How many times have I said behind every amazing manuscript there is an amazing editor? No matter how good we are as writers, we are all blind to our own mistakes. That’s why it’s so important to have a second set of trained eyes to catch typos. And that’s why I wanted to introduce Allen Thobois of the Writers’ House of Corrections—a service to help writers turn in better manuscripts and get published more.
Allen, not everyone is cut out for editing, and not everyone who can wants to. Can you tell us how this business came to be and what kind of services you offer?
Of course. I was one of those kids described as a stack of books with legs. Summers, I would ride the city bus downtown to the YMCA Wednesday and Saturday mornings where I could swim, play pool and workout. I would then spend the afternoon at the library, carrying home 15 to 20 books to read.
As an adult, I led an active life, holding a number of different jobs over the years, and through all of that, read profusely. One of those jobs included traveling as I was a truck driver and drove in all but 4 of the “Lower 48” States in 20 years over the road.
As often happened, I would be caught in a strange town waiting over the weekend to drop or pick up a load. There was usually a public library available. While I could not check out books, I could and did sit in their library reading novels until they closed.
My driving career ended in 2011. This has given me more time for my favorite hobby; reading good books. As I was now on a very fixed income, I began doing Advance Reader Copy or ARC reading. This is where authors give pre-release copies of their eBooks out to a limited number of readers in the hope of receiving honest reviews on places like Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, or other places once the book is fully released. This was perfect for me, as I got to read all I wanted, and I was helping authors at the same time.
I ran into a few authors who had great stories to tell, but they were depending on spell check or other programs far too much, and their writing was suffering for it. I could not bear to see the errors and sent corrections to the authors in private messages. After a time, some of the authors began paying me to perform this service and the light went on!
Wow, here is a niche market that needed filling.
Those are always the most successful ventures, I think. The ones that just organically create themselves. What is your ideal client relationship like?
My ideal client is an indie author who has already finished her or his manuscript and then has had it gone over by an editor. I say this because as a writer it is almost impossible to correct our own work because we know what we meant to say, and our eyes will gloss right over mistakes.
Once they have had that done, as a proofreader I can then come in and polish of all of the little things that are so important to making their creative masterpiece go from almost right, to ready for publication.
It always amazes me the mistakes I catch in my own work, even after I’ve gone over it until my eyes blur. When you aren’t poring over client manuscripts, what occupies your time?
Well, I never seem to know enough, so I am usually taking an on-line course or two, and try to work on my TBR “to be read” pile. I also have a favorite fishing spot along the Naches River that I try to get to on the weekends.
That sounds relaxing and wonderful. When you are catching up on that TBR pile, what are your favorite genres, and why?
I would have to say Mysteries and Science Fiction both in Adult and YA for my favorites. The reason is that I like the science that goes into well-written Sci-Fi and Mystery stories. When I write, I have to work out the science first and expect other authors to do the same.
Many people have been affected by the stay-at-home orders this year. How do you think that affects authors and other bookworms?
That is an interesting question, in that many authors are already introverts, so in that particular aspect, we have been practicing isolating for years, as many have posted in humorous comments socially.
But what I have noticed is that many established authors, and even new authors, are working hard and giving greatly by offering special low pricing, or even free books during this pandemic as their way of helping people trapped at home with nothing but the television and binge-watching can get boring quickly.
I’ve noticed that about the author community as well. There is a lot of kindness there. But how about you? Tell us where we can find you and enlist your services.
I am on Facebook Writers’ House of Corrections @IndieWriterServices or they can email me at B.AllenWrites@gmail.com
Thank you for interviewing me, Angela. I have read Space and Time Magazine since I was a kid, in the ’60s and I am glad that you are carrying it on today.
I didn’t know that! It’s always a pleasure to run into Space and Time alumni. Thanks for your time!
Special event from The Writer’s House of Corrections:
INDIE AUTHORS! Special Sweepstakes Sept 08 – 30, 2020. You could win a FREE Professional Proofreading of your Short Story or Novel – up to 120K word count. 2nd place $25 Amazon Gift card, 3rd place $10 Amazon Gift card. Click here for details!