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[Publisher] Arbor Books / G&P / Ghostwriting & Publishing

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

novellabob

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I posted a couple of weeks back about what seemed suspicious responses from the Penn Group regarding ghostwriting. While I have decided to pass on ghostwriting and do my own work because of monetary concerns (I've published some short stories), I continued to get emails from companies I contacted, plus some independent ghostwriters. Even though I'm passing on ghostwriting, I thought I'd pass along my conclusions because I didn't like what I saw.

Arbor Books used to be Floating Gallery. The owners are the same. One freelancer said he'd seen the work of Floating Gallery and that it had grammar and phrasing mistakes at the grade school level. One can only imagine why Floating Gallery went out of business--or speculate as to what the heck Arbor is now offering.

I found that Pantheon Literary used to advertise as Manhattan Literary. The website design seems to be identical. One wonders why these name changes occur, though it isn't hard to speculate.

My brief contacts with Penn, Arbor, and Pantheon/Manhattan revealed that these firms do not have "New York writers with close ties to the industry," at least not from what I could tell. The writing seems to be subcontracted out to freelancers all over the country. Also, these companies all claim to have agent contacts, although no one at any company would tell me who these agents were. Arbor claims to publish and promote as well as ghostwrite, though their prices are staggering for the whole enchilada. Yet they claim they write best sellers. Right. I bet they have swampland in Florida as well.

Of the freelancers and independent ghostwriters I contacted, some had good qualifications and samples to offer, some didn't. The ones who did, however, all warned me about large ghostwriting companies, though they refused to name any specifically (except for the woman who named Floating Gallery and told me it was now Arbor), nor would they go on record.

Caveat emptor. I was fortunate. Having published short fiction in literary journals, I had some editors who helped steer me away from what seemed to be used car pitches. They told me to take my wife out to dinner instead.
 

victoriastrauss

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Novellabob, we try to discuss one company per thread, so I've copied your post into a thread for Arbor Books.

Writer Beware has gotten a couple of complaints about Arbor (an expensive vanity publisher that offers ghoswriting/editing services) from writers who weren't happy with the quality of its marketing services or with the quality of the books it produced.

- Victoria
 

novellabob

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Thank you, Victoria. Sorry for overloading the post with too many companies. I'm curious as to how the owners of Arbor, who apparently are accumulating a lot of unhappy customers over the years under various "incarnations," can keep incorporating under a new name, only to provide the same "junk." Seems to me that New York State would clamp down on companies like these. I suppose that will have to remain a rhetorical question. I guess most people don't do their homework.
 

David I

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Arbor Books is also an unfortunate name, in that people might confuse it with Arbor House.

Arbor House was an important publisher, and put out books by Lawrence Block, Elmore Leonard, Irwin Shaw, Roger Zelazny, and others. In the 1980s it became an imprint of Wm Morrow, and then was absorbed into HarperCollins and lost even its imprint status.

It's possible that Arbor Books is hoping that their name will sound familiar and possibly be confused with Arbor House.
 

Khazarkhum

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Arbor Books is also an unfortunate name, in that people might confuse it with Arbor House.

Arbor House was an important publisher, and put out books by Lawrence Block, Elmore Leonard, Irwin Shaw, Roger Zelazny, and others. In the 1980s it became an imprint of Wm Morrow, and then was absorbed into HarperCollins and lost even its imprint status.

It's possible that Arbor Books is hoping that their name will sound familiar and possibly be confused with Arbor House.

Now, what would make you say that? A scammy publisher being decietful? Say it ain't so!
 

stargazer1

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Arbor books new jersey / need advice

Just wondering if anyone has done business or has heard of arbor books in ramsey new jersey. I have a manuscript that I'm considering having them do a comprehensive edit on and they quoted me $10,000.00 at 5 cents a word.

mainly because my manuscript is 580 pages and is too long... The contract looks like a lawyer wrote it and on top of that, the girl I talk to on the phone sounds like a lawyer too which scares me... I was hoping to editor this thing locally since I live 15 minutes away but may consider freelance... There pay rates are like lawyer fees to... example---If I have to meet with the editor, it could run me $115.00 an hour... the contract does include 10 hours of editor, research, phone and email time but I'm afraid if I go over 10 hours, my $10,000 contract turned to $20,000 over night.... I would have to file for backrupcy if that happened..

Has anyone ever worked with arbor books for editting or has any problems regarding the contracts?
Is freelancing the edit job a better decision?
I stuck right now and don't know what to do...

If I sign with them, there's no turning back... The termination fee is more than the edit job itself---Way more!
 

Momento Mori

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stargazer1, don't pay to edit your work - especially not with a vanity outfit like Arbor whose charges are exorbitant.

There's a forum here where you can find a beta for your work: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=30

Alternatively, try posting some of it in the Share Your Work forum. It's also worth looking to see if there are any critique groups in your neighbourhood where you can get feedback for free.

MM
 
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victoriastrauss

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Holy crap. $10,000 for ten hours of editorial time?? That's highway robbery.

See this rate chart from the Editorial Freelancers' Association (an association for professional editors in the USA), which shows suggested charges for developmental editing (the most intensive kind of editing) of between $50 and $80 an hour. (Reputable editors are more likely to charge by the hour or the page than by the word.) You might possibly pay $10,000 for an intensive developmental or content edit by a highly-qualified independent editor--but I promise that a lot more than 10 hours would be involved.

For a 580-page manuscript (around 145,000 words, assuming that the pages are in standard manuscript format), 10 hours probably wouldn't get you much more than some level of copy editing. (According to the rate chart, suggested charges for heavy copy editing are between $35 and $50 per hour.) And if your manuscript needs more than correction of common errors, incorrect usages, continuity problems and the like, mere copy editing is not what you want.

Plus, does Arbor even tell you who the editor is, so you can be sure he or she really is qualified, and has expertise that's appropriate for the subject/genre of your book? It's essential to verify those things before you hand money over to an editor, otherwise you may not get your money's worth.

As others have said, you may not need to pay anyone to edit your book, if alternatives such as a critique group are available to you. If you do decide to hire an editor, it's not a decision to be made lightly, or just because someone else suggests it. Please pay a visit to Writer Beware's Independent Editors page for a full discussion of the pros and cons of paying for editing, along with tips for evaluating an editor and a list of things to watch out for.
 

stargazer1

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Thanks guys for the advice, and I do know that arbor is a vanity press... If I were to submitt them blank sheets of paper they will probably tell me that my writing is great and would like to publish it themselves...Lol...

And I'm sure they will tell me they like my work but I have no interest in marketing through them mainly because it's way expensive... All I want them to do is edit my work for puntuation, flow and structure---That's it... I'm preparing myself to send out query letters and a synopsis to publishing companies as listed in the 2010 Writer's Market book... That's the plan

My work is concidered fiction, genre of new age and spirtuality... But if anyone can recommend a reputable free lance editor with credentials that could assist me, I will appreceiate it...

The only reason I'm considering arbor because it's local to where I live...

Freelancing to someone in nevada who I'll never see makes me nervous...
 

stargazer1

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How would I know if my manuscript doesn't need an editor? I'm sure with 580 pages, there has to be errors somewhere along the way...

Could you recommennd an editor to me who specializes in fiction/new age/spirituality?

I feel like I hit a road bloack and don't know how to proceed...
Some people say at .05 cents a word, thats a decent deal while others say the opposite... some people would say, you don't need an editor while others say the opposite... some people say freelance the edit job while others say no...

everyone has there own opinion on what to do---I just need to know, what to do...
 

IceCreamEmpress

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stargazer, if you are in the US, the best way to find an experienced editor is by posting a job listing on the website of the Editorial Freelancers Association.

The thing is, do you need an editor, or do you need to learn how to self-edit? I am myself a freelance editor, and I am glad that there are people out there who choose to work with freelance editors, but it is not the right choice for everyone.

If you want to make writing for publication on an ongoing basis a central part of your professional life, you would do well to learn to self-edit. (I tend to work with people whose chief professional focus is elsewhere--doctors writing about their clinical experiences, chefs and restaurateurs writing cookbooks, and so on.)

If this is the only book you ever want to publish (or if publishing books is a secondary goal in your professional plan), post a job request on the EFA boards, and you will get responses from a number of well-qualified editors.

 

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. . . at .05 cents a word, thats a decent deal while others say the opposite . . .
Did you really mean five-hundredths of a cent a word? That would be dirt cheap.

Anyway, there are different kinds and levels of editing. Proof reading is a very different thing (and much cheaper) than developmental editing, or even line editing. My guess is that your manuscript would benefit from something well beyond proof reading. But as has been said, writing is rewriting. Maybe first it needs a few more passes through by yourself.

--Ken
 
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stargazer1

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I will definitley check out the editorial freelance association... Arbor did send me back an free sample edit of chapter 1---And if I approved all the corrections she did---It's even harder to understand...

I'm a rookie when it comes to red line edits and using it on microsoft word... It could be hard to understand sometimes...

I already line edited my work 3 times over before sending it to the editor... Originally, it was 768-pages total... I brought it down to 580 myself while keeping the story in tact... So I am proud of myself for doing that myself...

How would I know if a full comprehensive edit is right for me or if I should get line editting instead?

I don't want to pay for a service I really don't need...
 

JulieB

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I'm editing what I said before because I was kind of snarky and it was really not called for. Sorry about that.

The amount of editing you need really depends on you, your manuscript, and the target publisher. ICE is right in that you need to learn to self-edit. Even so, most of us get so close to our work that it takes someone else to point out the problems. This is why we have crit groups.

A copy editor may do an excellent job on your manuscript, but he or she won't point out things like character development or plotting issues. It may look pretty, but if it has plot holes that you could drive a semi through, pretty doesn't help. Again, this is why you learn to self-edit and why we have crit groups.

I congratulate you on cutting so much out of your manuscript, though. Sometimes that's the hardest thing to do.
 
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Terie

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As IceCreamEmpress said, if you want to be a writer for a living, you need to learn how to do this yourself. You could spend thousands of dollars on this manuscript and then never sell the book....meaning it would be a financial loss. You talked upstream about being willing to pay $10,000 for editing (though it sounds like you're convinced now not to do that), but most first books don't make $10,000...if they sell at all.

The best thing to do is to get your work critiqued, and you can do that for free right here at AW in the Share Your Work forum (password: vista). If you say right up front that you think your work needs input from someone who can help with grammar and such (or whatever it is you're worried about), there's a good chance you'll get someone to do that. The trick isn't just to expect someone to edit your work for free, but to get input on a chapter, then take what you learn and apply it to the rest of the manuscript yourself.

Also, critiquing others' work is a great way to learn. I've said for many years that I learned more about writing from critiquing others' work than from any one other thing. As you learn to spot errors in others' work (where it's easier to be objective than on your own), you'll acquire the skill of spotting those same kinds of errors in your own.
 

stargazer1

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Thanks... After going the red line edits from arbor, I find myself declining over 50% of the recommendations... I figure, if I'm declining the changes, that's 5,000.00 in the garbage... Maybe a comprehensive isn't for me... Maybe I should consider a proofreading with light editing involded...

Question... Is 580 pages really a lot?
After doing the math by page count compared to a regular book hard cover book... My 580 page can easily be 380 pages without any changes needed just by transplanting my manuscript to book form...

Vanity presses will always tell me 580 pages is a loltm but is it really?
 

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. . . Question... Is 580 pages really a lot? . . .
What is the word count?

Are we talking 8-1/2 x 11" pages, double spaced, with 1" margins all around? In that case, word count is probably roughly 250 words per page, or maybe something like 145,000 words total -- pretty big, but not necessarily out of the question, depending on genre, intended audience, and quality of the content. It would make for a pretty cramped 380 book pages.

Why were you declining the edits?

BTW, you might find the (free) booklet linked in my sig. block, below, worth your time.

--Ken
 

stargazer1

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my word count is about 180,000... The reason why I deleted 50% of her recommendations is becasue they don't make sense to me... there was only a small amount of suggestions i agreed with but not worth 10,000.00... maybe finding someone who could do copy editting first then maybe a light content edit for the second round might be better...

who knows---Maybe I'll self publish, I don't know... everyone seems to think 580 pages (184,000 words) is a lot... Dont know what to do...

Can anyone recommend a good editor/website who is good in nofiction/fiction new age spirtuality... I still don't know what to do... I didn't think finding a editor would be this difficult?
 

ResearchGuy

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. . . Can anyone recommend a good editor/website who is good in nofiction/fiction new age spirtuality... I still don't know what to do... I didn't think finding a editor would be this difficult?
I'll PM (private message) you with the name of a very able editor I know. (I provide editing services, too, but am not interested in a project of that length and probable cost to the author.) I am confident that her skills would extend to that sort of book.

--Ken
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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WHOA. That's a HUGE book. What exactly is your book's genre? It can't be both non-fiction and fiction. I know sometimes it feels like it falls under multiple categories, but if you plan to query it you have to try and pinpoint the strongest genre :) I don't know about non-fiction, but that's a big wordcount for pretty much every genre of fiction. Even in genres like historicals and fantasy, you have to be a big name to get away with that.

I don't have any editor recommendations, but perhaps you need a bit of a break from this work? The most valuable self-editing tip I've learned so far is keep only what's necessary. You don't want to bog the reader in too much detail, but you don't want to skimp out either. Sometimes giving yourself a little distance can help. Beta readers can also be incredibly helpful by giving you the reader's perspective. I hope some of that helps.
 

victoriastrauss

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Also, copy editing comes after content editing--you need to get the book basically into final form before you look at the mechanical stuff.

Did you check the link I gave you in my post above, to the Independent Editors page of Writer Beware? There's a lot of information there that could help to answer your questions.

- Victoria
 

stargazer1

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thanks / question

I did check your editors page and it was helpful... Research guy gave my williamswriting.com to check out...

I beginning to think that maybe I should do a 4th round of line editing and cutting out somemore on my own first...

Question... If I get it down to 150,000 words, is that still a lot?



Also, copy editing comes after content editing--you need to get the book basically into final form before you look at the mechanical stuff.

Did you check the link I gave you in my post above, to the Independent Editors page of Writer Beware? There's a lot of information there that could help to answer your questions.

- Victoria
 

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