Catherine Dee

Catherine Dee - Editor

Editor who loves helping authors perfect nonfiction and self-help books. Award-winning author (Little, Brown). Easy to work with and upbeat!

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Overview

With your nonfiction book, do you want to:

Create a wonderful work that connects with your readers?
● Make sure your writing has a professional feel?
Avoid being judged because of grammar errors and typos?

I can help!

What qualifies me to help you with the editorial details in your book? Four key things:

● I've been a staff editor at a small publisher, where I edited (and co-wrote) successful mass-market books, including The Recycler’s Handbook, The Women’s Voting Guide, and Kid Heroes of the Environment.

● I'm a published self-help-book author: I wrote five inspirational nonfiction books to help teen girls build their self-esteem and pursue their dreams. The Girls' Guide to Life was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. The Girls' Book of Wisdom won awards from the American Library Association, New York Public Library, and Disney Adventures. I know the elements of a winning book, and I can help you ensure that you have them.

● I've been an editor (on staff and as a consultant) in the corporate world, at companies including eBay, HP, and Google. This experience has broadened my editing knowledge so that I feel confident working on many types of content and with many types of nonfiction authors.

● I'm passionate about helping authors fine-tune self-help books, especially those meant to help their readers better understand themselves, get empowered, find and nurture great relationships, and be inspired to do cool things.

As an editor, I'm known for my ability to:

● Be candid with suggestions
● Suggest ways to improve readability by simplifying sentences and paragraphs
● Help you create a more conversational tone
● Identify where you're missing transitions
● Streamline the smallest details (go "in the weeds")
● Clean up grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style errors

When I'm your editor, you can expect me to be:

● Attuned to editorial standards: I loosely follow the Chicago Manual of Style guidelines
● Appreciative of any flexibility on the due date (I'm usually booked out a few weeks)
● Efficient; possibly completing your project before the deadline

A note about my editing rates: they are a bit higher than Reedsy's average rates and, I believe, more aligned with the rates charged by seasoned professionals. I go more in-depth than many editors (so I've been told), and I typically provide many suggestions in my quest to help you create the best manuscript possible. I believe that with editing, you're likely to get what you pay for. I understand completely if you need to select an editor who provides a lower bid; I just want to be up front about what to expect from me. Thank you for your understanding!

* * * * *
Here's feedback from some of my recent Reedsy author clients:

I LOVE the changes and suggestions you've made. Love them, and you have helped me look at the project in a new way. Thank you! —Andy Scarpati

I’ve gone through everything you did a few times now and had to reach out. THANK YOU! I am so appreciative. You went above and beyond anything I expected. I found myself nodding to my laptop as I read your recommendations. You truly helped bring this book to the next level. I will not hire anyone else for my books from here on out…that is, if you are open to working with me again. :) —James DiNanno

I have nothing but good things to say about Catherine.... I appreciated the way she understood the intent of certain sections and how to make the words flow better for a specific audience. I'd definitely work with her again and highly recommend her! —Virginia Goodhart

Catherine not only provides an excellent edit, she asks questions about my writing, which makes me think a little differently while guiding me to use more relevant words. I can't say enough about her work. —Steve Radentz

* * * * *
If this all sounds good to you, I'd love to bid on copy editing or developmentally editing your nonfiction book. If I'm your top choice, I look forward to helping you make your work absolutely fantastic!

Cheers,

Catherine Dee
Dee Best Communications

P.S.: Here are some handy tips to help you make your (and your editor's) job easier.

How to Improve Your Self-Help Book Before You Hire an Editor

Are you ready to hire an editor to help you polish your manuscript?

I think of writing a self-help book as like peeling an onion. The first draft is simply taking off the outer layer; then you have many rounds of peeling in order to create a high-quality book.

If you want readers to take your message seriously, you're going to want to refine, and then keep refining, until everything is perfect.

Want to simplify your editing process? The amount of improvement you can make before hiring a developmental editor or copy editor can make a huge difference in the number of red marks and suggestions you get back from your hired pro. Plus, when you can correct a bunch of smaller issues, your editor can then focus on more-substantive input to help make the book really shine.

Here are some ways to get started.

The basics

1. Write your book in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, which will make it easy for you to see your editor’s suggestions and comments.

2. Keep your sentences relatively short (no run-ons).

3. Keep your paragraphs relatively short (3–6 sentences each max).

4. Break up dense text blocks by shortening or breaking up long paragraphs.

5. Include subheadings to provide structure and break up the text.

6. Include all the elements of a book: a title page, a copyright page, a table of contents, acknowledgments (people you’re thanking), an introduction (written by you), a preface (written by someone else; optional), references (if applicable), and your author bio.

Big-picture stuff

7. Start each chapter with something intriguing, entertaining, or reader focused, such as a “fun fact,” question, quotation, or anecdote.

8. Write in an engaging way to draw your reader in. Don’t bore them. Don’t just do the bare minimum. For example, don’t use a one-word subheading. Make the book a joy to read.

9. Get to the point. Cut out all extra words, sentences, and even entire paragraphs that aren’t relevant, particularly compelling, or likely to be adding value for your reader. The shorter and sweeter you can make the book, the better.

10. End each chapter by summing up your message in a way that will leave your reader feeling inspired.

11. Be logical. Make sure every single sentence in a paragraph relates to and connects with the one before and after it. Make sure every single paragraph relates to the one before and after it.

12. Make the book accessible to a wide audience by writing in a simple, straightforward way (not in a stuffy, long-winded academic style) for all reading levels.

13. Use informal language as much as possible. Imagine that you’re having a one-on-one conversation with your reader.

14. Avoid making generalizations (“We’re all so busy!”).

15. Avoid sounding biased (sexist, racist, ageist, elitist, etc.). For example, don’t address your readers as if they’re all men who are married with kids.

16. Don’t be preachy or tell readers they “should” do anything. Instead, present them with options they can relate to and that could inspire them.

17. Don’t plagiarize (steal other people’s content without crediting them). Want to include someone else’s work, such as a poem? Get their permission.

Focus on your reader (avoid talking about yourself)

18. In general, stick to the reader’s perspective and needs. They’re reading the book to get insights and action tips.

19. Unless the format of your book requires it, avoid sharing details and stories about yourself. Save the powerful personal anecdotes, and the reason you wrote the book, for the introduction.

20. Directly address the reader as “you.”

21. Avoid using “we” or “us” to refer to humanity or a subgroup (for example, people who suffer from a certain condition). Implying that everyone is the same can come across as condescending and alienate readers who don’t think of themselves as sheeple.

22. Don’t alternate using “I” and “my” with “we” and “our” in the same paragraph.

23. Don’t quote yourself (even if you consider yourself an authority).

24. Avoid referring to things you said earlier (“As I wrote in Chapter 1…”) and to advice you’ve given in other books.

25. Avoid marketing your services and promoting your business in the text. Your readers want helpful information, not a sales pitch. Save your promo blurb (if appropriate) for the back page or back cover.


Get the details right

26. Be concise. Prune every sentence. For example, instead of “Why is that?” write “Why?”

27. Avoid the future tense (“You will learn about this in Chapter 5.”). Instead, use the present tense. (“I cover these issues in Chapter 5.”)

28. When referring to a statistic, cite the source by either mentioning it in the text (“According to…”) or footnoting it (or both).

29. Use contractions (“You’re”) for a friendly tone.

30. Don’t start a sentence with “This” or refer to “this” if it’s not clear what “this” is.

31. Be elegant: avoid ending a sentence in a preposition (“…what you’re looking for.”)

32. Use one space (not two) between sentences.

33. Fact-check everything, including the spellings of people’s names.

Peel the onion

34. Rewrite your first draft. If you’re like many writers, you throw thoughts on the page and eventually arrive at the point you want to make. Unfortunately, this does not make for an easy-to-read book. Do an edit to better structure all that information.

35. Set the book aside for a week. Then pretend you are your target reader and read it from their perspective.

36. Have friends and family members read the book and give you their honest input.

37. Check for missing transitions and rewrite for a natural flow.

Follow conventional style

38. In chapter titles, capitalize major words (this is called “headline case”).

39. Capitalize only the first word of subheadings (“sentence case”).

40. Emphasize words by italicizing them. Don’t use ALL CAPS (it’s the equivalent of shouting). Italicize only words that are begging to be emphasized.

41. Don’t use bold for emphasis.

42. Don’t use italic as a contrasting font or to set off a large block quotation.

43. Don’t overuse exclamation points. Use them to occasionally indicate something truly amazing, otherwise they lose their impact.

44. Do a spelling and grammar check.

Have fun!

45. Don’t prematurely agree to a publishing date before you’re finished with the editing phase.

46. Give yourself time to correct and improve everything that may not be quite right, whether the process takes you two days or two weeks.

47. Enjoy the editing process and the moments of “flow” you may experience as you focus on creating a relevant, positively reviewed, and (we hope) best-selling book!


Languages
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Career Guides
Education & Reference
Health & Wellbeing
Inspirational
Psychology
Self-Help & Self-Improvement
Sex & Relationships
Writing & Publishing

Work experience

Copywriter, editor, proofreader

Self-employed
September, 2019 – Present (over 1 year)

I'm focused on copy editing and proofreading non-fiction books that inspire and empower people: women, men, couples, singles, baby boomers, millennials, business owners, health advocates, activists, speakers, parents, non-parents, entrepreneurs, writers, artists, health-care professionals, and others.

I also edit marketing and technical content for companies. I specialize in blogs and web sites.

Technical Editor

Talend
April, 2016 – September, 2019 (over 3 years)

Copy edited Big Data integration software training and certification content for non-native-English-speaking writers, edited (and formatted in HTML) help articles for software user community, coached writers to help them improve grammar and usage, created editorial style guide for team that was adopted companywide

Editor

Google (contract)
April, 2015 – December, 2015 (8 months)

For Google AdWords Partners certification program, edited and enhanced exam questions about Google search, display, mobile, video, and shopping advertising, as well as related study-guide material and UI content

Content Manager

eBay (contract)
June, 2014 – March, 2015 (9 months)

Wrote and edited web content to help eBay sellers promote their listings, help eBay users create item collections, and simplify buyer-focused help pages

Senior Copywriter

Hewlett-Packard
February, 2003 – May, 2014 (about 11 years)

● Edited and proofread web marketing copy and promotional content
● Improved conversions by 12%, content quality by 35%; 66% of customers preferred new messaging; achieved results by strategically rewriting landing page
● Wrote and maintained editorial style guide

Editor

EarthWorks Press
May, 1990 – May, 1992 (about 2 years)

● Edited trade paperback books about protecting the environment and women's empowerment
● Managed team of writers and researchers, ghost-wrote newspaper columns, promoted books in media appearances

Portfolio (21 selected works)

The Girls' Book of Wisdom: Empowering, Inspirational Quotes from over 400 Fabulous Females

Catherine Dee

Aimed at advising and amusing girls age 12 and up, this collection includes quotations from 500 famous women, including suffragists, pioneers, politicians, moms, musicians, athletes, and actors. The quotes are grouped by categories, such as friendship, confidence, and creativity.

Aimed at advising and amusing girls age 12 and up, this collection includes quotations from 500 famous women, including suffragists, pioneers, politicians, moms, musicians, athletes, and actors. The quotes are grouped by categories, such as friendship, confidence, and creativity.

The Girls' Book of Success: Winning Wisdom, Stars' Secrets, Tales of Triumph, and More

Catherine Dee, Ali Douglass

With quotes, suggestions, poems, and advice from celebrities, such as Beyonce Knowles and Amelia Earhart, provides young girls with encouragement and inspiration for achieving success in any career they wish to pursue. Original.

With quotes, suggestions, poems, and advice from celebrities, such as Beyonce Knowles and Amelia Earhart, provides young girls with encouragement and inspiration for achieving success in any career they wish to pursue. Original.

The Girls' Guide to Life: How to Take Charge of the Issues That Affect You

Catherine Dee

A handbook for girls ages ten to sixteen familiarizes them with the basic issues affecting girls and women today and explains how to cultivate a healthy self-image, presenting a mix of facts, activities, profiles, poems, and resource lists. Original.

A handbook for girls ages ten to sixteen familiarizes them with the basic issues affecting girls and women today and explains how to cultivate a healthy self-image, presenting a mix of facts, activities, profiles, poems, and resource lists. Original.

The Girls' Book of Love: Cool Quotes, Super Stories, Awesome Advice, and More

Catherine Dee, Ali Douglass

A collection of true stories, quotes, poems, and personal advice on various aspects of romantic relationships and being in love includes work by Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Tan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and others.

A collection of true stories, quotes, poems, and personal advice on various aspects of romantic relationships and being in love includes work by Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Tan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and others.

The Girls' Book of Friendship

Catherine Dee

The Girls' Book of Friendship published by Little, Brown and Co. for Hallmark Card (2003) [Hardcover]

The Girls' Book of Friendship published by Little, Brown and Co. for Hallmark Card (2003) [Hardcover]

The Recycler's Handbooks Simple Things You Can Do

Unknown

AAL Member Benefit edition

AAL Member Benefit edition

DotCom Divas: E-Business Insights From The Visionary Women Founders of 20 Net Ventures

Elizabeth Carlassare

In Dotcom Divas, prepare to meet some of the most talented, energetic, and visionary Internet entrepreneurs who ever plunged into the e-business revolution. And, oh, by the way -- they're all women. Industry insider, Elizabeth Carlassare, introduces readers to the inspiring women founders of 20 Internet companies, including LookSmart, EDGAR Online, E-Loan, RightWorks, and Marimba. In Dotcom Di... read more

In Dotcom Divas, prepare to meet some of the most talented, energetic, and visionary Internet entrepreneurs who ever plunged into the e-business revolution. And, oh, by the way -- they're all women. Industry insider, Elizabeth Carlassare, introduces readers to the inspiring women founders of 20 Internet companies, including LookSmart, EDGAR Online, E-Loan, RightWorks, and Marimba. In Dotcom Di... read more

50 Things Your Hairdresser Wants YOU to Know (and a few things we don't...)

Pittman, Shun, Edwards, Susan, Dee, Catherine, Lane, Sarah, McCallen, Laura, Banks, Jimmie, Curry, Lance, Kuhn, Steve

How to Find & Keep Your Perfect Man

Virginia Goodhart

Discover the world’s most comprehensive book on dating, romance, and the secrets of a happy love life. Finding the man of your dreams just got easier, thanks to this empowering, no-nonsense guide for women seeking real connections and long-term commitment. How to Find & Keep Your Perfect Man will revolutionize the way you think of men and your relationships with them. Drawing on a lifetime of ... read more

Discover the world’s most comprehensive book on dating, romance, and the secrets of a happy love life. Finding the man of your dreams just got easier, thanks to this empowering, no-nonsense guide for women seeking real connections and long-term commitment. How to Find & Keep Your Perfect Man will revolutionize the way you think of men and your relationships with them. Drawing on a lifetime of ... read more

Catherine has 20 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Maureen Gilbert
Catherine was exactly what I needed in an editor. She really understood the essence of what I was trying to communicate with my prose and did a skillful job of tightening up the text and suggesting edits that made the story flow. She was able to combine both high level developmental edits with grammar and structural edits to produce a work that was "print ready" after our collaboration. She ...
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Maureen Gilbert, December 2020

Catherine Dee
Thank you, Maureen! It was such a pleasure to work with you and review your intriguing book. I wish you a fantastic experience with being a published author!

Reply from Catherine Dee


Andy Scarpati
Catherine's work is outstanding. Her edits, comments, and suggestions took my book to another level! I am forever grateful. Thank you Catherine!

Andy Scarpati, December 2020

Catherine Dee
Andy, thanks for your kind words. It was an honor to help you with your very interesting book!

Reply from Catherine Dee


Daniel Ratner
I really enjoyed working with Catherine. Very professional and great communicator.

Daniel Ratner, November 2020

Catherine Dee
Daniel, thank you for being my A+ client again--I thoroughly enjoyed working with you as well!

Reply from Catherine Dee


Tamara Griffin
Working with Cate was so simple. She truly is a gem. Cate was very quick in responding and her suggestions helped to strengthen my project. I definitely would work with her again.

Tamara Griffin, November 2020

Catherine Dee
Thanks so much for your feedback, Tamara. It's been a true pleasure working with you!

Reply from Catherine Dee


Steve Radentz
Catherine has become my go to teammate for editing. She not only provides an excellent edit, she asks questions about my writing, which makes me think a little differently while guiding me to use more relevant words. She takes my words, and turns them into a book, while educating me on proper writing techniques. She does this in a casual yet straight forward way. I can't say enough about her w...
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Steve Radentz, October 2020

Catherine Dee
Thank you, Steve. It's an honor to have you as my first, and now, repeat, Reedsy client. I'm thrilled that I could help with your books, and I sincerely enjoy working with you. Best of luck with yo...
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Reply from Catherine Dee

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