The Wordsman Editorial Services                    Allan Edmands


(845) 217-7441
880 Aileen Street
, Oakland, CA 94608

Your words, sharpened to the point.
Your words sharpened, to the point.
(Shifting comma placement alters meaning; in this case, both meanings apply.)

Working with English text written by authors whose first language is not English

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Polishing and indexing manuscripts for 50 years, addressing not only violations of mechanical style but also factual inaccuracies, self-contradictions, problems of usage and parallelism, discontinuities, ambiguities, awkward phrasing, triteness, wordiness, poor transitions, organization and retrievability problems, lack of directness, lack of concreteness, and lack of emphasis. Upon request, creating accurate, comprehensive, readable, and effective (useful) back-of-the-book or embedded indexes that make detailed text more accessible, providing a reliable roadmap into the content of academic or trade books. Helping authors make their prose professional, coherent, and compelling.

1983–present Editorial services provider The Wordsman, Oakland, CA
  Editing full-length books, scholarly and technical journal articles and dissertations, novels, memoirs, and screenplays for publishers and authors. Indexing full-length books. Some examples:
  • The Tomb of Theragaard a 212,000-word fantasy novel by first-time authors Kenneth and Charles Cromwell. I repaired mechanical problems with grammar, spelling, and punctuation; ensured that the prose agreed precisely with the accompanying maps and illustrations; helped the authors make the characters’ dialogue sound natural; and suggested revisions that enhanced rhetorical emphasis and coherence. From the acknowledgments: “For making a dream into reality, thank you.”
  • Rock Island Lines, Double Dealing in Dubuque, and Letting Go in La Crosse—three successive page-turner novels in the gritty “Frank Dodge Mystery” series by Dean Klinkenberg. I was not the editor of the first edition of the first in the series, which needed considerable revision. The author appreciated all of my suggestions, especially fixing the impossible number of texts on one character’s cell phone (just an example of details an observant editor routinely takes care of). Among the many issues that needed addressing in all three novels were numerous time snarls, such as a character's age at different points in the narrative. From the first in the series is this acknowledgment: “I’m grateful that Allan Edmands agreed to be my editor. He was thorough with his review and with his explanations. Allan, thanks for all the help making this a better book. I look forward to your help on the next one.” And then from the next one: “I am deeply grateful to Allan Edmands for his continuing role as my editor, for keeping the stories consistent, and cleaning up my persistent mistakes.”
  • Cold Beans Out of a Can: From Teenage Aircraft Mechanic and Pilot to Apollo Engineer by Harvey A. Smith, who managed a team for the NASA contractor that designed the backpack used by the Apollo astronauts. The book required numerous fact checking, resolving of time snarls, considerable reorganization, and construction of a glossary. The sentence “I would like to thank Allan Edmands for his many valuable suggestions” was at the top of the acknowledgments section.
  • Empire Builder: John D. Spreckels and the Making of San Diego by Sandra E. Bonura, a 408-page multichapter tome that involved extensive fact checking, considerable reorganization, detailed conforming of endnote citations to authoritative publisher style, as well as placement and checking of illustrations and their captions. “I am grateful to Allan Edmands, who not only had to deal with the rules of grammar, punctuation, and style, he had to deal with me. Having his seasoned eyes on my work, step by step, over the entire length of the project, sailed John Spreckels into publication.”
  • Small Claims: An Attorney’s Journey to Seek Justice and Redemption in a Soup Kitchen Legal Clinic by Steve Gottlieb, a very engaging storyteller, whose first book reveals his sense of humor as well as his passion for his pro bono work with destitute clients he met weekly at a local soup kitchen. Not only did I repair dangling modifiers, lapses of parallelism, and internal contradictions, but I needed to do extensive fact checking. “Allan, you are a master of words. Without your help and skills, this book would not have been possible.”
  • Finding Emma: My Search for the Family My Grandfather Never Knew by Amy Whorf McGuiggan, a family history/genealogy spanning four centuries, including stories of ancestors in French Acadia and witch-obsessed Salem. The author’s compelling vignettes needed my routine fact checking and corrections, repairs of time snarls, fixing of citations, as well as numerous other repairs and suggestions. “I received the second edit.… Thank you! It is looking fantastic. The meticulous editing and detailed clarifications have made huge improvements. I appreciate all of Allan’s efforts to fine tune [the book] and make it more readable and consistent than it was.”
  • Nihil’s Retina by G. S. Richter, a self-published tragicomic science-fiction novel featuring an astronaut and his android pilot. I needed to ensure that the dialogue conformed to standard presentation and was “true” (maintaining the appropriate “point of view”) for each character. “Eternal gratitude to my editor, Allan Edmands, for his insight and otherworldly eye.”
  • A Dictionary of Literary Works by Mike Goldman, a 280-page alphabetized reference guide to some of the greatest books and authors of the past millennia. “I want to express my appreciation to Allan Edmands, an eagle-eyed and perceptive reader and editor.… His editing … obviously stems from a real source of knowledge and hard work. [It] truly enhances my work and takes it to a much higher level. I owe him a lot.… I now understand the hefty contribution that an editor makes to a work, probably even that of some of the greatest writers.”
  • Rude at Rowing: In Reverse of Decline by R. Bacon Whitney, a 470-page quirky memoir of an alpine skiing and sweep rowing athlete succeeding not only in his chosen sports but in his studies of Greek and Latin at Harvard. “Gratitude is especially due to those who backed me up and caught my most egregious mistakes, in particular the main editor on this book, Allan Edmands, whose fact-checking was so productive, especially with regard to what I barely had still in my memory. I thank him also for finding blunders of the screeching-halt kind that all authors can be especially ashamed of. He has kept me intellectually honest, and I hope he enjoyed performing these essential tasks. Certainly his efforts have given me considerable pleasure to so consistently approve.”
  • Better to Best: How to Speak for Extraordinary Results… Every Time by David J. Dempsey, JD, a 340-page guide for drafting and delivering dynamic presentations. “The editing of Allan Edmands made the language sing. His pleasant cajoling, diplomatic manner, remarkable eye for details, and artful buffing unquestionably improved the final product. I recommend him without reservation.”
  • Great Space of Desire: Writing for Personal Evolution by Dara Lurie, a 250-page guide on memoir writing, including the author’s own memoir. “Some of what Allan does involves grammar, syntax, and fact checking, but the bigger picture of his work is to ensure … that nothing distracts readers from the fullest experience of a book.”
  • Blood on the Risers: A Novel of Conflict and Survival in Special Forces during the Vietnam War by Michael O’Shea, a 511-page novel of conflict and survival by a Green Beret officer. Addressed numerous character and time inconsistencies and helped the author enliven his dialogue. “Feel free to promote your magic using my work as an example of your masterful talent.”
  • Person Markers in Spoken Spontaneous Israeli Hebrew: A Systematic Description and Analysis by Smadar Cohen, PhD, a nonnative speaker of English. A 266-page morphological, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, and prosodic explanation of how spoken Hebrew actually works. “Allan Edmands … was my reliable and critical reader [who] commented, questioned, and improved the text and the visual presentation of the tables.… [His] sharp eye, patience, and caring were a great help.”
  • Exegesis of the Holy Qur’ân: Commentary and Reflections by Allâmah Nooruddîn (2015), translated by Amatul Rahmân Omar and Abdul Mannân Omar, a 1,028-page exegesis of Islamic mysticism by nonnative speakers of English. Verified (or corrected) numerous facts and fixed problems with scriptural citation and inconsistent transliteration of Arabic.
  • The Apocalypse Paradigm: Text and Context in the Book of Revelation through a Liturgical Kaleidoscope by José Hermann Cuadros, EdD, a 71-page analysis of Christian eschatology by a nonnative speaker of English. Guided the author through extensive reorganization, fixed numerous problems with scriptural citation.
  • DM-ID: A Textbook of Diagnosis of Mental Disorders in Persons with Intellectual Disability by Robert Fletcher, DSW, ACSW, ed., a 360-page manual to aid accurate DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of the intellectually disabled. Ensured a seamless consistency throughout the 28 contributions from mental-health professionals.
  • The High Blood Pressure Solution: A Scientifically Proven Program for Preventing Strokes and Heart Disease by Richard D. Moore, MD, PhD, a 420-page comprehensive guide for balancing body chemistry at the cellular level. Extensive fact checking.
  • Numerous oft-cited academic journal articles and dissertations in sociology, law, ethnography, linguistics, pedagogy, and economics, including

Please see numerous samples of my copyediting and substantive editing (line editing).

1980–2002 Lead editor and teacher IBM Corp., New York and Japan

  • Made sure that the text and graphics for conceptual, procedural, and reference information—whether in printed manuals, error messages, help panels, webpages, animations, or video—typically drafted in an opaque, dry, and intimidating form, became unambiguous, concise, readable, and even interesting.
  • Taught technical writing and editing in courses offered worldwide.
  • During a 5-year assignment in Japan, ensured the quality of the English produced by native Japanese.
  • Supervised a team of editors.
  • Developed style and editorial guidelines.

1973–1983 Freelance editor, copyeditor, and proofreader New York trade book publishers
  On contract with Random House, Alfred A. Knopf, Dell, Prentice Hall, Praeger, and several other publishers, edited novels (including titles by Robert Ludlum and Frank Yerby), young-adult science books (including a series by Isaac Asimov), cookbooks, craft books, psychology and archeology texts, travel guides—you name it.


Bachelor of Arts in History

          University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 1964



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