Your eyes stare unblinkingly at the computer screen. You reread the last sentence, smiling in satisfaction over the cliffhanger it took you hours to write. Your eyes shift to the clock and widen as you realize the ungodly hour of four in the morning has arrived. You shut your laptop, shuffle your way to bed, and dream of the acclaim you’re sure to garner when this novel becomes a best-seller. The sun rises, and you start your day by calling Kimberly Martin, ready to get down to the nitty-gritty of book publishing. After all, once the book is written, all you have to do is publish it, right? Wrong.
Editing: the steps between drafting a manuscript and self-publishing with Jera. Or, as the online dictionary defines it, preparing written material for publication by correcting, condensing, or otherwise modifying it. Having your manuscript revised by an editor is a crucial and often undervalued step in the creation of a book. When you self-publish, it’s possible you don’t have funds to spare. However, the added level of professionalism editors contribute to your work will make it more appealing to potential buyers. After all, your book was meant to be read, not taking up shelf space in the back of the bookstore.
One professional who can transform your book into a front-of-the-bookstore kind of novel is Candace Johnson, owner of Change It Up Editing. Jera Publishing highly recommends her, along with several other editors, to clients in need of manuscript revisions. Because I felt authors deserved a better grasp of editing, I called Candace on a Monday afternoon to learn why it’s such an imperative part of the writing process. If you’re an up-and-coming writer, the following interview is just for you.
The first questions I asked Candace were about her editorial background. As previously stated, Candace Johnson is the sole proprietor of Change It Up Editing. However, Change It Up Editing didn’t come on the scene until about 2012. What was Candace doing prior to her entrepreneurial editing endeavors? She explains that she was an English major in her earlier years, but later in life, decided to head back to college. In her senior year, she interned at a publishing house and fell in love with editing. I then asked her if joining a large publishing house is the only road to success. Her response: “Not everyone has a traditional publishing background. However, having worked at a traditional publisher gives me legitimacy with my clients.” Therefore, you can trust that this article, and by extension your book, is in capable hands with Candace.
After I learned a little bit about her, we discussed what she actually does all day. As you can infer from her job title, Candace spends her day editing bodies of writing. This can be accomplished through content editing, copy editing, and proofreading. In particular, Candace specializes in nonfiction works, so for all you authorly Albert Einsteins and notating Neil deGrasse Tysons, a consultation with her can significantly improve your manuscript. Whether it’s checking your accuracy or tailoring your words to a specific audience, editors ensure the readability of a body of work reaches its maximum potential.
Though Candace loves the wordplay aspect of her job the most, there’s more involved than that. To be an editor, one must be empathetic and organized. The former because “you’re playing with someone’s intellectual property, their ego. You have to remember the manuscript is a part of who they are.” The latter because editing is not a “linear job.” Projects of varying sizes come in at all times of the day, and sometimes, a tiny project turns into a colossal mound of work. As a result, Candace has time management down to a science.
Now, you may be thinking, “This whole editing business is all well and good, but I just want to get my book out there. This is a lot of time that could be better spent elsewhere.” However, the crux of the matter remains: editing is a necessary step if you, an author, want to produce the best book imaginable. If you’re publishing a book just for the sake of it, then skipping the editing process might be a reasonable choice. In fact, Candace notes, “We’re all human and are looking for different things at different stages.” But she went on to say that she herself “does not publish anything without someone else looking over it.” That says a lot coming from a woman who edits for a living, does it not?
An hour of this question-and-answer left me wholly satisfied. Candace Johnson is a woman who knows her craft and has honed her skills with precision. The additions she makes to your work are not simply the rules and regulations of the English language. Rather, Candace suggests details written in your voice so your book remains true to your authorship while appealing all the more to your audience. Do not think of the time and money spent on hiring an editor as just another obstacle to overcome on the road of book publishing. Instead, view it as an investment in yourself and your authorial future, where being a best-selling author isn’t just a dream, but a reality.
CreateSpace and IngramSpark are two Print-On-Demand printers often used by self-publishing authors. They both print, and distribute, your book to online retailers, such as Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. Authors often struggle with the choice on which one to use for their book. The answer for you might be both. (more…)
One of the first steps you need to do when you decide to publish a book is to go out and get yourself a PO Box. Why? One word: Security. Without a PO Box, you will be using your home address in places that it is easy for anyone to find. Do you want your readers to know exactly where you live? Would you want your Annie Wilkes to know where to find you? Probably not. (more…)
If you are self-publishing a book, you need to understand wholesale discounts and how it affects the amount of money you will make when you sell a book through retail channels. When I talk to authors about how to calculate their book’s profit they’re often a little lost when it comes to understanding wholesale discounts. In this self-publishing article, I will explain what a wholesale discount is, and how to calculate the amount of money you will make when you sell your book. (more…)
Many self-publishing authors form a business (publishing company) with its own name and publish their book under the publishing company’s name instead of their own. Here are five reasons that you may want to do this, and two reasons you may not want to:
- You do not want readers to know that you are self-published. Creating a publishing company with its own name and listing them as the publisher of the book makes it appear that your book was picked up by a publisher, and not self-published.
- You are publishing multiple books and want to create a “brand” and the publishing company is part of that branding. This is a perfectly valid reason to create a publishing company name and more often this is the reason I hear from authors as to why they want to use a publishing company name.
- You are publishing a book that is part of a larger business. For example, let’s say you are a business coach and you have an existing business named ABC Business Coaching. If you decide to do a business coaching book that is part of that business, you can use ABC Business Coaching as the publishing company name instead of your own.
- You are using a pen name. If you are using a pen name, you may not want to use your real name as the publisher to help keep your identity hidden. You can’t use the pen name as the publisher since that is not your legal name. You would need to go through the same steps as someone forming a Doing Business As to use a name that is not your legal name as the publisher.
- You want the extra protection of a Limited Liability Company (LLC). If you publish under your own name and someone sues you for something related you your book, they can come after your personal assets. If you publish under an LLC (and do it correctly), they can only come after the LLC’s assets, not your personal ones. Keep in mind that it is the extra step of creating the LLC, and not just using a publishing company name under a DBA that grants this protection. Many authors that are doing nonfiction books choose to do form an LLC. There are other forms of business that will also grant this protection, but the LLC is the easiest of them to form.
There are only two reasons (in my opinion) why an author might decide not to create a publishing company to publish their book under. And they are big reasons!
To use a business name to publish under you must file a Doing Business As (DBA)* or form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). While there are other types of business structures, those are the two most common types for authors. Each of these means filling out forms and paying fees to your local government. A DBA is typically done at the county level and an LLC at the state level. The costs involve vary depending on where you live but can run into the hundreds of dollars. A DBA is not too difficult to set up, while an LLC is more complex and you might need to get someone to help you do it correctly, which will cost even more.
And these are not one-time costs. An LLC will need to pay an annual fee, while a DBA often stays in effect for numerous years, but does expire after some time (depending on where you registered).
So, is it necessary to create your own publishing company just to hide the fact that you self-published? Does anyone really care? No, not anymore. Self-publishing had a stigma in the past and authors were better off hiding that they self-published, but not so much now. Many authors are now embracing the fact that they are independent and self-published and proudly proclaim it to the world.
If you don’t want the hassle or are on a budget, you absolutely do not need to form a business to create that publishing company. Instead, just publish under your own legal name. That means that when you buy your ISBNs (if you are), you would put your own name down instead of a publishing company name. On the copyright page in your book, you do not need to put any “Published by” statement there at all. Just leave that off. There is no requirement for a publisher’s name to be included.
What is right for you? Well, that is for you to decide. There really isn’t a wrong or right answer here; think about your goals as an author and your budget, then make a choice. You should have this settled before you purchase any ISBNs or set up your accounts at IngramSpark, CreateSpace, or Amazon’s KDP platform, however. If you create a publishing company, you should be buying the ISBNs and setting up the accounts under its name.
* Some areas call a Doing Business As (DBA) a Trade Name or a Fictitious Name.
Do you want to learn more about how to create your own publishing company? Read my other post: Self-Publishing Short: Creating Your Own Publishing Company.
This post is part of the Author Toolbox Blog Hop. A monthly hop for authors who want to learn more about being authors.
Selecting the category for your book when uploading your book to IngramSpark, CreateSpace, or Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is an important step that is not given enough thought or research by many self-publishing authors. Unfortunately, it is often not thought of at all until the title is being submitted and the question of what category to list the book under is asked. A rush decision is then made on the spot and that is that. (more…)