Monday, June 02, 2014


My first contact with Kathy Ide was when she was the editor for my book, Pirate’s Prize, fairly early in my writing career. She loved the book, which warmed my writer-heart. Then soon after, we were at a writing retreat at the edge of the Sam Houston National Forest in Texas. Janice Thompson had put the retreat together. All who were there became long-time friends. I was thrilled when Kathy wanted me to send information to be included in this book.

Welcome, Kathy. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
One thing that often surprises people when they find out I’m a professional freelance editor is that I didn’t go to college … well, except for a hockey game at the University of Minnesota once. I learned how to write and edit by reading books about the craft, attending writers’ conferences, talking to other writers and editors, studying the industry-standard style guides—and a little bit by osmosis, since I’ve been an avid reader my entire life.

I also seem to have a natural affinity for catching mistakes in written material. I’m one of those people who notices when billboards and magazine ads and signs in grocery stores have misspelled words or punctuation marks in the wrong place. I used to drive my family crazy complaining about those things. Now that I get paid to do it, they don’t mind so much.

Tell us about your family.
I have an amazingly supportive husband—there’s no way I could be doing what I do without Rick, that’s for sure. When I lost my day job 15 years ago, after working for 30 years as a secretary and graphic designer for companies, he asked me what I’d do for a living if I could do anything. I immediately said, “Write!” But we’d just bought a house in Southern California based on my income with a well-established career. So he asked, “What would your second choice be?” I told him the members of my critique group seemed to really like what I did for them. He suggested I see if I could turn that into a career. And I did!

I also have two grown sons. Both have moved out of the house (twice) and are now living in other states: one in Texas and the other in Colorado.

Since my hubby and I live in Southern California, our extended family members come to visit us a lot! We love being the “bed-and-breakfast” for our relatives while they explore all the tourist options within an hour or so of our home.

Have you written other nonfiction books?
I’ve self-published two books for writers: Christian Drama Publishing and Typing without Pain.

Do you have any other books in the works right now?
Of course! If my Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors does well, I plan on doing more books in the Secrets of Best-Selling Authors series: Editing Secrets, Publishing Secrets, Marketing Secrets, Keyboarding Secrets … and maybe Secrets of Best-Selling Fiction Authors, Best-Selling Children’s Authors, etc. The possibilities are almost endless.

I’m also working on a series of devotionals with a unique twist. When I get a contract for the book, you’ll definitely hear about it!

And I have a novel manuscript that I’ve been working on for years, off and on. It’s near-future speculative, which is a bit of an odd duck. But I believe it will find the right home someday.

I know that more and more publishers are looking for speculative books right now. Maybe it’ll be soon. What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
My husband says that editing is my job and writing is my hobby! That’s because editing results in a much better income than writing. But I love both! And I tend to spend a lot of my free time doing things related to one or the other. Traveling to speak and teach at writers’ conferences is “work” but it’s also tremendous fun. Running my two organizations for editors (Christian Editor Connection and The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network) takes several hours a week, but I enjoy that too.

I’ve always been an avid reader. But to be honest, it’s harder now to find books I can just enjoy, without doing at least some editing in the back of my mind! When I find a book that captivates me so much I stop analyzing it, that’s a real treasure.

Still, all work and no play, even when you enjoy your work, is a recipe for disaster and burnout. So I make sure to spend leisure time with my hubby (I drive to his office to have lunch with him every week, and we have date night at the movies at least once a week), my BFF (she comes over to exercise and pray every week, and she brings her family along for dinner and a movie or a Wii game a couple of times a month), and my totally adorable five-year-old goddaughter, Zoe.

We just bought a motor home, so I’m looking forward to some leisurely trips in that.

I also love going to the theater, and Southern California has a lot of options for that. I’ve seen Phantom of the Opera, my favorite, a half dozen times—three times with Michael Crawford.

Why did you write the featured book?
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors started when I was proofreading galleys for Moody Publishers. If I wanted to make any change, I had to prove I was right by citing a rule from The Chicago Manual of Style or look up the spelling in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. I found myself looking up the same rules and words over and over, so I made a little “cheat sheet” for myself. That list got longer and longer. And I started rewriting the explanations from the Chicago manual in words that made sense to me.

When I shared that list with other writers and editors, they wanted a copy. So I started printing them and giving them away. When the list got longer, and more people wanted it, I self-published it as a book and sold it. I called it Polishing the PUGS: Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling Tips for Writers. It became so popular, I was awarded the nickname “the PUGS lady”!

When I found a commercial publisher for the book, I decided to change the title, put in more PUGS guidelines (based on input from my readers), and add a new feature: tips from multi-published authors on how to proofread a manuscript for typos, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies.

Which best-selling authors are featured in your book?
                                    Lisa Tawn Bergren
                                    Renae Brumbaugh
                                    Mary DeMuth
                                    Lena Nelson Dooley
                                    Suzanne Woods Fisher
                                    Anita Higman
                                    Randy Ingermanson
                                    Kathi Macias
                                    Gail Gaymer Martin
                                    Susan Meissner
                                    Deborah Raney
                                    Gayle Roper
                                    Lynette Sowell
                                    Kay Marshall Strom
                                    Cindy Woodsmall

And it is a great privilege to appear with these wonderful authors. What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
Mostly, I’m hoping readers will grasp the importance of carefully proofreading their manuscripts. One of the things that prevents me from enjoying more books is all the mistakes I find. And these days, with more and more writers going with indie publishing, the number of books that are not carefully proofread is growing like crazy.

In my book, I highlight a few of the industry-standard guidelines for punctuation, and I address a handful of grammar rules, and I reveal some of the most commonly misspelled (or misused) words I come across in my editing. And many people have told me how great it is to have a handy go-to reference. But I’m hoping my readers will take that a step further and study the rules for themselves … and get in the habit of looking up words in the appropriate dictionary, even if they’re absolutely positive they know how to spell them! (My hubby says the definition of positive is being wrong at the top of your voice.)

Where on the Internet can the readers find you?
A year ago, I would’ve just told you to check out my website: But now I’m all over the place on the Internet! I have two Facebook pages:
My book has its own Facebook page:
And here are my social media “homes”:
            LinkedIn: kathyideauthoreditor

I’m also very active with my two organizations for editors.

The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (
This is a professional support organization for aspiring and established editorial freelancers, offering tips and tools on the website, a free e-mail discussion loop, online courses, and added benefits for contributing members.

Christian Editor Connection ( )
Here I personally connect writers, agents, and publishers with established, professional freelance editors who fit their unique needs.

Thanks so much for the privilege of being interviewed on your blog, Lena! You have been a dear friend for many years, and I’m so grateful to God for making sure our paths have crossed so many times!

I've been blessed by that association, too, Kathy.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors - paperback
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors (Writing With Excellence) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Crystal L Barnes said...

Sounds like a very worth-while book, Kathy. It's also very encouraging to know you didn't go to college to learn this. I didn't go to college to learn to be a writer. It's just something God said, "Here. This is what I want you to do now." :)

Kathy Ide said...

Crystal, it's been my experience that people who went to college often have a harder time writing, and especially proofreading, their book manuscripts--partly because the rules are different. The style guides colleges use aren't the same as what book publishers use. I think it's easier to learn something new than to first have to "un-learn" what you were previously taught.

Melanie Backus said...

Kathy, I totally agree in the above statement you made that it is easier to learn something new than to unlearn what you were previously taught. I took a college course in writing once and the whole class could not please the instructor with our writings. Week in and week out it was the same. As we sat in our groups going over our writings before submitting them, there was some great writing going. Our teacher told us that she was just going to have to lower her standards since we just couldn't seem to get it. We all muddled through and needless to say, that teacher was not teaching at the college the next semester.

Melanie Backus, TX

Cindy W. said...

Hi Kathy! This sounds like a book I could really use. I'm sure there are a lot of things I don't know but need to know. One thing I learned a few years back is now we are not supposed to put two spaces between sentences. I learned (many years ago) that we should always put two spaces between sentences and now I am working hard to put only one.

I would love to win a copy of your book. Thank you for the opportunity.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Patsy said...

Oh, I could really use this book! It seems like a very helpful book. What a great idea when you came up with this.
From South Mississippi


RW1010 said...

Raleigh, NC

Britney Adams said...

What a wonderful book, Kathy! Thank you so much!

Britney Adams, TX

Anonymous said...

Great book.

Julie (WI)

Kathy Ide said...

That's so sad that a college teacher would be so discouraging to fledgling writers. When I do edits on manuscripts, I always make sure to include some positive comments, no matter how many mistakes there might be. Writing techniques can be learned. But discouragement is tough to overcome.

Kathy Ide said...

I had a hard time kicking the habit of putting two spaces between sentences. But then I discovered you can use Find and Replace, with two spaces in the first box and one space in the second box, and clicking "replace all" until the number gets down to zero. I've finally trained my fingers to put just one space between sentences. But before I finalize anything important, I still run that Find and Replace!

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Melanie, after I'd been published a few times, my husband and I decided to take Spanish at our local junior college. We were going on mission trips into Mexico. At that time, the minimum payment was for two classes, so I decided to take the Creative Writing class, because a number of people had asked me if the class was a good one to take.

The professor was much like what you described. There were a number of people who were talented writers, even though some didn't write what I would want to read. The professor wanted everyone to write and read what she liked, which wasn't what I wanted to read either.

After our final exam, most of us stopped in the Student Union, which was right outside the classroom door, for a soda and we discussed how we felt. So many of them said they'd not write another word. It broke my heart.

Brenda Vasquez said...

Sounds great! Count this Floridian in the contest.

Lane Hill House said...

This sounds interesting to add to my resource books! Thanks for the offering. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House ~ MO

Kathy Ide said...

When I was in fifth grade, I wrote a story inspired by my dad's train set in the basement. It included a woman on the "wrong side of the tracks" who had a baby, and she wanted to give him a better life than she could provide, so she took him to the "right side of the tracks" and left him on the doorstep of a fancy house. When he grew up, he fell in love with a girl from the "wrong side of the tracks." I loved writing that story. But when I showed it to my mom, she got upset about details that I hadn't even given any thought to--like the baby being born out of wedlock and his mom being an unwed mother. This was in the '60s, and I was a preteen. My mom's negative reaction made me decide I should never write a story again. When I was offered creative writing as an elective in high school, I chose band instead. So it's not just college teachers who can discourage budding writers. But you know what? If God wants you to write, He won't let discouraging comments stop you!

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant

Sarah Elisabeth said...

So great to hear about your journey, Kathy! I'm thankful God guided my path around the college route...I've learned so much more from mentors the past five years than I ever could have in a stiff classroom. Now I'm teaching real world creative writing in them for a summer art academy. Oh, the irony ;-)

Sarah from East Texas

Kathy Ide said...

God does seem to LOVE irony!

Cyndi said...

Sounds like an extremely helpful book! Thanks for the giveaway!

Cyndi in AL

Cyndi said...

Oops... didn't finish my thought. :-) I, too, am annoyed at the mistakes I see in books and wonder sometimes how they could've slipped by both the author and the editor. Thanks for this attempt to help!

Cyndi in AL

Kathy Ide said...

When I was doing proofreading for Moody, I was surprised to learn they used FIVE freelance proofreaders for the galleys. I started at #5. I thought, What mistakes am I going to find that the author, the editors, and four other proofreaders didn't catch? I was surprised at how many typos and PUGS errors I found. Eventually I worked my way up to proofreader #1 ... and I couldn't help wondering what the four proofreaders after me would find that I missed!

And when I was going through the galleys for my own Proofreading Secrets book, I REALLY wanted it to be perfect. After all, it's a book about proofreading! I went through it countless times. I had editor friends go through it carefully. And yet, there were still errors in it when it went to press!!! ARGH!

As I point out in my book, nobody's perfect and mistakes happen.

rubynreba said...

I would enjoy reading this book. Thanks for the chance to win it!
Beth from IA