Summer 2022 Updates

In June, I received a wonderful note from a former client who self-published his memoir last year. To his astonishment and delight, the website BookAuthority listed his book as one of the “9 Best New Emigration eBooks To Read In 2022.” He could not believe that a modest idea to write a book for his children could find its way to a list like this and reach a much wider audience than originally intended. I am so happy I could play a part in this author finding his voice and telling his story. (Visit this page for more on how I can help you write your own memoir.)

Beyond this joyful news, I wanted to share some of the projects that have kept me busy in the last few months:

  • Writing several articles for Healthline, including ones about autoimmune conditions, lighting and migraines, and neuroplasticity and growth mindset.
  • Copyediting the latest issues of the journals Jazz and Culture, Process Studies, the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, and Ethnomusicology.
  • Copyediting and proofreading a new introduction to a book published by Templeton Press, the publisher where I served as managing editor before venturing out into the freelance world.
  • Completing permissions projects for Wolters Kluwer Health.

As fall beckons, please keep me in mind for your publishing needs. I have two decades of experience in the industry and would love to help you complete your project in a timely and professional manner.

Recent Work

Natalie is amazing. I am a first-time author, and Natalie instilled life into my nonfiction manuscript. Thank you.

—Recent Client

Greetings from the office of Silver Scribe Editorial Services! It’s been a very productive few months, and I wanted to share some recent projects.

The above quote is from a review I received via Reedsy for a developmental editing project I completed this month. The author needed me to help him organize and massage his book on video game addiction in children and teens. I wish him the best as he completes the publishing process and works to get this book in the hands of exasperated parents.

I also copyedited a book in March about parenting infants from birth to twelve months and am wrapping up an edit for a manuscript about skin care practices that reduce the effects of aging. Both of these authors found me on Reedsy.

Another client and I are collaborating to publish his memoir. We’ve had several meetings on Zoom to discuss his writing journey, and I’ll begin editing the manuscript this spring. He began with just a kernel of an idea in fall 2021 and will have a finished memoir by the end of summer.

I continue to write for Healthline, copyedit various academic journals, and complete miscellaneous publishing administrative projects (permissions, test question editing) as well.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work on such a range of projects and am happy to help make your publishing dreams a reality. Please reach out if you need any guidance.

Publish Your Book in 2022

I recently reread Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. This is a wonderful book about the creative process, and it encapsulates the value creativity brings to our life. Gilbert, who you may know from her wildly successful memoir Eat, Pray, Love, is the author of both nonfiction and fiction works, and she brings a strong work ethic to her vocation.

Some of the advice that she shares in Big Magic relates to just putting one foot in front of the other (or, in the case of writing, one word in front of the other):

“Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes—but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work” (p. 166).

“I keep remembering what my mother always used to say: ‘Done is better than good'” (p. 176).

“A good-enough novel violently written now is better than a perfect novel meticulously written never” (p. 177).

“Be careful not to quit too soon” (p. 247).

—Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

These are inspirational for anyone considering writing a book or, more specifically, their memoirs.

Might you consider these quotes as you endeavor to publish that book you always meant to write?

I’d love to meet with you about your creative process and help you map out a writing schedule that works for your needs but also factors in some accountability. I can check in with you regularly and create a publishing plan so your work in progress (or, for that matter, idea for a book) can become a fully realized goal by year’s end.

My years of experience pushing deadlines through will help you become a published author. You can reach out to me at silver.editorial(at)outlook(dot)com.

How to Publish Your Own Memoir in Months

I had an amazing opportunity this spring and summer to collaborate with Glenn Chelliah to develop, edit, and publish his memoir, My Emigration to the United States and Achieving the American Dream. We began work on this book in March, and he received finished copies to give to his family for his seventy-fifth birthday in September.

Glenn’s family, particularly his adult daughter, had wanted him to record his life story both for his family now and future generations. Together, Glenn and I wrote chapters on his life growing up in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), his college years in Philadelphia, his career in the pharmaceutical industry, his family life, and his travels around the globe. We had no expectations for how long the book would be when we started, and it ended up being a nicely sized 144-page volume, including several family photos (in color) and Glenn and his wife’s family trees in an appendix.

Here’s how this project came together, in the event that you’d like to consider writing your own memoir:

Developmental Stage (March through Mid-May)

  • Glenn submitted outlines of potential chapters of his book
  • Glenn and I met via Zoom to discuss how we wanted to collaborate on the writing process
  • I referred to the outlines Glenn provided, expanding or refining the prose, reorganizing thematic elements, and asking pertinent questions
  • Glenn sent feedback on chapters to me and I incorporated his suggestions
  • Glenn and I reviewed the final manuscript one more time for redundancy, missed information, and flow

Production Stage (Late May through September)

  • I sent the manuscript to a trusted copyeditor to review the manuscript for grammar, usage, and style
  • Glenn and I reviewed the copyeditor’s changes and queries and finalized the manuscript for production
  • Glenn and I worked with designer Gary Rosenberg at The Book Couple to typeset the book, design the cover, and upload the final files to Ingram and Amazon for printing
  • The designer sent Glenn and me page proofs (after approving the design) to proofread
  • The designer created a cover for Glenn’s feedback
  • Glenn and I worked on back cover copy for the book and sent it to the designer
  • The designer finalized pages based on our feedback and uploaded the finalized pages and cover
  • Glenn ordered and reviewed a finished copy of the book and made a few changes that the designer incorporated
  • Glenn ordered finished copies of his book via Amazon to give to loved ones (he can reorder at any time, or you can order one for yourself)

In just six months, Glenn turned his “someday” dream into a reality and is now a published author. His family and friends can read his life story, and future generations will understand their roots in Ceylon and the life Glenn made for himself in the United States.

You can purchase a print or ebook here.


If you are interested in self-publishing a memoir or another type of book, let’s talk about how we can make your dreams a reality. The flow of the project I listed above is quite typical for publishing, and we can customize the timeline to meet your needs. The book does not need to be long or contain any specific elements. It can be as unique as you are.

Recent Work

Despite my absence here on the blog in the last few months, I am still working away on both editing and writing projects! I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with some individual authors lately on large-scale publishing projects, particularly books and dissertations. Here are a few words of praise I’ve received recently, in the event these hearty endorsements convince you that I am capable and easy to work with for your own project.

“Great job, no complaints. I would be happy to hire Natalie again.” —Barbara, author of a forthcoming book on writing for academia

“Natalie does great work and it was a pleasure doing business with her.” —John, author of a forthcoming book on tuning instruments

“I am reviewing the editing and it is wonderful. . . . Thank you so much.” —Michael, author of a forthcoming book on boating and sailing

Do I Need a Writer, an Editor, or Someone Else?

If you are unfamiliar with the publishing process, you may wonder how a writer, editor, copyeditor, or proofreader can help you. I have worked on projects in all of these roles, and here’s my brief overview of how they serve a publication.

Writer: You may need a writer if you have a lot of ideas but you can’t seem to get them down on paper. A writer can take your stream-of-consciousness thoughts or interview you to create the document you intend to publish. That may be a website, a book, or something else. Writers can also create documents with prompts you give them or a research topic to investigate. I write for many different clients and some of my projects have included writing articles, ghostwriting books or blog posts, summarizing case studies, and more.

Editor: This is a very general title and I would lean toward putting the word “developmental” in front of the title as it concerns an individual seeking help. This person can look at your work so far and give you ideas of how to reshape or retool it to meet your intended audience. A developmental editor can also help you work on flow and ask probing questions to help you dig deeper into your document. At a publishing house, an editor may also be a managing or acquiring editor. A managing editor coordinates all aspects of the publishing process and an acquiring editor finds content to publish.

Copyeditor: This person will copyedit a document that is in very good shape and almost ready for publication. This person uses a style book or style guide (and a dictionary!) to correct grammar, usage, and style errors. A copyeditor may also point out sentences that need clarification or suggest adding headings to improve readability. A copyeditor will also format references in a bibliography or notes section as well as inquire about permissions for artwork or long passages that you borrowed from another source. Your copyeditor may also be willing to fact-check a document if you request it.

Proofreader: A proofreader looks at a nearly published document usually set in its final form. A proofreader will only correct egregious errors like misspellings or the odd (or missing) punctuation mark. The proofreader ensures that everything looks clean and tidy to avoid embarrassing mistakes appearing in the final publication.

There are of course other roles in publishing like typesetters, designers, agents, reviewers, fact-checkers, translators, and more. Before you get too far with your work, however, consider whether you need one (or more) of these types of people involved in your document. Feel free to contact me to chat about your project, and I can provide you with an assessment of what I think you need.

Writing Is Magic

I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Gilbert is of course the author of the mega-hit Eat Pray Love. I enjoyed this other book by her even more than the bestseller. Her take on the creative process can be helpful for writers as well as for those in other creative fields or for those who just enjoy being creative.

If you are thinking about publishing something or are already part of the world, some of Gilbert’s observations and advice could be quite helpful. I’d recommend you read this book.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

On the creativity that lives within you and how to get it into the world:

And you have treasures hidden within you — extraordinary treasures — and so do I, and so does everyone around us. And bringing these treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time anymore to think small. (p. 27)

On getting over perfectionism:

We must understand that drive for perfectionism is a corrosive waste of time, because nothing is ever beyond criticism. (p. 169)

On actually producing something creative (and not just tinkering forever!):

You do what you can do, as competently as possible within a reasonable time frame, and then you let it go. (p. 177)

On curiosity:

Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living. (p. 237)

Treading Lightly

Recently, I read The Subversive Copy Editor by Carol Fisher Saller. Saller is a copyeditor at the University of Chicago Press, home of the celebrated stylebook, now in its seventeenth edition. She also manages the question and answer feature on the stylebook’s website, which has been a huge resource to me over the years. I’ve followed happenings at the University of Chicago for quite some time — since the fourteenth edition!

I wholeheartedly agree with Saller’s take on copyediting and the Chicago philosophy in general. One of the sentences in the opening pages of the book sums it up perfectly:

Your first goal isn’t to slash and burn your way through [the manuscript] in an effort to make it conform to a list of style rules. (p. 7)

Unless you want someone to change your work radically (which I would suggest is substantive editing, not copyediting), this lighter and sensible approach to copyediting should put you at ease. When you hand over a manuscript for copyediting, you feel the work is in pretty good shape and that it needs some fact-checking and smoothing (and, in many cases, formatting help for references and bibliographies).

So remember that unless you are submitting an article for a publication with strict guidelines or your work needs a lot of retooling, the copyediting process should be pretty gentle.

Thoughts on Copyediting from a Pro

I just finished reading Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris, a longtime copyeditor at The New Yorker. Her book is a memoir/reference hybrid, combining lovely anecdotes about her life as well as grammar lessons. Some passages in the book resonated with me, especially those about the role of a copyeditor:

On the purpose of copyediting:

The whole point of having things read before publication is to test their effect on a general reader. You want to make sure when you go out there that the tag on the back of your collar isn’t poking up–unless, of course, you are deliberately wearing your clothes inside out. (p. 36)

On what writers think of copyeditors:

Writers might think we’re applying rules and sticking it to their prose in order to make it fit some standard, but just as often we’re backing off, making exceptions, and at least trying to find a balance between doing too much and doing too little. (p. 38)

And on why copyeditors will always be important, despite technology improving:

Because English has so many words of foreign origin, and words that look the same but mean something different depending on their context, and words that are in flux, opening and closing like flowers in time-lapse photography, the human element is especially important if we are to stay on top of the computers, which, in their determination to do our  job for us, make decisions so subversive that even professional wordsmiths are taken by surprise. (p. 113)

Finally, Mary’s enthusiasm of pencils (especially soft-leaded no. 1 pencils!) is particularly endearing in the chapter “Ballad of a Pencil Junkie.” In this penultimate chapter, she also remarks on her lacking handwriting (“I’d had complaints about it since third grade,” p. 171) and shares an interesting observation about those with neat handwriting: “Later, as a graduate student, teaching comprehension, I noted that the student with the neatest handwriting often wrote the dullest prose” (p. 172). The quote reminds me to be gentler on my own children with their sometimes-sloppy (often-sloppy?) handwriting.

This delightful book about the editing life is the twenty-sixth book I’ve read this year for pleasure (only four more to go to meet my goal for the year!). It does not count the hundreds (probably thousands) of pages I have read for work. Nothing makes me happier than sinking my teeth into a new subject or work. I am thankful that I’ve been able to make reading a hobby and a career.

Now Working With Reinvent U

IMG_6118 (2)If you are looking to make a career transition, my most recent partnership might be of interest to you. I am excited to announce that I’ll be collaborating with Nicole Pica of Reinvent U. Nicole helps people with their résumés and LinkedIn profiles as well as provides one-on-one coaching and group workshops. I am working with Nicole to give her clients’ career transition materials an extra look.

Often I am approached about writing résumés. However, at this moment in time, I am not working on résumés or LinkedIn profiles. There is an art to creating these career-focused documents, and it’s best to use an expert who has insight into this specialized field. I would highly recommend Nicole’s work and her personable approach. As I’ve mentioned before about writing your own bio, marketing yourself is tough work! Nicole will help you identify what you bring to the table so when the time comes to make a career change you are sure to avoid selling yourself short.

image002Nicole brings a wealth of experience to her work. She is a scientist by training, with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and also holds certificates in positive psychology and personal training. One area she focuses on in her work is stress management and stress reduction. I am thrilled that we are working together to help people navigate this challenging (but exciting) time of life.