, I chose words.

Armed with a shiny certificate in editing from the University of Chicago, I hung out my shingle, sharpened my pencil (well, warmed up my keyboard, really), and invited word-lovers like you to join me on this journey.

Magic Words: Book Editor for Fantasy Authors | Shawna Hampton, Editor @ Magic Words | Shawna through the years of loving words


Magic Words Editing, Member of Editorial Freelancers Association
Magic Words Editing, Member of ACES: The Society of Editing
Magic Words: Book Editor for Fantasy Authors | Horror Writers Association Member
Magic Words: Book Editor for Fantasy Authors | Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association Member



Certificate in Editing, University of Chicago
BS English, Missouri State University
MA Communications, Lindenwood University

Editing Training

Copyediting Fiction, Editorial Freelancers’ Association
Intermediate Copyediting, EFA
Copyediting Practicum, Editorial Arts Academy
Intermediate Line Editing for Fiction, EFA
Developmental Editing, Editorial Arts Academy
Editing Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Jennifer Lawler


Freelance editor for trad publishers (Tor/Nightfire)
5+ years editing for indie authors and publishers
40+ years writing novels, short stories, poetry
30+ years studying literature and writing craft
Expert in LOTR and Star Trek trivia
Highly skilled at being owned by cats



Listen intently to your writing dreams


Focus on kindness and support


Leave a light footprint on your words


Offer transparent pricing & processes


Create editing magic!

Ready to go on this journey?



Are you taking the DIY scenic route? I have gifts for your solo editing journey.




From critiques to tweaks, I have a full slate of services to give your manuscript the royal touch.




Have questions? Here are the answers you seek, padawan.



Not really (I hate to fish), but I am taking an extended break from social media for the rest of the summer.

My editing schedule through September is packed to the rafters—a great problem to have!—and I am quickly running out of spoons for much else outside of Magic Words and living, you know, life.

I have some exciting plans on the horizon for building community with you and offering bigger and better content to help you on your publishing journey. My social media and content creation efforts are showing signs that they want to morph into something that will be much more engaging, helpful, and supportive for you, magic writer—but not on platforms like this one—and I've decided to listen to what they have to say. The best way to listen is to get quiet, so that's what I'm going to do. 

I'm finding social media to be a vortex of suck—more than ever, and I've been on it a very long time—and I'm no longer interested in feeding that machine or the mad wizards running it. The algorithm on Instagram now shows my posts to a vanishingly small percentage of my followers, and I have no desire to become a dancing monkey, forced to learn new tricks every few months so the mad wizards will give you the tips and advice I spend hours creating for you. 

It's also becoming increasingly clear that social media platforms have gone full-on evil empire in a lot of areas such as AI use, privacy, and misinformation. I have some decisions to make about whether or not I want to continue using these channels at all when I cannot and will not support the direction they seem to be headed. 

Can you relate?

So I'm retreating to my cave to conjure up some spells that are aaaaallll mine, magic that I'll share with you in new formats and through different channels. Look for an invitation to join me in a few months.

Until then, you can find me at my website (www.magicwordsediting.com) or my nascent Substack, which I've linked in my bio. 

Have an excellent summer, keep writing, and don't forget your sunscreen! 😎🌻🌞
#editingtips #editing #writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting #writer #writingcommunity
CONGRATS to client Jamie Ishino @pinkjamie on her new book The Opal Queen, out today! 🥳💥🙌🏻

“Because the lands themselves are rich with magic, deep in the earth, all people in Egriden are capable of magic.”

One might expect a princess’s life to be a fairy tale, but for sixteen-year-old Inise, it’s not that easy. Every day is a relentless cycle of lessons and training, all to prepare the future queen. As if that wasn't enough, a terrible truth hangs over her—queens wield unimaginable magic, a gift this princess has yet to demonstrate.

When tragedy strikes, her loyal friends help her escape the kingdom and her ambitious uncle, Vischant. But the outside world brings no reprieve, because in order to claim the throne, she must manifest four elemental stones and master their power.

As Inise grapples with her purpose and duty, she encounters a found family better than one she could have ever dreamed of, including Pashendra, a mysterious fae who claims she and Inise have a special connection. Will Inise muster the strength to overcome her uncle’s malevolent ambitions and stop the ruin of her realm?

I loved working on this lush and exciting fantasy—and isn't that cover divine? Go check it out at the link in my bio!
#bookstagram #booktok #bookrecommendations #bookreview #bookstagramfollowtrain #bookstack
WRITING CHALLENGE: Choose four random nouns. Use all four in a short piece of writing.

Can't think of four nouns? Use mine below!

ice pick

(If you try these four, I'd love to see what you come up with! DM me or post in the comments below. 😁)
#writingchallenge #writersblock #indieauthorsunite #selfpublishedauthor #indiebooks #fantasywriter #fantasyauthor
❓QUESTION: I'm building an author website. What do I put on it?

🗨 ANSWER: That completely depends on where you are in your author journey, but if you've already published a book, a must-have is a link to purchase it.

Here are some other ideas:

Current and future readers want to know who you are! If you're comfortable with it, include a photograph. Write a little blurb. Give them a few fun details about the person behind the words. You can go into as much or as little detail as you like.

If you've published a book or two, make a page for those. Include a photo of the cover and a BIG, GIANT LINK to purchase. You might include the book's blurb here, too. (Bonus ideas: character sketches, map art, book glossary, deleted scenes, prologues, etc.)

Got a WIP? Give readers something to look forward to. Even if you just have the barest idea of a plot and/or characters, I'm sure your fans would love to know what's coming next.

If you don't want to give out a personal email address, put a contact form or use an address that's only for website inquiries.

Put these on every. single. page! Links to your Insta or TikTok from your author site are a great way to build your following.

If you're running a newsletter, don't forget to also include a spot on ever page for fans to sign up.

A caveat: a blog isn't absolutely necessary, but if you have one, or run a Substack, put up a link to it in your site's main navigation.

Do you have an author website? Drop your link in the comments below! I'd love to take a peek. 👁‍🗨
#writershelpingwriters  #writingtips #writerwebsite #writermarketing #marketing #website #writerproblems #writinganovel #firstdraftclub #newwritersclub #indiepublishing
Happy Summer Solstice! 😎🌻🌞

Got any fun summer plans? Vacations? 

What's on your TBR pile for these long, lazy days of the best season of the year? 😆

Have fun, and wear sunscreen.
#solstice2024 #summersolstice #summer #summervibes #editorslife #writerslife #amreading #bookstagram
CHOOSE THE RIGHT WORD: full vs. fulsome

These words might seem to be interchangeable at first glance, but they have distinct connotations and probably should not be used as synonyms. Here's a look at why:

:complete in detail, number, or duration

: characterized by abundance; copious

Now in some sentences—

👉🏻 The waiting list is FULL. <--- Pretty standard use indicating there is no more room on the list. You couldn't substitute "fulsome" and retain the same meaning.

👉🏻 The FULSOME praise was over the top. <--- The praise was generous, abundant, copious, to the point of being cringe. Substituting "full" here might work, but the sentence wouldn't say quite the same thing.

It's always a good idea to pay attention to the connotations of the words you choose. English is a whacky language, and words that seem like they should mean the same thing often don't as a result of their typical usage over centuries. 

When in doubt, consult the dictionary. 😎🤓


Are there any words that sneakily sound the same that you mix up sometimes? Let me know in the comments below!
#amediting #editingtip #amrevising #editingadvice #editingtricks #wordcountgoals
CAN YOU SPOT THIS EDITING CONUNDRUM? How would you edit this sentence? 🤔

"As a child, my mother took me to the zoo to see the elephants."

Let me know in the comments what you'd do to fix the issue in this sentence, and see what I'd do as a professional editor. 😉
#bookeditorneeded #amediting #editingtip #amrevising #editingadvice #editingtricks #wordcountgoals
I feel attacked by this. 🤣🤣🤣

(My name is Shawna, in case you didn't know. 😝 )

#bookeditorneeded #indieauthorsunite #indieauthorcommunity #indieauthortips #aspiringindieauthors #supportindieauthors #editorslife #aspiringauthorsofig #fantasyauthors #amwritingscifi #authorsofinsta #aspiringwriter #authorgram #iamwriting #writingcommunityofig #aspiringauthor #indieauthorsofinstagram #newauthor #writingadvice #indieauthor #authorsofig #writersofinsta #amediting #editingmeme #writingmeme #wipaesthetic #authorslife #authorquotes #lifeofawriter #writerscorner
What is the #1 driver of writer's block? FEAR. 😬

Here's a unique hack to try the next time FEAR has you blocked from writing:

Lie down. 🛌🏻

Write 50 words. ✍🏻

That's it—just 50.

Why does this work?

Why do you always get the best ideas right before you fall asleep? Because your body is relaxed and your mind is free to roam. Reclining tells your body to enter this imaginative and free-flowing state.

Fifty words is easy, manageable. And yet, having that small goal in mind while you relax keeps you focused and in the moment.

Bonus: It's not that easy on your body to write while reclining—you need frequent breaks to rest your arms and shoulders. This in turn allows you to think through your next sentence, and the one after that.

Give it a shot and let me know how it works!
 #indieauthorsunite #selfpublishedauthor #indiebooks #fantasywriter #fantasyauthor #indieauthorcommunity #aspiringauthorsofig
Query letters have to do a lot of heavy lifting in not many words. (Some recommendations say to keep the main body of a QL to 300 words or less, yikes!) 

So make sure you answer the most important questions in that short space to give an agent the fullest overview of your book possible:

Don't just describe the themes of the book—give a succinct, impactful overview of the plot combined with the next two questions (character + conflict/stakes). Use these two or three sentences to hook the agent into wanting to know more.

Show the reader who your main protagonist is, what he or she wants, and why readers will care about him or her.

Answer what makes the plot of the book and its characters interesting and read-worthy. Give them the edge-of-your-seat reason someone would want to pick up the book: the main conflict and stakes.

Now that the heavy lifting of crafting the hook is done, don't forget the housekeeping! Include your word count and genre. And remember the title!

Finally, tell the agent who you are and what makes you the perfect person to tell this story. Describe your background, interests, awards, writing experience—anything that might make you an attractive fit for their lineup.
#queryletters #amquerying #publishing #querying #editingtips #editing #writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting #writer #writingcommunity
"The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words." — William H. Gass

Welcome to June, magic writer! It's time to practice some some of that sweet word alchemy. 🧙🏻‍♀✨
#indieauthorsunite #selfpublishedauthor #wordcountgoals #supportindieauthors #indiesareworthit #writerlife
A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. — Joseph Campbell

Remembering all today who have given their lives. May we never forget their memory. 💐
#memorialday #memorialdayweekend #usa #america #memorial #memories #thankyou #remember #neverforget
Q for the weekend: Is it okay to mention real-life company names in a book or story? Will I get in legal trouble if I do?

A: Yes, it's probably okay to use real-life company names. But there are some caveats to that.

If you're mentioning a company name in passing and in a positive or neutral way, you more than likely have nothing to worry about, legally or otherwise. Pro tip: Take care to make sure the company name is spelled right, especially if it's a trademark. (A good copyeditor will look it up for you and flag it if your usage doesn't conform to the company's trademark.)

If you're drawing negative attention to a company in any way, even in fiction, it's probably best to create an entirely fictionalized name to stand in for the real one to avoid any legal hot water.

Whether you're using a real-life company name negatively or positively, consider the shelf life of your book. Company names come and go, and if your book references an old name, it might risk dating your story.


Got questions for a professional editor about writing, editing, or book publishing? Send me a DM, and I'll answer it in an upcoming Q&A!
#editingtips #editing #publishing #writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting
Magic writers, let's talk about what makes us feel creative. 

Do you have a favorite space you like to write in? Is it full of things that inspire you or that relate to your book in some way? 

I find with my current WIP I'm more likely to get into the right headspace when I light a certain candle that smells like a gloomy forest (a setting in my book) or have mementos around me that are meaningful to my MC. As Grant Faulkner says in Pep Talks for Writers: ". . . talismans have the power to transport me elsewhere, to invite me to leap into my imagination." Agreed!

What are some of your writing talismans? What do your writing spaces look like? Show them off in the comments!
#creativity #editing #publishing #writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting #writer
CONGRATULATIONS to client Christina K. Glover on the publication of her debut novel, The Switchboard! 🤩🥳🎉

This story is one that will crawl inside your head and never let go—in the absolute best way. Read this description and tell me you don't wanna rush right out and snag a copy 😉:


Mortal mage Henley Yu has enough to worry about between the storms caused by broken magic and his strained relationship with his father. He’s trying to keep his head above water, but when he finds a stranger hiding in his kitchen cabinets he’s forced to reconsider his priorities.

Chief Operator Kittinger has overseen the flow of magic for centuries, but he’s no fighter. Betrayed by his protectors in their quest to gain control of the magic, he’s running for his life when he makes Henley his accomplice. Kit might lose his new ally if Henley finds out that Kit’s secrets go deeper than the magic itself.

Together they’ll venture into the Between, where magic connects worlds, to fight an army of officers ready to finish what they started when Kit fled the scene. For Kit, failure means death. For Henley, it means losing the memory of the only person who gives him purpose. Henley won’t let anyone interfere before he finds out what that means for their future together.

He’ll save Kit. He'll save the magic—or he won’t be the only one who dies trying.

GET YOUR COPY HERE: https://tinyurl.com/bdtmr3nv
#bookstagram #booktok #bookrecommendations #bookreview #bookstagramfollowtrain #bookstack
Thinking of doing some writing this weekend? Here's a challenge for you:

💡 Take a scene you're struggling to get just right and write a version of it from a different character's point of view.

👉🏻 You might be surprised at what comes out when you get another perspective on the action and dialogue.

If you complete this challenge, let me know how it goes in the comments below!
#writingchallenge #writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting #writer
GUMS time! (That's grammar, usage, and mechanics.) Have you heard the term "split infinitive"? Wonder if you're splitting your infinitives in your writing? 

You probably are—but that's okay! 

A split infinitive is formed when an adverb or other word is placed between TO and a verb. Example:

to boldly go <-- "boldly" is the adverb, "go" is the verb

Are split infinitives wrong? Nope. Their banishment is a “zombie rule.” They’re fine, especially in fiction. Sometimes splitting the infinitive even aids clarity.

So "boldly go" right ahead and split them. You have my permission. 😎😎😎
#bookeditorneeded #selfpublishedauthor #wordcountgoals  #amediting #editingtip #amrevising #editingadvice #editingtricks #bookeditor #copyeditor #lineeditor #proofreader
Indie authors, self-publishing isn't "failure" and you are not "failed authors." /end rant

(Are you on Threads? Lots of great conversations happening around publishing and writing over there!)
#indieauthorsunite #selfpublishedauthor #indiebooks #fantasywriter #fantasyauthor #indieauthorcommunity #aspiringauthorsofig
Few things are as frightening to an aspiring author who wants to traditionally publish as the agent pitch. But those precious few minutes face-to-face with a real, live literary agent could be the door that opens to your dreams.

If you're getting ready to pitch agents at an upcoming writers conference, here are a few tips that might help it go smoothly:

Come up with your pitch ahead of time so you know what you're going to say when the big moment arrives. Write it down on an index card and rehearse it.

Research the agents who will be at the conference: the genres they represent, what stories they're looking for, who they've repped in the past. This will help you zero in on the agents most likely to want your book so you don't waste your time pitching to the wrong person.

Look at the pitch as a learning opportunity as well as a chance to sell your story. Get a list of questions together to ask if an agent gives you constructive feedback on your story or pitch. 

Make sure your manuscript is ready to go if an agent likes what she hears and wants to read more.

Above all else, remember to breathe. Inhale, exhale. The pitch session is not a make or break moment for your book or you as a writer. Pull out all your usual tricks for handling nerves and have fun!
#querying #pitchinganagent #writercon #writingconference #pitmad
Magic writer, are you a perfectionist when you write? Do you stare out the window for hours as you try to find the exact "right" word, only to give up in frustration?

Boy, I sure do. It's one of the major ways writer's block shows up for me.

This can be especially debilitating in a first draft, the draft where the story overall reveals itself to you. Perfectionism around words and phrases can put up a road block to that story flow.

To get things moving again, try this:

If you have to create a formal permission slip for this, go for it: "I, Magic Writer, give myself permission to suck at writing right now and just get the story down."

When you get the urge to stop writing and conjure the "perfect word," insert a specific phrase like "In other words . . ." and keep going. Later, you can search for that phrase to revise with the "perfect" wordsmithing.

Consider using The Most Dangerous Writing App. Set up a timed writing session, and if you stop typing for more than a few seconds, all your text will disappear. If you’re desperate to stop overthinking everything you write, it’s sure to get the job done!

Let me know how it goes! Or if you've tried one of these tactics, let me know how it worked for you in the comments below.
#writersblock #perfectionism #writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting #writer #writingcommunity #authorsofinstagram #authors #authorsofig
An FAQ I see from indie authors over and over: What kind of editing do I need?? 🤔

If you have a final draft of a manuscript, you probably know the next step in your publishing journey is editing. But—what level? Developmental, substantive, copy, line, structural . . . there are so many different editing types, and a few even have different names depending on the editor! (And, it's all just proofreading, right? Er, no.)

To help you figure out what level of editing your story needs, I've created a quiz on my website to walk you through them all. Answer a few questions about where you are in your publishing journey, and the results at the end will tell you what level is most appropriate for your manuscript at that stage.

TAKE THE QUIZ HERE: www.magicwordsediting.com/quiz/

Or click the link in my bio. 😎🤓
#editingtips #editing #publishing #writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting
"Spring is the time of plans and projects."—Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Happy May! What plans and projects do you have going on this month, magic writer? 💐🌞✍🏻

Let's get after them!
#selfpublishedauthor #indiebooks #indieauthorcommunity #wordcountgoals #supportindieauthors #indiesareworthit #writerlife  #iamwriting
Had an amazing time at the Unbound Book Festival @unboundbookfestival in Columbia, Missouri, last weekend!

Emily St. John Mandel was the keynote speaker, I got to meet Matt Bell and Sequoia Nagamatsu (two of my favorite authors), and sat in on craft workshops over novel structure and endings.

My head was buzzing with ideas all the way home! Definitely going back next year.

1. The Unbound Book Festival, April 18-21, 2024, Columbia, Missouri

2. Emily St. John Mandel, keynote speaker, signed my copy of Station Eleven.

3. Matt Bell was a panelist, and gave me the *best* signature on my well-loved copy of Refuse to Be Done (if you follow me, you know I use this book *a lot*).

4. Caroline Leavitt, author of Days of Wonder, gave an amazing workshop on structuring a novel.

5. Mark Cecil, podcast host of The Thoughtful Bro and author of Bunyan & Henry, gave an excellent and entertaining workshop on novel endings.

6. Saw a book I proofread for Tor in the local bookshop @skylarkbookshop. Always a thrill!

7. Came away with additions to my TBR pile!

#bookstagram #booktok #bookrecommendations #bookreview #bookstack #bookeditorneeded #amediting #amrevising #bookeditor #copyeditor #lineeditor #proofreader #unboundbookfestival #columbiamissouri #bookfestival #authorsofinstagram #editorslife #writerslife #amwriting #indieauthorsofinstagram #authorslife
. . . and I use every one! 😎🤓

#bookeditor #copyeditor #lineeditor #proofreader #editorslife #bookeditorneeded #amediting #editingtip #amrevising #editingadvice #editingtricks #indieauthors #writersofinstagram
Today's writing challenge comes from Refuse to Be Done by Matt Bell:

If you're stuck wallowing in a plot that goes nowhere or writing scenes that all sound the same, Bell suggests taking a step back to write four test scenes outside of your outline or current story flow.

First, select a point in your plot and/or a certain character.

Then write one each of the following scenes around that plot point/character:

💡 Discovery - show a character learning about or discovering something

💡 Complication - introduce a complication to a character's goals or the story outline

💡 Reversal - reverse an existing complication

💡 Resolution - resolve a conflict/complication in your story

Your goal here isn't to write four awesome scenes that make it into your book—it's simply to get your writing moving again. You'll end up with several thousand words that might help you discover something surprising about your story or characters. And  it just might get you out of that rut.

If you try this challenge, let me know how it goes in the comments. 👇🏻

#writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting #writer #writingcommunity #authorsofinstagram #authors #authorsofig #indieauthor #indieauthors #indieauthorsofinstagram

When a character quotes an exact line of dialogue from another character, how is that punctuated? It's not as tricky as you might think.

Here's a quick tip from The Chicago Manual of Style:

13.30: Quotations and “quotes within quotes”

Quoted words, phrases, and sentences run into the text are enclosed in double quotation marks. Single quotation marks enclose quotations within quotations.

“His exact words were, ‘I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy.’” (Note the placement of the final single quote: it goes *outside* the period. For question marks/exclamation points, it goes *inside*.)

Now you know! 😎
#editingtips #amediting #amrevising #bookaneditor #lookingforaneditor #bookeditorneeded #publishing #writingtips
Please hold for the next available operator 🤪 …
#editingmeme #writingmeme #wipaesthetic #authorslife #authorquotes #lifeofawriter #writerscorner
Psst! Hey, magic writer. Do you have writer's block?

Ugh. Me too! Here's something I've found that helps:

Try relocating. As in, actually moving your physical body to a new spot.

A change of scenery might be what you need. If you usually write indoors, go to the park. If you normally churn out the words in a coffee shop, try a quiet corner in the library. Write on the sofa? Move to a different room of your house.

Writing in new location introduces a different energy to your surroundings, which might help get YOUR energy and creativity flowing more freely as well.

If you try it, and it works, let me know in the comments below!
#writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting #writer #writingcommunity #authorsofinstagram #authors #authorsofig
Q. What are "alpha readers"? Why do I need them?

A. Alpha readers are, generally, the very first readers of your book. They usually read a first or unpolished draft to help you catch early mistakes with plot, characters, or setting, and can give you much-needed inspiration to continue drafting or revising if you feel stuck.

Alpha readers can be anyone: editors, family members (although they might not give you unbiased feedback!), other writers, critique partners. The best alpha readers know something about craft to the point that they can give you targeted feedback, know how to offer constructive criticism, can look beyond the flaws of a first draft—like spelling and punctuation errors—and have the time and energy to read your story and comment on it.

How many alpha readers should you have? Typically, a small number (3–5) works best, but have as many as you need to work out any particular problems or stuck places.

Over to you: Have you ever used alpha readers? What was your experience like? Did they help? Let me know in the comments below!
#editingtips #editing #writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting #writer #writingcommunity #authorsofinstagram #authors

If you're the type who loves to plan ahead, or you have a fall publishing schedule, sign up now to get on my Quarter 3 (August, September) waitlist for the following services:

👉🏻 line editing
👉🏻 copy editing
👉🏻 story assessments
👉🏻 query assessments and editing

Waitlist members are contacted on a first come, first served rolling basis. As of today, all spots are taken for July, but openings remain for August and September.

Add your name here --->

🎯 Visit this link: www.magicwordsediting.com OR
💌 Send me a DM OR
🙋🏻 Click the link in my bio

*Got a smaller project? I might be able to work you in before my next opening. Let's talk!
#bookeditor #copyeditor #lineeditor #proofreader #writingtips #writingtipsandtricks #indiesareworthit #indiepublishingcommunity #amediting #amrevising
“Drink some coffee. Listen to some birds. Feel the breeze. Give love into the world and receive it in return. Now open the little box inside your heart marked RIGHTEOUS FURY and let the tornado captured inside take you, carry you, and return you to the fight once more.”—Chuck Wendig, You Can Do Anything, Magic Skeleton

#indieauthorsunite #selfpublishedauthor #indiebooks #supportindieauthors #indiesareworthit #writerlife
CONGRATS!! You've finished writing your first draft. So . . . what's next??

I've had quite a few eager-beaver first-time authors come to me in the last weeks wanting to rush straight from first draft to "proofreading."

No. Slow waaaay down there, skippy.

Writing is a marathon, not a sprint, and I can guarantee that as good as your draft is, it's nowhere near ready to be a book.

There are a few steps in the middle that you really shouldn't skip if you want to sell a quality product.

At the absolute very least, you need to revise and rewrite your draft. Your first draft isn't ready for prime time, and your second or even your third might not be, either. This takes as long as it takes. Sorry/not sorry.

Next is to get some eyes on that story. Find some readers typical of those you want to sell your eventual book to; have them give feedback. It will be eye-opening, I assure you.  Go back to step one: revise.

Consider getting a professional editor's opinion of the story. They'll give you targeted feedback and suggestions for problems beta readers miss or can't define. Go back to step one: revise.

Hurrah, now that you are absolutely 100% done with revision, you can finally start the process of what first-timers typically call "proofreading": editing the actual sentences and words. A line edit massages the syntax, style, and flow of your sentences to make sure they make sense to a reader.

This can sometimes be done in conjunction with the line edit. A copyedit checks grammar, mechanics, spelling, character traits, timelines, facts, and other nuts and bolts concerns.

After you've formatted, typeset, and designed the book's interior, you're ready for actual proofreading. This is one last check for errors in the page proofs before you publish.

*Beta readers can sometimes come after a dev edit. You don't necessarily need both alpha and beta readers, but it's a good idea.


Now you know! Questions? Let me know in the comments.

#amediting #editingtip #amrevising #editingadvice #copyeditor #lineeditor #proofreader
Mwahahaha . . . all your secret spelling weaknesses belong to meeeeee . . . 😉😆

J/K I only use my powers for good. 🤩
#indieauthorsofinstagram #indieauthor #writersofinsta #amediting #editingmeme #writingmeme #authorslife #authorquotes #lifeofawriter
WHO vs. WHOM: Come jump in the deep water with me, magic writer, and learn when to use “who” and when to use “whom.” It’s easier than you think with this trick.

"Who" is used as the subject of a sentence.

>>> Example: Who wrote the letter? <<<

"Whom" is used as the object of a verb or preposition.

>>> Example: For whom was the letter intended? <<<

One neat trick you can use to figure out when to use one or the other is to invert the sentence and substitute a different pronoun: he/she, him/her, or they/them.*

>>> Who wrote the letter? <<<
THEY wrote the letter. HE wrote the letter. SHE wrote the letter. 

Him, her, or them don't work in this sentence, so we choose "who."

>>> For whom was the letter intended? <<<
The letter was intended for HIM. The letter was intended for HIM. The letter was intended for HER.

He, she, and they don't work in this sentence. So "whom" is correct. (Note the M on the end: them/whom, him/whom, her/ . . . er, trust me on that one.)

📣 *BUT!
Caveat time. In speaking and modern everyday usage, “who” is often used in place of “whom.”

>>> Who is the letter intended for? <<<
>>> Who did you say is calling? <<<

Can’t remember which one to use? Don’t want to sound like a 19th-century grammarian?

Use "who." It’s okay. Really. Even Shakespeare did it. 😎
#editingtips #amediting #amrevising #bookaneditor #lookingforaneditor #bookeditorneeded #publishing #writingtips #freelanceeditors #bookeditor
It's spring! It's spring! Hooray! 🐇💐🍃 🌞

Happy equinox, magic writer. Hope you have a magical season, full of new projects, growth as a writer, and sunny days of dreaming up stories.
#spring #springequinox #spring2024 #springishere #sunnydaysahead #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting
Q: Where can I find legitimate writing workshops that will actually help me become a better writer?

A: By "help me become a better writer" I'm going to assume that what you're looking for is a workshop that offers: 

👉🏻 deep, constructive feedback on YOUR writing; 
👉🏻 instruction from writers who've found success in the field and/or themselves are excellent writers; 
👉🏻 and, perhaps, effective exercises you can apply to your own writing.

Because a combination of the above is what will get you from where you are now as a writer to where you want to be. Quickly. 😉
So here are four highly regarded writing workshop providers that fit the bill:

🌟 Iowa Summer Writing Festival
Affiliated with the University of Iowa's world-renowned writing program, the festival offers in-person weekend and weeklong writing workshops on a variety of topics during June and July. You have to travel to Iowa City for the summer classes, but there are a few online workshops in April and May available if you hurry.

🌟 Gotham Writers Workshop
Or just "Gotham"—it's that well-known. The workshops have produced National Book Award winners, NY Times bestselling authors, and an Emmy-winning TV writer. Their classes are offered online and in person, and classes are anywhere from 6–10 weeks . They also list day-long intensives if you're in a real hurry.

🌟 GrubStreet
A nonprofit creative writing center based in Boston, GrubStreet is known for its multiweek and even year-long intensive, membership-based programs. Those puppies aren't for the faint of heart! But they also offer writing workshops for beginning and intermediate writers. Online and in person. Scholarships are available.

🌟 Hugo House
Coming out of Seattle, Hugo House leans more "community arts center" than those listed above, but they still provide online and in-person writing workshops on anything from poetry to memoir to fiction. Lots of speculative fiction classes on tap here!


I'm signed up for a couple of workshops in the Iowa festival this summer. Maybe I'll see you there! 

#writingworkshops #workshops #writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting #writer #writingcommunity
CAN YOU SPOT THIS EDITING CONUNDRUM? How would you edit this sentence? 🤔

"I wanted to sit in the comfy chair with a cup of coffee in my pajamas and peck away at a keyboard."

Let me know in the comments what you'd do to fix the issue in this sentence, and see what I'd do as a professional editor. 😉
#bookeditorneeded #amediting #editingtip #amrevising #editingadvice #editingtricks #wordcountgoals
IT'S HAPPENED AGAIN! I've seen more social media posts lately from authors who have been burned by less than professional—even scammy—"editors" and "book coaches." It doesn't have to be this way! 

Vet. Your. Service. Providers. Here's how:

Not just their business name (a well-known editor/book coach scammer changes their business name when the heat gets, well, hot) but also their actual name. Like this --> "Shawna Hampton" (with the quotation marks so the results show you the right person). Also search their name on TikTok, Facebook, and other social media to see what comes up.

Ask them for references. If they give you any, contact them. If they don't? 🚩🚩🚩

Ask them what professional associations they belong to (Editorial Freelancers, ACES, others). If they give you one or more, go to the association's website and search for their name in the directory. (This same well-known book coach scammer lies about being an EFA member. A quick directory search proves otherwise.)

What editing training do you have? Do you offer sample edits? What exactly will I get in my edit? Do you offer a contract? (If so, read it carefully!) Look for any 🚩🚩🚩 in their answers and TRUST. YOUR. GUT.

Writer Beware (www.writerbeware.com) exposes writing-related scams and has entries about well-known editor and book coach scammers. 👀👀👀 Give them a visit to see if the person you're thinking of hiring is included.
#editing #publishing #writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting #writer #writingcommunity #authorsofinstagram
Here's a super fun writing challenge for you:

If you've got a sticky plot point that you can't get moving, try keeping a dream journal for a week or two. See what situations pop up in your dreams that you can adapt to your WIP.

Give it a try, and if you have great results, come back here and post in the comments. Or if you've had a go at this in the past, let me know below—maybe you'll inspire someone!
#writingchallenge #dreams #writingtips #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting #writer #writingcommunity
"When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze." —William Wordsworth

Spring is nearly here! I see daffodils popping up everywhere I go. When I come across these "hosts of golden daffodils," I always think of this poem, one of the first I really studied deeply in high school English class.

And I always wonder if Wordsworth could have known how powerful his words would be, even centuries later. 

Keep writing those words. You never know how deeply they'll affect someone, or for how long.
#iamwriting #writingcommunityofig #aspiringauthor #indieauthorsofinstagram #newauthor #writingadvice #indieauthor #authorsofig #writersofinsta #wordcountgoals #supportindieauthors #indiesareworthit #writerlife