I can't work out if this Wisconsin-based company -http://www.21streeturbanediting.com/ - is a self-publisher or a small press. Their submissions guideline gives the impression that manuscripts are chosen on merit, but the rest of the site pushes editing and self-publishing services. Co-founder Niccole Simmons describes 21st's mission statement:
To provide the same quality editing service to urban, hip hop and alternative erotic literary authors as the traditional editing services, at an affordable price...
Out of frustration of searching for a provider of editing services who would not "edit" out all of the intentional errors, our company was born... We've decided to provide the urban writing genre with a service there was a desperate need for.
Traditional editing companies do not always know how to properly edit specific genre's of fiction if they are not immersed in the specific culture. We know that sometimes, grammatical errors are intentional and all verbage does not have traditional meanings...
In urban fiction, the words- ain't, nigga, trippin', etc. may be intentional and acceptable. A traditional service would refuse those words and change them, possibly changing the tone and intent of the author.
Having seen many, many examples of realistically rendered street talk in mainstream fiction, I honestly can't imagine any well-informed 'traditional' editor doing anything of the sort.
21st provides several different levels of editing plus the following package:
Allow us to take it from here. We will apply for your ISBN number, your LCN number, do your editing and typesetting, create your book cover, back cover and spine. We will provide you with 100 copies of your final product for the low price of $1799.00.
Niccole Simmons is also the author of Self-Publishing Guide for Urban Fiction Authors, a pamphlet available as a free download, in which she gives some dubious advice:
Once you have completed your manuscript, you need to hire an editor. Of course, I am going to take this opportunity to plug my editing service, 21st Street Urban Editing and Publishing. However, if you don't use us, use someone!
I have to wonder how many copies a new, self-published author from a disadvantaged background would have to sell to earn back the cost of professional editing.
I'm aware of the cost of editing, [but] the same way you come up with the money for that first print run needs to be the same way you come up with money to get the editing done.
Simmons' advice on copyright is terrible:
The next step we take is getting the copyright filed. This is very important to protect your work.A good selection of 21st's books on Amazon feature the 'Look Inside' option, and it doesn't paint a pretty picture of the company's so-called professional editing. Punctuation abuse is rampant:
Some people will tell you all you need do is get a "poor-man's copyright." This process is where you mail yourself a copy of the manuscript via the United States Postal Service....Here is my opinion on it. The poor-man's copyright is by visiting www.copyright.gov and filling out there online form and paying $35. Even a poor-man can afford that!...Your work will be protected from the date of filing.
You need to educate yourself on rules and laws regarding copy written work.
He would beat the poor girl so bad that she would have to stay away from her family. Especially her younger and only brother "Young Boy", but on July fourth, at one of the family cook-out there was no hiding the fact that her left arm was in a sling.
21st's editors are so fond of full stops they insist on using them instead of commas at the ends of lines of dialogue:
"No problem lil sis, I got'cha." Diamond said winking one eye.
This weird literary tic reaches epidemic proportions in 21st's books. It may or may not be a coincidence that one of the company's editors, Aquila Butler, also works for Aziza Publishing (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...d.php?t=235973). Aziza's books make the same mistake.
A couple of Amazon reviewers felt compelled to make their feelings known:
Another customer was even more dissatisfied:Also, the editing was bad. I don't know if converting the book to Kindle causing issues with the layout or if no one proofread the story before publishing it.
Niccole Simmons replied:This book was extremely hard to follow and oh my goodness, the editing was the worst! What made it so bad was that this book is done by a company that does editing as well. I guess they didn't edit their own authors work! Ridiculous! I wouldn't spend a dime using their company if this is what their books look and flow like. Ugh! Editing, punctuation, proofreading and all.Terrible! Terrible! Terrible! Not worth the money at all!
It's difficult to see how a corrupt file could have been responsible for the type of errors I've already pointed out, as the reviewer was keen to make clear:We are very sorry you did not enjoy the novel, "Loyalty and the Bed You Lie In." I can assure you that it has went through the proper editing process. I will assume you received a file that was corrupted during the conversion process. Since you are able to make judgments such as this, I assume you are an avid reader and know the difference between a corrupt file and poor editing. You, or any customer for that matter can always contact us if they feel their story was not transferred to their reader properly. You not liking the content of the story is fine, as we all have different taste but attacking the company as a whole is really unnecessary. We would have been happy to rectify the problem with you had it been brought to our attention. I found your review to be insulting. I can assure you that our customers are totally satisfied and a corrupt kindle file has nothing to do with the service we provide. Thank you for at least giving it a shot and hopefully soon, you will find a book you enjoy.
Ms. Simmons, It is unfortunate that you feel the review was insulting but it is an honest review and not meant to insult you at all. As a publisher and editing company (as I did look your company up) I find it interesting that you blame Kindle for a "corrupt file." No, this was more than just a corrupt file and if it was as you claim it is, then I am not the only one who must have received a corrupt file.As a publisher AND an editing company, you are held to a higher standard. It is truly your responsibility to ensure that your Kindle file is done correctly and if you are made aware than it gets corrected immediately. There is no excuse for allowing a book that is produced by your company to come out looking like crap. As a publisher, one would think one could afford the best equipment to ensure that the file has no reason to come out corrupt...Not one of the books I have in my kindle have come up corrupt until interestingly enough, I get yours as you claim. In your response to my knowing the difference between a corrupt file and bad editing, believe me when I tell you I truly know the difference and I stand by what I said, this book was hard to read, hard to follow and the editing was terrible,which by the way was agreed upon by another reader. I do hope that in the future, I do enjoy your books.