Whether you need a manuscript professionally edited or appraised, you will deal one on one with either Valerie Wolfe or Zachary Sexton. We pride ourselves on personal interaction. Scarlet Tie Elite is based in Australia and our client base is global.
I sort of fell into editing. It wasn’t my intention, I had wanted to write, but during my course at university, I discovered that content editing is something I love, and just have a knack for doing.
I’d always wanted to be an author. Words fascinated me, I was always one of those annoying readers that spotted every error, each plot hole, knew what was coming next and I could usually guess the ending. I knew I needed help to be an author, having a plot wasn’t enough. I’d need to know how to put it together perfectly, self-edit it, and learn the many tools of the trade. Microsoft Word being just one of the tools I’d need to master. So, I enrolled at the Open University and did the degree in English Lit that I’d always wanted to do and I also incorporated creative writing and editing into my course. Over my six years at university I learned so much about different writing and editing methods, I never expected it would be editing that stole my attention.
Suddenly I had the ability to edit, I loved it, and a few friends I had online let me practice my editing on them. They all got publishing contracts by the time I had finished, despite being rejected previously. That really inspired me, and I decided to work for a publishing house. Time, as they say, flies, and I have now worked for several years for publishing houses and freelance. I have worked with so many wonderful authors, and loved every minute.
I’m a firm believer in keeping the work totally in the author’s own voice. I’ll suggest changes, ways of making them, but I expect the wording to be the authors own when it is more than a word or two. I work with each author so the finished manuscript is the best it possibly can be, but no one could tell someone else had worked on it. I have always loathed it when you read something, and certain wording or phrases just stand out oddly, you know the author didn’t write that bit. We all have a unique voice; I try to make sure that is preserved.
I edit just about any genre. My specialties are character and plot, scene and world building. Since every genre has these, it doesn’t matter what the genre is to me. I find it helps for me to switch genres quite a lot, that way I come to each new manuscript with a fresh approach, not thinking ‘Oh, this again?’ It keeps my attention focused, weird I know, but as a life-long avid reader I have always read a wide variety of genres. My brain is filled with tons of useless information I have picked up over the years reading anything and everything, and it’s amazing how often it comes in handy while editing.
I content/copy edit and proofread, do formatting & file conversions and I will also help authors understand how Word works best for them. I will edit a manuscript of any length, from epic sagas spanning many volumes to short novellas and the ever-pesky 100-word blurb. Some of the epic saga type novels are still ongoing, and I have worked on each one and therefore know them inside out.
Prior to the publication of my first novel, I submitted a manuscript for appraisal and was then offered a mentorship. Toward the end of my mentorship, I was offered a job as a manuscript appraiser/content editor.
Working with an experienced content editor assisted me in the finer points of writing and story-telling. Learning how to craft a novel or short story, pacing fiction, and creating believable, interesting characters were all things I thought I knew how to do, but realised I hadn’t been doing correctly. Yes, I must admit, my ego took a bit of beating. However, this was an important learning curve. Make no mistake, the writing industry is a tough one, and there is a lot of competition. The introduction of eBooks has allowed publishers to take chances on new authors in a way that was not possible years ago. Honing your craft is imperative if you want to write memorable fiction, therefore never underestimate the power of good editing.
I put my content editing job on the backburner while I concentrated on writing a new novel. The first I’d written since my mentorship. That novel turned into a book contract with a publisher and a best seller. I attribute that to everything learned, but again realised there was still so much I didn’t know. I believe writing is a never-ending process, and one should never assume they know all there is to know. An author should continue to learn, to grow, and to gain experience with every book they write. Developing a mutually beneficial good relationship with editors is a part of this process.
Writing wasn’t my only passion, though. I enjoyed art and painted in oils. When I discovered digital and graphic art, my career took another turn. I continued to write, but I also began designing book cover art. This led to Scarlet Tie Designs, which was established in 2011. I’ve designed book covers for freelance authors and for publishers. The old saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, is quaint but not truthful. No matter how good your novel is, cover art can make or break it. Remember, authors are competing with more published books than ever before. Don’t make the mistake of choosing cover art that makes a potential reader skim past your book and opt for another with prettier artwork.
I write under the pen name 'Zathyn Priest'.