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alisarish
03-24-2007, 01:05 AM
Dear All,
My manuscript is almost ready and I placed a local ad in Qatar for a professional copy editor. I have been contacted by two men and one of them seems to be a professional (At least that is what he is saying) and he is asking for 1000 dollars to copyedit my work, around 54000 words. I will give him about 3-4 pages in order to assess his capability, to see if he can really add any value.

To apprise all members here, I have decided to self publish and a local printer will print the book, they have yet to quote the price they will charge for the printing job and a professional graphic designer is making the title cover of the book.

Any suggestions how can I market it internationally?

Any views on this please, thanks.

Cathy C
03-24-2007, 01:24 AM
Boy, that's a tough one. Will the text be in English? If so, your best bet would be to find an international distributor. I know Ingrams handles English speaking countries, such as America, Canada, Australia, England and South Africa, but am not sure about the rest of the world.

If the local printer can't provide one, you'll need an EAN-13 number to sell it through retailers in most countries, but I'm not sure where to purchase one in Qatar. There's at least one source in Canada, though.

Have you contacted anyone IN Canada? They have some terrific government-sponsored programs to help Canadian authors get published through regular channels, which might work better to get you wider distribution. If you reside there part-time, you might qualify.

Prosperity7
03-24-2007, 08:57 AM
Boy, that's a tough one. Will the text be in English? If so, your best bet would be to find an international distributor. I know Ingrams handles English speaking countries, such as America, Canada, Australia, England and South Africa, but am not sure about the rest of the world.

If the local printer can't provide one, you'll need an EAN-13 number to sell it through retailers in most countries, but I'm not sure where to purchase one in Qatar. There's at least one source in Canada, though.

Have you contacted anyone IN Canada? They have some terrific government-sponsored programs to help Canadian authors get published through regular channels, which might work better to get you wider distribution. If you reside there part-time, you might qualify.

What about using google's ecommerce on you own website. Google is international isn't it?

alisarish
03-24-2007, 12:33 PM
Thanks, Cathy,
I will check the government-sponsored programs in Canada and whether I qulaify for that or not, since I am outside of Canada these days. My book is in English. Regarding the 13 digit international barcode and ISB numbers, yes, I'll do that but the barcode in Qatar would be different as the international barcode providers assign different starting numbers to different countries. I am not sure whether the retailers use the same barcode issued at the time of printing or they need a local number in other countries.

BTW, I had contacted three literary agents in Canada and only one of them bothered to respond, asking me to send my entire manuscript along with C$ 400 as reading or evaluation fee. I have put it on hold after reading here on this forum that one should not resort to these agents as they simply return it later on account of being unacceptable. I am not really sure about it.

Thanks for your help. I feel energized, your advice is like a glass of glucose.

James D. Macdonald
03-24-2007, 02:11 PM
You can be quite sure that whatever agent asked you for $400 is either crooked or incompetent. In either case he or she can't sell your book.

The first digit(s) of an ISBN shows that book's country of origin.

citymouse
03-24-2007, 03:49 PM
A,
$1000 US is a lot of money (for me at least) but it's not out of line for say, a New York City editor. Saying that however, please do shop around.
There are a lot of people out there who "say" they are professionals but aren't qualified to edit the reverse side of a playing card.

BTW some editors do charge an "evaluation" fee (as much as $500) but this amount is normally applied against the total if you decide to have him/her to do the actual editing.

Because you've decided to "self-publish, you are quite correct in having your ms professionally edited.

A note about costs. Some editors charge a "sliding" fee depending on the length of the ms. Others charge anywhere from 1 penny to three pennies per word. Others charge by the page. A page is defined as having 275words. I know one New York editor who charges $9US/page.
Using that formula your book would be~196pages. At $9/page you'd pay ~1700US. Keep in mind that you'll have to sell a lot of books just to recoup this investment, to say nothing of your printing costs.

If you have someone who can format the interior and do the cover art for you, you may want to consider Book Surge, an Amazon.com company. They have a $99 option for writers who have their ms edited, formatted, and the cover art in hand. They provide the ISBN prior to your artist laying out the back cover so it wil be placed properly. I mention them only because you bring up the issue of distribution. With Book Surge, you at least are automatically listed on Amz's worldwide catalog. They distribute through Baker & Taylor. I have a querry into their customer service office asking what the discount rate B&T offers to bookstores is.

BTW, I'm self-published through iUniverse and Author House. I've learned a lot about dealing with bookstores and the realities of short discounts, distributor contracts (very costly) and the art of patience.

Best of Luck,
C



Dear All,
My manuscript is almost ready and I placed a local ad in Qatar for a professional copy editor. I have been contacted by two men and one of them seems to be a professional (At least that is what he is saying) and he is asking for 1000 dollars to copyedit my work, around 54000 words. I will give him about 3-4 pages in order to assess his capability, to see if he can really add any value.

To apprise all members here, I have decided to self publish and a local printer will print the book, they have yet to quote the price they will charge for the printing job and a professional graphic designer is making the title cover of the book.

Any suggestions how can I market it internationally?

Any views on this please, thanks.

Silver King
03-24-2007, 06:15 PM
There is an auction for Editorial Services going on right here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1202737#post1202737) on AW. Compared to the prices I've seen in this thread, it's a steal: The high bid is currently at $100 for two hundred manuscript pages.

For those who may be interested, the auction ends tomorrow evening, so there's still plenty of time to place a bid.

(The editor, Kristen King, is a member of AW, and all proceeds from the auction are donated to Absolute Write to help support the web site.)

citymouse
03-24-2007, 07:30 PM
That is a good deal!
C


There is an auction for Editorial Services going on right here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1202737#post1202737) on AW. Compared to the prices I've seen in this thread, it's a steal: The high bid is currently at $100 for two hundred manuscript pages.

For those who may be interested, the auction ends tomorrow evening, so there's still plenty of time to place a bid.

(The editor, Kristen King, is a member of AW, and all proceeds from the auction are donated to Absolute Write to help support the web site.)

Maryn
03-24-2007, 09:19 PM
Dang it, Silver King beat me to it! It's so rare for me to have anything concrete to contribute, and he goes and steals my potential thunder...

alisarich, see this site (http://www.the-efa.org/res/rates.html) for more information about what's reasonable to pay for what editorial services. Consider, too, that checking the qualifications of people you don't know may be difficult, but many here can and will vouch for Kristen being the real deal.

Maryn, only teasing Silver King (and he knows it, too)

alisarish
03-24-2007, 09:31 PM
There is an auction for Editorial Services going on right here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1202737#post1202737) on AW. Compared to the prices I've seen in this thread, it's a steal: The high bid is currently at $100 for two hundred manuscript pages.

For those who may be interested, the auction ends tomorrow evening, so there's still plenty of time to place a bid.

(The editor, Kristen King, is a member of AW, and all proceeds from the auction are donated to Absolute Write to help support the web site.)

Silver King,
Thanks a lot. I want to avail this great opportunity for $ 105/= but somehow I cannot post a reply to that thread, probably there is some restriction or I lack that privilege or something. Can I bid for it?

Silver King
03-24-2007, 09:48 PM
Can I bid for it?
Sure. You can send a Private Message to Ol' Fashioned Girl (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=2660), the auctioneer, and she'll place the bid for you and keep you appraised if anyone raises the stakes. :)

Once you've reached 50 posts, you'll be able to access the Bargains forum at any time.

Good luck!

Cathy C
03-24-2007, 09:51 PM
I didn't realize the auctions were subject to the post restrictions. Interesting... checking to see if we want to consider moving them so they're accessible to everyone. :)

MMo
03-24-2007, 09:59 PM
HEAVILY SNIPPED


Others charge by the page. A page is defined as having 275words.




Actually, it's 250 words to the page.

Some editors insist that the word count is based on total character count, including spaces, divided by 6; some will take a straight 250 average. Some will insist on project fees; some will work by the hour with a projected rate of speed from 2 to 10 pages per hour (This should include a second pass of the manuscript, by the way).

Good luck in finding someone.

Silver King
03-24-2007, 10:02 PM
I didn't realize the auctions were subject to the post restrictions. Interesting...
The Bargains forum used to be rife with spammers, and for a while was nearly closed down altogether. Instead, the fifty post rule was put into effect, which seems to have curbed the flow of spam, at least on that board.

Anthony Ravenscroft
03-24-2007, 10:37 PM
Alisa: my feeling is that $1,000 is a bit too high for line editing, & far too low for substantive editing. If you need the latter, get a real editor or a book coach; if the former, turn on all of Word's correction features & give some thought to each gaffe it thinks it finds, & then hand it off to someone to read for stuff like homonyms -- you can often get great comments for the cost of a good dinner, so call it $50 at the outside.

HapiSofi
03-25-2007, 03:19 AM
For a real professional text editor to edit a 200-page manuscript for $100 is an act of charity, no matter where the proceeds go. That price is far too low.

CityMouse, $1000 to copy edit your manuscript might be a fair price, or it might be a ripoff, depending on the copy editor who charges it. Could you tell us more about his professional qualifications? If he's an honest freelancer, those can hardly be confidential.

Some useful questions to try on people who claim to be copy editors:

1. What's your opinion of the serial comma?

They should have an opinion. It should be firm. If it doesn't match yours, start arguing about it now.

If they say "Serial comma?", say "Oxford comma." If they still don't know what you're talking about, they aren't text editors, period.

2. Just speaking personally, what's your preferred dictionary?

If they just say "Webster's", they're a fraud. No one owns the rights to that name, and there are any number of Webster's dictionaries out there.

If they say "the OED," you should also be alarmed. The OED is an invaluable reference, but it's not an everyday working dictionary.

If they say "whatever dictionary you prefer," they're either a very cynical old text-ronin (unlikely), or they're faking it. Copy editors always have preferences in dictionaries, and they almost always distrust the client's taste in same.

Real copy editors are prone to say things like "I prefer the Concise Oxford, but then I'm British. I assume you'll want me to use American style?" Or: "I know everyone's using Webster's 11th New Collegiate, but I personally prefer the 9th New Collegiate." Or: "Webster's Third Unabridg -- no, sorry, New World College Fourth."

3. Do you have a preferred stylebook?

"I use Strunk & White." Translation: "I am a lightweight. An amateur. An English major who reads a lot. I don't know what a stylebook is for. I may not be aware that copy editing is a discrete professional skill."

"I use the Merriam-Webster Manual for Writers and Editors." Translation: "I am content to use a dumbed-down version of the Chicago Manual of Style."

"I use the AP Stylebook." Translation: "I am a journalist, tech writer, or other unspecified nonfiction writer. As such, I have real strengths; but the conventions of copy editing fiction may be completely unknown to me. I am also prone to believe that there is such a thing as standard style. If so, and if I'm feeling motivated, I can completely flatten variations in characters' voices in dialogue; go through the narrative and regularize what had previously been carefully contrived elisions, ambiguities, inversions, and other non-journalistic constructions; and substitute common present-day locutions for your historical/SF or fantasy/other specialized phrasing and terminology."

(Note: Renegade tech writers and nonfiction copy editors have a long history of doing dreadful things to novels and personal memoirs. However, there's always a chance that you've gotten hold of one of those rare switch hitters who can handle both fiction and nonfiction. Talk to your prospective copy editor. Ask them about their background. If they've done any work on fiction, find out what kind, and if possible the level at which it was written. It takes no judgement to bash awkward sentence structures and correct near-homophone errors in badly written books. What you're looking for is thoughtful, sensitive work done on manuscripts whose authors can fight back.

Find out what they've read. Unless you're writing strictly modern mainstream, in the current version of transparent style, you want them to at minimum have read works published earlier than Thomas Hardy's. This goes double if you're writing historical fiction, science fiction, or fantasy.)

"I have a Microsoft Manual of Style; will that do?" Translation: "I am a tech writer from the computer industry. Bug: I've never worked on fiction or in trade publishing. Bug: The author gets a say in things? That's a new one. Bug: I can't believe how little copy editors get paid. Feature: You can't scare me."

"I prefer the U.S. News & World Report Stylebook." Translation: "My background is in nonfiction and/or journalism, with all the problems that implies (see above); but I learned copy editing from a sterner taskmaster than that guy who uses the AP Stylebook."

"Sure -- I use the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual. It's got everything." Translation: "I have internalized an idiosyncratic set of quirks, crotchets, and rules not encountered elsewhere in the English-speaking world."

"I use the Oxford Guide to Style/the Oxford Style Manual." Translation: "I am British, or wish I were."

"The Times Style and Usage Guide." Translation: "I am a British journalist. Please buy me a drink."

"I use Hart's Rules." Translation: "My underwear is made of heavy wool tweed."

"I've always used the MLA Style Manual." Translation: "I am a renegade academic, and may or may not be native to your planet."

"Is Wired Style okay?" Translation: "I am in a humorous mood, and am pulling your leg." Other possible translation: "I have never worked on a hardcopy publication. I was brought here from 1997 by a malfunctioning time portal. Do you suppose my dotcom stock options are still worth anything?"

"I like Words into Type." Three possible translations: (1.) "Yeah, I know a a lot of people are going over to Chicago these days, but I've been using Words into Type for over twenty years now, and I'm comfortable with it." (2.) "I'm not normally a copy editor, and I don't consult a stylebook more than once or twice a year, but we used Words into Type on my college yearbook, and there was an old copy of it kicking around the offices when I got here, so that's the one I use." (3.) "I have the following highly technical disputes with the underlying theory and overall sensibility of Chicago, and furthermore I loathe the latest revision of it, and anyway who needs to look up all those rules and exceptions when I can just remember them on my own and use the ones I agree with?" (Note: #3 will have a frighteningly long attention span. If you wind up drinking with her, don't ask her about her disagreements with Chicago.)

"H. W. Fowler's A Dictionary of Modern English Usage." Two translations: (1.) "I am confused, and think you're still asking about personal preferences." (English-language geeks and mavens have a strong tribal fondness for Fowler, though they don't use it as an everyday working reference.) (2.) "I am a language-besotted weirdo. Please introduce me to that ravishing female who was ranting about her disagreements with Chicago."

"I use the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage." Four possible translations, some of which may overlap: (1.) "My background is in periodicals, not books." (2.) "I didn't learn copy editing from other copy editors, or at least not from book copy editors." (3.) "I can't stand having to wade through all that extraneous material. Just give me the answer as quickly as possible." (4.) "The store had several stylebooks. This one was the cheapest."

"I use the Chicago Manual of Style." Translation: "I have claimed to be using the current default option. Maybe that means I'm a real pro. Maybe it means I took a superficial continuing ed. class in copy editing, and the teacher required me to buy a copy of Chicago, but I'm still not sure how to use it. Maybe I'm a self-taught copy editor and I believe everything Chicago tells me, which may not scare you, but should. Maybe I asked the sales clerk at Barnes & Noble which stylebook is currently popular, and she told me Chicago, but I haven't actually bought a copy. You can't tell which it is. All you can tell is that I know what a stylebook is, and which one is the current default option."

4. What do you count as privileged forms of speech?

You're primarily asking this question to see whether they recognize the concept. Discussing the extent to which this or that kind of speech is privileged comes a distant second.

Privileged forms of speech include dialogue, internal monologue, and first-person narrative; excerpts from letters, books, poems, or other extant texts; signage and inscriptions; poetry; quotations; prayers and liturgies; and the main narrative itself, if it's strongly voiced. They're the set of all varieties of speech a copy editor is not allowed to re-render into standard English.

Someone who's unfamiliar with this set of practices has not worked as a trade fiction or nonfiction copy editor.

5. How many passes do you normally do?

The question is, how many times do they read through the manuscript on a word-by-word basis, making notes and correcting errors? The copy editor's base fee should cover at least two full passes.

This is not negotiable. You don't know what the language in a book is doing until you've read it, which means you can't do it justice in a single pass. Without that second pass, you can't fix or query early continuity errors, or recognize and correct early instances of persistent inconsistencies. Also, there's a rule called "predominant usage" that says that if a name is spelled one way three times and a different way 91 times, the latter is correct. If you just make a single pass, and the three incorrect instances come first (which they often do), all you can do is correct the subsequent 91 instances to match them, which will be wrong.

I've seen copy editors who claimed they could do a good job on a book in a single pass. They were wrong. I've also seen copy editors argue that if they have to make two passes, they can't make a living wage. They have my sympathy, but they need to find another line of work. Two passes, minimum.

6. What's your overall take on copyeditorial latitude?

They should have several sentences' worth of opinions on this, at minimum. This is another question where the specific answer is less important than the fact that they recognize the question and the issues it raises.

Copyeditorial latitude is the extent to which the copy editor is allowed to make changes, and the reasons he or she is allowed to make them. If all they're doing is checking for obvious grammatical errors and misspellings, you're not getting your money's worth.

Every novel redefines the language in which it is written for the duration of that book. One of the signs of a good copy editor is that they can distinguish between errors and bad usage, on the one hand; and on the other, quirks of language that are characteristic of the book. Consider a single pair of words which is arguably a compound adjective. Should it be hyphenated? Good question. Some pairs have to be hyphenated: blue-green algae, fish-shaped jello mold. Others aren't so clear. What to do?

The thumbfingered answer is to go to your dictionary of choice and see whether that pair of words is listed as a hyphenated form, or perhaps as a single word with no hyphen. Depending on which dictionary you get hold of, you might be told that blood red, as in blood red roses, isn't blood-red, but rather bloodred: an uncouth word that's obviously pronounced BLUE-dread, and is guaranteed to make the reader stumble.

Bah! Copy editors who insist on dictionary usage drive authors crazy. Even worse are the copy editors who think that the first-listed or preferred form of a word is somehow the only correct version of it. Listing hijinks or genie first doesn't mean hijinx or djinni are objectively wrong. It just means they're the less-common spellings of the words; and in the context of this book, they may be exactly the right spellings.

Let's go back to that pair of words that's arguably a compound adjective. Again: do you hyphenate them? Here's the good answer: Some authors go light on hyphens. When there's an edge case, they leave it unhyphenated, and trust that the readers can sort out which word modifies which. Other authors are heavy on hyphens. When there's an edge case, they hyphenate it. They may even use en-dashes to distinguish the connection between a single word and an existing compound adjective that are being yoked together into a new adjective: pudding-bowl--shaped.

The answer to whether our arguable case should be hyphenated is that it should be handled in whatever way is least likely to confuse the reader. If the author uses a lot of hyphens, not having one linking that pair of words could read as an unnecessary ambiguity. If the author's light on hyphens, putting in a hyphen could read as an undesirably emphatic reification. It all depends on what the author is doing with language in this book.

7. In your view, what else does a copyeditor do?

For the record, he or she should compile lists of proper names, place names, easily misspelled words, new coinage, odd usage, symbols and other typographical quirks, art, ornaments, charts and graphs, excerpts, footnotes, line-for-line text, other difficult formats, chapter starts, part titles, front and back matter, and all the other components of the book -- and should provide page numbers for all occurrences of same.

If there are consistency problems -- a character changes their name or eye color, the moon's phases run backward, the tides come in too quickly for the depth of the beach, two rogues act like they know each other when it's clear that this is the first time they've met, someone who's covered with mud is inexplicably clean ten minutes later, the Ringworld rotates in the wrong direction, a horse runs at a full gallop for eleven hours straight, his rider nurses an unsplinted broken femur over the same period, the currency exchange rates of seons, senines, shiblons, and senums don't add up, et cetera and so forth -- the copy editor should query them, explaining the problems, and giving the page numbers of passages that are affected by them.

If you inadvertently use the same paragraph twice, or the same memorable sentence three times in the same half of the book, or if every time a dog gets mentioned it's an akita, or if every time you need a random number it's 56, the copy editor should notice that as well.

===

If the guy you've gotten in touch with can't give satisfactory answers, let me know. A lot of good copy editors have had to get used to working from a distance, because they can't afford to live in NYC.

Anthony Ravenscroft
03-25-2007, 08:40 PM
Oh. My.

God.

Good heavens, what's gotten into you lately?

That piece simply has to be a FAQ, for everyone who thinks that hiring "someone to edit" is just a matter of going through the listings & picking a name that sounds nice.

FWIW: when I was copy chief, I pretty much memorised AP, but my current partner whacks me with Chicago so often that I feel justified claiming I've got it by osmosis. (Ever read UPI? Bizarre -- weirder than Bierce's Blacklist & not half as funny.)

To all: an extremely skilled editor from a narrow field can charge you huge amounts of cash to turn your manuscript into something completely different. I'm one of the weirdos who can easily shift gears from memoir to legalese to fantasy fiction to straight reportage. Left to her/his whims, an editor is a creature of prejudice & can be frighteningly creative in noncreativity. Even "close" isn't good enough: if you're trying to sound like Hemingway, do you really need an editor who thinks you should be Faulkner?

Always spell out exactly what you need, & accept that "I'll leave it up to you" really does mean leaving it to someone else entirely. Paying someone cash to edit your romance according to FDA pharmaceutical submission guidelines might not be what you want.

ResearchGuy
03-25-2007, 10:27 PM
. . .
Some useful questions to try on people who claim to be copy editors:
. . . .
Brilliant post! I have saved a copy on disk, am printing for reference, and have shared it with a publisher friend for whom certain parts are exceptionally timely. [Edit/addition: shared it for his personal reading, I should emphasize, together with link to this thread as the source.]

--Ken

HapiSofi
03-26-2007, 05:21 AM
Thanks! Just observe standard copyright law and we'll be fine.

Christine N.
06-01-2007, 12:25 AM
Answers...

1) I hate the bloody serial comma, because for some reason it seems superflous to me. However, I recognize that some house styles do use the stupid thing. Go thank Ayn Rand now.

2)When I absolutely need to use a dictionary, (I'm an above average speller, however certain words always trip me up) I reach for my American College. I probably need to replace that... Also the Merriam-Webster website is usually up to date and always at my fingertips. I know, but it's good for quick and dirty checks.

3)Chicago. Strunk and White is what I used in eighth grade English. Outgrown it.

4)Privileged speech is anything relating to character speech - dialogue, thoughts, inner monologue etc... Anything non-narrative. If your book is in first person, narrative can also be considered.

5) At LEAST two. All my rewriting jobs usually get two passes, if not more. How can you possibly be sure to get everything with one pass? I would never turn in work after one pass. Maybe I'm a little O/C though.

6)Copy editor should not have any say in changing the story, but a little leeway in cleaning up awkward or sloppy construction, outside of privileged speech. I always make suggestions for freeelance clients, like pointing out repeated words, removing extraneous dialogue tags, pointing out timeline errors. I once did a job for someone where they mentioned on one page the MC had left her cell phone at home, and ten pages later she was making a phone call on it. Those scream at me, and I'm always sure to note it so the author can make the change. Part of good service.

7)Copy editors make sure you have clean copy. That you've spelled all your places the same way, even if you've made them up, (actually I just did that in my own book, spelled a place the correct way once and another way the rest of the time. I caught it before the copyeditor did.)makes sure all the punctuation and spelling is correct and spots any story inconsistencies. He/She is not responsible for story arc, characterization, or author voice/style.

I do mostly rewriting from translation work, but I also make sure I give back as clean a copy as possible. I also make sure that in the case of series that all the details line up - like things that are mentioned in the second book that are supposed to also be in the first book are actually there, stuff like that.

It's a fine art, and a great deal of work. I earn my money.

Stijn Hommes
08-22-2007, 02:58 PM
Besides giving them the test pages, ask them for contact details of other clients and see how they feel about the services.