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Thread: Choosing a Full Service or Otherwise?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Choosing a Full Service or Otherwise?

    Hello,Still new here and to writing/publishing. Hope this is the proper location for this thread.I'm ready for professional guidance with a non-fiction manuscript and a hopeful print date in July this year.After contacts with freelance editors and editing service companies I am still considering the pros and cons of each. Despite a lack of experience with memoirs I am leaning toward a freelance for the edit because of her coincidental personal connections to my adventure. Also there is a service by: Self-Publishing Resources. Does anyone have any experience with them??Thanks for any and all comments or suggestions.

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    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    This will probably be moved soon, but most full-service pubs probably aren't going to give you the best quality, and most will probably cost much, much more than finding people to do it yourself. A good thing to do would be to look at some of the books they have available and see how they look. What's the editing like? How are the covers? What about formatting? If you are unimpressed with how they handle other people, you won't be particularly impressed with how they handle your work, either.

    I'd recommend asking around with other people who have used freelance editors and artists and so on and get suggestions from them on people who could help you out. You'll probably get things done for cheaper, but also you'll get to talk to someone with firsthand experience. One of the tough things about finding a freelancer is making sure you find one who is qualified.
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  3. #3
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    I've reviewed many books which have gone through the various full-service organisations like iUniverse, AuthorHouse and Xlibris.

    Without exception, the editing was dreadful. The books were mostly--but not completely--free from basic errors but the grammar was pretty bad, and no real editing appeared to have been done, in that the text was choppy, clunky and clumsy, the plots were full of holes, there was poor character development and so on. I would strongly recommend you to look elsewhere for these services.

    It's worth remembering that these companies are mostly vanity publishers who have rebranded themselves as self publishing service providers. They might now be touting self publishing as a brilliant way to get to print--which it is--rather than pretending to be trade publishers, but the services they're offering are still pretty much the same and have not improved in terms of value, quality or the likelihood of escalating your book to the bestseller lists--or, indeed, in getting you any sales at all.

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW
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    In general, you can do no worse on your own compared to these "full service" options and do so at a fraction of the cost.

    You can also do a lot better than the full service options if you take your time to research all your options and make good choices and still likely spend less.

    In broad strokes...

    1. Get outside unbiased feedback on the quality of the book. (Too many self-publishers skip this one and upload something that is not close to ready then get discouraged when it doesn't sell or gets bad reviews.)
    2. Make a realistic assessment of whether you can handle the technical needs of formatting and uploading the book yourself. (If you're basically computer literate, detail oriented, and patient, you can probably find all the help you need online to do it yourself.)
    3. Determine your budget and hire cover artist, editor, and/or formatter as needed.
    4. Set up accounts at the major online retailers (Amazon, BN, Kobo, and Smashwords.)
    5. Upload your finished book.
    J. Tanner vs the Page

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  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Tanner View Post
    In general, you can do no worse on your own compared to these "full service" options and do so at a fraction of the cost.

    You can also do a lot better than the full service options if you take your time to research all your options and make good choices and still likely spend less.

    In broad strokes...

    1. Get outside unbiased feedback on the quality of the book. (Too many self-publishers skip this one and upload something that is not close to ready then get discouraged when it doesn't sell or gets bad reviews.)
    2. Make a realistic assessment of whether you can handle the technical needs of formatting and uploading the book yourself. (If you're basically computer literate, detail oriented, and patient, you can probably find all the help you need online to do it yourself.)
    3. Determine your budget and hire cover artist, editor, and/or formatter as needed.
    4. Set up accounts at the major online retailers (Amazon, BN, Kobo, and Smashwords.)
    5. Upload your finished book.
    Thanks to all for the replies and comments.


    I've had a growing reluctance to full service providers, but at the same time, and due to my inexperience, have concerns about piecing it all together.


    By getting unbiased feedback are you referring to feedback on an edited manuscript before printing?


    This project is a very unexpected twist of nature and most technical requirements are beyond my skills, training and knowledge. I know that ,and also that I must rely on professional guidance for the proper presentation of a tale I am obligated to share.

    Thank you

  7. #7
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Unbiased feedback means someone other than your family and best friends reads it and gives you feedback. You can find beta readers around here if you need one. It usually helps to have more than one. I'd probably do this step before having a professional editor work on it because if your beta readers find major flaws, you'd have to rewrite a lot and might waste money you'd spent to have the current version edited. It should, however, be revised to the best of your ability before giving it to a beta.

    I think you're in the right place for finding resources, but I'd recommend that rather than say deciding you want to publish it next month and then rushing to get it out, that you learn as much as you can about the process before you really begin. That way when you start really putting the pieces together you'll have a good idea of what to look for and what it takes and where to go with things. It'll also keep you from making mistakes because you'll know what pitfalls to look out for.

    I'd say to study and study and study and research and research and research and once you start feeling confident that you understand things (well, as well as you can because I always feel like there's more to learn), then you can really start working on that final product.
    "You will experience a tingling sensation and then death."

    And just because it's still awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc

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  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6gear View Post
    By getting unbiased feedback are you referring to feedback on an edited manuscript before printing?
    After you've written, revised, and self-edited it to the best of your ability, but before you've paid a penny to have others do work for you in regards to having it published.


    This project is a very unexpected twist of nature and most technical requirements are beyond my skills, training and knowledge. I know that ,and also that I must rely on professional guidance for the proper presentation of a tale I am obligated to share.
    The "full-service" self-publishing companies aren't generally trying to help fill the needs you list--they're generally trying to help themselves into your pocketbook as deeply as you'll let them and they don't care much at all about the book they're producing.

    If you want full service, submit to a trade publishing company. That's what they do. Your book will generally be published well or not published at all and you will be guided through every step of the process if they decide your book is viable.

    Self-publishing means you're going to need to learn a lot about starting your own business and how to publish a book well. (Or as well as you can afford on your budget as you are also assuming the risk of losing pretty much all of it--the most common result with self-publishing.)

    (I might have left out a step 0. in there where you determine if self-publishing or submitting to a trade publisher is the right option for you...)
    J. Tanner vs the Page

    Latest Publication: "Bring Me the Head of Pepe Cortez!" in Return of the Dead Men Walking (anthlogy)
    Latest Sale: "Reunion Soup" to [title unannounced] fantasy anthology coming somewhenish

  9. #9
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    You're putting the cart before the horse, 6.

    You need to work on your writing first. Only worry about how to publish it once you've written a fabulous, beautiful book.

  10. #10
    Resistance is Everything christwriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    I've reviewed many books which have gone through the various full-service organisations like iUniverse, AuthorHouse and Xlibris.
    Aren't those all Author Solutions with a different hat on?

    to the OP: The thing about these guys is...they get their money reguardless of how successful you are, so they have no motivation to make your book the shiny best thing it can be. They DO, however, have many reasons to pat you on the ass and tell you how good you are, and those are all the bills sitting in your wallet. The more time they spend on your book, the fewer jobs they can take, the less money they make. I'd go with a freelance editor before I'd go with those guys.
    Last edited by christwriter; 01-10-2013 at 02:08 AM. Reason: clarifying a couple things

  11. #11
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Yes, they're all the same company, different hats.

    The rest of what you say is right too.

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