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Track ChangesLisa Poisso is a fiction editor and book writing coach working with independent authors and new authors seeking representation. Lisa helps emerging authors tune their manuscripts to publishing industry standards and craft commercial fiction that resonates with readers. Find her at Lisa Poisso, follow her on Twitter at @LisaPoisso, or like her on Facebook. This guest post originally appeared on Lisa’s site.

As an emerging author, you may be frustrated to discover that you shouldn’t follow the lead of experienced authors when it comes to your editing budget and saving money on editing. The editing needs of seasoned authors are much different from those of new authors. Writers at earlier stages of their careers need strong developmental guidance; no amount of copyediting spit and polish will keep readers turning the pages of a lackluster story.

Yet content editing (also known as developmental editing) is the most expensive type of editing. I see you doing the math in your head: The most expensive kind of editing is the most important kind to get for the authors who have the least money to spend and the smallest chance of directly recouping that investment. It’s an unavoidable process. The better the editing you get in the early stages of your career, the more you’ll learn about writing and revision and the faster your story crafting and writing skills will level up.

In the meantime, you’re not without alternatives. Effective ways to save money on editing are well within your reach at every stage of your writing career, which helps you afford the editorial services that benefit you the most.

1) Tell editors your budget up front

Don’t blindly fish for rates and bids when contacting prospective editors. Tell them your budget range right up front, and then send them your manuscript so they can assess your editing needs. Would a manuscript evaluation be a good alternative to a content edit for your book? Is your manuscript strong enough to go straight to substantive editing? Get a sample assessment and talk with your editor.

2) Turn in clean copy

Most editors don’t have set rates for their services; they base their quotes on how much work they’ll have to do to your copy and how long that will take. The sloppier your manuscript is, the higher your editing rate will be. So read through your final draft several times to save money on editing. Run spellcheck. Try a service like Grammarly or EditMinion.

3) Develop your writing skill

If you shrug off the hard work of revisions and rely on an editor to tie up every dangling plot thread and dangling participle, you consign yourself to higher editing rates for the duration of your writing career. Don’t laugh off your errors and leave them for the editor to catch. Learn your business. Hone your craft.

4) Schedule your edits early

Three to six months isn’t too soon to begin finding the right editor you’d like to work with. If you want to work with the kind of editor who applies multiple review processes to your copyedit and thoughtful deliberation to your content edit, you don’t want an editor who’ll return your manuscript in a week. And sure, you could pay rush fees, but those can run to 100 percent or more of a project’s base fee.

5) Choose the right number of editing rounds

Some editors keep costs low by charging by the editing “round”; once they’ve finished that particular draft (no matter how many “passes” they themselves make during the process), that round is considered complete. Paying by the round could save you money unless you hope to go back and forth with your editor over several revisions. In that case, find out if you’ll get a discount for subsequent rounds (this is how I handle things) or, for editors who offer multiple revision rounds in their base rate, how many rounds are included in the price of the edit.

6) Handle the cleanup yourself

Some editors send the edit to the author for review and approval, then make all the adjustments to the manuscript themselves. While this reduces the potential for error, it raises the cost of the edit. To save money, choose an editor who lets you accept and reject your own edits and do your own post-revision cleanup.

7) Try crowdsourcing your proofreading

Once all the editing is said and done, it’s time for one last check: proofreading. Your editor may provide this service; I do not, because I feel that your manuscript needs a fresh set of eyes at this point in the game. You could hire a professional proofreader, but you may be able to save money on editing by farming this out to eager family and friends who’ve volunteered to help. Keep in mind that you’ll need to carefully vet their recommendations; their knowledge of current grammar, style, and usage or storytelling conventions will not always be on target. Ask your editor about reviewing their suggestions as part of your editing followup or for a very low rate.

8) Don’t waste your resources squeezing a lemon

It has to be said: No amount of line or copy editing can fix a clunker with a lifeless story. If your editor recommends stepping back from a final-stage edit like line editing, take heed. And if you’re not sure whether what you’ve written is ready for prime time—or professional editing—investigate with a more affordable assessment like a new author review or a plot checkup.

9) Look for package pricing

Remember that advice about cleaning up your copy in order to get a lower rate? Editors can afford to offer lower prices on subsequent editing services because your manuscript will be in better shape after the earlier edits. You’ll save money on editing by taking advantage of editing packages to get more services at lower rates.

10) Once you find an editor you click with, stick with them

Most editors provide special rates, discounts, or scheduling perks to established clients. I offer an established client discount and the ability to pencil in future edits on my schedule without a deposit until another author wants to book the same dates. Stick with your editor for similar insider treatment.

In the last two years, a lot of publishers have been buying into self-published ebook successes in a big way. There’s the Amanda Hocking trilogy, John Locke (the first man to really “crack” the KDP system and sell one million kindle ebooks), 50 Shades of Grey, and, quite recently, Wool by Hugh Cowey to name a few of the main deals. Some of these have earned seven-figure advances, something debut authors would only dream of. But are they worth it?

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Wendy TooleThe SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders) was founded in 1988 and since then has nurtured and encouraged copy-editors and proofreaders both in and new to the industry. With the increase in digital self-publishing and national entrepreneurial spirit, chair Wendy Toole talks to us about the advantages of being part of SfEP and its place in the new world of publishing.

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The Lone Ranger, someone we could all learn a thing or two from.There are quite a few authors around the world who have sold a lot of books on their own when they didn’t with publishers, and rather than seeing this as their own success, they see it as their publisher’s failing. They may go on to say how they can teach publishers about how to make an author into a millionaire, if those publishers were to listen. There are probably books on this very subject out there right now, ‘How to Promote Your Novel’ and so forth, by self-proclaimed gurus of the subject.

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Anna LewisThis is a guest post from Anna Lewis, who co-founded the book technology company CompletelyNovel with Oli Brooks in 2008. Since then, they have created CompletelyNovel.com, a community powered book-publishing platform bringing modern publishing tools to an online network of readers, writers and publishers. You can follow Anna on Twitter via @anna_cn and @completelynovel.

 

There is endless advice that goes out to self-published authors about building their brand, identifying their audience and how to promote their work. This is all vital in the success of a book, but writers shouldn’t let it detract from other parts of the self-publishing process – namely, the technical and project management (let’s be honest, slightly more boring) side of things.

Working with self-publishers on CompletelyNovel has been massively inspiring. Every day we see new writers produce something that they have often been waiting many years to see in print. The advent of new tools on the internet has opened up so many doors. But, like anything, it throws up new challenges as well. So here are some dos and don’ts for aspiring self-publishers and their mentors to mull over, learned through watching the experiences of others.

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Blackfriars Books from Little, Brown UKI do love a good first. The first t-shirt day of the summer; the first beer on a night out; the first time you wear a new hoodie. Last week saw the announcement of the first digital-only literary list in the UK, Blackfriars from Little, Brown. The list promises to curate 9 to 12 titles a year from new or established authors, and is launching in June. Now there’s a first to get out of bed for.

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Last week, Simon and Schuster US announced the new publishing ‘service’, Archway, which, for a fee of between $1,599 and $24,999, offers help to authors wanting to self-publish. The prices are tiered to include more advanced ‘services’ at different levels, all of which you can find on the Archway website. The most premium includes a social media publicist, 40 more PB copies of the book than the tier below, 5 more HB copies of the book than the tier below, and costs $5k more than the tier below.

The reactions to this news do say it all, so I’m going to put a few here:

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On BookMachine over the past couple of weeks it was all Fitba, Shades and Gray as Cargo announced three new signings, there were 6 Questions for Jon Reed and we asked Should Children’s Books Come with Age Certifications?

In the news it was announced They’re Making Another Hobbit Film Now, and while Steidl launches book-scented perfume, Fifty Shades beats Harry Potter into submission on Amazon.

We had a guest post from Kathy Meis on why It’s a Brand New World, and if you find yourself in Edinburgh over the festival period, do amble along to BookMachine Edinburgh – 17th August.

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This week on BookMachine, we kicked things off with the The ABC of Waterstones: A Bookseller’s ‘Promised Land’ and 5 questions for Carolyn Jess Cooke, then looked at This week in literary prizes and the news that Today in tyrants: Hussein daughter seeks publisher for father’s memoirs. And if all that wasn’t enough, we had 5 questions for Rebecca Swift of The Literary Consultancy.

Elsewhere on the web it was a mighty busy week too, especially if writing’s your thing: here are 10 Ridiculously Simple Tips for Writing a Book, and Getting your first book published: Lessons learned! Meanwhile this post has Six Tough Truths About Self-Publishing (That The Advocates Never Seem To Talk About), while there’s the argument that Discoverability and Marketing Are Publishing Company Differentiators. Here’s How to fight back against bogus Amazon/Kindle reviews, and what about some Self-Publishing Statistics – Who are the Top Earners?

On the tech front, some are asking Can We Please Move Past Apple’s Silly, Faux-Real UIs?, is it a symptom of Nostalgia and Finitude in Digital Media?

For designers there’s The Future of Book Cover Design in the Digital Age discussed and Publishing Perspectives asks: Does Digital Publishing Really Encourage More Reading?

It seems that If You Want to Succeed in Business, Read More Novels, even though Over half of surveyed e-reader owners use devices to conceal ‘shameful’ reading habits. And for all that reading over the weekend, you might need 17 Cozy Reading Nooks Design Ideas.

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