Ernest Hemingway once offered, “The first draft of anything is sh!t.” In his posthumous 1984 memoir, With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba, Arnold Samuelson shares his experiences working as a deckhand on Hemingway’s fishing boat for ten months in 1934. During their sea-faring adventure, Hemingway offered Samuelson, then a nineteen-year-old struggling writer, the following advice:
Just over a decade ago, most print-on-demand (POD) service providers were cutting their baby teeth. It was exciting; it felt good to be a subversive, if small, cog in disrupting an industry where six traditional publishers (now the Big Five) had long decided, in no uncertain terms, what readers read and how. During the reign of traditional publishers, indie and hybrid publishing were dismissed as “vanity.”
Writing a book series takes a lot of planning, and it takes a little extra effort when it comes to choosing a book editor. Assuming you have one humdinger of a book series, you’ll want an editor who’s familiar with it or who’s able to quickly be brought up to speed. If you haven’t kept in contact with the original editor, or, for whatever reason, you want a different editor than the first, it’s critical he or she be willing to read previous editions. Typically, depending on the word count, this will set you back a few hundred dollars. If this isn’t in the budget, then be able to offer summaries and a few excerpts.
To every writer who tells me, “It’s not about the money,” I first say, “Good.” (Something like 1 percent of writers are able to support themselves through writing.) Next, I say, “Think like a publisher.” Some authors aren’t keen to view their books as commodities, but books are products, and it’s best to make financial decisions with a publisher’s mindset.
If your manuscript draft is complete, then you’re most likely celebrating getting each and every word down on paper. 2018 is your year and your book is coming out! With IngramSpark’s print-on-demand and global distribution, you’re ready to print your book and sell it to the masses! . . . Or are you?
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.
Good book editing ensures a book is credible for its market and has the best chance of pleasing its readers. But the editor’s contribution goes well beyond grammar, spelling, and house style. Self-publishers have the opportunity to use an editor to bring out their true talents and aptitudes.
I recently performed an editorial review on a book that came to me through IngramSpark, and when the author, Dave, decided to move forward with editing services, I cherry-picked it. Our schedule was tight, and a week or so later, I recommended 2,523 total edits and offered 78 comments . . . only some of which he decided to accept.
What’s the big deal about editing? You add some periods, delete a few commas, run spellcheck and voila, you’ve just edited a book—well done! Nope. It takes years of dedication to the craft before editors develop the necessary skills to help authors say precisely what they want to say in the most effective, affecting way possible.
Depending on my mood I introduce myself as a writer, ghostwriter, or editor. The thing is, a lot of what I do is project management. It doesn’t sound as glamorous, and I doubt anyone has ever bought a project manager a drink, still, when you own an editing company, it is part of the gig. Now that publishing is fully and wholly digital—and even though it’s increasingly Cloud-based—project management and keeping track of native files is an important part of the gig, especially for those who are self-publishing and depending on freelance book designers.