Each month, SD/PEN selects one of its members at random to profile his or her background and experience. This month we are featuring Lynette M. Smith of All My Best Copyediting and Heartfelt Publishing and Good Ways to Write.
I help authors copyedit their best effort at a final draft, addressing matters of spelling, punctuation, grammar, clarity, usage, and flow. And later on, when the book designer has presented a printer-ready PDF layout for approval, I can proofread it—that is, flag layout and content errors so the designer can correct them. In fact, I’ve even published an Amazon Best Seller handbook, 80 Common Layout Errors to Flag When Proofreading Book Interiors.
What made you decide to become a professional editor?
My interest in words started in the fourth grade when I titled a composition notebook “My Book of Homonyms” and added to that A‑Z collection for the next three years. In school I always enjoyed spelling, and in my nine-year secretarial career I enjoyed fine-tuning my bosses’ written communications. Next, as the sixteen-year owner/operator of Qualitype, I discovered that while people first came to me for word processing services, they returned because I improved their writing and corrected their mistakes. After directing a trade association for five years, editing its sixteen-page newsletter and curating its collection of manuals, in 2004 I decided to specialize in copyediting and established All My Best.
Which quality or qualities would you most like your clients or professional colleagues to remember you for?
The business names and taglines I’ve used over the decades answer this question. When I operated Qualitype Editing & Word Processing, the Qualitype name promised good work, and the tagline, “Personal Care and Attention to Detail,” told what else clients could expect. Those same qualities persist in my current business, All My Best Copyediting and Heartfelt Publishing. Today, the All My Best name not only indicates a high standard but fits perfectly with my primary publishing theme of letter writing; and the tagline, “Building Results, Respect, and Relationships,” shows authors and aspiring gratitude-letter writers what they’ll experience when working with me or reading my reference books.
Describe a volunteer activity or cause you are involved in.
Inspired by my son and daughter-in-law’s generous gesture of presenting their respective parents with framed letters of appreciation when they married in 2008, I now have a life purpose: to get millions of people to write heartfelt letters of appreciation so they can establish, enhance, and even rebuild their relationships and in that way change their world. In furtherance of that goal, I published the comprehensive reference book on writing over 150 types of gratitude letters, How to Write Heartfelt Letters to Treasure: For Special Occasions and Occasions Made Special. I also get interviewed on radio and TV, write guest blogs, and conduct workshops showing others how to write a heartfelt letter of appreciation. More information is available at http://GoodWaysToWrite.com.
Describe one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.
I’m a dinosaur nut! In fifth grade, I wrote and illustrated a report on dinosaurs that I still treasure. In the 1990s, I was enthralled with the fossil beds at Dinosaur National Monument in Vernal, Utah, and read a fascinating scientific study proving not only that birds are descended from dinosaurs but that some species of these reptiles (mostly predators) had to have been warm-blooded to move so quickly. More recently, I’ve been excited to learn that many dinosaur fossils show evidence of feathers along with their scaly skin. I love all the Jurassic Park movies, watch every dinosaur-related documentary I can, and revel in museum exhibits of dinosaur fossils.