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The PoP Newsletter

The Moral of the Story

With all the children's books already on the market, new authors have a high hurdle to getting noticed. Complex characters, colorful artwork, lyrical writing -- the importance of these elements varies based on your target age and topic. But there is one thing many parents expect from a children's book, and that is a moral. For a lot of authors, the moral of their story is tied to a personal cause, and that cause can make a big difference in the book's level of success.   How does having a cause relate to the success of your book? Compared to someone without one, a cause gives you three distinct advantages:   Passion to see the project to the end. Writing a book is a long and sometimes tedious project. Marketing that book is tiring...

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How to Hire a Freelance Editor: Step 5

Beyond general qualifications and the practical concerns, you must consider one final factor before hiring a freelance editor: Are you and your potential editor compatible? The last step of How to Hire a Freelance Editor in 5 Easy Steps accounts for this, the personal side of editing.   Step 5: Evaluate what you have learned, then add the crucial element of personality to decide if this is the right editor for you.   The ultimate determinant in whether you have found the right editor for you and your project is something I call workability. Workability encompasses the editor's qualifications, editing style, time allowed for each client, as well as general personality traits. These four criteria can make the difference between a good editing experience and a bad one.   If you have been following this blog,...

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How to Hire a Freelance Editor: Step 4

Finding the right editor for you means more than just finding a qualified editor. You have to determine whether this person is going to meet your needs and expectations -- and do so within your budget. In step 4 of How to Hire a Freelance Editor in 5 Easy Steps, it's time to get practical.   Step 4: Ask for a sample edit, cost estimate, and scheduling information.   In step 1  you gathered the names of potential editors, and in step 2 you did some basic online research. Step 3: Call or e-mail your potential editor outlined best practices to get the ball rolling. Now you need something concrete to base your decision on.   The Sample Edit   A sample edit is usually 5 to 10 pages from your manuscript that your potential editor edits...

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How to Hire a Freelance Editor: Step 3

If you're shy about your writing, making contact with a freelance editor may have you tongue-tied. What do you say? What don't you say? Could you really be rejected? In step 3 of this five-part series, How to Hire a Freelance Editor in 5 Easy Steps, I offer some best practices so you can come off as if you know what you're doing.   Step 3: Call or send an e-mail to your potential editor.   This may seem like a no-brainer, but believe me, knowing how to initiate a business relationship is not intuitive for everyone. You may be overeager and want to share too much, or you may try to keep your e-mail to 140 characters, in which case you'll be getting a lot of follow-up questions or no response at all....

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How to Hire a Freelance Editor: Step 2

How do you avoid getting scammed by your editor? How do you know if you've hired the right one for you? In this series of five posts, I share with you How to Hire a Freelance Editor in 5 Easy Steps. Here is step 2.   Step 2: Research your potential editor.   If you have completed Step 1: Gather the names of editors you think you want to work with, you now have the names of four to six editors in hand. Just in gathering these few names, you have probably already done some whittling; however, you will want to research some specific criteria before pursuing a professional relationship with your editor. Unfortunately, there are a lot of frauds out there, so look closely.   If the editor has a website -- and many full-time...

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How to Hire a Freelance Editor in 5 Easy Steps: Step 1

Initially you may find contracting with an editor to be intimidating. Like so many things, however, once you know how to do it, you discover it really isn't so mystifying after all. I've broken the process into five easy steps covered in five posts. In this post we start at the beginning: finding editors.   Step 1: Gather the names of editors you think you want to work with.   Where do you get the names of editors? Start with other writers you know who have worked with an editor. Ask if they liked their editor,  and if they answer in the affirmative, get the editor's contact info. If you don't know any writers personally who have worked with editors, ask around at any writing or publishing groups you can find. You may be...

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Maybe if I ask enough people . . .

Writing is an emotional experience, and it can be difficult to accept another person's judgment of what you have worked so hard to put together. This is true of all writing, but when it comes to a book-length work, the number of hours invested seems to make writers even more attached to their ideas. And when challenged, sometimes they go out of their way to find that one person who agrees with them. As the copyeditor contracted for one particular book, I was surprised to get a call from the author before I had even begun the editing. He was working with a developmental editor, and he was unhappy with what his DE was telling him. The book he wanted to write was an expose' of his former industry, and he...

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Self-Publishing: How Much Will It Cost?

If you're planning to self-publish a book, you need a budget. Without one, your project will stall as you realize this great, easy thing everyone keeps talking about actually takes some money. How much could it possibly cost? Well, $5,000-$7,500, in fact. For some, it could be much more.   You will soon discover the biggest expense you incur is the time you spend writing and marketing your book. Don't discount the value of your time. You may be spending a couple hundred hours just on marketing, and that's time you could be spending with family, friends, or a paying gig.   But what about monetary expenses? When self-publishing, the money you spend will largely be through the professionals you hire to assist you. From manuscript to book, you will require a variety of...

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The P Word: Why Plagiarism Is a Sin

All through high school and college English classes, I heard the P word at least once a semester. It was scandalous, a sin in fact. The one commandment of writing, I learned, is "Thou shalt not plagiarize." As a teenager I had difficulty grasping the concept, but the more I wrote, the more I understood: if you didn't write it, then don't pass it off as your own -- and changing a word here or there is not enough. This has grown into a passion of mine as an editor.   One small aspect of a copyeditor's job is to highlight for the author certain material that may require permission (another scary P word). Generally this comes up when an author has chosen to excerpt some material from another source. Although the...

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