On April 13th, I attended ProPub unconference in Vancouver, sponsored by EAC. I work in a vacuum generallly, all alone at my desk figuring out how to make projects work. Consequently, I don’t always have a sense of whether my skills are up to date or if there are better methods out there for what I do. Although, I’m a production person by trade and not an editor, I have edited material for others and, as a writer, have worked with my fair share of editors. Unsure of how useful it would be for me to hang out with a bunch of editors for the day, I attended somewhat reluctantly.
I’m so happy I went. I got to hear from disparate sources how people accomplish the work of bringing words to life. The attendees (editors, publishers, designers, partners) were completely open to sharing what works (and what doesn’t) in their operations. I learned quite a bit and also came away feeling really happy that what I do is relevant. If you are looking for an editor for your project or would like to know more about becoming an editor, this is a great organization to know about. http://www.editors.ca/.
At the Federation of BC Writer’s self-publishing fair on March 3rd the main sentiment echoed by almost every speaker was “Get and Editor.” Nothing destroys the chances of success for your book more than poorly edited text. I’ll be adding more editors to the links page as I connect with people here in the Vancouver area. Remember, an editor is a lot like a therapist—you have to find one who understands you. When the fit is right, you’ll have more than a grammatical watchdog by your side; you’ll have a true collaborator..
It’s the first question most people ask when they find out what I do. “About how much will it cost to do my book?”
I’d love to give you a quick easy answer, but there’s not one. There are so many facets to creating a good book and now so many different ways to get your book produced, the money you dish out can vary wildly.
However, I can give you a couple of tips to keep the cost down.
First, work with a good editor—a real editor, not your aunt Mary, unless she happens to work at Random House in the editorial department. Work initally with a development editor, a person who helps shape your book. If you are writing fiction, your editor will help you find your voice and help you pace the work. If you’re writing non-fiction, it’s even more important to work with someone who can give structure to your information, making your work clearer, cleaner and more enjoyable. Once you are out of the development stage, you’ll want a copy editor to go over your pages. Some editors do both, some don’t. I’ll talk more about finding the right editor in upcoming posts.
My second tip is keep your manuscript clear of extraneous characters. Never use spaces when you mean to tab, and never use tabs when an indent will work. Don’t use double paragraph returns to create space and use only one space after a period. (I know some people will argue this point for various reasons, but really, they’re going to come out before the book is published, so why not leave them out from the get-go?) Learn to use style sheets in your chosen word processor. Many of the settings you input manually become automatic when associated with a style sheet..