Categories of Editing

Categories of Editing
Categories of Editing

The last post in my series on how to self-publish was called Self-Publishing Costs. The biggest upfront cost often is editing.

In my next two posts in the series, I’ll look at the editing of a fiction manuscript in more detail. This post focuses on the categories of editing.

When I blogged about upfront costs, I noted that there are categories of editing that roughly break between developmental editing and copy editing. The Professional Editorial Standards of the Editors’ Association of Canada use the categories of structural editing and stylistic editing, which together can be seen as developmental editing, and the categories of copy editing and proofreading. Here is a summary of those four categories.

Structural Editing: This type of editing involves assessing the manuscript to improve its organization and content.

In considering organization, the editor reviews if the manuscript has a coherent structure and progression of ideas. She may suggest repositioning chapters, or revising, cutting or expanding entire sections.

For content, the editor considers deletions of repetitive material as well as additions to fill gaps or improve transitions. She also considers if dialogue or description is overused and if any portions of the manuscript require permissions or contain questionable accuracy or inadequate research.

Stylistic Editing: This process looks at the clarity, flow and smoothness of a manuscript’s language. Another term is “line editing”.

In assessing clarity, the editor looks at sentence construction and word choice. She may rewrite sentences or whole paragraphs.

Reviewing flow involves considering the transitions between sentences and between paragraphs, and possibly reordering them or adjusting their length.

For smoothness of language, the editor considers whether the language and reading level are appropriate for the intended audience, and whether they are maintained. She also looks for consistent tone and style, and for wordiness.

Copy Editing: This is editing for correctness, consistency, accuracy and completeness. The editor ensures that the rules of grammar are followed, and that spelling and punctuation errors are corrected.

Proofreading: For a fiction manuscript, this is a last check for errors.

In my next blog in the series on how to self-publish, I’ll consider the critical decisions whether to hire an editor and who to hire. I’ll also review how to get the best result from the editing process.

Copyright ©2014 Peter Fritze

Professional Book Reviews for a Fee

How much shall I pay?
How much shall I pay?

In my blog post Is a Kirkus Review Worth It?, I discussed the review I purchased from Kirkus Indie for The Case for Killing. I decided to buy an objective review from a reputable organization because of the difficulty indie authors have in getting professional reviews.

Since I’m starting to think about promotion for my second book, False Guilt, I decided to create a list of organizations that provide professional reviews of self-published books for a fee.

My list is below. Please comment back if you know others. I only provide a brief overview of services; you should go to the relevant website for details.

None of the organizations below guarantees a positive review of a self-published book. When selecting an organization, remember it’s not only about price and turnaround time, but also reputation, where the review is distributed and any additional services provided.

Kirkus Indie: Kirkus charges $425 for a 250-350 word review of a self-published book in 7-9 weeks. For $575, it’s provided in 4-6 weeks. If you like the review, it’s posted to and licensees, and you can use excerpts in marketing. If you don’t like it, it never sees the light of day.

ForeWord/Clarion: You can submit a copy of your book up to two months before publication to ForeWord and they’ll consider it for a free review in their quarterly magazine. If you don’t make the cut or have already published your book, Clarion will provide a 400-500 word review in 4-6 weeks for $499 and a 1-5 star rating. You decide if the review goes on their website and is licensed to book wholesalers.

BlueInk Review: Their Standard Review is $395 (7-9 weeks review time) and their Fast Track Review is $495 (4-5 weeks review time). Reviews are 250-350 words, and run on their site as well as being distributed to partners. You have 10 days to opt out of running your review on their site.

Self-Publishing Review: This team offers a 500 word review in 4 weeks for $109 that is permanently available on their website in their Book Reviews section and posted on social media. They also offer a 200 word review for $59 completed in two weeks and available on their New Releases page and social media.

IndieReader: The folks at IndieReader charge $100 for a 300 word+ review of a self-published book in 8-10 weeks. For an additional $50, they review in 5-6 weeks. Reviews are accompanied by ratings of zero to five stars, and are posted to their site. Books receiving a 4-5 IR review are automatically made available to third party outlets.

San Francisco Book Review: This organization has a Sponsored Review Program that guarantees an objective review for $125 (8-10 weeks) or $299 (3-5 weeks). The review is 300+ words and can be used by the author for marketing. The author chooses whether to accept or reject the review, and if accepted, it appears in one issue of the San Francisco Book Review digital magazine and is posted on

Portland Book Review: They also have a Sponsored Review Program. Their rate for a review is $89 (6-10 weeks review time) or $175 (3-4 weeks review time).

Penn Book Review: Their basic service is $199, which provides a 300-400 word review and distribution on various websites. They also have more expensive services that provide broader blog exposure, advertising and various other promotional services.

I’ll also mention that there are other organizations that provide complimentary reviews. Typically, reviews are not guaranteed and depending what you order, may have other fees. See for example:

  • booklife, which offers many other fee-based writer services;
  • Midwest Book Review, with a $50 “reader fee” for certain submissions including eBooks; and
  • Readers Views, which sells publicity packages with complimentary reviews.

Lastly, there are many other reviewers who may comment on a book in exchange for a free copy and various lists are available online.

Copyright © Peter Fritze 2014

Traditional vs. Self-Publishing: Considerations Beyond Money

Which path to choose?
Which path to choose?

This post is part of my series on whether a first time writer, someone with a completed manuscript, should consider traditional/legacy publishing or self-publishing.

In previous posts, I blogged that self-publishing is well-accepted, and that, given the difficulty of earning a living wage from writing, it’s important to enjoy each milestone in creating a manuscript.

In addition, I discussed a recent report that suggests it’s easier to earn a living wage from self-publishing than traditional publishing. It’s important to remember, though, that few fiction writers earn even the low threshold of a living wage. For another recent and sobering study on author earnings, see “What are Words Worth Now?” from the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society in the United Kingdom.

However, the decision whether to pursue traditional or self-publishing is not only about dollars and cents. There are many other legitimate considerations to throw into the mix. My aim in the next posts in this series is to flesh them out.

What I’m going to review are considerations like:

  • Will working with an agent and a traditional publisher produce a better work of fiction?
  • Does the traditionally published author enjoy more prestige than the self-published author?
  • Is the lifestyle of a traditionally published author or a self-published author better?
  • Which terms of a traditional publishing contract (like advances) give an advantage over self-publishing?
  • Which contract terms are burdensome?
  • How important is speed to market for a book?
  • Which path is better for distribution in international markets and for sales of film and other rights?

If there are other considerations you’d liked noted or discussed, please leave a comment!

Self-Publishing Costs

This is another post in my series on how to self-publish. Today, I’m discussing the costs of self-publishing before you get to promoting your book.

You can look at self-publishing as a business with upfront capital costs or as a pricey hobby. Either way, get ready to shell out money before posting your book with an e-tailer.

Blog14 001What you’ll likely pay for is editing and cover design. You might also pay for formatting and file conversion, and an ISBN.

To stand up to the competition, indie authors need to be as professional as possible. Few have the abilities to escape an editor.

I’ll post more on this later, but there are categories of editing. The number and names of the categories vary, but, roughly, they break down between developmental editing and copy editing. A developmental editor critiques your manuscript for plot, pacing and characters. A copy editor comments on consistency and language, including grammar and typos.

Editing can cost from $1,000 to $5,000 and beyond. It will depend on the quality of your manuscript, whether you have separate editors for developmental and copy editing, and how well-known and experienced your editors are. Make sure your manuscript is as polished as possible before submitting it. Consider an editor who combines developmental and copy editing. Get an estimate from an editor ahead of time and keep tabs on hours spent. The old adage, “you get what you pay for”, applies.

Cover design is another area where indie authors need to meet, or better beat, the competition. While some indies dabble in this, most don’t. You can find premade and basic covers for under $100. For custom design work, budget a minimum of $300.

Many authors write in Word. However, a Word document must be converted into another file type before posting on a digital book site. Most sites convert for free if the Word document is formatted to specification. Some of us prefer to worry about other things or incorporate interior design work, and outsource this. For this, budget $250.

Finally, an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is often required. We Canadians are lucky, because these are supplied free by registering with Library and Archives Canada. Residents of other countries often have to pay.

Assuming $1,500 for editing, $400 for cover design and $100 for miscellaneous costs like printing, $2,000 to self-publish a single manuscript is reasonable. It’s easy to spend more, and I highlight this is before promotional costs. To minimize pain, know what you’re getting into and keep a budget.

As they say, money isn’t everything as long as you have enough, so it’s worth paying attention to the costs of self-publishing.

Copyright ©2014 Peter Fritze