The Editor’s Fedora (Part 2 of 2)

Guest post
by David Antrobus

[This is part 2 of a 2 part post. See part one here.]

Now we arrive at the crucial topic of cost, and the seemingly arbitrary variations in same. Some editors are so brilliant that they really can and do charge top dollar. I know someone who can quote $5,000 for editing an 80,000-word manuscript. Before you gag on that, two things: at that rarefied level, it’s an incredibly skilled and precise and comprehensive service that almost literally dots every I and crosses every T. Each word is examined, plus the context of the words amid the whole. Each punctuation mark is carefully considered. For example, did you know that Microsoft Word will turn smart quotes the wrong way if you type them after an em-dash (something that’s quite common in dialogue)? A good editor/proofreader will catch every instance and flip them back the right way. Same with the single quote you get when you type an apostrophe at the beginning of a word, as in ’80s. Or double spaces between sentences. Consistent indents. Catching homophones. POV shifts. There are myriad ways in which a good editor’s eagle eye is essential. Done well, it truly is the greatest hybrid of art and science. But the writer’s job at this point is simply to ensure that prospective editors are as good as they claim. Feel free to test them. Send them a sample rife with errors and see if they catch them all. If they miss a couple, that’s not disastrous—no one catches 100 percent—but if they catch only half or two-thirds, politely move on. Continue reading “The Editor’s Fedora (Part 2 of 2)”

Featured Book: The Tree of Knowledge

The Tree of Knowledge
by Robert A. Taylor
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

When your father shows up 12 years after abandoning you as a baby and tells you that he has something important for you to do, the last thing you expect it to be is to kill him. If you’re Chelsea Perkins, your day is only going to get stranger from there…

The Tree of Knowledge is the first book in the Chelsea Perkins Trilogy, inspired by the author’s writings on the popular alternate history web site,Today In Alternate History. The Tree of Knowledge introduces the reader to Chelsea Perkins, a 12-year old girl who has just discovered that the dreams she has been seeing come true around her mean that she is a seer. Her father has returned after his long absence from her life in order to guide her to her ultimate destiny – which may well mean his death. Chelsea must choose between love and power – and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

New Publishing Should Not Emulate Old Publishing

The independent publishing movement is maturing at an astonishing rate. Everything is still evolving and changing daily, but anyone who is paying attention can see we look a whole lot different than when we started.

Indie books are getting better. The product is more finished and professional than a few years ago. Covers are better. Writing is better. There are more success stories each year. The communities are stronger, and we are fighting our way through the learning curve.

Part of what holds us back is the impulse to emulate the old model of publishing to achieve the old standard of success. On some level, we know that big ink was never what it pretended to be. Too much has come out about how the dead tree empires twisted and manipulated sales figures to include pre-orders of books that were ultimately returned after “bestseller” status was achieved. We know about the hollow victories claimed by pay-to-play award winners, and the phony review buzz.  In spite of all their moaning about worthless, unreadable drek, we know big ink cares little about literary virtue where profit is concerned.

On some level, we yearn for what never really was. We want what we thought big publishing was. Some of us want it so badly, we try to create indie versions of it. The problem is, it doesn’t work and it never can. Continue reading “New Publishing Should Not Emulate Old Publishing”