Author Archive Katie Cook

Developmental editor working with a client

Tips for Working with a Developmental Editor

Katie Cook No Comments

The job of a developmental editor is to make your project the best it can be. In my role as a developmental editor for textbooks, operations manuals, and other educational products, I prepare a competitive analysis of the competition (textbooks), recommend alternative ways of phrasing concepts, remove the jargon and ensure that the text is written for its intended audience, and much more. Hiring a developmental editor can be a luxury for some, but working with a developmental editor will save you time and money in the long run. Follow the tips below to get the most benefit from a developmental editor’s expertise.

1. Hire the developmental editor early in the process.
The developmental editor isn’t going to fix your grammar, change your comma to a semicolon, or flag your sentence fragment. Your developmental editor will likely fix blatant errors, but our job is to address higher-level issues. Developmental editors are idea people; we care about the overall message and the individual concepts. After addressing the big issues with your developmental editor you can then hire a copyeditor to fix typos, grammar, and punctuation.

2. Finalize the draft and then take a break.
Once you pass the work to the editor, resist the urge to add new material, make organizational changes, or edit the document. Things get messy when multiple people are working on the same document. If you add to your document while it is being edited you miss out on valuable input. Sit on your hands if you must, or start a new document and make note of your ideas for changes. After the developmental editor returns the edits, you can revise based on your notes and the editor’s suggestions.

3. Arrange for two passes with your editor
Your editor is your partner and collaborator. A good editor will ask questions, offer suggestions for developing content, and may even have suggestions for drastically altering the organization, all while being mindful of your style and intent. Depending on the type of changes your editor recommends, two passes of a document may be necessary. When you have two editing passes you have the chance to review your editor’s queries and implement changes. Then the editor can review the document for a second time and send you back a clean version. When I work with business owners who are writing franchise, operations, or training manuals I always suggest two editing passes.

4. Hire the right developmental editor
To get the most value for your money hire a developmental editor who specializes in your area. I specialize in educational products and would never attempt to edit a work of fiction. For tips on finding your editor match, check out my blog post on how to find your perfect editor.

Writing for your target audience can increase sales.

How a Customer Profile Can Increase Productivity and Sales

Katie Cook No Comments

How do you connect with your customers? Do you know who your ideal customer is, or are you still trying to sell everything to everyone?

I recently attended a networking event for female entrepreneurs. In attendance was a woman who had recently retired from her 30-year career and started a Rodan & Fields consulting business. She became a consultant because she loved the products, but she was still developing her sales technique and found that side of the business to be challenging. Trying to be supportive, several people offered encouragement and advised her to continue tell EVERYONE about her products.

I know they meant well, but the entrepreneurs gave the consultant bad advice. Sure, if she told EVERYONE about her product she would eventually see an increase in sales, but she would have exhausted herself by essentially throwing rocks at a moving target. Her time and energy would have been better spent creating a customer profile and honing her message.

Creating a customer profile allows you to better connect with your target customer. Your target customer is the customer that you enjoy working with; it’s the customer that reminds you of why you started your business, and why you continue to do what you do. And it isn’t a one-sided relationship. Your target customer loves your business and your products so much that they sing your praises and act as your one-woman or one-man marketing team, simply because they believe in you and your services.

In order to reach your target customer, you need to change the way you communicate.

You need to write for your target customer, not the whole world.

Eliminating potential customers can be scary, but even the best products are not suited for everyone. For instance:

  • The budget-minded consumer isn’t interested in the services of a luxury concierge business.
  • A restaurant that offers delivery service should only advertise to customers inside its geographic delivery range.
  • A homeowner, rather than a renter, is more likely to employ the services of an interior designer.
  • And going back to the Rodan & Fields consultant, high school or college-aged women aren’t interested in anti-aging skincare products.


By developing a client or customer profile you are able to shape your website content to target the people who are going to LOVE your products or services. In doing so, you will increase sales the smart way.

Is your current website content written with your target customer in mind? If you’ve been writing for EVERYONE instead of for that ONE special person, you need to rethink your approach. If you need help narrowing your focus and re-writing your website copy to target your ideal customer, I am here to help. Think of me as your matchmaker. I help connect you with your loyal customers, and I help your customers find products they won’t want to live without.

An illustrated view to the five steps to creating a memorable infographic

5 Tips for Creating Memorable Infographics

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Unless you are a superhuman, your dog has a longer attention span than you. The average person has an attention span of only 8-seconds. This means you have less than 8-seconds to capture a person’s attention and keep them interested.

With an abundance of information and a limited amount of time, you need to think creatively to engage your reader. Infographics visually entice your audience and allow you to clearly communicate your message. Effective infographics are concise, memorable, and easily shared. In fact, infographics are typically shared three times more often than the traditional blog post or article.

To get your message in front of more eyes, follow these tips for create an engaging infographic:

1. Think about your content differently
Infographics aren’t just for highly technical or data-driven information. Think about your content differently to determine how to best take advantage of this visual medium. The possibilities are endless. You can turn the standard checklist into a piece of highly valuable marketing collateral, or you can help increase the download rate for your technical white paper by creating an infographic teaser or summary of crucial data points.

2. Break out the scalpel and dissect your content
The goal of an infographic is to engage, but not overwhelm your reader. To ensure that you are only including essential information, carefully examine the content as a whole and then break it into the necessary bits of information. This allows you to retain your message and ensure brevity. While infographics can be any length, I recommend keeping your infographic to two pages or less. Pretty pictures will help keep people’s attention longer, but every second still matters.

3. Write a descriptive headline
Before creating anything else, I draft a short, concise headline. I find that having a headline helps guide the infographic content and helps me stay on track. If you’re struggling to keep the infographic short, review each chunk of content and ask yourself if the content supports the headline.

4. Limit text and increase visuals
To take full advantage of this visual medium, carefully choose graphics that support the content. You’ll want to avoid a cluttered appearance by limiting the amount of text and leaving plenty of empty space so each concept is clearly defined. Organize the content so that each piece guides the reader and builds a story chunk-by-chunk.

5. Create a memorable story that supports your brand
Use your company colors and include your company logo with your infographic. Sites like Canva and Piktochart have free templates that you can use and modify. The templates are a great jumping off point to help you create an original infographic that fits your content.

If you need help creating your infographic or advise on structuring your content, I’m here to help.

Image of editor with red pen

How to Find Your Perfect Editor

Katie Cook No Comments

The writer/editor relationship is a trusted partnership. A good editor will strengthen the author’s writing without changing their voice or purpose. Finding the right editor is a bit like finding a good doctor, you want someone you can confidently trust with your most precious resource—your writing.

Qualities of a Good Editor

Editing is a mix of knowledge, intuition, and skill. You want an editor that listens and understands you and your intended audience. The editor should know the rules of grammar and the ins-and-outs of a style manual, but they should also have the insight to know when to bend the rules to support the author’s style. Supportive yet exacting, the editor’s goal is to provide the polish so the author can shine.

Five Tips for Choosing Your Editor

1. Understand the types of editing.

  • If you need help at the sentence level and are looking for someone to fix punctuation, find typos, and make sure you’ve used “its” and “it’s” correctly you will want to hire a copy editor.
  • If you need help at the paragraph level, revising sentences for clarity and flow and creating seamless transitions from one paragraph to the next you should find a line editor.
  • If you need help organizing your thoughts, structuring your work so it flows better, or need to cut 200 words from an essay, you should seek out the services of a developmental editor, like me!

The Editorial Freelancers Association provides a handy overview on the types of editing and the suggested rates for each.

2. Search by specialty.

Much like you wouldn’t ask a podiatrist to diagnose your stomach pain, a legal editor probably isn’t the best fit for your sci-fi novel. While all editors are able to spot a typo, you’ll get the most helpful feedback from an editor that specializes in your genre.

3. Evaluate a sample edit.

Most editors will provide you with a free sample edit. The length of the sample edit varies by genre and type of edit, but the standard is usually 4-10 pages. Often, an editor will ask to look at the entire work before accepting a job. This allows the editor to evaluate your work and make recommendations for the type and level of editing service needed. After receiving your sample edit you’ll want to closely review all of the edits. Look at the edit overall and make sure that you agree with the style of edit and the directions and suggestions that the editor provided.

4. Make sure you communicate well.

Before hiring an editor come to an agreement on how you will communicate. Do you want to work over email? Or do you prefer to discuss things over the phone? Clarify your prefered mode of communication and make sure that the editor is also comfortable with the arrangement. Communication also extends to the editing process. Will you work in Google Docs, Word, PDF, or hard copy? The editor you select should have the experience and tools to edit in your preferred medium. By clarifying the process and your expectations from the beginning you help ensure a fluid, positive working relationship.

5. Look at their previous work and recommendations.

Anyone can call themselves an editor, and there is a big difference between a professional editor and someone who can spot a typo in the Sunday paper. If the editor doesn’t have a website, don’t be afraid to ask for a list of books or publications that they have worked on and ask them to share some recommendations or client testimonials. If the editor’s only qualification is that they have self-published a book, take the time to read a bit of the book to evaluate their work. Everyone needs to start somewhere, but if you are apprehensive about an editor’s qualifications you should find another editor.

A supportive and knowledgeable editor is a valuable asset. Hiring an editor can be a significant investment—take the time to choose wisely.


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Your business is unique, that’s why I tailor my services to fit your needs. Tell me about what you’re working on and I’ll let you know how I can help. What are you waiting for? Schedule your free 30-minute consultation today.