Three Types of Copyediting Services Available to Self-Published Authors

Every author needs an editor. No matter how great of a writer you are, it is impossible to review your own writing objectively. Because you know your story and writing style so well, it is too easy to overlook simple mistakes or inconsistencies. Plus, copyediting requires special skills. Copyeditors are experts in the Chicago Manual of Style (and other style manuals). They not only look for grammar and spelling when they review your manuscript, but they also make sure your manuscript meets your industry’s publishing standards. This is essential if you want your book to be taken seriously.

When hiring a copyeditor, you will need to decide what level of editing is best for your manuscript. Often the editor (or editorial staff, if you are hiring through a company) will review your manuscript and tell you which level of editing is best for your book. Before beginning this process, it is a good idea to understand the various levels available to you. Here are the three types of copyediting services available to self-published authors.

Basic Copyediting

Basic copyediting is a good choice for authors whose primary concern is correction of style and mechanics. Basic editing does not include fact checking, sentence restructuring, or suggestions to improve flow, aesthetics, or voicing. Corrections you can expect with basic editing include:

• Typographical errors

• Misspelled words

• Grammatical errors

• Punctuation

• Homophone confusion

• Style consistency

• Standardization of spelling and capitalization

• Consistency of specific or repeated references

This is the most popular level of editorial service and is appropriate for all genres.

Moderate Copyediting

Moderate editing is a good choice for authors who would like to improve the flow and aesthetics of their work as well as improve the basic style and mechanics of their manuscript. Moderate editing will usually include restructuring of awkward sentences, elimination of redundancies, and attention to inconsistencies of tone or voicing. Moderate editing often includes some fact checking, such as confirmation of brand names, proper names of historical figures or locations, etc.

This level of editing can be tailored to your particular needs or concerns. If you are not sure whether your manuscript needs moderate editing, talk to the editor or editorial staff. They can look at your manuscript and make suggestions based on common mistakes they see.

Extensive Editing

Extensive editing includes mechanical and style corrections as well as sentence restructuring, attention to aesthetics, and some fact checking. More than any other type of editing, extensive editing is custom-designed to meet the specific needs of your manuscript and your goals as an author. Extensive editing may include project development, such as tracking and critiquing story arc and character development. If your project is nonfiction, you may want your editor to give input as to the effectiveness of your organization or the strength of your arguments. Your editor may give reader commentary as well as mechanical and style corrections.

Extensive editing is often a good choice for first-time authors who have not had a chance to workshop a manuscript with a writing group. It can also be an excellent choice for authors who are too close to their subject matter to objectively assess the effectiveness of their writing – a challenge experienced by many memoir writers. Extensive editing can also be an acceptable solution if English is not your native language, in which case your manuscript may require a higher level of text polishing.

If you are interested in copyediting services, there are many ways to find great copyeditors. One option is to find out if your self-publishing company offers copyediting services. You can also search for copyeditors online, post a project listing, or ask for references.

I’d love to know, which level of copyediting do you plan to purchase for your self-published book?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in   sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services   for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department   is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants;   together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the   book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your   career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist   seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you   on the right path.

4 Ways to Find a Great Ghostwriter

A great ghostwriter can help make your dreams of self-publishing a book come true. Whether you are too busy to finish your book project or need the assist of someone with excellent writing skills, you need to find a ghostwriter who is experienced and trained but who also meshes well with your personality.

When interviewing ghostwriters, be sure to ask about their education and work background as well as writing projects they have completed. Don’t be turned off by a writer who hasn’t completed a book exactly like your project because hopefully, your book is a one-of-a-kind idea. Instead, look for a writer with excellent writing and organizational skills. Having some background knowledge in your subject may also be a good idea, but most writers are magnificent researchers and enjoy learning about new topics.

Even more important than the writer’s background is the writer’s personality. When interviewing ghostwriters, ask about their work habits and expectations. Think of hiring a ghostwriter as dating someone new. You will be spending a lot of time working with this person, so you want to make sure you connect with the writer. There is no perfect way to determine if a ghostwriter is a good fit for you and your project. You just need to trust your gut.

So where do you find the perfect ghostwriter? Here are four places to look.

1.) Ask for references – If you know other authors who have used a ghostwriter, ask for references. They will be more than happy to share their experiences with you. This is a great way to find a writer who will do a great job because you can often trust other writer’s opinions.

2.) Check out your self-publishing company – Some self-publishing companies offer ghostwriting services. They will match you up with a ghostwriter that meets your needs. This is another great way to ensure you are hiring a reputable writer because self-publishing companies will only use writers they trust to produce great work.

3.) Search the web – If you go to your favorite search engine and type in “ghostwriter for hire” or other related keywords, you will find links to various writers’ websites. If you choose to go this route, be sure to thoroughly research the writer. Just because they have a website doesn’t mean they are qualified to do the job.

4.) Post a job ad – There are plenty of websites that allow you to post a listing looking for a writer. Be sure to include as many details about the project as possible and explain your expectations. One great place to begin is the Association of Ghostwriters.

I’d love to know, where did you find your ghostwriter?

ABOUT WENDY STETINA: Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction, or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.

When to Edit Your Self-Published Book

One of the questions I am frequently asked is “when should I have someone edit my self-published book?” There are two things you need to keep in mind when deciding when to hire an editor: how is your book formatted and what type of editing do you want. Here is why.

Formatting

A manuscript should always be edited before it is designed into book format. If you plan to have the editor work on the hard-copy version of your manuscript, it has to be in standard manuscript format; that is twelve-point Courier or Times New Roman type, double-spaced, with margins of at least an inch on all sides. This format is standard in the industry and gives the editor room to work. If the book is already designed, it won’t be in standard manuscript format; it will be in book format.

If you plan to have your editor work on your electronic file, the format won’t matter, but it must be in a word-processing document, not a design program or a PDF. Most editors are not designers and won’t have the design program used to design your book. Even if the editor has the capability of opening the design program or manipulating a PDF (which some do), editing a book after it is designed will still interfere with the design. After the file is edited, you’ll have to return it to your designer to get it redesigned, and there will certainly be an additional charge for that service.

Type of Editing

There are basically two types of editing: copyediting and developmental editing. Copyediting should be done once your manuscript is complete. The editor will polish your manuscript by looking for grammar, consistency, clarity, and style issues. If you plan to add or delete large portions of content, you are not ready for a copyedit because it will result in extra fees due to the editor  re-editing portions of the manuscript or cost more than it needs as most editors charge based on the length of the manuscript.

Developmental editing should take place in the beginning stages of writing. This type of edit offers feedback on elements such plot, structure, character, etc. While many editors will point out obvious or frequent grammar and style issues, those types of mistakes are not the  main focus of this edit. If you decide to hire a developmental editor, copyediting is still recommended before publication.

Hopefully this answers some of your questions about the editing process. If you have other questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I will try to address them in future posts.

ABOUT WENDY STETINA: Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction, or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.

 

There is No Such Thing as Free Lunch

Have you heard the cliché “There is no such thing as a free lunch”? Everything has a cost, even if it appears to be free. This true for self publishing as well as all other areas of life.

While there are companies who say they publish your book for free, there are still costs to you. For instance, you may have to buy large amounts of merchandise after the book is printed, or you will have to spend vast amounts of time marketing your own book. In addition, a “free” publishing company could harm your reputation has an author if your book is not of professional quality.

Authors who want their books to be taken seriously need to invest in their projects. This means you’ll at least need a good copy editor and possibly an experienced graphic designer. Depending on your skills and goals, you may also require marketing services. Not all self publishing companies offer these extra services.

Authors should invest in their books by choosing a full-service self publishing company that offers a variety of production and marketing services as well as excellent customer service. This will ensure that you have access to skilled professionals who will help make your book a masterpiece.

I’d love to know, what additional services do you plan to use when self publishing your book?

ABOUT WENDY STETINA: Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction, or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.

The Benefits of Self-Publishing

Many aspiring authors find themselves debating whether they should self-publish or attempt traditional publishing. While both methods have pros and cons, there are many benefits to self-publishing. Here are the most common benefits of this growing publishing trend.

  • You have freedom of expression — you write your own words. You don’t have to change what you’ve written to please an editor, agent, or commercial audience.
  • You control how your book looks — everything from the cover to the interior formatting is in your hands.
  • You set your own price it can be as low or as high as you would like.
  • You receive 100% of your royalties — there’s no middleman stealing your profits, so you earn more per book than you would with traditional publishing.
  • You can review your  interior and cover proofs before publishing — if you misuse spaces or hard returns in your manuscript, it may mess up the layout of your book. However, you have the opportunity to review your proofs for these issues before they are sent to the printer.

It wouldn’t be fair to share the benefits of self-publishing without also discussing the potential downfalls. Here are some of the cons of this publishing option.

  • No one critiques your manuscript — how can you be sure your book is interesting and complete? If you want someone else’s opinion, you will need to hire a professional.
  • You don’t have to edit your manuscript — a messy manuscript turns into a poorly written book that very few people (if any) will want to read. Too many self-published authors choose not to pay for editing because it isn’t required. However, if you want your book to be taken seriously, a professional editor is worth every penny.
  • You control your book’s design — this is great if you’re a designer but not so great if you have limited graphic skills. Depending on your limitations and the complexity of your book, you may need to hire a designer or illustrator.

If you are a self-published author, I’d love to know what made you choose self-publishing. Feel free to share your stories in the comments section.

Cheri Breeding ABOUT CHERI BREEDING: Since 2005 Cheri Breeding has been working as the Director of Production for Outskirts Press. In that time, she has been an instrumental component of every aspect of the Production Department, performing the roles of an Author Representative, Book Designer, Customer Service Representative, Title Production Supervisor, Production Manager and, Director of Production. She brings all that experience and knowledge, along with an unparalleled customer-service focus, to help self-publishing authors reach high-quality book publication more efficiently, professionally, and affordably.