Tag Archives: Home Improvement

Hiring an Editor is Not the Place to Cut Corners

Back in 2003 I left a really well-paying job to start my own home improvement business. It was a questionable decision at best, and I quickly learned that whatever skills I possessed as a carpenter were trumped by my complete inadequacy as a business man. Despite the inevitable failure of my business, I did learn several lessons, some of which translate nicely to my writing endeavors.

One such piece of “tool belt wisdom” came to mind recently when another author friend of mine was complaining about the cost of hiring an editor.  tool belt

You’ve heard the old adage any lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client? It’s the same for authors who try to self-edit.

Every author needs an editor – this fact is non-negotiable.

The reasons you should always hire a qualified professional editor are numerous, and not the topic of this post. The important thing here is that you do.

Anyway…before I go off on a tangent, let’s get back on point.

While I was a self-employed home improvement contractor I was hired to remodel a kitchen. The client was a single woman in her late 40s/early 50s who told me exactly what she wanted down to the smallest detail. This was fine with me, because it left very little ambiguity.

A problem did arise, however, when I was nearly finished installing the granite tile countertop she wanted. She decided that she didn’t like the fact that there were no grout joints. countertop

The ensuing argument began with the debate over my lack of foresight, since I had been unable to predict that she would not like that which she had told me she wanted…

It escalated to her extreme displeasure at the amount of time it was taking me to complete the project.

I reminded her of the conversation prior to the signing of the contract where she assured me that, since it was a vacant rental property, and since my price was so good I needn’t worry about time.

Apparently I was wrong in the assumption that she actually meant what she had said…

So the argument ended when I told her that there were three options when it came to getting the job done:

  • You can have it good
  • You can have it fast
  • You can have it cheap

BUT

You can only pick two of those options.

She didn’t like that answer.

At that point I really didn’t care what she liked, and I told her so in no uncertain terms.

She fired me the next day.

 

The point of the story is that those rules apply to just about anybody you hire to do anything. It’s almost a universal law.

If you want it good and cheap, it’s probably not going to be fast.

If you want it good and fast it’s not going to be cheap and if you want it fast and cheap it’s not going to be good.

Back to editors…

edits

As I stated, you should definitely hire an editor, but pay attention to the aforementioned rules.

Editing a novel properly is a laborious and time-consuming task. The level of quality of YOUR book will suffer if it is hurried. Allow your editor the time he/she needs to do the job properly. Rushing them will never result in a better product.

A qualified editor is a professional. Expect their fee to be commensurate with their experience and ability. Editing is not the place to cut corners. By all means, you should shop around and find the best price to fit your budget, but don’t go to the extreme of hiring your high school English teacher who says they’ll do it for a hundred bucks and a case of beer.

You spent months, maybe years, writing your manuscript – proper editing will make your work better. Believe it or not…there is room for improvement in your work, and you should want the finished product to be as good as it can be.

One final point to illustrate my own experience with editors.

Living the Dream My first novel, Living the Dream, was not professionally edited.

I labored over it for more than a year. It was re-written at least 4 times. I had three people beta-read it for me, and I corrected everything they found. When I finally submitted it for publishing I was fairly certain it was as tight as it could be.

Now, it seems that every time I pick the book up and flip to a random page I spot a typo…or I read a sentence that could have been reworded to make it better…or I notice a misspelled word.

The story itself is (in my somewhat-biased opinion) excellent and I wouldn’t change it at all, but there are a bunch of little “mistakes” which would have been eliminated by a good editor.

All of my subsequent books and stories were rigorously edited, and it shows. Naturally I paid for it, and as every independent author knows, there usually isn’t a lot of money in the budget for such luxuries. My books took a little longer to get from manuscript to finished product, but what’s a month or two in the big picture?

So the moral of the story is – yes, editing is an additional expense and it will add some time to your schedule, but if you really care about the quality of your book it’s time and money well-spent.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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It Was Much More Than an Interview – It Could Save a Life

On Friday August 1, 2014 I had the pleasure of interviewing Mickey Jones on my radio show (as I warned you about here).

If you don’t know who Mickey Jones is – look here. If you don’t know about my radio program on 97.3  The Surf – look here.

Anyway – about the interview…

Just prior to calling him, I played the song Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers to get the listening audience primed – since Mickey was the drummer on that track.

secret agent manI called Mickey and we exchanged pleasantries off-air while the song played. Mind you – Mickey couldn’t hear the song so he had no idea what the audience was hearing.

When the song finished I brought our mics up and welcomed Mickey to the show, telling him that we had just played Secret Agent Man.

“That’s a good song,” he said. “Let me tell you a story about that song…”

He launched into a story about the making of Secret Agent Man, which led to another story about Johnny Rivers, which led to a story about touring England with the Rolling Stones as their opening act, which led to a story about John Lennon telling Mickey he hoped the Ed Sullivan show would be seen in California, which led to…

Well – you get it.

We talked about his book That Would Be Me (a must read for music lovers) and his work-in-progress I’m That Guy which will chronicle his acting career. Mickey is a born story-teller so neither of these books will disappoint.

That Would Be MeNinety minutes after we began I had to interrupt him in the middle of a story about Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He sounded disappointed that he had to stop. I really think he felt as though he was just getting started!

Judging by the response from the listeners I should have let him keep going.

Talking with Mickey is like having a conversation with your best friend – the one you haven’t seen in a while, but as soon as you get together it’s like you just spoke yesterday.

Shortly before we wrapped things up I let a cat out of the bag. I revealed a bit of a secret on the air that Mickey doesn’t talk about.

As far as he knew it was just another interview about rock-and-roll, and he was fine with that, but there was a more important message I wanted to get out.

Quite simply – Mickey needs a kidney.

When I first met him in 2011 he had found a donor and things were looking good. Unfortunately, complications arose and the donor was told, for her own health reasons, that she could not donate. In the meantime, Mickey had been removed from the waiting list for reasons I am not sure of.

The would-be donor (we’ll call her Lark) asked me if we could interview Mickey and get the word out about Mickey’s need for a kidney. Like Mickey, Lark is also an incredibly self-less person and even though she can’t donate her kidney she has taken it upon herself to help find another donor.

I announced it on-air without giving Mickey any advance warning and he was immediately choked up with gratitude (although he tried to blame it on his allergies!).

Tim on the air

On the air talking to Mickey Jones on WQFB 97.3 The Surf – flaglerbeachradio.com

Here’s the thing that struck me the most; Mickey spends a great deal of his time and energy traveling the country, and sometimes the world, to participate and lend his support to charities – especially charities aimed at helping children. (click here to see one of the charities Mickey supports – where he and I first met)

Putting his own health issues aside, he selflessly devotes himself to causes that will help others…but when I reached out to my listening audience for help, he was so overwhelmed that he was left speechless for a few seconds – something that doesn’t happen too often!

The bottom line is this…Mickey’s chances of finding a kidney increase greatly every time somebody hears about his situation – so spreading the word is the first, and biggest step.

You can help greatly simply by sharing or reblogging this post.

share this

Finally – Anybody interested in learning about donating a kidney can contact:

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

If your last name begins with A-K, call Jessica at 310-423-8463

If your last name begins with L-Z, call Enrique at 310-423-8463

It is very important to tell them you wish to be tested to donate to Mickey Jones

If you missed the interview don’t worry, I will be posting a link to an encore presentation very soon.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Big News! I’m Going to be Interviewing That Guy! (you know…that guy)

Imagine you’re on Jeopardy… Final Jeopardy

The final Jeopardy category is “Entertainers” and you’re feeling pretty confident so you wager the whole enchilada.

And the answer is: The man who played drums for Johnny Rivers, Trini Lopez, Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, Bob Dylan and The Band?

You should know this, but… I don't know

He has also been in 30 movies including Total Recall, Tin Cup, Vacation and Sling Blade.

You really should know this…

He has appeared in almost 40 television series such as M*A*S*H, Baywatch and Northern Exposure.

He’s had recurring roles in Home Improvement and Justified.

This should be easy…

Not only has he been in dozens of TV commercials…one of his commercials holds the record as the longest running commercial in television history.

The music starts playing and you start sweating as you draw a complete blank.

You’d think with a resume like that he’d be a household name.

Aaaannnnd – time’s up.

The name we were looking for is Mickey Jones.

Mickey

I see by that look on your face that you think a mistake has been made. Surely with a list of accomplishments so impressive the name would be instantly recognizable.

Mickey Jones?

Wasn’t he one of the Monkees?

Sorry – but there has been no mistake…

Mickey Jones is the quintessential “best kept secret in the entertainment industry.”

Mickey began his musical career in the late 50’s and it ran through 1976, at which time he changed his focus to acting and is still at it.

So now you’re wondering why I’m quizzing you on this guy.

Long story short…I will have the honor of interviewing Mickey on my radio show on Friday, August 1.

Mickey with Ann Margaret

And how did I land an interview with a living legend?

I met Mickey a couple of years ago when he was the celebrity guest on a charity motorcycle run/golf tournament. During the golf tournament I got to drive him around in the cart. For four hours I heard stories about Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Ann Margaret, David Bowie, Tim Allen, and Chevy Chase – and he hadn’t even scratched the surface of his experiences.  Mickey Tool Time

For me – a guy from a small town in Rhode Island – it was an amazing weekend, and best of all, Mickey is a genuinely nice guy.

Not once in two days did this guy act above anybody.

To an outside observer he would have looked like just another biker hanging out with his buddies.

So there you have it…tune in to Tim Baker’s B-Sides, Deep Cuts and Cool Covers on Friday August, 1 at 7:00 p.m. EST and check it out.

The interview will be broadcast live on 97.3 FM – The Surf as well as over the internet on www.flaglerbeachradio.com.

In the meantime – if you have any questions for Mickey, leave them in the comments section below and I’ll try to work them into the spot.

The First Edition

By the way…all of the stories I heard in the golf cart, along with dozens more, can be found in Mickey’s book, appropriately titled That Would Be Me.

I’ve read it – and it’s great.

The title of the book, he told me, comes from his standard reply to people who approach him daily and say “Hey, aren’t you that guy…”

Mickey doesn’t mind that people don’t know him by name – he never did anything for the fame or the glory. He did it because he loved doing it. He always felt like the luckiest guy in the world to have the opportunity to do the things he did!

That Would Be Me

I hope you can tune in, Mickey is always happy to make new friends!

As always – thank you for reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim Mickey golf cart

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