Back when I was figuring out what I wanted to do after I left Interweave Crochet, book editing was high on the list. And though I’ve happily worked as a freelance editor with publishers, what I’ve always been most excited about was the possibility of working with self-publishers. There’s nothing more exciting than helping someone make their own beloved project better. (Well, nothing except having a beloved project of my own. Obviously.)
As the capital-P publishing industry has continued to slog through the disruption that ebooks, the internet and self-publishing continue to inflict upon it relentlessly, I’ve watched and waited. What have I been waiting for?
I've been waiting for self-publishers to start identifying the things they need help with.
One hundred percent DIY is rarely the best way to go with publishing – at the very least, it’s always a good idea to have a second pair of eyes read through the book. But really, and I’m not just saying this because it’s part of how I make a living, editors can do a lot more than proofread. And let’s not forget about the magic graphic designers can bring, even on an all-text book. And photographers.
Sure, capital-P publishing is having to seriously consider all aspects of the publishing business, but there’s always been very good reason that it’s expensive to produce books. A lot of experienced people are involved in making books, and all of them need to get paid. It adds up, but the value is undeniable.
Which is all to lead up to a couple of weeks ago, when I was hired to edit a self-published book. Sewing designer Abby Glassenberg (whose blog you should read if you’re at all interested in running an indie craft business or in sewing stuffed animals, or both) brought me on to edit her ebook The Insider's Guide to Starting an Online Sewing Pattern Business, which is now available for purchase. It's a great primer on why and how to start a business selling PDF sewing patterns (and really, it's as applicable to other kinds of craft patterns) by someone who not only runs a successful business doing just that, but also helps other people do the same.
Yes, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I received her manuscript. That’s how fast self-publishing can work, if you’ve got your (stuffed) ducks in a row!
This was a late-stage entry for me as an editor – sometimes I work with an author before they even start writing. This time, I was handed a finished manuscript, which I turned around in a week, and now here it is for you to read and learn from.
Abby will stop by the blog soon to share what her experience of hiring an editor was like. (Yes, she had a positive experience – though it might build character for me to invite someone who hated my work to blog about it on my blog, I can do without that particular kind of character, thankssomuch.)
I’m currently working on another self-published book, too, which is part of why I’m feeling a little confident that maybe the tide is turning, and more self-publishers will seek out professional help to make their books as fabulous as possible. Good times!
If you have questions about anything related to this, fire away!