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IDAHO Word Man

Idaho Word Man’s Editorial Philosophy


This note outlines the main principles that I follow as the Idaho Word Man.

First, I believe that I am NOT the author of your book. YOU are the author of your book, and your edited book should sound like your writing rather than like my writing. I will correct errors and smooth off the rough edges of your work, but you should be able to recognize the finished manuscript as being your writing, rather than mine.

Second, one of my goals is for everything I do to be done "on purpose," rather than being an accident or the result of my own whim or personal preference. When I return your finished manuscript to you, I will also send a short explanation of significant changes.

Third, I believe that good writing is a more important goal than blind adherence to pedantic "rules" of grammar or usage. I "follow the rules" whenever I can and when it makes sense to do so, but if I can create a more readable sentence by splitting an infinitive or ending the sentence with a preposition, I will do so without hesitation.

I believe that for most writing, simple, direct language is more effective than flowery, ornate, or pompous language. I follow that idea whenever it does not conflict with your writing style. But if you have written a long passage of beautiful description of a scene, I’m not about to strip it out because I think it’s wordy. I like to write long, beautiful descriptions, too.

The Chicago Manual of Style is the style manual I follow most often for traditional publication, and the Smashwords Style Guide is the formatting guide that I follow most often for e-books. If your book is required to follow a different style manual, please let me know. I follow standard American usage for spelling, grammar, and punctuation (but I am familiar with British style), and I generally use the "serial comma" before conjunctions if your style requirements allow it.

The Idaho Word Man can make a valuable contribution to your book. Since you won't need to get bogged down in the technical details of how to format your book or clean up your spelling and punctuation, you will be left free to create your great book. Your vision, combined with our presentation skills, will make the perfect team for your book.