Tag Archives: contest

Calling All Comma Masters


Nearly every day, I see comma errors in texts I read.

I don’t mean the texts clients send us for editing prior to publication. I expect to find comma errors in those documents. Clients send their documents to us at Precise Edit so we can make them right before they are submitted, delivered, or published. We edit the documents so they are well written, and we proofread them so they are correct.

What I mean is I find comma errors in articles, signs, books, and other types of texts that have already been finalized and made public. 

Do you find comma errors, too? Do you find commas in incorrect places or sentences missing commas? Are you a Comma Master?

Now is your chance to show off your comma mastery and have some fun. 

The Challenge 

Find a sentence in a public (i.e., published) document that contains a comma error. In the comments below, provide

  • the faulty sentence,
  • the source of the sentence,
  • an explanation of the error (a couple of sentences will be sufficient), and
  • the corrected sentence.

Any entry that provides this information will be considered a qualifying entry. I will accept only one qualifying entry per person.

Visit the Zen Comma blog to enter. 

You have until 11:59 p.m. (EDT), May 29, 2011, to enter this contest with a qualifying entry. Any entries after that time will not be considered. (This gives you about a week.) 

The Reward 

The person who provides the selected entry can choose any one of our books in PDF form (except Your Writing Companion, which we give away free at http://hostileediting.com). These include

  • Zen Comma: 45-page PDF with examples, instructions, and anecdotes to teach you the 14 major uses for commas and the most common errors;
  • 300 Days of Better Writing: 191-page PDF with 300 strategies for improving your writing, organized for daily study, with a topic index for in-depth exploration of a writing topic;
  • Precise Edit Training Manual: 65-page PDF with comprehensive instruction on the 29 most common editing strategies we use and problems we fix; and
  • Which Word Do I Use?: 18-page PDF with definitions, explanations, guidance on using the words, and examples with discussion.

Visit the Zen Comma blog for more information and to enter this contest.

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Manuscript Analysis and Review Contest Winner


First, thank you to the authors who submitted entries in this contest. We have selected a winner. 

Second, the selection process was inherently subjective, much like submitting a manuscript to a publisher, but we made our selection based on several guiding principles. 

  1. The author is able to succinctly describe what his or her book is about. To us, this means that the author has a clear understanding of what readers will find in the book. The content is also unique, meaning it is differentiated from the myriad books readers find when book shopping.
  2. The author has a clear understanding of the book’s appeal, in terms of the topic and content. This helps separate authors who focus on the content and book’s value to the reader and not on their feelings about it.
  3. The author has identified a specific target audience. This gives the author the ability to consider the readers’ needs and interests while writing and the ability to promote the book effectively. 

I have to throw in one more selection criteria, though it played the least role in the selection process. While reading the entries, I asked how interesting the topic is to me. Why did we use personal interest in the topic as a part of the selection process? The answer is simple, really. We are providing this service for free. 

Each of the entries seems interesting, though for differing reasons. However, I asked which one of these I would be most likely to buy, if I could only buy one, with no other information than what is provided here. I would read all of these, but we could only choose one. (Interestingly, we received more sci-fi/fantasy entries than I expected. Of the seven entries, three fit into this genre.) 

Personal interest, though, really wasn’t a major factor in the decision process. We have worked on, edited, and reviewed a wide variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction. In every case, we take on the author’s goals and interests as our own. After all, our job is to help the author be successful! With that mindset, every book is interesting because we have a vested, professional, and personal interest in its success. It’s also this mindset that enables us to help the author publish a great book. We are on the author’s side. 

So whom did we select to receive the free manuscript analysis and review? 

Our selection for the free manuscript review and analysis is . . . Continue reading

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