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Packing Heat 116: Easy Peasy

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In response to my advice last week to self-publishers to have their work professionally edited, Tracy wrote on my Facebook page:
"My self-editing is better than some "professional" editors I've seen with their names credited on a book."

Agreed, Tracy. In the epublishing industry, I think many of the staff are what I call "enthusiastic amateurs." They saw a product they felt passionate about creating, and set about teaching themselves how to do it without any formal schooling. As a writer, editor and publisher, I fall into this category, too.

In case a potential self-publisher thinks that's a free pass to fling unedited work into the world willy-nilly, though, I still recommend that just because you may be able to sling a comma better than the proofreader who's been assigned to you doesn't mean you shouldn't have your own self-published work edited. Editors are necessary to ensure you haven't skipped whole thoughts. Proofers are necessary to ensure you haven't dropped and words or inserted any "repeaters" in your work.

Many HatsIt Ain't Easy

The undertones of many of the questions that I get from new writers intrigued by the world of self publishing are as follows: they want to know if they can whip out a novel on Monday, throw it on Smashwords on Tuesday, and without building an audience or promoting it in any way, hand in the resignation of their day job by the end of the week.

I doubt it.

While it may seem laborious to shop your work around to publishers who keep rejecting it, it won't do you any good to publish something yourself if it's not ready to be published, and if you're not willing to put the work into marketing it.

There are two groups of people I can think of for whom self-publishing will probably do more harm than good:
1. A new, new, newbie. Chances are, you have no audience to buy the book, and if you've been submitting it to publishers who would normally publish the sort of thing you write and no one's making you an offer, it's possible your work is not ready to sell at a professional level.
2. A midlist author who hates the business end of things. Plenty of midlisters who already have an audience glaze over when they hear about the business and production end of things, and they have no desire to wear all the hats. They just want to write. These writers are better off sticking with publishers rather than burning themselves out taking care of self-publishing details.

Your Assignment

I've taken the leap and hired a Sporadic Assistant. I anticipate I'll have difficulty delegating, however I know it's for the best.

Can you think of a repetitive task you spend time on that doesn't feed your writing spirit? Can you delegate it? Can you hire someone to do it? Or can you skip it entirely?

ETA: I consider my Sporadic Assistant experiment to be a grand success. Ethan did about 1-1/2 hours of newsletter database maintenance and 1-1/2 hours of yardwork, during which time I was able to do something else. And now my yard looks great. YAY!

Listen to the show, 18 minutes: http://packingheat.net/2010/08/09/packing-heat-116-easy-peasy.aspx

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Aug. 11th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
I HATE proof-reading and editing with a PASSION. This is for work or writing a story for fun. I just want to hammer out ideas and then let someone else pretty it up. LOL I'm getting better because I have a comma-lover of a boss now, so I pretty much randomly insert commas and that's working for me, but I hate it. Don't ask me to proof-read something, I tend just skim the main ideas and go "looks good" when there may be a verb or two missing.

Chris has edited a few of the shorts I play around with for me and I'm eternally grateful because not only is it difficult for me to see my own errors (my eyes know what my brain meant to say even if the fingers wrote something else) but I just get bored and lose interest.

I need a personal proof-reader to follow me around at work and home and just polish all my ideas. However unless I win the big lottery this weekend I think I'm screwed on that front.
jordan_c_price
Aug. 11th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
The Personal Proofreader sounds like a Saturday Night Live sketch! I could totally see it, someone blurting out something grammatically incorrect, and someone else standing quietly nearby suddenly corrects them.

Samhain has a no-serial-comma style rule and my day job had a serial-comma-is-critical style rule, so between the two I've pretty much lost the ability to successfully determine where commas should go.

I know what you mean about the eye/brain thing. I sometimes find entirely different words than I meant to type in my stuff later on.
cdn_tam
Aug. 11th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
Arrgghhhh. Different computer, not logged in. Jeepers!
jordan_c_price
Aug. 11th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
I figured it was someone I knew!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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