Meet the editors at Kingsman Editing
You might already know us, but now it’s time to introduce ourselves formally as partners. We are your editors, and now we hope to become friends. Well, we’re already friends. We meant with you.
First, what’s the story? Why Kingsman Editing?
Cayce B. Many of you are familiar with Berryman Editing. That was where I started. Well, after the newspaper copyediting and editing for free while I was in school and all that. From the beginning, though, it bothered me that most authors only hired one editor. That puts a lot of pressure on someone, knowing they’re the only hope between the author and the publication when it comes to errors and holes. Anyone who thinks any editor, and I mean anyeditor, will find every error, think again. Ever seen those headline photos found in newspapers that show inaccuracies or misspellings in headlines? “Amphibious pitcher,” perhaps? Can you guess how many professional eyes missed that one?
That reality was the primary reason I wanted a partner. It took four years to find one, though. Not just because I needed to find someone reliable and knowledgeable but because it’s hard to figure out how to make such a partnership work in the author’s favor. Thankfully, Michelle is not only amazing, but she’s as hungry for knowledge as I am. We have a similar vision, and our relationship is pretty fantastic. It took me a while to finally ask if she was interested in partnering up, and my goodness, I was relieved when she was more than willing.
The problem was that I didn’t want to make her an afterthought as a contracted editor for Berryman Editing. That’s weird. And it feels pretentious. But Michelle has the best last name ever (King), and I have an uncool word and a meh word in my name (Berry- and -man), so we played that mix-and-match game and bam. You can figure out that part. It sounds cool. We’re cool. And do you know what a kingsman is? According to a couple dictionaries, it’s basically a private but in the British army. Now, that doesn’t sound cool, sure, but there’s a cool thing about it. We’re not British (oh well), but we are working for royalty, the author. The amazing, talented, gifted author. That’s why two loyal editors for your royal manuscript. You are the focus, your readers are the focus, and your book is the focus. Not us. You.
We wanted authors to have the option of having a second editor without having to dish out another thousand dollars or so. We wanted to make it work for us without digging into independent authors’ pockets if we didn’t need to. We wanted to be more flexible and to open up doors for the future that wouldn’t ever be able to be opened working for ourselves. Two is always better than one, and we want our authors to be able to benefit from that.
Michelle K. Cayce’s answer pretty much covers all of it! Personally, for me, I was excited to come aboard to work with Cayce because of how much I admire her as an editor. She’s always the person to whom I’m most nervous about showing my work because I know she doesn’t hold any punches, but I’m always grateful I did it afterward. I also loved her thoughts on keeping it affordable. Most of the people I have interacted with over the past few years are fellow indie authors, and I love helping as much as I can. So this opportunity was an all-around win for me; I get to learn, I get to help people and I get to read some awesome new stories in the process.
Where are you from?
Cayce B. Born and raised in South Texas, now I live in Louisville, Kentucky, with my cat, Story, and dog, Autumn. Texas will always have the biggest place in my heart, but I’d be lying if I said Kentucky wasn’t growing on me.
Michelle K. I grew up in a little one-square-mile place called Charlestown, which is actually a section of Boston, Massachusetts. I’ll always have a soft spot for it, but I know I’m not made for small towns (even if it’s inside a big city). Since serving in the navy, creating a family, and moving back, I’ve settled in a slightly more rural place—New Hampshire. While I love it here, I’ll always miss the ease of commuting from the city, where there were buses and trains or you could walk to wherever you wanted. But I’ll never miss the driving. Or parking.
Why become an editor?
Cayce B. I started editing in 2014, but I didn’t start building it as a business (not really) until 2015 or so. I had my website and all, but the original plan for that was to put my books up and maybe write about writing. It wasn’t until my college newspaper had me copyedit the page proofs one night that I realized I liked copyediting. The next day, when my adviser told me about all I’d found and what he thought about my editing, I realized I was good at it. I just had quite a bit to learn.
Journalism has been amazing to me, and I’ve learned a lot and been given more opportunities than I can count, but books draw my attention like a bear in a dress, and working with authors to polish their manuscript is incredibly fulfilling. I’ve always made playing my part in the publishing industry a priority, and I want editing to have a big role in that.
Michelle K. The main reason, as I mentioned before, is because I love helping people. It gives me a sense of pride to know that I helped someone get their book published since I know how much of a mountain that can be. I have always enjoyed reading, so it felt natural to help polish the stories as I went. Another slightly more selfish reason is because of how much I learn. While copyediting other people’s manuscripts, I’m essentially practicing for my own stories. Every editing skill I learn, I try to apply to my own drafts, which makes it that much easier when it finally comes time for me to find an editor and publish my own stuff!
So what’s the difference between you two?
Cayce B. I’m the senior editor here at Kingsman Editing, and while I won’t try to list any kind of credentials (which you can see on our about page), I will say that I’m the one you’re probably going to deal with throughout most of the process. Be warned. 😉
I am the one who conducts the developmental edits and line edits if that’s what’s agreed upon, and Michelle is the copyeditor. You get the power of the pair when the book reaches the copyediting stage. I copyedit, then she jumps in the ring. We’ll likely gang up on the manuscript together toward the end, but your manuscript does go through two copyeditors.
Michelle K. As the associate editor, I go through after Cayce has made all her edits to help polish everything up and check for any missed errors. My round of editing typically won’t be as in depth as Cayce’s, especially since any developmental work will be done before the manuscript gets to me. Although, I typically will include any thoughts I have from a reader’s standpoint. Just in case.
What are your favorite books? Movies?
Cayce B. One of my favorite books will always be Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. I love, love, love raw voices. Love them. Rule of the Bone by Russell Banks is another favorite. I enjoy hearing different dialects and accents, and reading it just makes it more interesting.
As for movies, I don’t really have a favorite, but I have to admit I’m a sucker for Disney movies. I just…I like them. And I think you should too.
Michelle K. Ugh. I honestly have so many, and they shift ranks constantly. I guess I’d have to say that I typically lean toward the high fantasy and young adult genres. Growing up, I loved reading Harry Potter and subsequently loved all the movies. Another favorite series of mine is A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I could fangirl over every aspect of that series for…ever…and still not be tired of it. I also thoroughly enjoy Game of Thrones even though I’ve yet to read the books. (I know, I know…shame on me!) And Disney movies, I can never get enough.
I could go on, but I’ll leave it here for now. Just know that this list barely scratched the surface of my favorites. If you’re ever looking for some suggestions, feel free to ask! (But only if you’re absolutely ready for that adventure with me.) 😉
Are you writers too or just editors?
Cayce B. Writers. Definitely writers. Now, how often we get to write is a different question, but my career started off with writing before it transitioned to editing and newspaper/book design. I have written a few books but haven’t done much to publish them. I’ll get to it eventually. I prioritized my editing studies and such.
I’ve written a suspense, an apocalyptic piece of poop (first book), a fantasy, and a fantasy novella. I’ve written tons of short stories as well, most of which are literary. I love writing, and it’ll always have a special place in my heart and in my life, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say editing wasn’t fighting for the spotlight there.
Michelle K. I have fantasies about actually writing. I have a children’s book published and five short stories published in anthologies. I have at least a dozen projects in progress. My taste for writing tends to coincide with my taste for reading—fantasy and young adult. A couple of the short stories I wrote that were published in anthologies were horror. While it was a fun challenge, I definitely don’t enjoy writing horror as much as my preferred genres.
If you had to make a three-course meal together, what would you cook?
Cayce B. Okay, I’ll take the dessert and the salad as the appetizer. Michelle, you can take the main course. Included is our actual conversation about it.
Michelle K. My go-to dish is usually chicken, broccoli, and ziti. Essentially, it’s pasta, chicken, and broccoli with a homemade alfredo cream sauce. It’s one of my comfort meals, since I learned to cook it from my father when he co-owned a small restaurant/pizza shop. Part of my lineage comes from Italy, and it definitely shows in my preferred meals. Almost everything I cook has some type of pasta in it. (And I can’t forget to add in some garlic bread on the side!)
Do you have lives? At all?
Cayce B. Ha! Lives. I do, sorta. It’s just not a very thrilling one. I have a dog, Autumn, and
Michelle K. When I’m not editing or writing (which, let’s face it, isn’t often enough) I can usually be found chasing my three sons and refereeing fights. I also work in two different places—less than part-time—as a cashier and yarn instructor at
If you could sum up your greatest flaw in one word, what would that word be?
Cayce B. Impatient. I’m not great at spending a lot of my time on one thing, I give up on things too quickly if they’re not working in my favor, and I hate not knowing what I’m going to do if plans are being made. This is fine in the editing world because there’s a deadline set, I don’t have to edit the entire book in one sitting, and I’m too interested in the English language to let something I don’t understand prevent me from moving forward. I’ll just look the darn thing up. Now, if I can’t find said
As for the rest of life, my garden may or may not suffer from my impatience, and my dog may or may not see me walk away mid-lesson because she isn’t understanding something.
Michelle K. Procrastination. I have a serious fear of failure, and it shows in a lot of projects I don’t finish. Not to mention I have issues with focus, so shiny things (or new projects) are always catching my attention. This is another reason I’m so glad to have found a small niche in copyediting. It is one of the only things I don’t procrastinate on. But in all other areas of my life, it’s still a work in progress!
Thank you so much for your questions. Some of them made this a lot of fun. Hopefully you learned a bit about us. We’re human too, so our lives aren’t as grand as you might think, but hopefully you learned a thing or two that made reading this fun. Thank you so much!
Keep on writing, and check back for blog posts on the new Writer Scrolls! Also, since it’s launch month, comment on this post and let us know who you are for three extra points toward the free copyedit drawing!