How to Have a Great Editor/Author Relationship

How to Have a Great Editor/Author Relationship

JS, Medium, writing

I see authors getting frustrated. “Just tell me how much editing will cost!” They cry, annoyed at vague or incomplete answers.

The editors are sitting on the other end of the email chain despairingly, grumbling in annoyance, “How long is your book??”

As an editor, an author, and an employee of a publishing firm, I think I can clear this right up.

Authors: there is no set cost for editing. Editing depends on many factors, but the two main ones are:

  • Wordcount (length of book)
  • Type of editing desired (there is more than one)

These two things are extremely important. A 30,000-word book will take far less time to edit than a 100,000-word book, which is why there are significant price differences.

Generally, the cost of editing comes down to how much TIME it will take the editor to completely edit your book. They will estimate number of hours for the project, multiply that by their hourly fee, and that’s your price.

There are two main types of book editing that happens after the book is written.

  • Copyediting: This is general proofreading. Correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, and word usage while preserving the meaning and voice of the author. Checking for overall clarity and consistency of format and style.
  • Substantive/developmental Editing: Sometimes these words are used interchangeably. This is a more in-depth edit, including checking for plot holes, asking questions, looking for plot consistency, suggestions on word changes, restructuring paragraphs or sections, asking questions of the author to create better clarity of the story, and can even include consulting on titles, cover design, and more.

Editors: the authors don’t understand editing as well as you do, have patience. They are also incredibly nervous about handing over their book — a piece of their soul — to someone and not knowing what happens next.

How can you alleviate their fears?

First, be open about your process. Tell the authors exactly what they can expect from you, how your process works, the types and number of check-ins and progress updates you’ll do.

Second, take the time to really discuss the different types of editing with your authors and your timeline and deadlines.

Thirdly, remember how it was for you, and be open to answering a million questions and getting to know your author. Ask questions, be honest, and really be a part of the process of their book, not just a side quest.

Try to be collaborative. I like to edit in a Google doc, so that the author can pop in and out, make suggestions, answer questions from me, and be constantly aware of anything happening to their book.

This has served me well and allowed a symbiotic author/editor relationship. It also makes sure that the author is not surprised by any changes I make, as they can see it happening and make the final call.

Your editing is great, but the final product needs to be something the author is excited about and proud of, too.

 

Authors: You are allowed to say no to editor suggestions (though not if it is a grammatical error. We feel strongly about those.). When it comes to style and wording, your preference wins.

Editors: Authors are allowed to say no to suggestions in style and wording, and you’re not allowed to feel bad or take it personally. Their book, their story, their voice.

 

Is this helpful? Do you have questions? What is your relationship with your editor like?

 

Photo Credit

Please follow and like us:
error
Where Do Freelance Writers Find Clients?

Where Do Freelance Writers Find Clients?

Medium, Sales & Marketing, writing

One of the questions that I get asked the most and see on writing forums all the time is “where do you find clients?”

I’ve talked about this before, discussing ways to start making money right away as a writer.

But something I keep seeing even more of recently is this: “I got my first client! The pay is terrible, but it’ll be a professional piece for my portfolio!”

It’s awesome that you got your first paying client, but you have to get out of the mentality of doing something for low to no money just for your “portfolio.”

I am a full-time professional writer and editor, and I do not have a portfolio. I have writing samples and links I can send people, and even PDFs.

Instead of focusing on needing pieces for a professional portfolio and spending the time and energy even making a portfolio, start with having a couple of articles completely written, edited, and finished. Even if you’re just posting them on your blog, or your Medium page, or holding on to them as PDFs.

Write a couple of samples. That is IT. Once you have a couple articles, you can use those as samples when marketing yourself to new clients.

Things that are a waste of time before you have any clients: a professional website, a fancy portfolio, a marketing budget, and professional headshots.

I spent exactly $0 before getting my first 4 clients.

I spent $0 before getting the next several clients after that. In fact, the first money spent on being a writer was getting a new laptop once it was clear that I could make money as a writer. And I only got a new laptop because I was using my husband’s computer and he wanted it back.

Marketing and a professional website are useless at first because no one is searching for you or knows who you are. Don’t spend your time (or money) on that yet. Eventually, you’ll want a website, I’m not saying it’s useless! You just don’t need it to get started.

Respond to ads on Craigslist and Reddit. Give them your writing samples. Same goes for reaching out to people on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media.

Here is a message I was sending:

“Hi, I’m Jyssica and I am a professional writer and editor! I am located in NYC and am available for new projects immediately. My 10 years of sales experience means I write well-suited-for-marketing copy and can work with you to create website or ad copy, blogs, and more. I also edit books! I noticed your website’s blog has not been updated in 6 months. Would you be interested in a couple of blog posts? I can provide writing samples. When are you available to talk?”

Bam. I have introduced myself, given an example of why I am an expert, identified a specific area I can help them with, offered writing samples, and asked to set up a call.

Sales 101. Identify a specific need and offer a solution.

I sent variations of that message directly to businesses over social media, especially LinkedIn and Instagram, and got a good response rate. Most people answered, “what are your rates?”

My response was ALWAYS that the rate depends on their needs, as I can charge per word, per project, or monthly rates, and they depended on the scope of the work and their budget. My next sentence was always “Do you have 15 minutes today to talk? I can get an idea of your needs and we can discuss prices.”

By giving people individual attention and focusing on their needs, I found new clients quickly. And for free.

Don’t undervalue yourself just to make $10. Spend an extra few days finding clients and marketing yourself and make more money.

Market yourself. Most writers don’t make their salary from content mills. Instead of signing up for a content mill and calling it done, do that as only one tiny part of an overall strategy for finding clients.

Making money as a freelance writer is absolutely possible, and it can be a sustainable career choice. But if you decide not to market yourself or try to find clients, you will find that it will be a much slower process to making a decent living.

I’m not just throwing words around for no reason. This strategy worked for me.

I was making just about the same salary from when I was in corporate sales by my fourth month of being a freelance writer.

Photo Credit: http://bsnscb.com/money-wallpapers.html

Please follow and like us:
error
How To: Write a Book in 3 Months

How To: Write a Book in 3 Months

JS, Medium, writing

The 5 Steps to Writing A Book

Have you always thought about writing a book, but it just seems so daunting and impossible?

This is one of those times that you really have to think past the big picture. Much like every difficult journey, writing a book starts with a single step.

Breaking down the book writing process into more manageable, or at least more realistic and approachable steps is key to actually writing one. You don’t just come up with an idea and start writing, because your idea will peter out, or you’ll come up against a dead end, or any other of a million excuses to stop writing.

If you are looking at a nonfiction book, perhaps in entrepreneurship, business advice, self-help, or more, you’re going to want to write a book that is 30,000–45,000 words maximum. Which definitely sounds like a lot, but when you realize that a 45,000-word book is about 180 pages, that already sounds more doable!

So let’s take a number from the middle there and say that your book will be approximately 37,000 words, or about 148 pages. Broken down further, you are looking at writing about 3,000 words per week.

The 5 Steps To Writing A Book

When approaching a book idea, your first step should be to create an outline. Make it as detailed as you want, and think of it as a living document that can change and grow. Create a full outline, and include all of your ideas and plans and then work with it until the order makes sense, it says what you want to say, and you make sure that topics are grouped correctly. You will also be able to see where you plan to break it into chapters, and it will help you stay on topic.

Your outline is your first draft.

Your actual book will be an incredibly fleshed out version of your outline.

When you think about writing a book in 3 months, it sounds crazy! But 3,000 words per week is very doable! It can be 440 words per day, which is less than that click bait article you just read on Facebook, or about the number of words in two average length emails.

By putting time in your schedule and making writing a part of your routine, you will be able to write 3,000 words per week easily. Even an hour every third day or 15 minutes daily, however, you make writing a habit.

Make yourself accountable. Tell people you’re writing a book, or put money down on a publisher, or in advertising, or have a friend text you every other day asking how much you have written. Hold yourself accountable for writing every week.

Don’t get hung up on word count, though. Keep in mind the general length of your book as you continue to write, but don’t force yourself to stop because you hit a certain length, or force yourself to continue after the book is finished just because you want a specific length. It’s not about length, it’s about the story itself, and you don’t want to cheapen it needlessly. Word count is more for you to have a general starting point and to know how word count translates to book pages.

Write. Once you have the outline and you’re being held accountable, sit down every day, every week, and write. It is easier to delete poor writing than it is to have nothing on a page and start from scratch. Read over your outline, think about what you are trying to say, and just write.

At the end of 12 weeks, you will have a book. You may need revisions, you may want more time, but if you start now, in 3 months, you will have enough for a book.

It’s all about breaking down the process into manageable steps, which sounds completely reasonable and logical, but is difficult to do when you’ve been thinking about writing a book since forever, and you’ve never really started because it is a huge project, and who has the time?

You do.

You have the time and the ability to start right now. Start with 1 page, start with 100 words. Start now, and surprise yourself.

Please follow and like us:
error