“Tell your story. The one only you could tell. We need it.”
~ Jamie Boylan, screenwriter
As a journalist, I write copy efficiently, effectively, and on deadline. I’ve interviewed a diversity of people to write their stories to share with a wide audience. My greatest asset: I listen. Not only to your words, but to what you want to say.
My self-published ebook, Montana Farmers Markets: Stories of Montana Food and the People Who Produce It (2010) was the natural outcome of my curiosity about who produces food in Montana. In 2009, I traveled throughout Montana to visit every farmers market, driving 8,000 miles to meet the people who help feed the state. I discovered that every person, every market, every region has a story. I told a few of these stories in my book, but there are more to come.
Read more about my writing qualifications on my Writing page.
I don’t just write. I also edit. Why does this matter?
As an editor, I’ve worked behind the scenes of books, so to speak, which has given me a good look at what readers need. I’ve helped bring to life books written by people who want to share what they’ve learned: a memoir about the Vietnam War; a cookbook for a heart-healthy lifestyle; a business book on the importance of fitting rooms in a clothing store.
From long experience, I know how to create text that readers learn from and enjoy.
Read more about my editing qualifications on my Editing page.
From my years working in the publishing industry, I know there is more to a book than simply putting words on paper. A few things to consider:
- Who are you writing the book for? Publishers, bookstores, and libraries need a designated category.
- Who will double-check your work? A copy editor can sharpen the prose, a proofreader can tidy up.
- How will readers find information in your book? You might need an index.
- Will you pursue a traditional publisher or use a self-publishing service?
- How will you sell the book? Do you need an agent? Will you market it yourself?
Depending on the project, you might not need to answer all these questions, but there are many more to think about, and I will guide you through them.
We live in a closely connected world; writing clearly for an international audience not only makes sense, it’s essential. Less than 10 percent of the world’s population speaks English as a first language. Colloquial expressions, slang, and complex grammar can cause confusion and imprecise understanding to those who do not know English as their native language.
For several years, I taught English as a Second Language to students from a variety of countries entering the Seattle public school system, from kindergarten through twelfth grade. I learned a lot from these young people about straightforward communication. This helps me assist you to put your thoughts clearly on paper.
My love of words: Your finished book
Editing, writing, and teaching English have combined to make a satisfying career for me. I love the flow of words, the rhythm of text. I enjoy putting words and phrases in just the right place. I get deep satisfaction in seeing a finished book, with spelling and grammar and meaning neatly packaged for readers to delight in.
I can help you get your words down on paper. If you have already written a rough draft, I can help you create a clean manuscript.
“Mary is a copy editor who is quite talented, knowledgeable, and easy to work with. I’d recommend her to anyone who is considering self-publishing.”
~ Cliff Murray, author of Zombie Apocalypse Now; Voodoo Zombie Pirates of Key West; and Walks in Wild Yellowstone: A Summer of Solo Backpacking in Yellowstone National Park
Let’s discuss how together we can turn your ideas into a finished book.