There is a lot of work that goes into publishing a really great book. If you write an amazing book, only to have it riddled with typos and grammatical errors, whether you write fiction or non, it will lose something in translation. That’s why having your book edited is important.
If you are an indie author, editing can be a huge expense and working with a freelance editor can turn into a nightmare. But there are good editors out there–and today, I’d like to introduce you to our new editor, Shannon Janeczek.
Shannon is one of four editors we recommend to authors (you can see the others here). We have commissioned her to edit our new Book Marketing Survival Guide Series, and we are really excited to start working with her.
To help you get to know her, we’ve asked her to stop by our blog. I hope you will join me in giving her a warm welcome.
Hi Shannon, and welcome! We are excited to start working with you as our editor, and wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our following. Can you start out by telling us a little bit about yourself?
First of all, I want to say I’m VERY excited to be included in this short list of editors! I’ve been a newsletter subscriber to Heather and Shelley’s work for some time and I truly admire the work they do.
I’ve been married for seven years to a modern Renaissance man. We met on Myspace. We have two adorable kids and a chipmunk-obsessed dog. We love to head to the beach in the summer, and catch up on movies in the winter. I love to read historical fiction and modern fiction, but don’t get as much time as I’d like to do it.
I have a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and literature. I got my master’s in book publishing in 2005, from Emerson College, and have been either in the information or publishing industries (in marketing) ever since. I have 20+ years of marketing communications, business writing and proofreading, and marketing strategy experience, and I use that in my “real” 9-5 job.
My side business, PublishSavvy, was started in 2011, in response to hearing about authors being taken advantage of via so-called publishing houses like PublishAmerica and Author House. My mission is to provide ethical, educational, and affordable services to independent authors – editing, proofreading, ebook and print formatting, and online distribution. I also do some consulting and speaking on self-publishing.
Wow, Shannon! That’s quite an impressive resume. Our following varies widely in the genre of books that they write, so I think an important question to ask would be, what types of books do you usually edit?
I envisioned when starting my business that I would be working mostly on novels, but a lot of what I ended up doing is nonfiction: creative nonfiction like blog-to-book, Christian nonfiction of various kinds, and memoir. I also do a lot of children’s picture books.
I work on a limited amount of fiction because I only have a deep knowledge of specific genres (again, I like historically-based fiction, literary and modern fiction, and crime/detective/mysteries).
I have absolutely no knowledge of poetry, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, erotica, Westerns, or screenplays. However, I can always put inquiring authors in touch with people who do work on those genres.
That’s great! Can you tell us about your editing process? Is there a certain method you go through for each book you edit?
I always offer to provide a free five-page edit for any potential clients, so they can see my style of editing. I tend to go heavier on the red pen than many editors, so I like authors to know that up front. I always tell them they’re going to get homework from me!
When I have a new project, I read it through once, and try to keep the red pen comments to a minimum. If I can’t make it through a few pages without some kind of comment in every paragraph, I know it needs a heavier edit, or even a developmental edit. If I make just about zero notes the first time through, I know the story/topic has grabbed me, and the manuscript may need little to no work.
My line editing prices include two run-throughs of the entire book. Developmental edits include one slower run-through. Proofreading gets at least one complete review; sometimes more than two, depending on the topic and length of the book.
Children’s books sometimes require editing all the way through the entire production process. It’s more complicated (and can get expensive!) when you have an illustrator working with you to develop each page.
Is there anything that you find to be a common habit or editing error among authors that you’ve worked with? Something we might not know we always do wrong?
I don’t know what modern life has against commas, but I seem to add more and more commas with every manuscript I get. My advice is to read your manuscript out loud, and wherever you’re pausing, add a comma. And not a lot of authors use other punctuation properly, either. Learning when to use a dash, or ellipses, or even end a paragraph of dialogue correctly takes time and experience.
I also see a lot of phonetically spelled words/phrases – like “would of” instead of would have
I admit, I LOVE commas. It could probably be considered a comma obsession. All of my previous editors took at least half of them out, but I digress… Can you tell us a little bit about the services you provide to authors?
I provide self-publishing consulting advice (usually via phone, in 15-minute increments) to new or never-published authors who have questions about what they need to do once they’ve finally finished that book. Rates vary; it depends on how busy I am that week or month.
I provide proofreading, line or copyediting, and developmental editing. I can format ebooks as well as print books. I also provide ISBNs, copyright help, Library of Congress numbers, and post books to various online distribution points.
However, I recently discontinued offering marketing assistance to authors, as it is simply too time-consuming, and there are several other companies who do a better job of that (because it’s their primary focus).
That’s a good point. So since your main focus is publishing and editing, what advice would you give to someone who was looking for an editor for their book What should they watch for, ask, know beforehand, etc.?
Ask if they are a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association. Ask how long they’ve been doing this professionally (i.e., getting paid for it). Always get a sample of their style of editing, a list of titles they’ve worked on, and request customer testimonials or references. Check them out on social media to see how long they’ve been around the publishing industry and who else they know/are connected with. Talk to them either in person or on the phone and ask all the questions you have!
If you’re writing fiction, try to find an editor that knows something of your genre. It’s important that certain elements always are part of genre fiction, like certain dialogue essentials, accepted fundamental plotting points, the tone of the writing, and even character types.
Thanks for joining us, Shannon, those are all great tips. Before we sign off, I wanted to mention that we do have a comment form below that authors can use to contact you with questions, but can you share some other places where they can find you online?
Publishsavvy.com is the main website.
On Twitter: @publishsavvy (I love to get tweets!)
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PublishSavvy
On Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/publishsavvy/
Are you looking for an editor?
You can find my post about what to look for when hiring an editor here, and you can contact Shannon using the form below: