When I published Baby! Baby? Baby?! last year, I knew editing it would be a necessary – and really, REALLY expensive evil. When my friend Anna talked to me about self-publishing her book, the first thing I told her was to get it professionally edited. She knew about my experience (because of cost – they did a great job otherwise) and began dragging her feet to find someone to edit.
And then she found Karen! 🙂
She came across Karen of Editor Afloat on Facebook (that awesome and amazing hub for indie writers everywhere!) who was offering a sweet, sweet deal to first time authors. They hooked up and two books later I’ve become jealous of how painless Anna’s editing experience has been!!!
I was so impressed with how Karen selflessly reached out with her time and gifts to help others realize their dreams. It takes a special kind of person to do that and I knew I wanted to learn more about her. I had wanted to feature her here since Anna told me about her and this seems like the perfect opportunity to give her a well-deserved shout-out.
As an editor, what do you think of the direction the publishing industry is going?
I like the broader scope of availability, in both the types of books being offered and the opportunity for more authors to be read. The downside, especially now that Publishing-On-Demand and e-Books are accessible to virtually anyone, is that I’m seeing a degradation in both material and style.
Do you think self-publishing is becoming more acceptable?
Yes, I do. Originally, there was only what was called “vanity publishing”, a method by which anyone who had the resources could publish his or her manuscript. It was considered second-class to “have” to do it that way because it was seen as a clear admission that the publishing houses did not deem your work worthy to print and promote. Today with POD and electronic books for most all formatted devices, anyone with something to say can be a “published” author. There are many very good writers who would never otherwise get a chance to share their talent.
For someone who is thinking of self-publishing, do you have any advice?
There are many reasons to choose the self-publishing route and whatever your motivation, do your very best work even though it doesn’t have to be “picked up” by a publishing house to get out onto the book market. That means your story-line, your facts, your scenes, your history, your grammar, spelling, and punctuation (you knew I’d get around to saying that, didn’t you?) – whatever it is you wish to tell the world – make it as professional as possible. It is not unheard of for a self-published author to rocket to the top of the best-sellers list.
Is it possible to make money as a self-published author?
Absolutely! Is it likely? Not statistically. I do believe that the reason many new authors’ works don’t sell well and the reason these authors don’t write more is that most of us have no idea what is involved in the process. It’s not just putting all your words down as they spill out of your imagination. There may be hundreds of hours of research involved, some of which may cost the writer money, there’s the cover design, the editor, and the publishing process itself. Not all of that is free; some steps are rather expensive. Then there’s promotion. In the old days, if a publishing house printed your manuscript and thought it had potential to be a hot seller, you would be sent out for book signings, and the publisher would do much of the advertising. As a self-published author, you’re on your own here. It becomes a catch-22 situation since the major brick-and-mortar bookstores won’t carry self-published titles. Promoting your novel is more than pushing all your Facebook ‘friends’ into sharing your post and hoping for re-tweets on Twitter.
You’ve been helping out first time novelists by editing their manuscripts – tell me about that.
This summer, I ran an offer for first-time novelists to do their final edit before publishing for free. Editing is generally one of the most costly steps in a book’s production process and, therefore, one of the most skipped steps for writers on a budget. The best part about this offer is that I have “met” some wonderfully talented individuals.
What made you decide to do that?
I was reading a post by new author Kristen Hope Mazzola. She stated that she didn’t know “weather” or not she was going to use an editor. After I quit rolling on the floor with laughter (just teasing you, Kristen!), I contacted her and decided on that offer to try to help her and a few other new writers. It turned out to be very successful and very satisfying for me. And hopefully, the authors for whom I did some editing found added value in their work!
What’s your favourite aspect of being an editor?
Worst thing about it?
Not being able to share more of some of the stories I edit! There’s also the occasional bad manuscript; something that stinks so horribly that I don’t even want to power up my computer. Unless specifically asked, I don’t make ‘content’ comments; my job is context and presentation. Fortunately, most people know if their stuff is awful and don’t bother trying to publish.
What are you working on now?
I just finished Part 2 of Anna Ellis’ Husbands and Wives and will have Change Me from Lynne Taylor done soon.
I read your interview with Kristen and I know you’re a fan of Tom Clancy. Do you have anything to say about his passing?
It was a very sad day in the literary world that saw the passing of Tom Clancy. He was a consummate story teller and had the rare ability to combine history, stark reality, technology, and make-believe into one heart-thumping tale after another.
Thank you very much for these great questions! I wish you the best of luck with your own literary ambitions. 🙂