I have an editor!

Last week I decided it was finally time to move forward. I had been over and over my book a lot and I knew I just had to rip the band aid off and do it. I knew everything wasn’t perfect and I could have probably gone over it twenty more times but I decided not to.

I placed an ad for an editor on Upwork.com one night after the kids were in bed and in the first hour, I received 5 applicants. I thought that was a lot and was so excited to read their profiles. Within the next day or two, I had 32 applicants who wanted to edit my novel. Feeling completely overwhelmed on which one was the right one for me, I started with the pricing.

When you post an ad, you can post the amount of money you would like to pay for the services needed. I removed a few whose initial bids were well out of my price range. Not that their services weren’t worth the money, but it was not a price I could pay right now. Most of the applicants were bidding the exact cost of my request which made it hard to choose.

I then moved on to read their proposal written to me about why they wanted to work for me and some included samples of previous things they had edited. Most were written to me but some were just a generic post that they must copy and paste on everything they apply for. Those didn’t seem very personal to me and I really liked the ones who took the three minutes it probably took to address me as a specific client.

Next I was able to view their previous jobs, feedback from other people who had hired them, and scores of spelling and grammar tests they took through the website. After looking at all of these parts, I definitely learned A LOT!!

Here are a few things that turned me off from hiring the ones I chose to pass on. Hopefully this will help you if you ever post a job and will help you by pointing out several things to look for.

  • A professional photo: Some photos were a really disturbing selfie that I found to be very unprofessional. Judging a book by its cover, I know, but for what I am paying, I would like to work with a person who at least appears to be taking this job seriously.
  • Good grammar in their writing: I read one applicants bio and he used no spaces after commas and his grammar was terrible. If it is not written correctly on their end, I have a hard time trusting that they will edit my work well.
  • Good test scores: A few of the applicants scored very low on their spelling tests or English grammar tests. Both I feel are very important skills at least in this job I was asking for. Most were in the top 10% or so but several scored below average.
  • Read their entire query: One lady looked like a good fit at the beginning but as I read further, she told me that she was by no means an editor but loved to read books. Though I’m sure she could offer great feedback, I was looking for someone with editing experience.
  • Ask for a sample of their work: I looked at many samples and they varied greatly! One had added one comma near the top of the page and removed a comma near the bottom. Another had a full word by word edit, rearranging words, punctuations, spelling, through the entire article. Depending on what you are looking for, be sure to look into this. The one I hired had extremely thorough editing.

These are just a couple of the things that really helped me decide on who was right for me. I ended up narrowing it down to two people in the end. One was $100 over my bid, one was $50 under. Feeling both prices were still in my comfort zone, it came down to their experience and editing samples. I felt like one was more of what I was looking for and she had a very reasonable turnaround time so I wrote up the contract and she approved!!

She is scheduled to have the project completed in 3 weeks so I am eagerly sitting back waiting for what comes back. This is a huge part of the writing process and to have it started is very exciting for me!! Once this step is complete, the rest isn’t as stressful and I’m looking forward to seeing it through to the end!

For the next 3 weeks, my plan is to move forward on my outline for book 2. So far I have the characters and a couple ideas. Looking forward to getting some words on the page and see the next installment come to life!

Shannon

Taking Steps & Moving Forward

Last night I finished my third go round on my manuscript. It has taken me 9.5 months to get to this point and I’m happy to say I am still enjoying it and excited to move forward. I’m sure this timeline is long for some people, but for me, it is what works. As a family of six, they will always come first, making my time to write days apart some weeks. With school starting soon, I’m sure I will have a little more time to work but for now I am happy with any progress. I may not be the hare but the turtle did finish the race.

Over the past day or so, I have made a few more steps in the right direction to proceed with publishing. Along with the initial research I did in my last post (found Here) I have proceeded to contact several people who offer the services I need.

This afternoon I placed an ad looking for an editor on Upwork and so far had five people apply. After reading through their resumes, feedback, and work experience, I have narrowed it down to one lady I think will be a great fit. I emailed her back after her initial contact with me and I will wait to see where it goes! It was definitely scary putting myself out there but I know that this is a huge part of the process and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

I also put out feelers in a Facebook group I am in for someone to do the formatting for both the print version and the e-book. I am planning on offering both formats for each of my novels. I played around today with a few ways to format and after an hour of frustration, I determined that it is worth the cost to pay someone to do it for me.

One last thing I did was look through some more stock photos for my other future covers. I have roughly mapped out four books for this series; 3 novels and 1 novella. I am definitely more of a visual person so I thought if I found the perfect cover, the story will come. It turns out, I found the perfect cover for all four books!! I played around with a photo editing website this morning, placing my titles and name on each of the samples. It was really cool to see them all lined up in a row! Little things like that really keep me going and get me excited about creating more books.

I am hoping to hear back from the editor in the next couple of days and will hopefully proceed with that as my next step. The cover is chosen but I cannot proceed with that until I have a final page count for the designer to be able to size the spine just right. I’m learning there are definitely steps you have to take in a certain order along the way. Through trial and error, I will find my way through it.

Shannon

 

Draft 3 and Research

When I finished my last blog post, I was beginning the process of researching the next steps to getting published. There was a little more to it than I originally thought so I am very thankful I started early!

I began by taking a break from my WIP which was really nice. I was able to let the story sit for a week or so and be able to return to it with a fresh set of eyes and a few new ideas to add in the third draft. I am currently working on chapter 11 of 19 so I am making decent progress. Once this draft is finished, I will be comfortable enough with it to send it off to an editor. Once it returns, I will go through all of their suggestions and edits and it should be ready to go! Eeeeek! I cannot wait for that moment!

Before I started any research, I made a list of things I needed to find out or price out before being able to print my book. Here is a list I came up with:

  • Photographer (I was originally going to shoot my own cover)
  • Bakery (Prop for the cover shoot)
  • Stock Photos
  • Cover Designer
  • Editor
  • Copyright
  • ISBN Number
  • Print size for the book
  • Page color (cream vs. white)
  • Price points (Both print and digital)
  • Printing company
  • Business Cards
  • Formatting

Once I made the list, I’m not going to lie, it was a bit overwhelming!!! Being that I am self publishing, I am trying to keep my costs down, at least for the first book. I am most likely going to shoot my own covers for the next two books but after looking through what seemed like hundreds of stock photos, I think I have found the perfect one!! (insert happy dance). Once I decided to cut out the photographer and props, it will lessen my costs by roughly $150. To me, that seems to be the smart play.

With the same list as above, here is the breakdown for the costs of what it will most likely take to get my book to print:

  • Stock Photos: $10-$20 depending on the membership
  • Cover Designer: $70 for digital, additional $50 for full print layout
  • Editor: $200-$400, depending on which editor you hire
  • Copyright: $35
  • ISBN Number: 1-$125 or 10-$250. I plan to do 10 as I have 2 more WIP’s
  • Print size for the book: Thinking 8.5 x 5.5, based on personal preference
  • Page color (cream vs. white): I decided on cream
  • Price points (Both print and digital): Still working on this one!
  • Printing company: Createspace is so far my choice and user friendly
  • Business Cards: Had a coupon code, got 500 for $10!! Score!
  • Formatting: Unknown, still need to research this one further

With all of that above, estimating of course, is roughly $700. I know that there are very cheap ways to go about publishing a book but there are definitely corners I am not willing to cut. If I had to choose one of the above to spend your money on, it would be editor first, and cover design second. (Yes, I know that’s two, haha) One will make the inside look great, and the other will make the outside look great. Both are very important elements and neither should be taken lightly.

My plan is to make a “For Writers” page on my website with all of the links and companies I use to hopefully help anyone else looking into writing and publishing a book. I have found some wonderful ones on other author’s websites and I love how this writing community is so helpful towards one another. Please let me know if you have any questions, I am always here to help aspiring writers!

**Are you a writer or a reader? Or both? What is your preferred genre?

I’d love to hear from you!

Shannon