These past couple of weeks have been busy and exciting. First, I was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Really Did That? And then I woke up to this:
Melanie Saxton — Top Texas Book Editor
Yes, this month (August 2017) I was recognized as one of the Top 15 Book Editors in Texas and listed at #6:
Melanie Saxton is a Houston-based editor who has worked with clients across the United States, Australia and Canada. A recipient of an Excellence in Cancer Journalism Award, Melanie’s work as a journalist led to a career in book editing, and she has experience in both fiction and nonfiction editing. Melanie’s approach to book editing is collaborative in nature, and begins by her asking for a word count of your manuscript, and an initial look at the first few chapters and the final one. After this, Melanie advises on whether your book needs developmental editing, substantive editing, or would simply benefit from a proofread. Take a look at this page to find further details of how Melanie can edit your book, and what she does. You can e-mail her at: email@example.com to get a quote.
This shout-out (read the whole article here) has put me in the writing mood, so here’s the backstory.
How it all Started
You know you are destined to work in the world of words when your favorite childhood toy was a bucket of refrigerator magnets. Sheesh, I was a word nerd even back then! I recall being three and four years old, trying mightily to make sense of those alphabet letters. I do the same thing behind a keyboard today!
I gravitated toward the advanced English courses in school (which everyone else seemed to avoid), majored in English, and minored in psychology simply to better understand characterization and what rolls around in the heads of protagonists, heroines, and villains.
Paying Those Dues!
Like many young writers, I worked full-time in the corporate world to make ends meet. I remember writing eulogies, church newsletters, and speeches for free — anything to write! Magazines slowly but surely picked up my articles, and soon I was writing for the same publications over a span of years. This prepared me to serve as editor-in-chief for two magazines and become a contributing editor for a suite of five more.
Magazine writing is the reason I became a book editor in the first place. As a journalist, I’ve met so many aspiring authors, and inevitably someone would ask, “Can you take a look at my book?” My answer was always, “Of course!” Back then I couldn’t even remotely fathom becoming a top Texas book editor, but with perseverance, my career took off.
I also thank my mother for being such a huge influence in my career choice — she read to me as a baby and didn’t stop even after I could read on my own. I was always so happy when she finished a James Michener paperback novel and passed it on to me. Exploring his plots and settings and story arcs was an intense tutorial on expansive writing.
In fact, being a voracious reader of many genres inspired and encouraged me to take the next step… ghostwriting (ghost authoring) a book for a client back in the 1990s. And although ghostwriters write anonymously for a fee and aren’t mentioned in the credits, that initial experience confirmed my ability to write books and help others do the same.
Today I work in most genres and collaborate with publishers and printers such as Fort Bend Publishing Group, SuburbanBuzz Publishing, Bright Sky Press, and Gorham Printing. So what started as an occasional project grew into a full-fledged career doing exactly what I love — book editing, ghostwriting, and copywriting. What a bonus to wake up one sunshiny summer morning to the news that I’ve been recognized as a Top Texas Book Editor. Many thanks to Writing Tips Oasis for including me in a list of highly talented fellow editors!