Thursday, February 23, 2012

Be My Guest: Gemini Wordsmiths on their Love of Games

Please join the Blood-Red Pencil in welcoming guest posters and partners in editing crime, Ruth Littner and Ann Stolinsky, of Gemini Wordsmiths.

During the Jurassic Period, Ann Stolinsky and Ruth Littner knew they wanted to become editors when they grew up. As time progressed, continents drifted, the written word was invented, and their dreams came true. Here is some crucial information about how the company began, who really wears the pants in the family, and what expectations can be exceeded:

Fictional Moderator: How did you start your business?

Ann: Ruth and I met at one of the monthly meetings of the Writers’ Coffeehouse in Willow Grove, PA, during the roundtable introductions.

Ruth: I saw a woman across the table who looked exactly like me. It was a bit unnerving and I felt sorry for her. When she said she was interested in starting an editing company, I knew we were long-lost twins and I had to approach her.

Ann: When we met after to introduce ourselves, it was confirmed that we are identical twins, except for one detail: Ruth is 6 feet tall and I’m barely 5 feet.

Ruth: And to reinforce kismet, it turns out that our daughters have known each other for years.

Moderator: How well do you work together?

Ann: Ruth and I work superbly together. Our work ethic and our desire to deliver the best possible product are very much in sync.

Ruth: The yin and yang of our editing strengths are only surpassed by our ability to laugh together and face work issues from differing approaches.

Ann: As for the question about who wears the pants in the family, that should be answered right here, right now. We both do. It’s a pair of pants.

Moderator: What types of clients do you attract?

Ruth: It’s crazy, but most of them are normal! We have a niche in editing game rules and testing for game playability, so we attract a large gamer market. Additionally, we polish documents produced by folks who have English as a second language so they appear “native” to the reader. We create or improve newsletters for organizations. We attract writers needing developmental or line editing for their manuscripts. We edit websites, write scripts for website videos, and even guest blog!

Ann: The children’s song, "I’m Gonna Eat Some Worms" comes to mind: “We attract short, fat, skinny ones, big, tall, juicy ones. …” LOL. We attract a variety of clients with our twin-ship accident of birth. Our first client was in California and our second was in Canada. We became international superstars with that second job since we went “global.” We’re currently in contract negotiations with a national team of web designers to be their editors. It’s an exciting time.

Moderator: How do you find work?

Ann: We market, market, market. We utilize LinkedIn and other social media. I attend board game and other types of conventions and I market in person.

Ruth: Word-of-mouth is our best marketing tool. Our previous clients are happy to share their “find” of Gemini Wordsmiths. Additionally, sometimes we randomly cruise websites, laugh/cry at their grammatical and typographical errors, and contact the site owners to discuss improvements. We even show them how to play “tag” with SEO for their sites. This works!

Moderator: Do you work independently on each job?

Ann: It depends on the job. The majority of the time, we edit material independently, then get together to review our individual edits. I guess this is really where the wearing of the pants comes in. If we are in conflict, we discuss our positions and come to an agreement. Clients are not just getting one pair of eyes, they are getting two pair — or four pair, if you count our glasses.

Ruth: We work on most jobs independently using our individual strengths. Then we collaborate. If we have a discrepancy, I point out to Ann that I am correct and we continue. Just kidding. She’s right sometimes, too. Kidding again.

Moderator: Last question. How do you exceed expectations?

Ann: With most companies, the client gets one editor, one edit. If the client would like a second edit, they have to pay another company and/or another editor. With Gemini Wordsmiths, the client gets two sets of edits for the price of one, and at the same time. We have no lives outside of our jobs (oh wait, that’s just me!), but we both devote an enormous amount of time to ensuring that the final products are the best they can be. Quality work is our signature.

Ruth: What she said. And, by the way, we’re nice. And who can resist working with two gorgeous redheads?

Disclaimer: Ruth's last comment may imply an oxymoron. We love editors here at BRP, but do writers exist who believe their editors are "nice"?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kathryn Craft is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, an independent manuscript evaluation and line editing service. Her women's fiction and memoir are represented by Katie Shea at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. The first chapter of her memoir, Standoff at Ronnie's Place, modified as a stand-alone essay, was published online by Mason's Road, the online journal of Fairfield University's MFA program. She blogs about Healing through Writing.
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14 comments :

  1. I'm not new to writing but have an idea to compile some of my favorite writings into a collection.

    What would you suggest? And are there any companies that buy this type of books...a collection of true tales and fiction, sprinkled with some poetry.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very fun post. And I do like the idea of getting the opinion of two editors for the price of one!

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  3. Your clients are normal? Guess that lets me out.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting business concept and fun interview. Thanks to Ruth and Ann for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a unique approach to editing. I'm with Helen, getting two pros' opinions is a real benefit.

    Gail, I look forward to what the Gemini ladies have to say in response to your question, but as an editor, I would suggest that you find the angle or concept you can hang these storied onto that will help with marketing. You might also look for books that are similar to that idea and see how well they sell, who publishes them, and how they are put together. I would love a book like that, but I am not a publisher.

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  6. Thanks Ann and Ruth for sharing your wit and love for editing (and gaming!) with us!

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  7. Gail, Maryann had a great comment addressing your question. Find one common thread to bring the collection together. Try Publishers Marketplace to find publishers that accept unsolicited submissions for your common thread.
    Thank you your comment!
    Ann
    for Gemini Wordsmiths

    ReplyDelete
  8. Helen, Thanks for your comment!
    Ann
    for Gemini Wordsmiths

    ReplyDelete
  9. Christopher, Shall I say our clients are as normal as we are? ;-D
    Thanks for your comment!
    Ann
    for Gemini Wordsmiths

    ReplyDelete
  10. Patricia, Thanks for your comment!
    Ann
    for Gemini Wordsmiths

    ReplyDelete
  11. Maryann, Thanks for your comment and the tips for Gail.
    Ann
    for Gemini Wordsmiths

    ReplyDelete
  12. Kathryn,
    Ruth and I thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed!
    Ann

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  13. I'm SO sorry ... I'm down with a cold/flu/something yucky. Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments; thanks, Kathryn for this opportunity to expose our witty (hah!) sides.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great post! I've been using editing teams for a couple years, and that teamwork really enhances my ability to give my clients great feedback and a superior edit.

    Thanks for your wonderful input, Ann and Ruth. And thank you for sharing this interview, Kathryn.

    ReplyDelete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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