Editing is one of those skillsets that many people claim to do well but which few actually do. And while it’s probably the most important service an author can solicit (second only to book cover design), it’s often undervalued. Furthermore, most authors have no idea how to assess an editor’s work, and the result can be catastrophic, ranging from an editor who introduces new errors to an editor who changes the intention of your writing.
Every month I speak to authors who are on the fence about abandoning their search for a traditional publisher in favor of going indie. Their concerns vary, but their top two reasons not to independently publish are fronting the money and their deep-seated desire to be legitimized by outside forces within the publishing industry otherwise known as traditional publishing houses.
Who cares? is one of the most common assaults memoir writers are subjected to, and it’s usually lobbed at them by their own inner critic. Memoir writers face critical voices—their own and others’—who state that the story/message/idea is trivial, boring, not worth sharing. It’s so important for memoirists to get past these messages in order to set free the story that wants to be told. Here are some tips for memoir writers, especially those struggling with their inner critics, whose primary goal is to engage readers.
Being a modern author comes with the expectation (and sometimes pressure) to do price promotions, which involves lowering the price of your e-book and creating some kind of visibility campaign in association with that “sale.” It’s not so much a matter of whether you’ll do one, but rather why, how soon, how much, how long, how often, and how to do one well. So let’s review those points, shall we?
A conversation about book subtitles should always start with genre, as best practices for subtitling vary from genre to genre. Recently, a memoirist I’m working with presented me with a long list of things her editor felt a subtitle needed to achieve, including that it have a rhythm, exhibit a progression, and stand on its own. If your subtitle can accomplish all of this and more, great, but most subtitles can’t and won’t. The quest for a perfect book subtitle is often elusive, and setting yourself up to hit various arbitrary benchmarks won’t always serve your book.
As an author advocate, part of me dislikes creating a top ten list with a negative slant, and yet, it’s so easy to get things wrong in book publishing that it’s easy to come up with a list like the one below, which is hardly comprehensive. If you recognize your book in any of these errors, don’t fret. Part of becoming an author, and especially a self-published author, has to do with learning the ropes, and doing it better each time around to avoid common mistakes authors make.