Monday, December 17, 2012

More Rewrites

Well, it was a long weekend, filled with rewrites that put me back a few days. I have a good friend, Michael, who is an author, and has been kind enough to help with the editing of my book. That is, before it goes to the professional editor.

I send him chapters after they are critiqued by my critique partners and my sister and I, and he and I talk on the phone after he has thoroughly, and I do mean, thoroughly gone through them, and marked where I need to change it. He is a wonderful editor, I have to say. But, man, this time there were complete scene changes that I was not prepared for. Whew!

My sister and I managed to get them done though, but it has set us back a few days. No worries, we will get this done, come hell or high water, at the end of this week, and sent to my editor. 

Will this ever end, the edits I mean? I said I want it close to perfect though, and I meant it. It just means extra work for Toni and I, but at least it will be done correctly. 

I am very proud of the work Toni and I have done. And, I am very proud at how wonderful the book has become. I know that we aren't finished yet, but it's been all worth it.

I have been reading a self-published fiction novel for the last few days, and after seeing all the mistakes, after reading a book that tells more than it shows, and after seeing POV shifts and finding myself scanning through, instead of reading, I know I don't want my book to be like that. 

It is hard for me to understand why people self-publish and don't want their book to be correct and written as well as possible. In other words, get a professional editor. There are affordable one's out there, you just have to look. I found mine on LinkedIn. In fact, Michael, the guy I said is helping me edit, he found the same editor that I am using for his book. 

Take the time to get a professional editor. Even if you have to save money for it. You might get some people to buy your book in the beginning, but if you want them to give you a good review, or to tell their friends about your book, you have to have it right. Not to mention, I don't want to look back at my first book and feel embarrassed. It will hurt you in the long run and it gives those of us who self-publish a bad reputation. I have actually read on other blogs, people who refuse to buy books that aren't traditionally published because of the 'bad' writing. 

So, think about this. I know it takes longer to get your book out to the public, but it is worth the time and money.

Until Thursday, I hope all of you have a great week. Hopefully I will have the news on the next blog, that my book is going to the editor that day or the next!

Love, Lisa







10 comments:

  1. The most common argument I see against hiring an editor is money. Most editors you'll find will charge about $20 - $60 an hour (most commonly $30-$40), which will usually result in about $1,000 to $1,500 per 50,000 words. If you consider an author that publishes 3-4 novels a year, that can be $3,000 - $8,000, depending on what kind of editor that author finds. I don't know about you, but it's taken me 2 years to save $2000 thanks to crappy pay and ever-increasing rent.

    Most people look for the kind of editor you'd get at a publishing house without realizing there are several kinds. The kind of editor who will suggest structural changes such as those of plot, character, dialogue--a developmental editor--is generally not required. A few good first readers will sort out those issues.

    The kind of editor self-publishing authors really need is a copy editor, or for crying out loud, at least a proofreader (indie parlance, not industry parlance). Line editing is nice, too, but tends to be more pricey.

    Money. Most self-publishing authors don't have a lot of it. They can't afford editors, and so they don't get editing. They can't afford cover art, so they stick something hideous they made in PowerPoint. All of this is under the, often, misbegotten impression that they'll come back and fix it later. That after a few sales they'll be able to afford that cool cover and that editing. That is all fine and well. I believe that in many cases it is possible to go back. But you must have a good story for that. I've seen reviewers comment that some story or another was so good that they had to power through despite the poor writing (I'm not talking about any of my books, in case you're wondering). Those reviewers had to see how the story ended. That is the most important thing. Storytelling. They're two different skills, writing and storytelling. Story is the most important; writing comes second, but shouldn't be overlooked.

    In the end, however, self-publishing is a business. It's all about profit and loss. Self-publishers have to keep that in mind before they pay for anything. If the book is a tiny niche topic, then the $500 cover is probably an unnecessary expense. Go low-key on the cover $30-$40 should be all you need to spend. Can't afford editing? Get a couple of friends to read it, slowly. Maybe you have some talent another indie author can use. Barter with someone who can give it a good edit. Read it out loud. It's amazing how many errors you catch that way. But the bottom line is, if you're predicting a book is going to cost you $5,000 on top of all the time you spent writing and revising it, you better be sure you can sell 2,500 copies to recoup that. If not, cut some expenses in whatever way you can without significantly harming the quality of the book.

    And I apologize for how long this reply got. :) It would have been longer had Blogger let me.

    Oh, and as for authors wanting or not wanting their work to be "correct and written as well as possible" it all boils down to perfection. There's no such thing as perfect, so many authors strive for "good enough" instead of "as good as it can be" because it takes less time and money. And the less time they spend working on one book means they have more time to work on another book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ryan Fitzgerald (http://ryanjamesfitzgerald.wordpress.com/) has left a new comment on your post "More Rewrites":

    The most common argument I see against hiring an editor is money. Most editors you'll find will charge about $20 - $60 an hour (most commonly $30-$40), which will usually result in about $1,000 to $1,500 per 50,000 words. If you consider an author that publishes 3-4 novels a year, that can be $3,000 - $8,000, depending on what kind of editor that author finds. I don't know about you, but it's taken me 2 years to save $2000 thanks to crappy pay and ever-increasing rent.

    Most people look for the kind of editor you'd get at a publishing house without realizing there are several kinds. The kind of editor who will suggest structural changes such as those of plot, character, dialogue--a developmental editor--is generally not required. A few good first readers will sort out those issues.

    The kind of editor self-publishing authors really need is a copy editor, or for crying out loud, at least a proofreader (indie parlance, not industry parlance). Line editing is nice, too, but tends to be more pricey.

    Money. Most self-publishing authors don't have a lot of it. They can't afford editors, and so they don't get editing. They can't afford cover art, so they stick something hideous they made in PowerPoint. All of this is under the, often, misbegotten impression that they'll come back and fix it later. That after a few sales they'll be able to afford that cool cover and that editing. That is all fine and well. I believe that in many cases it is possible to go back. But you must have a good story for that. I've seen reviewers comment that some story or another was so good that they had to power through despite the poor writing (I'm not talking about any of my books, in case you're wondering). Those reviewers had to see how the story ended. That is the most important thing. Storytelling. They're two different skills, writing and storytelling. Story is the most important; writing comes second, but shouldn't be overlooked.

    In the end, however, self-publishing is a business. It's all about profit and loss. Self-publishers have to keep that in mind before they pay for anything. If the book is a tiny niche topic, then the $500 cover is probably an unnecessary expense. Go low-key on the cover $30-$40 should be all you need to spend. Can't afford editing? Get a couple of friends to read it, slowly. Maybe you have some talent another indie author can use. Barter with someone who can give it a good edit. Read it out loud. It's amazing how many errors you catch that way. But the bottom line is, if you're predicting a book is going to cost you $5,000 on top of all the time you spent writing and revising it, you better be sure you can sell 2,500 copies to recoup that. If not, cut some expenses in whatever way you can without significantly harming the quality of the book.

    And I apologize for how long this reply got. :) It would have been longer had Blogger let me.

    Oh, and as for authors wanting or not wanting their work to be "correct and written as well as possible" it all boils down to perfection. There's no such thing as perfect, so many authors strive for "good enough" instead of "as good as it can be" because it takes less time and money. And the less time they spend working on one book means they have more time to work on another book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ryan, for some reason your post did not show on my page so I copy/paste it from my email. I wanted to answer your comment because this is important information, not just for my readers, but all people who self-publish. First, there are cheaper editors, mine charges 500.00 per novel. Second, I have seen editors that charge by the page, some 1.00, some 1.50. It is worth the money to get it done if you can. Second, if for some reason you cannot, search out national writing groups to join. A lot of them have published authors and editors that can help you and usually are willing too. To name a few, romance writers of America, and like here in Colorado, Rocky mountain fiction writers. I feel it is an excuse not to get edited because of money, simply because it will effect your sales and you will lose that way. Next I want to say that I am going through Book Baby to publish. Main reason, it is inexpensive and I have little knowledge with uploading a book. I want it formatted correctly. Second, it is a reasonable price, and for the cover, they charge 149.00 to design it. Also, not only do they upload ebooks but they also print out, so you don't have to go to two different sites. One more thing, if you do it all yourself, then put away some of your money from sales so that next time you can afford an editor. It's like you said, it's a business. With any business you need to invest for more customers and bigger profits. Last but not least, when I say perfect, I mean that loosely. I know there is no such thing as perfect. God knows there are mistakes in 'all' novels, but I mean as best as it can possibly be. The only way to achieve that is by taking the steps to make sure at least 95% of the book is correct. You can write all the books you want and upload them, but even if the story is good, you will lose sales if it is written poorly. I know this is only my opinion, but I live it every time I purchase a new book. Thanks for your post, it was enlightening!

      Delete
    2. Strange. It appeared for me when I originally posted it. Blogger must have eaten it.

      I'm sure there are cheaper editors, but caveat emptor. You tend to get what you pay for. There are proofreaders who charge $4 per 1,000 words, there are editors who charge $100 for a novel of 40,000 to 69,999 words. These are the same proofreaders and editors who point to all the books they've worked on, and the most basic of grammatical errors appear in the back cover copy and in the first few pages of the book. I'm very picky when it comes to editors, see. :)

      BookBaby is an excellent service. If you don't know the ins and outs of book design, especially e-book design, it's a worthwhile expense. They do some of the least expensive covers out there. I would not, however, recommend their print service. While I'm sure the book quality is good, your better bet is getting a print-ready PDF of the cover and interior and furnishing that to Amazon's CreateSpace. For $39 and the cost of an ISBN, you'll have the book available via Amazon and any bookstore that wants to order it (from you, the publisher). Dean Wesley Smith's "Think Like A Publisher" series has more information on that if you're so inclined.

      The Smashwords meatgrinder does an OK job of creating e-books, but it's not for everyone. I look forward to the day it accepts EPUB files, since I produce those myself, and they can look nicer than anything I can get out of the meatgrinder. Smashwords also has a list of inexpensive cover artists. You can generally get some pretty decent covers for $50 or so from one of them. More for a print cover (if they do them, and not all of them do), since it requires a bit more work (and you need to know the the print specifications before you can do the print wraparound, anyway).

      Eventually I will work on print. I don't fancy spending money on something I can do myself, but the WIBBOW (would I be better off writing) test tends to overrule my desire to work on print design, never mind getting a cover done that is more appropriate to a print book. That and I write novellas. Once I have a body of any particular series ready for print, it will be done as a print volume.

      And yes, perhaps it got lost in my lengthy reply (or got cut when I tried to fit my first response into Blogger's irritatingly short reply length limit), but I was trying to get at that very point. Any money you make on your writing is best put right back into your writing. It's business. Revenue goes to expenses first. The rest is all profit. :)

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  3. ryanjamesfitzgerald (http://ryanjamesfitzgerald.wordpress.com/) has left a new comment on your post "More Rewrites":

    Strange. It appeared for me when I originally posted it. Blogger must have eaten it.

    I'm sure there are cheaper editors, but caveat emptor. You tend to get what you pay for. There are proofreaders who charge $4 per 1,000 words, there are editors who charge $100 for a novel of 40,000 to 69,999 words. These are the same proofreaders and editors who point to all the books they've worked on, and the most basic of grammatical errors appear in the back cover copy and in the first few pages of the book. I'm very picky when it comes to editors, see. :)

    BookBaby is an excellent service. If you don't know the ins and outs of book design, especially e-book design, it's a worthwhile expense. They do some of the least expensive covers out there. I would not, however, recommend their print service. While I'm sure the book quality is good, your better bet is getting a print-ready PDF of the cover and interior and furnishing that to Amazon's CreateSpace. For $39 and the cost of an ISBN, you'll have the book available via Amazon and any bookstore that wants to order it (from you, the publisher). Dean Wesley Smith's "Think Like A Publisher" series has more information on that if you're so inclined.

    The Smashwords meatgrinder does an OK job of creating e-books, but it's not for everyone. I look forward to the day it accepts EPUB files, since I produce those myself, and they can look nicer than anything I can get out of the meatgrinder. Smashwords also has a list of inexpensive cover artists. You can generally get some pretty decent covers for $50 or so from one of them. More for a print cover (if they do them, and not all of them do), since it requires a bit more work (and you need to know the the print specifications before you can do the print wraparound, anyway).

    Eventually I will work on print. I don't fancy spending money on something I can do myself, but the WIBBOW (would I be better off writing) test tends to overrule my desire to work on print design, never mind getting a cover done that is more appropriate to a print book. That and I write novellas. Once I have a body of any particular series ready for print, it will be done as a print volume.

    And yes, perhaps it got lost in my lengthy reply (or got cut when I tried to fit my first response into Blogger's irritatingly short reply length limit), but I was trying to get at that very point. Any money you make on your writing is best put right back into your writing. It's business. Revenue goes to expenses first. The rest is all profit. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ryan, It did it again. Sometimes I hate these sites...grrr...! Anyway, you have given some great information and I appreciate you taking them time to do so. That's good to know about the book baby printout books. I will keep that in mind. I have an artist friend who is going my cover and map for my book. He will also be doing my web-site, fan page and trailer, when I get to those. He has done this before so he knows how to format them to send, (thank God, coz I don't) and hopefully they will turn out good. I am going to do print on demand through Amazon, but I did want to order some for myself, to sell and to giveaway. I hope that they have gotten a little better, but if not, I will look into other avenues after that, such as your suggestion with Amazon. Good one! I'm glad you agree with the business aspect, yes, writers need to reinvest to pay for their editors, ect.
    Thanks again for your indepth comment, it was great talking with you and I did learn some things! I hope you comment again in the future!

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry Blogger's giving you such grief (it's given me grief typing these comments, too). I'll try using Google account as a log-in to see if that works better.

      The only downside to CreateSpace is that it doesn't produce hardcovers. Hardcovers are really not cost effective unless you print 100+ units (dare I say 250+ units). Or going with Lightning Source, but that's a pain in the neck to set up.

      CreateSpace will let you order in bulk, too. So if you want 50 or so (or some other amount), you can get those printed up. It's worth it to take a look at their calculators if you're going that route to see what it will cost (once you know your trim size and page length). I was impressed enough with the quality of their printing, and that was a year ago before I shed my entire physical book collection for e-books (I now how room in my closet for work clothes). What other company were you looking at for book printing?

      Glad to hear you have a graphic artist on your side. They definitely come in handy, don't they?

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    2. Ah-ha! This one came through. I guess using google is the answer. I'm not really sure who else to use. My artist friend might know someone. I will look into Create-space. I only want to order 100 physical books not to try and sell them so much except to family and friends and to have a copy for myself. Otherwise people can order print to order. I do want my book available in both ways because only about 30% of book buyers have an ebook. That means 70% like a physical book still. I don't want to lose that customer base. I also prefer a regular book. My ereader is a pain in the arse to me. Plus, I like books on my shelves and to trade with friend and family.

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  5. You are fortunate to have a good reader to help the pre-edit. I think sometimes you have to just stop when it seems good enough. You could do many more edits and end up with a sterile product that lacks personality and life. Unless you are writing for dry academia I don't think you want to go this far.

    Also, considering the likelihood that a self-pubbed book might not sell much more than a few thousand dollars worth--or even just a few hundred dollars worth, so the editing investment is a big one to consider.

    But, yes, the product is a reflection on the writer. Bad product could hurt future sales. It's a dilemma.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    Replies
    1. I can understand the editing to much, that is true. You can edit to death, but to think you can edit yourself is not good. You won't see the issues, you are too close to your own work. You need to have someone who knows what they're doing to at least go through and point out major mistakes. I don't care about spelling issues when i'm reading, I care about show don't tell, POV shifts, info dumps, and head hopping. You also need to tighten it for maximum effect. There are plenty of writing groups out there to join that have authors involved and editors. If you can't afford a professional editor, you at least need to do that.

      As far as sales, that is up to the author. That is where your platform comes in. Learn how to market for big benefits, and there are SP books out there that have made it big, look at 50 shades of Grey.

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