Tuesday, February 2, 2016

All Books Need a Copyeditor

Do all books need a copyeditor?
Some authors believe they can edit their own work or that hiring an editor is too expensive.

As a reviewer for many books, I’ve seen errors in words, subject-verb agreement errors, and errors in punctuation and grammar, also typos.

This seems especially true for self-published books.

Have you seen these same errors on the Internet as I have?

In some cases, it appears that spending time on social media is a detriment to proper English.

If you want to hook readers with your writing, can you afford not to have a copyeditor handy.

Will a copyeditor cost you money? Yes. Is not having a copyeditor costly? Yes. I know of copyediting for as low as one dollar a page. A page of a double-spaced manuscript is roughly two-hundred and fifty words. Is that reasonable? 

Each author will have to determine that for themselves.

There is a big difference between copyedited and not copyedited to the reader and whether they enjoyed the book and they want more of what the author offers in the future.

Not have books edited is one reason for the perception that shelf-published books are of low quality garnering a less than professionally written reputation.

Thinking of having your manuscript edited?

You should have a professional editor check your work

There are different types of editors.

These are the most familiar with ones:
Taken from The Chicago Manual of Style Ed.15

Developmental editor: “Developmental editing addresses more radically the content of a work, the way material should be presented, the need for more or less documentation and how it should be handled, and so on. Since editing of this kind may involve rewriting or reorganization of a work; it should be done---if need---before manuscript editing begins.”

Copyeditor: “Mechanical editing. Copyediting involves two processes. The first, being concerned with the mechanics of written communication, is known as mechanical editing. It refers to the consistency in capitalization, spelling, hyphenation, table format, use of abbreviations, and so forth; correctness of punctuation, including ellipsis points, parentheses, and quotation marks; the way numbers are treated; consistency between text, tables, and illustrations; citation format.; and other matters of style…”

Substantive editor: “Substantive editing deals with the organization and presentation of existing content. It involves rephrasing for smoothness or to eliminate ambiguity, reorganizing or tightening, reducing or simplifying documentation, recasting tables, and other remedial activities.”
The different types of editors can help you produce the best work possible for readability that book readers have a right to expect from authors.

Books should have a certain flow, consistency, clearness of what the author is saying.

As an author, do you have a favorite word? A word repeated over and over for no good reason. Editors should catch that as well as too many passive sentences and rewrite them as active sentences.

If a sentence is written in the passive sense, is it for pacing or just written passive, an editor should know and edit accordingly.

All authors should hire a professional editor

The marriage between author and editing creates the best work possible for the reader, which is what every author should strive for.

Yes, it will cost money to have a manuscript. There are editors that cost less than others. That doesn’t mean that the lower cost means less professional and more expensive mean better editing.

The main thing to look for in an editor is heir proficiency with English, American or United Kingdom English, which are different.

If a publisher has a specific style guide, your editor should become familiar with and follow the style he publisher desires.

When hiring an editor, ask these questions:

Do they want a hard copy or electronic copy in Microsoft Word, PDF, or some other format?

How will they show the changes they make?

What is the time fame for editing?

Are they willing to do a chapter for you to see how they edit?

How much they charge for editing, copyediting, developmental editing, substantive editing?

For manuscripts, most authors should look for a copyeditor. A copy editor should be able to tell if the manuscript needs a developmental editor, the author should also know if they are willing to take a red pencil to their manuscript or have a beta reader read the manuscript.

If an author is having trouble with the way their manuscript is advancing, a developmental editor may be required. Listen to your beta reader or someone to read it as a reader. You need honest feedback from a second pair of eyes on your manuscript for how the story reads.

Never take feedback from beta readers and editors as a personal affront to your writing.

We all make errors that we don’t see because we are too close to the work we create.

Typos happen to the best of us that we don’t see at the time because our brain sees what we thing rather than what’s on the page.

An editor should take the time and find miscues in spelling, grammar, punctuation, tense, typos, and more if they appear in the work.

Even with an edited work the printer is liable to make an error in final printing of your book.

Working with an editor insures the best error free copy sent to the publisher for printing.


When your work is printed, you might think about sending a reviewer an advanced review copy and ask them if they see any errors in the book as they read it. If the reviewer does see any errors, you have time to notify the publisher and have them corrected before mass distribution. 

A reviewer should not charge you for reviewing your book. I’ve heard that there are some who do charge for reviewing.

 Personally, I find that like paying someone for a biased review. Reviewers should only offer honest non biased reviews for the book. Many reviewers are willing to review the book as a PDF, Mobi, and other formats for Ereaders.

Check with the reviewer to see which format they are willing to read for review.

You can use the reviews as a selling and marketing of your book.

Does the reviewer have a book blog?

Will the reviewer post to sites you want?

Will the reviewer post the review to more than one site?

Will the reviewer post the review on their social platforms?

How long do they need to review your book?

Reviewers should send you a copy of the review for your approval and be willing to edit their review.
Authors should be willing to go through these steps to insure that the book buyers have in their hands is the best possible written work.

Robert Medak

Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer Learning Marketing

Friday, November 14, 2014

How to Find a Book Reviewer

If you are unfortunate enough not able to afford to work as a full-time writer, you might have spent weeks, months, possibly a year working on your book in your spare time.  

While working on your story, you should have also built your author platform, and created a following. Building your author platform after your book is finished is too late to get started building a readership list of interested readers who kept up with your progress hungrily waiting to read the finished book.

Your author platform is a place to find readers who may be willing to reviewer your book and tell others about your book.

Having a following is part of your marketing and promotion plan for your book, which is what publishers will want to know. Agents will want to see what comes up when they Google you. Depending on what an agent finds may determine whether they leave and not choose to work with you, or take a chance on you and your book to a publisher.

How to Find a Book Reviewer

As of November 13, 2014, searching Google for “Book Reviewer” delivers 16,400,000 results. A list this large can be daunting at best. How do you choose from a list of 16.4 million reviewers and choose one or two to contact to review your book. How do you contact a reviewer? Once again, this is where you author platform is the answer. Create a post on your author platform that you are seeking reviewers and promote the post. Be positive in stating you are seeking honest unbiased reviews only, and state the genre, if you write “Romance” do you want a reviewer the reads Sci-Fi, or Westerns reviewing your book.

Figuring out which reviewer to choose:

·         Your followers – They’re already interested
·         Social Media – Your followers
·         Asking for reviewers on the internet can be dicey
·         Ask other authors who they used
·         Ask if a reviewer reads and reviews your specific genre
·         Ask to see a reviewers past work
·         Ask a reviewer where they post reviews
·         Some reviewers are not allowed to post on Amazon
·         Tell the reviewer where your book can be found and ask them to post there
·         Ask the reviewer if they send you a copy of the review before it is posted
·         Ask for a link to the posted review

Asking your family and friends for reviews is a horrible idea because you should wonder if they are truly unbiased and honest, or just telling you something being kind. Reviews that are all five star can actually hurt when readers other than family and agents read your book.

Find someone who reviews your genre. Not all reviewers read and review all genres. You should receive honest, unbiased, and professional reviews. The reviewer should send you a copy before posting it around the internet. Reviewers should help you get the word out about your book and intrigue readers to purchase your book.

This goes back to your author platform and visibility to potential readers, which every writer needs if they want to sell books. Yes, I keep harping about “author platform”, that is because writing is important to you, you wrote the book. Therefore, let people know about it before you start writing your book, and peaking interest while keeping potential readers up to date on the progress.

Robert Medak
Freelance writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer

Saturday, March 29, 2014

When did you last blog about your book?

Do you blog about your work in progress so potential readers can learn about your book; creating desire to purchase and read it.

It is easier to let readers know what to expect if you keep them informed about the progress, a hint about the subject, and a possible availability date.

Blogging about your work in progress is not about hype, but a journey with your followers, capturing new followers, and growing your list of potential readers organically, the only way to grow a real list of followers.

Building a growing list of legitimate followers over time is part of marking and promoting your book to people who read. You are trying to grow interest in what you do, write.

Unfortunately, social media is becoming a den of iniquity with people on almost every platform wanting to sell you followers.

When or if an agent searches you on Google, is he going to see real followers, or is he going to see fake followers, which will be a detriment to your reputation?

There are no short cuts to building a following; it requires work and time to establish a following organically.

Even working with traditional publishers, authors need to market and promote their work. What better way than building a following or people waiting for your book.

All authors need some type of platform for building a following of readers following along the journey from concept to publication.

The point is to build a large list of potential purchasers and readers for your book. One way to do this is by blogging. Another is with an author’s page, a website, or some other platform used for building a following for your books.

For any author to succeed in publishing books, authors need to publicize their books, find readers, promote the book, marketing the book, and schedule signings.

As an author, blogging about your book’s progress is a way to engage readers to follow you, while they learn more about your book, and when they will be able to purchase a copy.

Robert Medak
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer learning ethical Marketing
follow the author at http://xeeme.com/RobertMedak

If you need help making your copy better or have any questions, please use my contact form and we will work together.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Kindle Publishing vs.Traditional Publishing

First, accept the fact there are pros and cons to publishing your book via either method.

There is no reason to create a litany of the differences, in addition, how they are similar.

Either method requires an author’s platform, and a following. A literary agent will Google the author, the question is what will they find.

An author’s followers are potential purchasers and readers of the author’s book or books.

With a blog, an author’s followers can grow, and followers can track the progress of books, purchase books, and learn about upcoming products, learn about the author, and even about the writing journey of the author.

What will an agent find when he searches you?

Whether you publish on Kindle or Publishing House, authors need to have a presence, followers, marketing strategy, promotion strategy, and be willing to schedule book signings, and PR.

It is up to the author to sell the book, not the publisher. It is also up to the author to find honest book reviewers to obtain posted reviews to spread the word about the book. In addition, where readers of the review may purchase a copy of the author’s book.

Publishing via either method requires the author to edit their manuscript to create the best manuscript possible converted into a book for readers. Authors do not want to disappoint readers with a book containing grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, tense, or word choice errors.

If an author decides to publish on Kindle opposed to traditional, the author would have more creative control, and pricing of their book.

With Amazon being the 900 pound gorilla in the mix, can you publish on Kindle and POD simultaneously?

This would depend on any type or agreement the author enters into with Kindle publishing.

Authors need to read the fine print before any type of publishing or any type of agreement before committing their book to any publishing platform, of which there are many and new ones opening up to self-publishing almost daily. 

Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer learning ethical Marketing
Follow the author: http://xeeme.com/RobertMedak

If you need help making your writing better or have any questions about how to improve your writing, please use the contact form and work together to make your work better.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Internet Presence

You have completed your manuscript, and now you might be looking for and agent.

What will the agent see if they GoogleTM  your name?

Do you have real followers on social media sites, do you have an author’s platform?

There are people on the Internet that sell FacebookTM, TwitterTM, and other sites. If an agent sees this, your reputation will suffer.

Building a list of subscribers to a blog, newsletter, followers on social media that you work for will tell agents that you have a list of potential readers and purchasers for your book.

If you choose to self-publish your book, having an Internet presence where you have kept your readers up to date on the progress of your book, and availability to purchase is what you need to sell your book to them.

There is no doubt that writing is a business, and more so for the self-published author, unless you have a reputation and following like James Patterson, who by the way, is on television hawking his books.

If you want to sell your books, you need and Internet presence and a platform from which people can purchase your book, or a link to a purchase site like Smashwords, Lulu, iUniversise, or whoever is publishing via POD, paperback, or eReader formats.

Having sold copies may also help you find an agent.

Today’s author needs to have a marketing plan, be willing to do book signings, promote, and schedule all of this on their own. Most self-publishing houses do not do this work for you, and many traditional publishing houses expect authors to do this work to sell their books.

What are you willing to do to create an Internet presence? 

Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer learning Marketing

Follow the author: http://xeeme.com/RobertMedak

Monday, September 9, 2013

Coping with chronic medical conditions

Have been diagnosed with a medical condition such as diabetes, Meniere’s, asthma, or anything else, you must learn to live with them.

You are not your medical condition. You are who you are. By doing the most you can via diet, exercise, proper sleep, and attitude you can live with anything.

The point is to remain as healthy as possible so that whatever your medical condition may be, it isn’t the one thing that occupies your time and thoughts more than your life.

I know published authors with disabilities, yet still manage to write books. The desire and attitude are what count not the physical body, and how dedicated you are to the craft.

Self-motivation is the key. Most writers have self-doubt now and then; authors work through it and complete their book.

Don’t compare yourself to others, even medical conditions. You are unique, over time you will learn how to deal with whatever life throws your way. Do you remember the saying, “into each life, a little rain must fall”?
That is what it’s all about; learning to cope with whatever comes your way.

Depending on what you need to cope with from a medical standpoint, you might need frequent breaks, eat several small meals, take medications, or whatever you need  to do to remain as healthy as possible so you can work on your book.

Write on and learn to live with it.

Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer learning Marketing

Follow the author: http://xeeme.com/RobertMedak

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Writers should be Lifelong Learners

Why should writers be lifelong learners?

First, writing is an ever-changing business. Yes, writing is a business just like any other business that requires flexibility in the businessperson to adapt to changes.

Many changes have occurred in publishing, and publishing changes almost daily. This requires you to keep up with these changes, even if you plan to self publish your book.

Publishing has changed so much that even household named authors are opting for self-publishing. Do think they do their homework with regard to the publishing business? More than likely, the answer is yes.

After working hard on your story, the last thing you need is, not having an author platform plus a marketing and promo plan. Guess what; even traditional publishing houses require a marketing and promo plan plus what you’re willing to do in marketing your book.

As part of your writing business, the time to begin marketing your book is before it’s completed. Companies offer preorders for upcoming products as part of their marketing. Your book is a coming attraction that needs marketing and promotion just like all upcoming items to build interest. If potential purchasers aren’t aware of your book, will they know you’re writing it, or when to begin looking for it online or bookstore shelves?

Second, without building a following, how will readers know about you? The Internet is today’s Yellow Pages. More people search online to find what they’re looking for.

Without a platform, how are readers to know you exist? You have to learn how to build and maintain your platform. For people to find your platform it must be dynamic, not static to achieve search engine ranking.

Writers, it’s up to you to learn what’s necessary to engage your readers, and build a following.

 Followers are your readers, and readers properly engaged are book buyers.

Continue to learn about your craft, publishing, and your business. 

About the author:

Robert Medak is a retired Communications Technician turned freelance writer, blogger, editor, proofreader, and reviewer learning marketing.
He was born in southern California, and lived in Kansas until moving to southern West Virginia with his wife and their cats and dogs. While in California, he and his wife Connie ran an animal rescue where Robert wrote job descriptions, flyers, and was treasurer.