Book Progress

Having finished the third draft and taken my book as far as I could on my own, this week I took another major step: I hired an editor.

After doing some reading around I decided to run a search on the members of the Editorial Freelancers Association, an American outfit. I plugged in a couple of details and went through the list of names almost randomly. Originally I’d intended to use a female editor for this work, but when I saw most of them lived in Brooklyn, San Francisco, and other liberal strongholds and that a good half of them had dyed hair, tattoos, and facial piercings I began to think this might not be such a good idea. Any liberal matching that description is likely to struggle with the content of my story, particularly if she’s a feminist, and this would inevitably affect her editorial work.

So I picked two men (both Americans), based mainly on the content of their websites, and sent them an enquiry. Both asked me to send a 2,000 word passage or the whole manuscript, and they’d provide a sample edit and a quote. One came back with $1,200 and the other $1,600. However, the more expensive of the two returned a much better sample edit: more explanation behind the changes, and he seemed to “get” the voice of the narrator better and buy into the story more. The other editor made two changes which I thought dumbed down the narrator’s voice, making it sound more like a young American than a middle-aged Brit. The good news is that both sets of suggestions were minor: no “WTF is this, please rewrite completely” in any of them.

I gave my preferred editor a call and we had a long chat about the editorial process and what I was looking for, and it was very productive. I made the decision to switch the spelling and punctuation conventions to American English, purely because the US is a much bigger market than the UK. The downside is I know seeing z instead of s will grate forever. I am sure I will learn a lot from my editor, who has already shown me a few ways I can improve my writing (again, minor points) and I’m looking forward to the whole process. With luck, what comes out will be a decent product which will sell.

The one downside is that he is busy until early December, so nothing will get done in November. On the plus side, it means he has work and isn’t some 25 year old grad with a BA in Media Writing who’s touting himself about as a freelance writer waiting for his first paid gig. He reckons the editing will take 14 days, so shortly before Christmas I should begin the process of accepting or rejecting the changes and compiling the final version. Then it’ll need to be proof-read, which is a separate exercise I’ll also get done professionally.

In the meantime, I need to get a book cover done. Once again, I’m going to get this done professionally and it looks to be around $350 for both an e-book and paperback cover, based on 3 options with 2 revision cycles. By now I’m seeing that getting a book self-published is going to come in at around $2,500 which isn’t that cheap. However, the most common complaints about self-published books are that they’ve not been properly edited, they’re strewn with errors, the cover looks crap, and the formatting is bad. I might be able to save money by doing a lot of this myself, but I’d be far happier with a professional-looking product than an amateur effort – particularly if I’m going to flog the thing.

I’m hoping that by mid-January it’ll be published and available to purchase on Amazon. I have a marketing strategy, and once I have something to sell I’ll put that into action and see how it goes. Frankly, I haven’t the slightest idea whether this will sell or not, nor whether anyone will like my writing or the story. But as I said right at the beginning, there is only one way to find out – and I intend to do so.

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21 thoughts on “Book Progress

  1. Don’t just use Amazon – use the other e retailers – Kobo, Nook etc.

    Yeah, I’ll look into them once I’m established on Amazon. With my marketing strategy, it’s Amazon that will provide the bulk of my sales.

  2. I think if you create a smashwords account they create the other ones straight away.
    Have you thought of doing the ebook as a series first episode free?

  3. I think if you create a smashwords account they create the other ones straight away.

    Thanks, I’ll look into that.

    Have you thought of doing the ebook as a series first episode free?

    I have, but not sure it would work. I’d rather sell the whole thing in one go, traditional-like.

  4. @”I have, but not sure it would work. I’d rather sell the whole thing in one go, traditional-like.”
    Traditional like would be sending it off to lots of publishers and then them doing it for you. I read ebooks a lot, and try to spend less than £12 pcm on them.
    For a lot of sci fi books people will do a first bit free and then you pay for the rest.
    It makes sense if I know who author x is and that I like him then I will buy the book but if I have no idea, why would I buy it? However if I read the first bit free and like it then I will buy the rest (unless the price is stupid).

  5. “I made the decision to switch the spelling and punctuation conventions to American English, purely because the US is a much bigger market than the UK.”

    Indeed. And unlike some historians I can think of, you may not need to, um, amend the content much.

  6. It makes sense if I know who author x is and that I like him then I will buy the book but if I have no idea, why would I buy it? However if I read the first bit free and like it then I will buy the rest (unless the price is stupid).

    Good points. I’ll see if there’s a way of putting the first chapter free on Amazon.

  7. Don’t just use Amazon – use the other e retailers – Kobo, Nook etc.

    Can I ask why? I can see the point of not just using Amazon, but isn’t it the biggest seller of e-books?

    Well done Tim by the way. And $2,500 is not a huge sum if you think about writing just as a hobby. Besides, you might make it all back and more!

  8. Well done Tim by the way.

    Thanks!

    And $2,500 is not a huge sum if you think about writing just as a hobby. Besides, you might make it all back and more!

    True, and yes: that would be splendid!

  9. Well, I’m disappointed by the delay because I’m quite looking forward to the whole thing. I concur that taking a bit of time to get the fit and finish right is a good idea; there’s a great deal of self-published tripe on Amazon, and one big giveaway tends to be amateurishly composed covers. I know, I know, judge not a book, etc., but given how easy it is to just do a coloured rectangle with a smart border and some centered title text it mostly speaks to the amount of care put into a book. I think the $350 investment will pay for itself.

  10. Well, I’m disappointed by the delay because I’m quite looking forward to the whole thing.

    So am I, tbh!

  11. The money will be well spent and you will at least know you delivered the best you could on all fronts, congratulations.

  12. This alll shows you take pride in your work and the finished product. Given this is a life skill it probably explains some of your historic work related postings as well. Can’t say I will buy the book as there is so much quality content here for free, talking about the comments as well.

    Consider the first chapter free thing carefully. Even when buying paper I try to read the fridge few pages to see whether the writing style sits well with me. Some writers make things hard to read and others dumb everything down or have wooden dialogue. These irritate after a few pages so the book stays on he shelf.

  13. This alll shows you take pride in your work and the finished product. Given this is a life skill it probably explains some of your historic work related postings as well.

    Thanks!

    Consider the first chapter free thing carefully.

    Indeed I am, thanks to the comments on here. I think this might well be the way to go.

  14. The money will be well spent and you will at least know you delivered the best you could on all fronts, congratulations.

    Thanks, Thud!

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