Publishing consultant?

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Alice.Mowbray
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Publishing consultant?

Post by Alice.Mowbray » March 26th, 2014, 8:21 pm

I was looking for some advice on how useful a publishing consultant is. I've written a manuscript but don't have much time to edit/ put together the book myself, so was thinking about hiring someone to do it for me. I've found a couple of people who will do all of it but I am unsure whether it is a good idea and also how much i should be paying? Any advice would be great.
Thanks.

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Quill
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Re: Publishing consultant?

Post by Quill » March 27th, 2014, 4:24 pm

Alice,

My partner and I do a lot of this type of work (http://houseoflit.org/).

And speaking as an author as well, costs vary. Depends on type of book (fiction, non-fiction, illustrated, poetry, etc), length of book, and other factors, including surprisingly an author's facility with their computer! Editing costs will depend on the number of rounds needed (developmental, copyedit, proof, etc) as well as present condition of the manuscript. Also, are you publishing as an ebook only, or in print format as well? And on how many platforms (Amazon? Smashwords?) Cover art is another big variable.

Best is to compare several providers. We, for example, offer a free 30-minute consultation to help define scope of project, and also a sample edit of the author's work before estimating cost. This is not only to determine possible cost, but also for both parties to see if the working relationship is a good fit. Most important is that an author find people they feel comfortable working with, with which to form their publishing team, so to speak.

Good luck with your project!

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polymath
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Re: Publishing consultant?

Post by polymath » March 27th, 2014, 11:51 pm

I am a project editor, from finished manuscript to finished product in hand. I turn down all but a few projects because the manuscript isn't ready for publication. The projects I take on are in much better shape, but still cluttered with many unnecessary and problematic issues.

Many writers don't really understand what editing is. All that a finished manuscript should require of an editor is a close proofread pass for nondiscretionary style faults: grammar, punctuation, and spelling and such. Very few manuscripts are at that stage of finish. The next tier of editing services, one that should come prior to final proofread, is copyediting.

Copyediting scrutinizes basic craft aspects; like whether a reader will be able to read the narrative, get some degree of understanding from it, and perhaps enjoy reading. Copyediting irons out somewhat the flow of a work, but doesn't make deep and critical analyses of craft, voice, and appeal.

Critical anlayses of craft, voice, and appeal are for developmental editing. Developmental editing comes in light, medium, and heavy degrees. Though by no means ever light, per se, developmental editing focuses on the other areas of writing besides style: craft, voice, and appeal. A manuscript needing heavy developmental editing might as well be ghost written. One needing medium developmental editing is a tie for needing expert ghost writing or expert partner writing. One needing light developmental editing is ripe for a developmental editor.

Basically, what any editor brings to the process is preparing and packaging a manuscript for an audience, whether that is proofreading, copyediting, or developmental editing. Packaging in the sense of editorial adjustments so readers maximally receive a mannuscript's intended intents and meanings. Or packaging in a similar sense of how a manuscript is prepared for production. Or both.

How to tell what's needed? More likely than not, heavy developmental editing is needed. Experienced writers know their shortcomings and make accommodations for them, one of which in late stages is hiring an editor. Less experienced writers are better served by writing workshops and instructiion, and reading and closely studying methods from within their favorite published writing. Not from self-published writing but from writing that has been expertly screened, edited, and fully developed.

I have no intent to be harsh in general, but I don't feel whitewashing is kind. I could, though, pass the buck, and put the onus of harshness on impersonal and anonymous publisher rejection practices and consumer disinterest and indifference. However, as an editor, I will not give any writer a false sense of proficiency.
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