San Miguel Editorial Services

Writing and editing for impact and sales.

“My book needs no editing” is always a fantasy.


Recently a client resurfaced from fifteen years ago and asked me to promote his new book. It had to be great, I figured—after all, this man is an industry leader and a frequent public speaker, and the company he founded has a good back-story.

I accepted the project based on the marketing materials another book promoter had written. Big mistake.

The self-edited author is as foolish as the self-medicated patient.

While much of the content was perfectly relevant and the cover and pages were professionally designed, the book had been in circulation four months without sales (most reviewers won’t pick up a book older than two weeks off the press); it was poorly organized and defied categorization (eBay classified it as “Books—Other”); there were dozens of spelling, grammar and usage errors that the proofreader had failed to correct; yet I had promised to promote it.

I was able to generate both local and national media coverage by presenting excerpts that I carefully selected according to the audience and style of each newspaper, magazine, broadcast and blog—not by asking for reviews. I decided to promote the author, not the book.

My client expressed his displeasure with my methods one day on the phone. It should be “easy peasy” to generate reviews of his book, he said. (In other words, my work wasn’t worth much because the book would sell itself.)

Then he declared, “I had a proofreader but the content needed no editing.”

He was wrong, but I didn’t tell him that. I simply forwarded the feedback from the reporters I pitched, and continued on my track of promoting the wisdom of the author, rather than arguing for the relevance of the book.

As I was wrapping up the project, I found a free PDF of entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki’s ebook on self-publishing, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book. I sent a copy to my client.

Chapter 8, “How To Edit Your Book,” contains brutally honest language: “The self-edited author is as foolish as the self-medicated patient.” Thank goodness Mr. Kawasaki said it so I didn’t have to.

Want your own copy? You can order it here. And don’t forget to call your editor!

Registration opens for 10th Annual San Miguel Writers’ Conference & Literary Festival


Minnesota friends with Calvin Trillin at the 2014 conference.

Looking for a catalyst to start writing that memoir? Need an agent to represent the novel you’ve kept in a drawer for years? You may want to attend the San Miguel International Writers’ Conference & Literary Festival, February 11-15, 2015, in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. Hey, it’s an excuse for a warm-weather vacation, and you might even get a tax break on the tuition!


“Life of Pi” author Yann Martel at last year’s conference.

Keynote speakers this year include Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, Scott Turow, Tracy Chevalier, and other luminaries of the literary world.

“Early Bard” pricing is $490-$745 USD depending on the package of conference events and extracurricular activities you desire. Transportation and accommodations extra. (Check out my listing on Airbnb and opt to stay in a real Mexican neighborhood if hotels aren’t your IMG_3714thing.)

Register now if you’re inclined to give your writing a boost—the conference tends to fill early and I predict it will be sold out again this year.

WIN A FULL CONFERENCE PACKAGE PLUS HOUSING AND AGENT SESSION! Click here to learn about the writing contest (deadline Nov. 15, 2014) and be one of three writers who get a free ride.

Free e-book download through Jan. 1, 2014!

Congratulations to another successful published author and client of San Miguel Editorial Services! From Therese Pautz, author of Rain and Revelation:

With gratitude, I’m offering a free ebook download of Rain and Revelation (December 28-January 1, 2014) to celebrate its one year publication anniversary. What a great year! Rain and Revelation was named a Finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, over 25,000 people have downloaded/purchased the book, nearly 100 reviews have been posted and I’ve been fortunate to talk to many book clubs and business groups. Thanks to all and Happy New Year! Therese

Let the wild rumpus start!


As an aspiring children’s book author (Prickle, the Kind-Hearted Cactus series), I’m devoted to great children’s books and certain authors in particular: Dr. Seuss, H. A. Rey, and of course Maurice Sendak. Here is a delightful interview with Sendak in Slice magazine, conducted shortly before he died on May 8, 2012 (four days before my 50th birthday), and published in November. Read it and learn who really inspired the monsters in Where the Wild Things Are!

Click here to see the Wall Street Journal’s tribute to Maurice Sendak on YouTube.

The above image of the Maurice Sendak book cover and the copyright for it is most likely owned either by the artist who created the cover or by the publisher of the book. It is believed that the use of low-resolution images of book covers to illustrate an article discussing the book on this blog qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law.

News from the blogging trail

DSC00372My favorite exercise isn’t jogging—it’s blogging. As a writer and editor, I tend to have several projects open on my desk at once, and I get intensely involved in each of them—until it’s time for a breather. I almost always need to set my work aside for a day or so and come back into it with fresh eyes before I will declare a project done.

For me, blogging is fun. It’s my snack between meals.

Recently I posted a comment to a blog called, and the publisher asked me to be a guest blogger once a month. So in my spare time, I am writing short personal essays on aging. Read my column here, and please share your comments.

Are you a blogger who helps writers to improve their craft? Please send us your blog URL and we’ll consider listing it in the Resources section of this website!

Three cheers for a client’s first novel, released today!


When you read Therese Pautz’s debut novel, Rain and Revelation, you’ll understand why we’re bursting with pride at having worked with this author. It’s a complex tale of shocking discoveries of the most life-altering sort—a host of family secrets that change everything when brought into the light of day.

Here’s the cover blurb:

On the rugged, rain and windswept coast of Ireland, twenty-year old Eliza Conroy’s predictable life is shattered when she returns home to find her mother bathing in her own blood. Eliza sets out to understand the events leading up to that fateful day and discovers that she has been deceived her entire life by those she loves and trusts the most. What she uncovers threatens to destroy her family and tight knit community and Eliza is forced to choose between the cost of speaking the truth and remaining silent.

Ms. Pautz already is working on her second novel. Join her fan club now by ordering your copy of Rain and Revelation today!

We’ve created a blog for Besitos! is a wholesaler of Mexican handcrafted jewelry, handbags, clothing and gifts sold at boutiques and large retailers in the U.S. When founder Jennifer Nargesian wanted to show photos of her wares to potential customers, she hired a website designer—but his approach was complicated, time-consuming and frustrating.

My advice to Jennifer: Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a website, why not post photos in a blog for free and send the link to buyers? She agreed, and within four hours, we completed the theme selection, site formatting, and the “About” page, and uploaded an entire gallery of photos with captions. Plus we named a collection of jewelry—Roadworthy Designs, because they’re made from recycled rubber tires—and gave creative names to each separate item as well.

Here’s the Roadworthy collection: Traffic-stopping Roadworthy Designs from Did I mention all of this was done in four hours?

Free writing help is here!

Welcome to Anne’s Answers, a FREE service to help you on the spot whenever you have a question about English grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure—anything that’s holding you up. Click the link to read more.

New project hot off the press!

Our latest project

Editing is fun for me, and it’s joy-to-the-max when I’m picking through the work of established authors and newfound talent. The first print anthology of Sol: English Writing in Mexico, a literary magazine, was just such a project.

Featuring the work of 56 well-known and emerging writers from around the world (including yours truly!), Sol English Writing in Mexico: A Literary Magazine (Volume 1) is now available from (paperback, 294 pages, $16).

The anthology contains prize-winning poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction focused on, but not limited to, English writing in Mexico. Authors include Tony Cohan, Christopher Cook, Molly Fisk, James Cervantes, John Yohe, Judyth Hill and many more outstanding writers.

All profits from sales of this book go to scholarships for at-risk Mexican children through the San Miguel de Allende chapter of International PEN in collaboration with the literary magazine “Sol: English Writing in Mexico.”

Congratulations—you’ve found your editor!

Writing a book? Want to make it great? We can help with affordable rates for professional editorial services, from analyzing your book’s readiness for publication, to boosting the power of your message, to eliminating typos, and even writing reviews that you can post online or print on the cover of your book.

Editing isn’t for everyone…it’s only for authors who want their book to sell and make an impact!

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