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Notes on New Directions in Self-Publishing

Editors Toronto paired with PWAC Toronto Chapter to present a panel on self-publishing. The following post is from freelance editor Michelle MacAlees’s blog Many thanks to Michelle for giving BoldFace permission to cross-post this post.

by Michelle MacAleese

“Self-publishing [used to be] a scar; now it’s a tattoo.”— Greg White

Last night [Tuesday, March 27, 2018]  four of Canada’s most savvy publishing professionals addressed the subject of new directions in self-publishing together with Editors Canada (Toronto branch)PWAC Toronto Chapter, and the U of T School of Continuing Education.

This morning I am reviewing my notes, and I share them here:

  • Many in the biz draw a distinction between self-published authors and hybrid-published authors; both are “independent,” but the self-published authors are a special breed, who understand art and business and (usually) gladly develop proficiency in all the technical and administrative details of the process.
  • Not surprisingly, options for authors continue to change rapidly. What worked best in 2011 is irrelevant today. Many quality companies offer publishing services and hybrid publishing deals. (Many companies will pretty much just steal your money. One must read up before signing up.)
  • The best publishing option for e-only genre fiction won’t be the same as for a debut hardcover business book. It’s a wide world of independent publishing.
  • Authors: If you don’t love technical things (formatting ebooks, working Amazon’s categories, tweaking descriptive copy), you probably won’t enjoy starting a publishing house of one.
  • Editors: Working with self-published authors is a specialty and those editors who are good at taking on that relationship and guiding the process are worth their weight in gold. (Isn’t it about time we begin to mentor each other in why this kind of author-editor relationship is unique, and how it borders on the agent role at times?)
  • Editors who already specialize in working with self-published authors: Let’s talk about how to partner with reputable publishing services companies as well as with other independent designers and book marketing professionals to launch great self-published books that sell!

Thanks to panelists Stephanie FyshMeghan BehseMark Leslie LefebvreNina Munteanu, and to my audience buddy Bronwyn Kienapple. Let’s keep sharing!

Q&A: Linden MacIntyre on the author/editor relationship

What do authors think about editors? What do authors think makes the difference between a good editor and a great editor?

Linden MacIntyrePreviously, BoldFace asked internationally bestselling author Mary Lawson about her experience working with editors. This time we posed the same questions to Linden MacIntyre, a renowned journalist whose work has earned him multiple awards and a long-time co-host of CBC television’s the fifth estate. He is also the author of Why Men Lie and The Bishop’s Man, among others.

Q&A conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

Overall, what’s your experience like as an author who’s been edited?

I’ve had a variety of experiences. In my first, I never met or spoke to the editor at all about the manuscript. We spoke of many other things: life, music, the struggles of creativity. Eventually he requested, as I recall, no changes in my manuscript, and I believe he farmed it out to a freelancer for what I now understand to have been a line edit. I was then given the marked-up manuscript and advised to accept the changes proposed, none of which were substantial. My next experience involved long meetings (over tea) with an editor who explained just about every change, no matter how minor (such as why “St. Catharines” is spelled with an “a”). My last few experiences were with my editor-publisher, Anne Collins, who is constructively brutal, in painstaking detail. Many of her suggested cuts are, at first glance, fatal, but, on second glance, crucial to the flow and clarity of the story. So I unquestioningly believe everything she says. (Most of the time.)

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Q&A: Mary Lawson on the author/editor relationship

mary_lawsonWhat do authors think about editors? What do authors think makes the difference between a good editor and a great editor?

Previously, BoldFace asked children’s author and illustrator Jeremy Tankard about his experience working with editors. This time we posed the same questions to London, United Kingdom–based, internationally bestselling author Mary Lawson, who penned Road Ends, The Other Side of the Bridge, and Crow Lake.

Q&A conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

Overall, what’s your experience like as an author who’s been edited?

I’m in the slightly unusual position of having three editors: one in Canada, one in the United States, and one in the United Kingdom, all of whom have to agree on the final version of each book. It’s a complicated set-up, and if any of them were unwilling to consider the views of the others, the whole business would be impossible. Fortunately, all three are outstandingly good editors and genuinely want what is best for the books and, therefore, they’ve been open to suggestions from the others.

For me, the chief disadvantage of the arrangement is that I have three different sets of notes and comments to work through, which is exceedingly time-consuming! But the advantage is that if all three of the editors agree on a particular point, I know for certain that they are right. If they don’t agree, I feel able to stick to my guns and go with what feels right. I have huge respect for all three, and they have been wonderful to work with.

What is it like as an author to work months, or even years, on a book and then have an editor read it critically and suggest (sometimes major) changes?

Inevitably, it is an anxious time. It takes me roughly six years to write a book—a significant chunk of my life—so there’s a lot riding on it. But I find it very difficult to judge my own work, and, therefore, I do welcome comments. So far I haven’t been asked to make any major changes. (more…)

Q&A: Author Elizabeth Berg on the author/editor relationship

author Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg

What do authors think about editors? What do authors think makes the difference between a good editor and a great editor?

In March, BoldFace asked author Andrew J. Borkowski about his experience working with editors. This time we posed the same questions to Chicago-based, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg, whose books have been translated into 27 languages. Her latest book, The Bird Lover (about French writer George Sand), will be available in spring 2015.

 Q&A conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

 Overall, what’s your experience like as an author who’s been edited?

On the whole, it’s been helpful and very supportive. I’ve found editing much more flexible for books than for magazine pieces, where space and advertising are concerns.
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Q&A: Author Andrew J. Borkowski on the author/editor relationship

What do authors think about editors? What do authors think makes the difference between a good editor and a great editor?

In January, BoldFace asked author Andrew Pyper about his experience working with editors. This time we posed the same questions to Andrew J. Borkowski, a Toronto-based writer, editor, journalist, musician, and author of the short story collection Copernicus Avenue, which won the 2012 Toronto Book Award.

Q&A conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

Overall, what’s been your experience as an author who’s been edited?

copernicus_avenue_frame

Extremely positive. The editors and readers I’ve had at publishers, literary magazines, and agencies have been as diligent, thoughtful, and as committed to the craft as I expect myself to be.

What is it like as an author to work months, or even years, on a book and to then have an editor read it critically and suggest (sometimes major) changes?

Having worked as an editor for many years before my first book was published, I tend to be a pretty ruthless editor of my own work, at least when it comes to working the surface of the prose. That said, I go into the process hungry to know what rings true in my work and what doesn’t.

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Q&A: Author Andrew Pyper on the author/editor relationship

Andrew Pyper

Ever wonder what authors think of book editors? We did, too! Here’s what award-winning, best-selling, Toronto-based author Andrew Pyper (The Demonologist, The Guardians, Lost Girls) has to say about being edited, as well as the difference between what makes a good editor and a great editor.

Q&A conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

Overall, what’s been your experience as an author who’s been edited?

I’ve only had good editors and great editors. I’ve had maybe one or two absentee editors, but no horror stories.

What is it like as an author to work months, or even years, on a book and to then have an editor read it critically and suggest (sometimes major) changes?

There’s always the reflex to defend the work when an editor first weighs in, but I’ve learned to wait a moment or two, because that’s all it takes to see that they’re right, or that they’ve at least put their finger on something that needs tending to. It’s rare that I end up seeing a note as just plain wrong. There’s almost always fire where there’s editorial smoke.

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Crowdfunding for authors: Spread the love…and the risk

By Carol Harrison

How do you make a small fortune in publishing? Start with a big fortune.

Pretty gloomy, huh? Well, when stalwarts such as Key Porter Books (2010) and Douglas and McIntyre (2012) go bankrupt or must sell off their assets, it sends shivers up the spines of not only established authors but also those wanting to get established.

You can self-publish your book, but anyone who’s done so knows it can be a big financial commitment—even if you create an ebook to avoid PP&B (paper, printing, and binding) costs. The thing still needs to be edited, proofread, and designed. (And, yes, many ebooks have “covers” to gain visual marketing traction.)

Many authors (or, better, entrepreneurs) are now turning to crowdfunding. In a 2011 study published by the Journal of Service Management, “‘crowdfunding’ is a collective effort by people who network and pool their money together, usually via the Internet, in order to invest in and support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”

EAC member Vanessa Ricci-Thode took this route to publish her first book, Dragon Whisperer, with Greg Ioannou’s Iguana Press. She sought funding through Indiegogo. In her online profile, she says that “[a]ll contributions will go toward helping Iguana Books cover the following production and promotion costs: editing, including copy editing and proofreading; cover design; layout for print and ebook; [and] marketing & distribution.”

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