POP Editorial Services LLC | The POP Newsletter, the blog home of POP Editorial Services, LLC and Katherine Pickett
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The PoP Newsletter

Why Does Editing Take So Long?

"Hi, I'm looking for an editor. I have all of my notes and reference books, I just need help putting it together."   Hmm, I thought. Sounds like this guy needs more than copyediting. Maybe I can refer him to a book coach. . . .   And then,   "I need it Sunday."   It was Friday afternoon. I'm not sure what this person thought was going to happen, but certainly no one could seriously expect an editor, or really any publishing professional, to create something out of nothing and do so in 48 hours.   This is an extreme example of the sometimes unrealistic expectations writers have of how quickly an editor can work. Still, even reasonable people want to know why copyediting takes three to four weeks, why development takes eight to twelve weeks or longer depending on...

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Is Money the New Gatekeeper?

In publishing, the gatekeeper is the person who keeps your book idea from becoming a reality. Traditionally that has been the publishing houses and the agents who say "No, thank you" to your proposal. But self-publishing has eliminated those forces. Authors can circumvent the whole agent-publishing house system and put out their own book, in a matter of hours if they so choose, and no one can stop them.   To create a book that people will actually purchase, however, you need to do more than just publish your first draft. You need a professional editor and a professional designer (the designer so people will open your book, the editor so they will continue to read it). And those things cost money. So I ask you, Is money the new gatekeeper?   I posed...

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Why Does Editing Cost So Much? (Part 2)

"It's the rare book that doesn't require a good stiff edit." --Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published   The Breakdown   With the importance of editing well established, it's time to find out how editors figure their fees. It may seem mysterious, but it's really quite a simple formula: amount of work × rate of pay = the cost of editing   Different editors may charge by the hour, by the word, by the page, or a flat fee. However, all of these metrics translate into an estimate of how much work will be required of them. The other variable in the equation, rate of pay, is based on the service requested.   Here's a breakdown of how the two variables are determined.   Amount of work   Length, complexity, schedule, and level of edit are...

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Why Does Editing Cost So Much? (Part 1)

"If there's only one thing you're able to spend money on, it should be hiring an editor." --Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published   In Defense of Editors   If you have ever looked at a cost estimate for having your book edited, you may be scratching your head. More than $1,000 for copyediting? More than $3,000 for developmental editing? And that's for a regular old 250-page manuscript! That seems like an awful lot of money to spend on a book that you can't be sure will make a profit. How do editors justify charging so much?   Here's the short answer: Without a thorough edit, your book won't sell.   For years I didn't believe that. How would readers know the book was poorly edited until after they bought it?...

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A 9-Step Checklist for Reviewing Page Proofs

You've just received a set of page proofs for your book and you have no idea what to do with them. "Review them," you are told. OK, but what are you reviewing them for?   The following checklist outlines the tasks of a professional proofreader when editing page proofs. As the author, you should be on the lookout for many of these same problems.   Ensure all pages are included. Check pagination to ensure pages are numbered consecutively. There should be no page number on blank pages and a "drop folio" -- a page number at the bottom of the page -- on chapter openers. Check running heads to make sure they are correct and that none are missing. Check spelling carefully. Note that there should be no running head on blank pages or chapter openers. Running...

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Proofreading Equals Questioning: Tips for Self-Editing

Tricks and techniques for good self-editing range from reading your manuscript aloud to reading it from end to beginning. These tactics can help you spot errors that otherwise may go unnoticed. They are particularly good for detecting missing words or confusing constructions. But much of self-editing is simpler than that.   The essence of good editing is knowing what to question. If you're new to editing, the answer is, question everything. If you don't know if something is correct, look it up. As you become more practiced, you will question less because you will have learned the rules. Even when you know the rules, however, some areas should always be questioned. The following five points are common problem areas that spell-check will not reliably catch.   Every time you see "your," ask if that...

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What a Copyeditor Is Not

Many writers are unclear about what a copyeditor can do for them, and that's a long list. Copyeditors correct your grammar and punctuation, ensure consistency, and help eliminate repetition. They highlight plot holes, lapses in time line or characterization, and areas where your meaning is not clear. Most copyeditors will also offer input on your book's organization and other content issues and are happy to answer your questions about the editing and publishing process. All of these varied tasks fall under the purview of a copyeditor.   However, there are some jobs you should not expect your copyeditor to perform. Consider these four things copyeditors are not:   Copyeditors are not fact-checkers. Although your CE may do some fact-checking for you, especially if obvious factual errors are uncovered, you should not assume that your...

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6 Reasons You Need Professional Help

Although some writers think self-publishing means doing it all on your own, if you’re serious about publishing a high-quality book, you will need a team of professionals to help you. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these 6 reasons you need professional help:   You need to know where to start. If you have a brilliant idea for a book but don’t know how to get started, consider finding a book coach, book shepherd, or project manager. These people work with you from inception and can guide you through the entire publishing process. They can also put you in touch with the other professionals you require. You need to root out errors. Regardless of your writing skills, working with a developmental editor or copyeditor will illuminate problems, give you insight into best...

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The Solstice Is Here!

Every year around June 21, I find myself sorting through mixed feelings about the changing seasons. The solstice marks the beginning of summer, my favorite time of year. However, it also marks the longest day of the year, which by default means that progressively shorter days will follow--and that's not cool.   I’m not what you would call an avid outdoorswoman. I sweat too much and attract way too many mosquitoes for that. I don’t care for sleeping on the ground, although I will if everyone else is doing it, and I’m afraid of heights, which makes any ambitious hiking problematic. But I love to swim, and I love to bike, and I love the way I feel when I’ve shaken off the winter cold and the spring rain to stretch my...

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