Company Overview:

Posted: September 2, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Your Urban Literature Muse for Line Editing, Content Editing, Reduction Editing, Proofreading, Copy Editing and self publishing services for Independent Authors

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mary McBeth from who was very gracious in answering my questions. I love providing my reading audience with a bit of professional wisdom that will help them in their literary journey. So if you are a writer of the Urban Fiction Genre or a fiction writer looking to learn what it takes to become a literary success read along.

Q: Please introduce yourself and your company to my reading audience. What is it that you do?

My name is Mary McBeth, and I am the founder of where I help authors develop their manuscripts through extremely obsessive editing, consulting and marketing advice. I also support them in the development of their Brand through marketing consultations, and the creation of marketing materials, such as logos, business cards and website design; often these are just the natural results of my editing services.


Q: What made you decide to build your business around urban editing?

I love Urban Fiction, and it is my personal pet peeve that good stories often do not receive the attention they deserve, and ultimately the chance to make their impact on society as a whole. I was raised in Brooklyn, New York (a prime Urban Fiction setting), and it personally offends me that the Urban Fiction genre is so often belittled, and misunderstood due to (what I see as) the use of words and the presentation of those words.  I feel I have something unique to offer to the genre, and I often liken it to the music industry where you might be a good rapper, but you still need a heck of an excellent studio technician in order to be competitive. Publishers are the producers. And if you self-publish, guess what? You are now a producer and you better be good- or hire the right people if you want to be credible and make hits.


Q: Are you a lover of the urban fiction genre and do you think it can be a competitive literary market?

Oh yes! I love urban Fiction. As quiet as it’s kept, this IS already a competitive literary market, and I think it will become more so in the future. Few people realize that the genre is extremely broad and that it already outsells mainstream fiction at all the major publishing houses.  The Urban Fiction genre encompasses: Street fiction, Crime fiction, Vampire stories, Urban Fantasy, Erotica, and more. What’s the difference? That depends on whom you ask. Right now, as far as I can tell, Urban Fiction is what each person says it is…for better or for worse. There’s a lot of chaos associated with this genre, which could be good or bad, depending on what we do with it.

Q: Urban Fiction is becoming increasingly popular in the literary world. With that popularity comes a variety of challenges. What would you say is a major challenge urban fiction authors face today?

Credibility. Selling each other and the genre out. Being open to change.  Also, confusion and lack of a system of standards that can differentiate one style from another, or one level of author (expertise-wise) from another. As a former assistant librarian, I continue to work with publishers, libraries, and bookstores to establish new, clearer, guidelines within the genre itself.


Q: There are many mainstream or traditional editors catering to the masses of “traditional genres” why is it important for an urban fiction author to seek out an urban fiction editor? 

Well there are so many reasons, first of all, we editors are a pretty myopic bunch; we pretty much read all day and become totally engrossed in our authors’ dramas (both literally and figuratively!). We don’t get out much, so to speak! Lol! That means an editor who enjoys reading Science Fiction, probably makes that their specialty and wouldn’t necessarily be aware of what was going on in other specialized genres, like Street Lit or Urban Fantasy.

In the case of Urban Fiction, the problem is two fold – genre and culture. Urban Fiction is a culture as much as a genre. This makes it an extremely narrow specialization, like medical writing.

For example, the best Urban Fiction editors should know current idioms of speech, as well as be avid readers of mainstream fiction. It’s like translating a foreign language- you cannot do so competently if you only speak one of the two languages involved?

Ideally, editors of Urban Fiction should have a solid grasp of today’s Urban Culture, as well as historic African American Literature, and mainstream literature overall, in order to assist authors in producing their best work (work that is attractive to the public and ideally, to mainstream publishing houses), as well as work that credits the genre. The problem that traditional publishers have with Urban Lit is not the content, it’s the presentation.

What we are doing here is creating and documenting our history- as it happens. It doesn’t matter if it is fiction or non fiction- future generations will construct an image of what it was like during our time- just as we do today with authors such as Chester Himes, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and Iceberg Slim. That goes for all kinds of Urban Fiction: Street fiction, Vampire Stories, Urban Fantasy, Erotica, whatever.  Urban Fiction Editors have got to be able to see the big picture.


Q: I’m sure as an editor you face a variety of common grammatical errors. What would you say is the most common error urban fiction authors make?

Homonyms, hands down! There, their, and they’re. Way, weigh. Wait, weight. To, too, two. Soul, sole, etc.

It makes my job interesting, but these are a huge red flag for traditional publishers, editors and agents. It tells them that you are guilty of committing what I would call: the cardinal sin of prose…professing to be a serious author, while leaving clues in plain site that you do not read very much. The assumption is if you make such basic errors, you may not have the skills to tell a good story.

But, in all fairness, it’s a persistent misconception that writers are good spellers and such. A subliminal perception that even seasoned industry professionals hold. Writers have to tell stories. Period. Believe me that is hard enough to do. Writers don’t have to spell or have perfect grammar- that’s what editors are for. Lol!

If the quality of your writing is good and this is your main problem, a good book to read is Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynn Truss.


Q: What makes your company different from other editing services?

Simple. We truly care about our authors’ success! Writing is a lonely road and writers need lots of support to make it. For me, editing is a deeply conspiratorial process, and we give so much to our clients that we just cannot take on everyone. Therefore, we are only interested in the author who is serious about making a cultural impact with their writing and pursuing a long-term literary career. But, even if we cannot accept you as a client, we will tell you the truth and give you advice about how you can do better.

I personally handle each client as a product in themselves (not just a book), considering their career, and overall presentation in helping them make the impression they desire. To do this, I may edit their work directly, coach them to produce better work, write their query letters, design their business cards, logo, website and advise them on Social Media marketing, if needed, even introduce them to publishers when appropriate.


Q: Many self-published authors catch a bad rap because their work isn’t polished or “presentable” enough to compete with traditionally published authors; what would you say self-published authors can do to become more competitive in the literary world?

To them I would say presentation is everything in sales of any sort. If you want someone, other than you wife or mother, to purchase (and write a positive review) of your novel – get yourself a reputable editor. Now.

The Urban Fiction book market is saturated with good story ideas, told in bad grammar. Even if your ideas are great, you just cannot compete without writing that is perfect.

If you think your cousin should edit your book for free, then you just do not understand what it is that professional editors do. Consider this conversation I recently had on Facebook with a client who’d hired me to write her query letter- a writer of New Age Non-fiction who, although knowledgeable about her field and a prolific self-published author – was not getting any sales:

Mary Angi McBeth
 ”btw. Who edited your book?


Client: “no one! i gave my books to two very knowledgeable ppl. they read it and made some comments and that was it!… I don’t have an editor…:((

Mary Angi McBeth
” well…how can I say this…very knowledgeable ppl. are good proofreaders….but editing…takes a lot of time (valuable time) and involves taking things out, changing wording and adding explanations where needed….knowledgeable ppl don’t do this for free…and may not even know how to be critical of content…knowledgeable ppl don’t necessarily know how to do a tarot card reading, even if they know the history of tarot… that takes knowledge, but more important, it practice and dedication, the same goes with any field  of expertise.

Editing is not about knowledge only


Mary Angi McBethIt is about reading like a maniac for years and years, it is about criticizing and obsessing over each line of text, in an effort to turn a jingle into a symphony. It is about knowing that genre and what sells in that field, doing research where necessary, and asking the writer to give everything and then a little bit more. It is a Virgo dream job. Not a friend’s favor.


Mary Angi McBethA friend might change your oil on your car or fix a flat tire for free…. But it is not reasonable to expect them to change your transmission, rebuild your engine and give you new body work in a couple of days (or even weeks) and for free.

That is what editing is: an overhaul. Not spell checking. Computers can do that.“


Now, How much can you pay someone to tell you the truth? The hardest thing you will ever do is judge your own writing objectively.

Even prolific authors like Steven King and James Patterson have editors.  You would be surprised how much of the last book you read was the result of the collaboration between author and editor. Its two different things that go into those best selling results: right brained and left-brained, creative and critical. A good editor is your coach, cheerleader and co-conspirator. You can do spell check all by yourself!

Forget your family’s well-meaning comments right now; you needed their support in the beginning, to get the writing done. Now you need the support of people who know what sells. In order to take your book to the next level, get top-of-the-line editing and publishing services and unbiased advice.

Is it going to cost you? Yes. Sorry, but just like you can’t drive a Mercedes Benz for the price of a bicycle. Your new home design just won’t stand up without a competent architect checking those numbers and physics before you build; and learning how to play the piano doesn’t make you Mozart. Be real.

It takes years of hard practice to become great at anything and even then- you still need an editor and you just can’t compete with your “smart friend” editing your books.

Do your research, and when you find an editor that speaks to you as an artist, put them to the test. Get a sample edit, as with any other service, know that when someone tells you they are an editor, that does not mean they are any good, nor does it mean they will care about your work.  Traditionally published authors have professional editing, and not from editing mills either, but from real people they trust, to polish their work, discuss their ideas with, and who help and advise them to become better writers.

An unpolished cover will never stop a great self-published novel from succeeding and eventually finding its way into the hands of traditional publishers . Still, the next best thing self-published authors can do for themselves it to recognize that unless their day job is as an art director or marketing person, they probably are not the best person to design their own covers.


Q: What can writers do to receive a quote on your services? How can they find out more on your company?

To receive a quote for my services, writers can go to  And upload a 3-page sample to be edited free of charge.

Thank you for this opportunity to share my passion with you.

Best wishes and keep writing!


Mary McBeth


Urban Fiction Editor

1923 Bragg St # 140-2358 Sanford, NC, 27330

Tel: (704) 286-6142


Thank you Mary for taking the time out of your schedule to answer a few questions and give readers a bit of insight. Your always welcome here at Urban Fiction News.

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  1. […] Company Overview: | Urban Fiction News […]

  2. robert k swisher jr says:

    Good info

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Kimberly L Willis says:

    Thanks for sharing this information! I love your blog. You share a lot of great information for new authors, and I appreciate your attention to detail and “keeping it real” mentality. Keep up the great work because I appreciate it!

  4. JCerrone says:

    Very useful information! Thank you! I read your blog regularly and I plan to use the service to edit my book.

  5. Thank you K.C. The pleasure was all mine. Your website is a fantastic resource for Urban Fiction Authors everywhere, and it is an honor to be featured here.

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