More Than Just an Editor

 
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I’m an editor. Officially, my job is to fine-tune other people’s writing.

But in reality what I do is help smart, creative people find the clearest way to express the complexity of what they’re thinking.

I have twenty years of experience editing dissertations, revising non-fiction books and writing everything from curriculum and standards to business copy and training manuals. As a result writers and organizations turn to me for assistance in streamlining their sentences and organizing their ideas to produce engaging and flawless prose.

No matter what kind of project you are embarked on, I can help you reach your audience and produce a product you’ll recognize as your best thinking artfully articulated. Look below for examples and links illustrating how I’ve helped others achieve their goals.

 
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He brought a special mix of expertise and common sense, confidence and calm, warmth and wisdom, understanding and good humor to a charged and complex task.
— Susan P.

Work With Individuals

 
 

I’ve assisted numerous academics, writers, and professionals edit and revise everything from dissertations and book length manuscripts to newspaper articles and even cover letters. Whether it’s a first draft in need of developmental or line edits to clarify your thinking or prose that needs careful proof or copy editing before publication, I can help you sharpen your writing so that you deliver a polished final product.

 
 
 

sample PROPOSAL BEFORE EDITING

… It is an ideal state between boredom and anxiety or frustration (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975). Should a task be dull and repetitive then the subject would become bored, but if the task is too challenging or even impossible, then the experience becomes frustrating and anxiety inducing. This is why, from the standpoint of instructional design, flow is very difficult to design for or assess (Kapp, 2012). Regardless when the task strays far from the flow state, the person completing the task is likely to stop the activity. This is what an instructor designing for student engagement would want to avoid.

This type of design is challenging because what might be seen as relatively easy to one person ( e.g. the instructor) might not be easy for the person they are designing an experience for (a student); this could unintentionally cause an anxiety inducing experience that runs counter to the goal of the person designing the experience (Kapp, 2012).

sample PROPOSAL AFTER EDITING

… From the standpoint of instructional design, “flow”—an ideal state between boredom and frustration—is difficult to create or assess (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975; Kapp, 2012). If a task is dull and repetitive then the subject will become bored, but if a task is too challenging or even impossible, then the experience becomes frustrating and causes anxiety. In either case, when a task leads the learner away from the flow state, the person completing the task is likely to stop the activity. Compounding the design challenge is the very real possibility that a task viewed as relatively easy from the perspective of the instructor might not at all be easy for students. This could unintentionally cause anxiety on the part of the user, running counter to the goal of the person designing the experience (Kapp, 2012). An instructor designing an educational activity with student engagement in mind would want to make success an enticing and ultimately attainable goal that leads to genuine learning.

Dr. Pook is more than an editor. He was a coach who helped me see my own thinking more clearly and gave me just the right amount of guidance so I could be a better writer at each turn. I don’t think I would have completed my dissertation on time without his expertise and guidance—encouraging me every step along the way and making my writing more concise and my argument sharper and clearer for my readers.
— Tina C.

sample HOw-to book before revisions

1.      What is a letter brief?

For our purpose of appealing denied Medicare claims, we will define a “letter brief” as an informal legal brief written to persuade the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to order payment of your denied claim. 

2.      What is the goal of a letter brief?

The goal of the letter brief is to get you paid for the denied service.  You need to write what the ALJ needs to read in order to award payment of the denied claim. 

3.      In simplest form, what should the letter brief say?

Reduced to its simplest form, the letter brief should explain what you did, why you did it, why that treatment was correct, and why the contractor’s denial reasons are wrong.

4.      What are the key questions you have to answer in every letter brief?

In the fewest number of pages possible, here are the questions you must answer in the letter brief for the Judge to rule in your favor.  The Judge will not award payment if the Judge does not know and understand the answers to these questions…

sample How-To book after revisions

1.      What is a letter brief?

It’s an informal legal brief written to persuade the judge to order payment of your denied claim.  It’s a roadmap in plain English to guide them when considering your appeal.  It’s also short—three pages is a good target to aim for.

2.      What is the goal of a letter brief?

The goal of the letter brief is to get you paid for the denied service or supplies.  You need to write it in such a way that the judge has at their fingertips everything they need in order to overturn the denied claim and award payment. 

3.      In simplest form, what should the letter brief say?

The letter brief should explain (1) what you did, (2) why you did it, (3) why the treatment was correct, and (4) why the contractor’s denial reasons are incorrect.

4.      Who is the target audience for the letter brief?

The target audience for the letter brief is the judge and her staff attorneys. One of the staff attorneys will review your letter brief and supporting documents before turning them over to the judge. Everything you do during the appeals process should be done with an eye towards winning over the judge and her attorneys. 

You not only caught typos and grammatical errors—you helped me see which chapters needed changes, and more importantly, how to make those changes.
— George T.

SAMPLE OP-ED BEFORE developmental EDITs

There’s a running commentary in the African American Church that identifies many church members as CME’s. The proper acronym refers to the Christian Methodist Church, but the alt-acronym stands for “Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter” as in the only days that those people attend church. Annoyed churchgoers won’t go to church on Easter because the CMEs take all of the seats.

Well, you don’t have to be a CME not to go to church on a regular basis. You could be a SBNR, or Spiritual But Not Religious. People in this camp see the world through a lens of “there must be something bigger than me out there.” They feel and experience connectedness, transcendence and the intersectionality of the secular and spiritual world without “organized religion.”

What do the SBNR do for Easter? Are they left out of the most sacred day on the Christian calendar? Absolutely not.

SAMPLE OP-ED AFTER developmental EDITs

These days acronyms are everywhere you look. There are those that show up on social media, like LOL, ICYMI, IMHO, and my favorite, ELI5 (Explain Like I’m Five). There are ones that started in the military but moved into common parlance, like AWOL, SWAT, and even FUBAR. Medical diagnoses have been reduced to letters: ADHD, HIV, SIDS. Some of you reading might work in HR or have an MBA; others suffer from PSTD or attend AA. Who hasn’t LOL or tuned into ESPN or been told do to something ASAP?

In the religious world we have our acronyms as well: KJB, VBS, and the ubiquitous WWJD. There are useful shorthand acronyms for certain religious groups: Mormons are members of the LDS, and AME rolls off the tongue far easier than the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Around the holidays CMEs make their appearance as well—as in those who go to church only on Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter. I know some regular churchgoers who even won’t attend on Easter because the CMEs take all of the seats!

But there’s another group I’ve been thinking about as Easter approaches: SBNRs, or Spiritual But Not Religious. People in this camp share a similar outlook with their religious brethren, seeing the world through a lens of “there must be something bigger than me out there” but don’t find it sitting in a pew. They feel the connectedness of the secular and transcendent worlds without needing “organized religion” to facilitate the experience.

Is Easter to an SBNR nothing other than eggs and chocolate bunnies? Is there nothing that the most sacred day on the Christian calendar has to offer them? Is there a deeper meaning to Easter that speaks to us all, religious or not?…

Dr. Pook’s work is always the gold standard of professionalism.
— Judith E.

Work With Organizations

 
 

Over the past twenty years I’ve worked with a number of organizations helping them design and edit materials for a broad array of audiences. From drafting business copy and ghostwriting blogs to designing textbooks and crafting standards, I’ve had a hand in a wide range of projects helping make them shine.

 
 
 

sample Rubric Instructions

Step 1 – Review Materials

The first step in the review process is to become familiar with the rubric, the lesson or unit, and the practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts that are targeted.

  • Review the rubric and record the grade and title of the lesson or unit on the response form.

  • Scan to see what the lesson or unit contains, what practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts are targeted, and how it is organized.

  • Read key materials related to instruction, assessment, and teacher guidance.

Step 2 – Apply Criteria in Category I: Alignment to the NGSS

The second step is to evaluate the lesson or unit using the criteria in the first category, first individually and then as a team.

  • Closely examine the lesson or unit through the “lens” of each criterion in the first category of the response form.

  • Individually check each criterion on the response form for which clear and substantial evidence is found and record the evidence and reasoning.

  • As a team, discuss criteria for which clear and substantial evidence is found, as well as criterion‐based suggestions for specific improvements that might be needed to meet criteria.

Sample Training Materials

Pook is that rarest of specimens: a creative independent thinker who channels his best efforts into being a collaborative problem solver.
— April W.

Sample Textbook & curriculum MATERIALS

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Pook is the consummate professional, always willing to go the extra mile. His writing is crisp, clean, and most of all reader-friendly.
— Joanna J.

sample marketing analysis

By tapping into passion points and using in-person experience events as activation strategies, we were able to connect consumers to the values behind the brand and put them on the path to purchase. The marketing team created the award-winning [company name] Driving Experiences, offering guests the unique opportunity to test drive Lamborghini’s latest models on customized routes covering the most iconic and breathtaking roadways at each destination. Knowing that an inspired consumer becomes a motivated user and fan of the brand, we also ensured that guests could virtually experience in 360° 3-D routes from other cities through the latest Gear VR Oculus goggles. The results speak for themselves: 20.8 Social Media Impressions, 1.9 Social Media Engagements, and 72 Press Placements…

Sample Fundraising Strategy

It is a challenging time for progressive non-profits as the world of philanthropy and fundraising has shifted—but new tools organizations need to guide their capacity-building endeavors have evolved with those changes. Technology will boost the likelihood of increasing the donor base and spreading the word about [non-profit]. Let's have a look at these must-have features for our fundraising:

  • Donor retention monitoring: The likelihood of a first-time donor making a second gift is about 20%. Because gifts increase in size the longer a donor is retained, failing to keep track of donors in danger of lapsing jeopardizes future growth.  A 10% increase in donor retention can increase the lifetime value of a database by 200%… 

What you produce is always imaginative, timely, and thorough.
— Scott E.

Contact Information

If you’re looking for a nimble and intuitive editor who meets deadlines and exceeds expectations, contact me either by filling out the form or emailing me at dolsonpook@gmail.com.

Pricing and Rates

I want to be completely transparent and give you an exact answer to how long your project will take and how much it will cost—I don’t believe in “estimates.” I base my rates on the word count so you don’t have any surprises, and offer additional rounds of edits for free.

I don’t just want you to be happy with my edits—I want you to enthusiastically recommend me. It’s how I get the best clients and do my best work. Please send me a sample of your text and I’ll return an edit to let you judge whether what I do will help—along with the final project price.

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