Note from Kim: I wrote recently about how I think crafty self-publishers are coming around to the idea of hiring an editor, and mentioned how delighted I was that sewing designer Abby Glassenberg hired me to edit her new ebook. Here’s a guest post from Abby about her experience. I love how she points out that self-publishers are essentially their own publishing house, responsible for all aspects of book or ebook production. If you have a self-publishing project on the go (or in a fantasy stage) and want to discuss how I – or any editor – can help you make it outstanding, email me! Here’s Abby:

About a month ago I sat down to outline a new ebook I wanted to write. I already had a title: The Insider’s Guide to Starting an Online Sewing Pattern Business. From there, I began brainstorming all of the ideas I wanted to write about. The list was growing really long. There were topics and subtopics and sidebars. I knew I was interested in writing about this topic, but I didn’t realize at first how much I had to say!

Every morning after that brainstorming session I sat down to write and do research and every afternoon I got more excited about how this ebook was shaping up. I was pulling together all of the information I’d learned about selling sewing patterns online and I was really hopeful that this ebook would be like a road map, guiding people through every facet of beginning a digital pattern business.

I will admit, though, that whenever I would open the manuscript on my computer I would start to feel a little bit of dread. It was long. 45-pages single spaced. Even so I still had lists of areas I thought needed work.

I did my best to edit the manuscript myself. I would go in and cut stuff out, and rewrite. I spellchecked. I read the whole thing aloud and reorganized a bunch of paragraphs. I love to write and the manuscript was good, but I knew it could be amazing.

Having written two books for mainstream publishers, I’ve experienced first hand how valuable an editor can be. You hand them a sorta unwieldy thing, and they tighten your sentences, correct your grammar, take out all those extra commas, suggest ways to organize the text to make it flow, and so much more. Every piece of writing benefits from the work of an editor, and this ebook was no exception. I wanted all of those benefits. I wanted this ebook to be something I would be proud to promote.

I remembered seeing Kim tweet a few months ago that she was doing some freelance editing for crafters. I thought this was brilliant. As more and more of us get into digital self-publishing, we need to see ourselves as our own publishing houses, and as such we need to seek out our own editors. I asked Kim for her rates, which were totally reasonable, and the deal was done. A week after sending the manuscript to Kim, I had it back marked up with her edits. Here are some of the things Kim helped me with:

  • Grouping like ideas together.
  • Correcting tiny little grammatical errors (including a typo in my own URL).
  • Challenging me to prove my point.
  • Elimination one million extra commas.
  • Rewriting the headings and subheadings so that they were consistent with one another.
  • Asking me to elaborate on ideas I’d only touched upon.
  • Suggesting additional resources to include.

Kim comes from the craft and design world so she totally got the concept of this ebook. But she isn’t a sewist so she was able to approach the text from the perspective of a newbie, which was fantastic. If she said, “Huh?” in a certain section then I knew I needed to write more clearly about a that topic. I could tell that she believed in the concept of this ebook and wanted it to be a success, just like I did. I helped to have her on as an enthusiastic teammate working with me to bring this project to completion.

I released my ebook a week ago. Within the first five hours I’d make up the cost of paying for editing. And because the text was really high-quality, I felt really proud sending it out to bigger blogs for review. This ebook has been my most successful self-publishing project thus far, earning over $1,000 in the first week of it’s release. I’m confident that it will continue to sell well because it’s a valuable tool for sewists looking to expand their business in a profitable new direction.

Just like you might hire pattern testers to test your new pattern, or a designer to help you redesign your blog, I highly recommend hiring an editor for your next self-published project. Make your words and ideas shine by having someone else help you polish them a bit first.

Abby GlassenbergAbby Glassenberg creates unique patterns for stuffed animals from her home studio in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Since 2005 she has shared her creations and her ideas on design, technique and the online culture of craft through her blog. Abby has a master’s degree in education from Harvard and taught middle school social studies in Mississippi and Massachusetts before becoming a textile artist and the mother of three girls. Today Abby enjoys teaching people to sew and opening their eyes to the joy of designing their own stuffed animals.  Abby’s new book, Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction, has just been published by Lark Crafts. Her first book, The Artful Bird: Feathered Friends To Make and Sew, was an ALA Booklist top ten craft book of 2011. Abby has also licensed toy designs to Simplicity.