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eBooks and Digital Publishing

You’re Going to Need to Hire an Editor

March 10th, 2014 . by Peggy

 (This is an excerpt from my book “Your Book Title Here“, available on the Kindle platform at, $2.99 USD.)

The editor is the one bit of outsourcing that I must recommend no matter how good a writer you are. With editors, you are paying for something that cannot be achieved any other way: objectivity.

Editors come from many paths. Some of them are language specialists, but many come from other, far more interesting sources. Some of them are industry experts, and some of them are teachers or business people. In my experience, the degrees on the wall matter very little to the quality of the service and work you will get. Instead, focus on their communication style. Do they seem to understand what you’re trying to achieve? When they read your work, do they make intelligent criticisms, and explain the reasons for them clearly? If so, great. You’ve got the foundation for a wonderful working relationship. Don’t just look for someone that agrees with you on everything. Not only is that not objective, but it means that they’re not telling you the whole truth of what they observe in the work.

Criticism is a big part of the editing process, and I’m here to tell you right now, get over any personal feelings you might have about the process. You have bigger stuff to care about, like creating a high-quality product. You need to focus on the big picture, not your personal feelings. Think early on in the process about your budget to hire an editor, and it will be easier to make happen.

Ouch! Peggy is really mean! Yes, I am. I’ve been on both sides of the editing fence. And now, I truthfully enjoy being the writer receiving help from the editor, because I can really see the improvement it makes in my final product: I’m actually becoming a better writer because of good editing. The thrill of working with someone who also believes in your book is so satisfying. You’ll know they believe in making it successful if they offer plenty of constructive criticism. This will happen for you too. I’m not saying it will be easy, but you will be better, and the praise you’ll receive as a quality writer will hopefully make up for any hurt feelings.

What does an editor cost? OK, prepare to be angry at me again: I can’t tell you that. The fact of it is, it fluctuates wildly. As I said, editors come from different backgrounds, and they all charge differently. Some charge by the word, and some by the hour. Some will only do certain types of editing, and the charges for different types of editing are also different. Some types of editors, like style and content editors, will only offer big-picture advice, rather than picking through your manuscript line-by-line.

At the very least, a copy-editing pass should be done before you finalize your work. This means just checking for things like spelling and punctuation mistakes, along with things like proper sentence structure and grammar. An abundance of copy errors will ruin the credibility of the entire work. However, I find that someone who can point out things like “You drag on a bit here,” or, “I would leave out that entire paragraph,” or, “You need to explain this further,” are extremely helpful, and that stuff is what really makes me improve. Simple copy-editing is also often better performed by a different editor than the one who does any style editing on your work. A fresh pair of eyes will catch stuff you wouldn’t believe.

Despite all editing you may have done, don’t freak out when the inevitable happens: your manuscript will still have errors. And I don’t just mean one, as there will probably be a bunch. Of course, you will only see them after the book has been sent to a major newspaper for review, or when your mentor is reading it. Relax. All authors cringe at this thought. It happens. Move on.

To read more from this book, please see

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Setting Your Self-Publishing Sights Higher

February 18th, 2013 . by Peggy

Setting Your Self-Publishing Sights HigherAll the smart self-publishers these days are using techniques like speed-implemented print on demand, which is low-risk and high-yield. However, be sure you’re still thinking like a big-business publisher and using some classic business-building techniques.

I totally advocate the use of Print-On-Demand (POD) services like The low-risk approach, the profit comparisons to major publishers, and the speed-implementation mindset are all things I really admire. However, be sure you’re not missing something that I make sure all of my clients are aware of from the get-go: publishing is a go-big or go-home business. I’m not saying increase your risk, but there are a number of small things that will make a big-thinking approach pay off. You can be all-in emotionally, without losing your wallet.

Let’s assume you’re a great writer. Your topic is timely, you’re credible, you know who your customers are, and you are very logical in your overall strategic business approach. Many authors do this, sell a fair amount of books, and have every right to be proud of themselves, especially if they sell the equivalent amount that a publisher asked them to commit to for the book project – a major accomplishment, to be sure.

But, what I don’t see many doing is hitting the pavement to simultaneously push your book through multiple outlets, including an affiliate marketing program, small retail outlets, and a wider non-business (or parallel-niche) audience. I would love to see more indie authors practicing good online marketing activities, like building a list of interested customers. You don’t have to sign up for anything to get many author’s free stuff, which is nice for us, but very bad for the author’s business. I would also like to see more authors move their RSS feed signup (the way people get the blog posts delivered to them in their inbox) to someplace more visible on your site. I want more podcasts. I want online training. And I want more interactivity.

Many author’s blogs get buried within their current site, meaning you have to click around the find the blog, which could be their biggest mistake. Make it the first page! The first thing people see! Even if you’re freelancing other writing, and selling a decent number of books anyway, think bigger! You could be building a wider following, and enhancing your personal profile, in minutes a day by making the blog the forefront of your website. If your existing website is a little flat, pump it up, and correct any lingering usability issues like buttons that don’t quite work the way you want, etc. Polish it up to a nice shine.

Why don’t all writers set their sights higher? A good book is hard to come by, and I know many writers that have several, each worth bragging about – yet they don’t. When one book is not wonderfully profitable, the next one is harder to write. Even if your self-publishing business doesn’t seem to be suffering, waiting until that is happening is the wrong time to start additional marketing activities.

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My New Year’s Resolution? Write LESS.

January 29th, 2013 . by Peggy


Write LESS Be Better - in 2013, I'm actually planning to write and blog less, but better quality.bThink about it: how do we get into trouble every year? We over-commit: 1000 Words a day for every day of the year! 6 new books! 16 blog posts each month! And it’s all supposed to be brilliant.


Writing less means that each time you sit down to write, you’re not doing it because you’re compelled to do so. You write when you’re inspired, and only then. And, if you stop before you have exhausted yourself, there’s something left for next time. There’s still water in the well.

I don’t know about you, but I’d guess that 90% of what I write is crap. This year, I’m trying to leave more of that in my head, and just get the 10% out that actually matters.

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