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Sample Edits and Reviews


(all editorial comments are in maroon)

This edit was done for a freelance article by a writer with whom I work closely on many projects. The style reflects an ongoing work relationship.

The transition from traditional print publications to online publications. PC World’s President and CEO Jeff Edman explains why traditional publications will not secede to online publications. (I don’t see any indication outside the title that Jeff is explaining anything until way down at the bottom of page two…that confuses me right off the bat….)

By Meana Kasi


When taking a traditional print publication to the Internet, the following steps need to be considered:

Online competitive research—Much of the same research that was done when first producing  print publication must be repeated, with an Internet twist. Are there other online sites that offer similar content? Even if the a proposed publication has no major print competitors, the Internet is a whole different world.

Geographic market research—Decide whether or not the publication can be offered on a global scale and whether the content is relevant to new geographic markets that will be reached online. Consider the language barriers. How will you deal with them? (This is something I am particularly sensitive to since I love languages so much….)

 Demographic market research—Consider the demographic market that the publication targets. Do they have access to the Internet? Do they have the time to read a publication online? Are they computer savvy? Do they prefer reading a print publication?

Online advertiser assessment—Think about the advertising potential. Will the current advertisers be open to online banner space? Does the publication attract enough advertising to counter the costs of online production? Is specialized marketing an option for the publication and its advertisers?

Content provision readiness—Is the publication ready to begin updating daily, if not hourly? (Perhaps “capable of” instead of “ready to begin”?) Are the writers open to reformatting their writing style for online readers?

Expanded features planning—Is the publication prepared to offer more than just the editorial content? (what exactly do you mean here?  Are you considering columns editorial content instead of features?)  Are there some types of Can some type of interactive features that can be incorporated? (Get it out of the passive) What other services or e-commerce can be offered? Will these special features reduce the editorial content (I don’t know about the use of the term “editorial content” to mean “any story”.  When I see “editorial” I think of something very specific) credibility?

Subscription protection—Will the publication be offered for free? Will only partial content be posted? Will readers need to subscribe online.? Will only the full contents of the current issue be offered for free in full content? Will the publication offer its archives for free?

Marketing strategy and identity conception—Will the online magazine be self-sustaining or will it simply complement the print publication? Will it be marketed separately or will it need to be added to the current marketing plan?

The debates may never end regarding traditional versus online publishing. One thing remains true: as the Internet grows larger and stronger, more traditional publications are taking to the web. But is there more involved in to the process than simply converting the content of a traditional publication into an online format?

The differences in online versus traditional publishing are numerous. The writing style must be wittier and more simplistic online in order to maintain the readers’ attention. (I disagree that this is an absolute—it depends on the forum. Also, this is a con from a writer/publisher standpoint, and all the other points mentioned in this paragraph are pros.) Articles can be updated as the news changes, offering the convenience of timeliness. Interactive features such as discussion boards and readers’ polls that are offered online are certainly lacking in traditional publications. Special features such as online stores and links to other sites are exclusive to Internet publications. So, why wouldn’t a publication want to go online?

The fact is, most readers will not pay to read a publication online, so the publishers have to offer it for free. However, if they do that, why would readers want to continue to purchase subscriptions to the a print publication when it’s being offered free of charge online? Although an increasing number of publications are heading to the Internet every day, some publishers are still skeptical about offering their content online free of charge to the readers. Though the hope remains that the online publications will turn profit through advertising and various services, some publications go so far as to also require paid online subscriptions. Some publications Others offer only partial content  for free online, and require readers to pay a fee to read the remainder of the complete articles or stories. (I think Ideomancer is like that…) PC World’s President and CEO Jeff Edman comments, “I don't think it's unreasonable for Web sites that are companions to magazines to one day offer a certain amount of content for free and then charge for expanded content on their site. This additional revenue stream might be enough to take otherwise unprofitable magazines/Web sites and put them in the black.  The question is, ‘Who wants to be first?’”, Edman wonders.

Some publishers have experienced a decrease in subscription upon putting their publication online. However, PC World’s President and CEO Jeff Edman has been more fortunate with his publication. PC World Magazine has seen an increase in circulation by about 250,000. According to the latest ABC Fast-Fax Report, for the six months ending December 2000, Circulation circulation for PC World Magazine has increased to 1,265,443 for the six months ending December 2000 according to the latest ABC Fast-Fax Report since the introduction of “This trend may not hold true for other magazines, however, because ours is devoted to technology and computers specifically. As people spend more time on the Internet...and interface more with their computers...their need for computing information grows,” Edman states. “Hence, the positive circulation trend for PC World. Business, consumer, and general interest magazines probably wouldn't benefit from this the way we have. In addition, the Web site is one of our sources for new subscribers to the print magazine.”

Part of the IDG network, PC World is currently the largest technology magazine. It was first introduced in print in 1983, then making its way to the Internet in 1995 with The publication is designed for technology-savvy business managers who represent important buying influences within organizations and also comprise an active home market for technology products. The targeted managers then influence others regarding their purchase decisions. More information about PC World can be found at

Do online magazines bring in as much revenue as traditional publications? After all, the advertisers are now paying for click-throughs on their banners and links rather than for a solid, tangible advertisement on the back cover of a magazine that rests on a waiting room table for several months. So? So, the banner ads are seen by whoever is sitting in front of the computer at the moment it appears on screen while the traditional magazine advertisement can be exposed to many people bringing in many impressions, thus making the cost of advertising worth so much more a great deal more.

PC World magazine is saturated with advertisements for computer and technology products and services. But Jeff Edman doesn’t necessarily feel that advertisers are more likely to spend their money in the traditional publication over the online publication. He explains that advertisers need to use print and online resources for different purposes. While retailers continue to seek ad space in traditional publications, the online publications attract more international companies seeking to build brand awareness.

While print offers a terrific way to brand and affordably communicate large amounts of information through increased ad sizes and complex graphics, the Internet offers interactivity and individualized targeting. Edman believes that branding can be achieved on the Internet, particularly through some of the larger ad units that have been approved by the Internet Advertising Bureau. Says Edman, “There's a lot of evidence to suggest that successful ad campaigns combine both online and offline efforts. The fact that we publish a magazine and a Web site allows our ad reps to offer integrated campaigns that leverage the advantages of each medium.”

Edman doesn’t think traditional print publications will ever take second place to online publications, mainly due to the portability advantage of print publications. He also adds that to some extent, “people look at the Internet as a tool, while magazine readership is more of a planned activity. For example, the net is a great place to check airline reservations, get a recipe, check latest prices on something you're shopping for, or get news.  Magazines, on the other hand, are probably used less to gather specific information and used more for general edification and education.  Plus, most people enjoy the experience of reading magazines, which may not necessarily be the case when using the Web as a tool.” Though each has its own strength, according to Edman, it is acting as  together they complements to each other well that they truly come into their own. (Okay…that may be a bit much…)

Mr. Edman is right, online magazines most likely will not be self-sustaining in the same way print publications can be. But there are some indisputable benefits to online publications. Some of the major advantages that online publications have over print publications are that archived material is more readily accessible through the Internet. Direct mail advertising is more cost-effective when done through email rather thansnail mail. (This may need an explanation for the non-computer saavy….) The option to update news as it occurs is a major reason why people look for information online.

The speed the Internet offers is not a convenience exclusive to only to the readers. The publishers also have an the advantageous benefit of being able to communicate in a faster and timelier manner. Communication with advertisers becomes easier, as does interaction between editor and writer. Within just hours an article can be submitted, reviewed, edited, returned for revision, revised, and returned for publishing. (Don’t we just know it…?) Such speedy turnaround time makes online publishing less of a hassle headache (I would personally avoid “slangy” words) than traditional print publishing where things are often done “the old fashioned way”.

Online magazines attract consumers differently than print publications do. In print, it is the advertisers that reach the consumers, on the Internet, it’s the magazine itself that serves the consumer by offering more services than simply the editorial content. However, Uunless a publication is prepared to expand their content and services to include e-commerce and interactive features, an online magazine is nothing more than the print publication online. (Since I don’t really know where this is targeted—the thing that bothers me about the end here is that you haven’t really talked much about what these services could be except VERY broadly, so the ending seems unfinished. Does that make sense?)  


this piece was eventually published as two separate articles: 

Steps to Consider When Taking Print Publication Online

The Transition From Traditional Print Publications To Online Publications


This is a sample of feedback that I gave for a fiction piece called "Cruise Control" written containing purposeful errors to give students practice in critiquing. It is used in the "Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback" class that I facilitate for Writer's Village University. (The comments in parentheses were for the class, not part of the critique....) 

Here is how I would personally handle this piece: 

Hi, Jane. 

First of all, this is a very interesting start. (NOTE: I must admit, I did not care for this piece at all, but there is no need to be cruel, and without lying, I can say it was interesting.) 

I was intrigued by the mystery of your opening, but I felt a little confused by the situation presented. Where is the setting supposed to take place? Is this girl in jail, or what? It is a little vague. 

"A young woman sits naked in the corner of a windowless, white room. Arms wrapped around her bent legs, she rests her head on her knees. Long, waveless, black hair contrasts her pale white skin. The room is filled with dry silence until suddenly, 
emerging from the depths of the cosmic ocean, she raises her head and gasps for air." 

Be careful not to "overdo" your description. It seems to me that you might want to try spreading this out a bit, because it rather overpowers the reader with adjectives. 

"Opening her eyes, silky and gray," Can eyes really be silky? If you made it a simile, as in "eyes like gray silk" it might read a little smoother. Just a suggestion. (NOTE: I always try to emphasize that I am making SUGGESTIONS in a case like this, because ultimately it is the writer's decision) 

"she looks toward the door. Her breathing finds tempo. Her lips are full and her cheekbones high, and soft like a child's. Her neck is long and slender, a gentle goddess. Gracefully she rises, a ballerina lost in melancholy, an angel strangled in thought." 

Again, I would reconsider the layers of your description here, because you can overwhelm your reader and make them tune out. If you DO want to use a simile or metaphor, make sure that it relates to what is being described--for example, the 
sentence "Her neck is long and slender, a gentle goddess." Is it really her neck that you wish to liken to a goddess? 

There are some beautiful images presented in this paragraph, especially if you parcel them out a bit more. (NOTE: A positive comment is always good if you have been giving problems--but only if it is true.) 

I am not going to repeat the comment about the description, but bear it in mind all the way through your piece. 

Could the policewoman call her something besides "Sweet-cheeks" at some point? You end three sentences with the same phrase, and it makes the dialogue seem a bit stilted. Otherwise, the dialogue itself flows more naturally than some of the description. 

"The angel walks around the rack and looks onto the platter. A card rests on the book, "How To Baby Your Harley." 

"Welcome to 'Cruise Control,' We're leaving tomorrow morning and you've got a lot of reading to do. I'd read it myself, but as you can see, I'm busy writing your life. At this point I haven't decided what to call you yet, but names are only good for relationships and tombstones, and because you're here for such a short story, a meaningful relationship doesn't suit my purpose. 
- Your Author" 

Okay, you've lost me. I love the line about names, but I am totally confused about your plot from here on out. First of all, you switch POV on me from third person to first as the "Author" takes over, and then you switch from present to past tense as the "angel" begins to read...which makes it unclear if what happens next is what she is reading, or action. I think, from the rest of the story, that the book is what she is reading, and that it is the maintenance manual for the bike, but it is really unclear at this point. 

Jane, I think I would concentrate on resolving this really key issue (NOTE: I started to say "major problem" but edited myself. There is no need to be hurtful if you can avoid it...and tact is a major skill to cultivate) of shifting tense and focus, and then the 
rest of it will probably fall into place. 

The section where the author is telling his story is a lot smoother than the opening, and I really like the scene with his wife. There is a good use of detail throughout this section--specifics like the bait and switch con at the diner, and the siphoning of the 
gasoline are very nicely done. 

Keep up the good work, and I look forward to seeing where you go with this. 

(NOTE: Always try to end with a note of encouragement. Even if you don't like the piece, you can always say "Keep writing."

This is a sample review that appeared in the Dark Matter Chronicles review zine.


FULL MOON 2000 Online


The FULL MOON 2000 site is an interesting place to visit, but not one that is likely to become one of my favorites.  It is easy to navigate, and has a layout and font style conducive to ease of reading, but I was not terribly impressed with the fiction content.


The homepage of the site is a beautiful star field with a vivid red title against the blue.  It draws the eye, and creates a good opening impression. The site itself is simple, without many branches to the webbing, but there are some characteristics of note.


The best feature of the site is the links page.  Editor Roger Jones has provided links to several key Science Fiction sites on the web, as well as a very good E-zine search engine.  Only one of the links on the links page was outdated, which was too bad, because I was interested in what “Dragons and Vampires” might offer.  The only other bad thing about the links page was an unfortunate choice of colors.  The red background and yellow lettering was difficult to read for extended periods.  Luckily, the color scheme was not repeated elsewhere in the site, though the violet against green used on the update page was also hard to see.


The current issue of the zine is Issue Four, so I wondered a little about the austere simplicity of the site.  However, Jones’ editorial in Issue One (found in the back issues archives) offers this explanation: “In order to speed up loading and to cram in as many stories as possible, we won't be going in for many pictures or graphics.  The emphasis will be on providing quality fiction.”  I think perhaps a few well-chosen graphics would greatly enhance his site.  He also tells that he inherited many stories from his late brother’s publishing concern, and he will be delivering these stories to his readers for the foreseeable future, and therefore the site is not currently open to submissions.


I read the current issue, and my general impression was that the fiction felt very amateurish and dated.  This could be a result of the archival nature of the stories.  The text was large, and easy-to-read, but this almost seemed to point up the shallow tone of the stories, which all could have benefited from more detail.  The best of the current offerings, in my opinion, was the story “Dumpling” by Luci Longe.  It was a cute little

vignette, though I didn’t really see any justification for any of the action, and was left with a lot of unanswered questions that I think would have been fun to explore.  “Lastrude’s Journey” by M. J. Khan had an interesting start to it, but again was lacking in any “solidity.”  There seemed to be no reasons for any of the actions in the story.  It was another vignette that could have been an interesting novella.  “Removal Day” by

Gerry Mazzerati read more like an outline than a story.  The events of the action were laid out, but not integrated.  The characters were broad strokes of the pen with no details, and none of them were particularly appealing, even the monkeys.  The final short piece in the issue, “Elephant’s Graveyard,” by Enrico Shapiro jumped back and forth in tense, and this made it a bit more confusing than necessary.  The ending was predictable and not especially interesting.


The content of the issue was rounded out by a novella by George Townsend entitled “The Circle is Unbroken.”  This mishmash of science fiction and fantasy wanders through 43 “chapters” in two sections.  The characters are woven together by the loosest threads, and it never reaches below the surface in terms of motivation or emotion.  The events of the story seem totally random, and there are far too many plot twists for the length of the piece.


I think part of the problem with the fiction in this zine can be found by looking at the archival stories on the site.  Many of these pieces were originally published in the late Sixties, and they read like something from another time.  A simpler, less complicated time, perhaps, but sometimes more naïve in terms of plot and characterization.


Overall, I think the site has some merit, especially as a link to the other sites on the links page.  The fiction is trite, naïve, but also rather innocent, and worth exploring as an example of where we have come from and how far we can go.