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How self-publishing has changed – this editor’s personal take

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

The self-publishing business has evolved a lot in the last few years. It is no longer on the fringe but has moved more main-stream. Here is my take on some of what is happening. This will sum up my postings on the editor-self-publishing author relationship based on my talk on the Editors Canada panel April 26.

  1. Self-published books are now considered respectable and not vanity press. Authors of sp books can be members of The Writers Union, have their books in libraries, do library readings and presentations, and register the book(s) with the Public Lending Rights program
  2. Author has much more say in what is done, can be more satisfying but also lots more work and responsibility and cost. And no middle person for taking cut in book sales.
  3. Choice in how to publish (e-publish only or print only or both – Kobo, amazon, etc.).
  4. A lot more social media and the like (including doing book review trades with other authors) involved –author blog, Facebook, Linked In, Goodreads, etc.; author must organize and pay for any in-person book launch, but virtual book launches are becoming popular. As the title suggests, the author is glued to the seat of her chair at the computer for hours, but she has control over the time and length of her book launch – also much cheaper than in-person launches.
  5. Other online media authors can schedule – videos, including guesting on online TV shows such as The Liquid Lunch on thatchannel.com and join meet-up groups such as the Toronto Indie Publishing group.

But author having more control can be good and prosperous. My writing colleague, Rena Natan who self-publishes some of her books is proof of that.Here is what she emailed me (in part) to use in my presentation:

“The process of promoting the book is time-consuming. I try to have it reviewed by friend authors (like yourself), by Midwest Book review (authoritative, free, but it takes about a year) and Goodreaders members.

Then I submit the book to all competitions that are not too expensive; I check them first on the website  www.pred-ed.com (preditors and editors).

When you win a competition you get, in general, perks, like free listing on a number of Websites, Bookdaily,  and the like. These help a little to sell.”

Rene’s books have won awards as you can see from the first page of her website. She also has more info on her books and what is happening with them here.

And for those who have trade publishers, some of these promotional activities can apply as today published authors have to take their publicity by the horns and do a lot of it themselves.

Which is good in that authors can connect more with their readers.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood icon at the top to find out more about my Beyond books.

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Tips for Authors Self-publishing Part 2

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Last week’s post contained tips for editors dealing with authors who plan to self-publish a book. Today, I’ll present some tips for the authors. These are all from my presentation on the Editors Canada Self-publishing panel held April 26.

And what they call “a word to the wise” – just because you are self-publishing your book doesn’t meant you can skip the editing process. An editor can read your manuscript with an open mind, i.e., not working from the “tunnel vision” authors (and that includes me here) can get into with their baby, their manuscript. It’s more than just where the commas go, but includes whether or not your story flows, makes sense (and in a micro way – does a scene, paragraph make sense?). Is one character’s actions believable (considering the genre and story line) and is the plot, especially the resolution, credible.

Remember authors and editors need to work together, so the first point below is the most important. The rest really flows from that one.

 

What authors need to know when working with editors (a partial list):

  1. Mutual Respect
  2. Don’t have your book printed out before getting it edited.
  3. Don’t design your book in Word BEFORE getting it edited.
  4. Your book is still a manuscript before it is edited, so submit it electronically as a manuscript – 12 pt. Times New Roman, double-spaced AFTER you and the editor reach a hiring agreement. However, the potential editor might want a few chapters to help estimate a fee.
  5. The potential editor and writer can sort out hiring and related matters by email, phone, in person, or some of those three. Don’t be a no-show for appointments.
  6. Most editors will require a fee deposit and will draw up a contract for work requirements, time-line, and fees.
  7. When the contract is signed and the editor starts work, don’t bother her with constant emails or phone calls for progress reports and don’t email content changes without an editorial request.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood icon at the top to find out more about my Beyond books.

 

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Author Editor Relationship – keep it professional and respectful

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

Your editor is not your ninth grade English teacher (at least I hope not) and is not there to rap your knuckles for forgetting some arcane rule. Editors are professionals who are accustomed to interacting with authors in a mutually respectful relationship.

– Dick Margulis (Editor)
http://www.intelligentediting.com/editorauthorrelationship.aspx

We authors need editors to edit our fiction because we are too subjective with our stories. A fresh pair of eyes and brain can see what our tunnel vision misses. However, many authors have tunnel vision in how they deal with their editor. Sadly, so do editors with their authors.

I should know as I work both sides of the fence as a writer and an editor. And I also teach writing and coach clients in writing. And balancing on that fence (not barbed wire, although sometimes it feels like it), I have seen some strange situations. So, from my personal experience, here are a few tips (with a few weird anecdotes) to help smooth your relationship with your editor.

1. Be professional. You are hiring the editor to evaluate and edit your writing. So no prima donna activities such as insisting the editor can edit but must not change one comma.

2. Realize that editing takes time. You are not going to get a good edit in a few days or a few weeks – even if the editor works 18/7.

3. Realize that editing costs money. Editors do not all charge the same rates. I once had an author include me in his extended fishing expedition to find an editor. He was looking for dirt cheap for editing his book-length manuscript. He told me some of his “contacts” charged as low as $300 and I charged the highest. He didn’t go with me, but I wonder which editor he chose. You get what you pay for. However, it is a good idea to check out a few editors.
4. Choose an editor who actually edits in your genre. I do decline work in some areas I don’t edit in (children’s books and erotica to name a couple, but I do edit young adult books. The first one is not in my area of editing expertise – I don’t have the mindset here and the second I just prefer not to edit). But I will sometimes take on other areas I seldom edit in. Maybe the story interests me or maybe I want to help the author. Or maybe the publisher is my client and the author is the publisher’s client.

5. Both editor and author need to be somewhat flexible with time. As they say, stuff happens and the editor might get behind. Ditto the author when he or she has to answer questions about unclear novel content or make changes. (Note: the author is the copyright owner of the novel, not the editor, so if there are major structural changes I suggest them, especially if I am evaluating, not editing, the manuscript).

6. More on time: don’t bombard your editor with constant emails asking how it is going or worse, sending unasked for changes in your novel for the editor to add in while the editor is still editing. I had a client do the latter, but she found it difficult to follow my requests to please source the references she quoted from.

7. There should always be a contract, or at least a written agreement, between editor and author. This keeps both on track re the editor’s tasks, time-lines, fees, etc. I use the contract suggested by the Editors’ Association of Canada.

8.  For the editors – when editing or evaluating a manuscript, do not be sarcastic. Be honest but polite. Keep it professional. Do not play school marm. You are there to help the writer not wave the big stick.

9. And here is the latest bug-a-boo. If you have made an appointment to meet with an editor before hiring him or her, keep the appointment or at least treat it like you would any other business appointment – if you have to cancel, contact the editor and reschedule. The same goes for editors. I had a would-be-client on a constant change-the-time-and-date spree. He would phone up and ask to do so. That would be okay once. Stuff happens. But when the would-be client agreed to a certain time-change and then changed it to something else without telling the editor… Or one and a half hour after the appointment the author called and said he got tied up and could he come to my home office now? You can imagine my answer to that one. On the other hand, people get sick and have family emergencies. One writing client I tutor has medical issues and I respect that. We work around them. I do not dump clients or refuse clients because of health issues; I have enough of my own to work around

I could go on and on but you get the gist.

An author-editor relationship is a business one. Both should be professional in their dealings with the other.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read about my characters and their stories in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://www.amazon.com.
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html And keep checking http://samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondBlood.html for the latest news on the release of my first mystery novel Beyond Blood, also published by Blue Denim Press http://www.bluedenimpress.com More info on the Beyond Blood page as we get closer to the date.

 

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