Sandra Peoples | Next Step Editing
ebooks: Speechless: Finding God’s Grace in My Son’s Autism, Beyond the Basics: 30 Days to Better Writing, Love Your Neighbor: A 14-Day Guide plus Held: Learning to Live in God’s Grip (a Bible Study for Special Needs Parents), coming this fall
Case Study:As a professional who has seen a variety of ebooks, what do you think sets the great books apart from the okay ones?
The #1 quality of just ok ones? A rushed job. Clients want to rush to publish a book and don’t realize the time it takes to make it great. My husband and I wrote our upcoming book together. As we worked he said, “I don’t want to waste time.” But there is no wasting time in book writing. It’s a process. Often a long process. Giving it the time it deserves isn’t a waste—it’s what will set it apart from the others. Take time to write. Give your editor time to edit. Take your time making the changes he/she suggests. Take time to send it back to your editor for another read through if possible. Then take your time to make it great. I’ve purchased ebooks before and haven’t made it past the first chapter because it was filled with mistakes. I’ve even returned ebooks and gotten my money back from Amazon if it’s too bad. Your audience trusts you as the author to honor the money and time they are investing in your book. Take that seriously and make it worth their investment in you.
I offer two types of editing, one that focuses on copy editing (fixing mistakes) and one that also makes suggestions for developing ideas and communicating clearly. I believe everyone can benefit from having a professional editor work on their books. My goal is not just to make my clients’ writing better, but to make them better writers.
I hired my first editor four years ago to help me with a book proposal. Since then, she has edited two self-published ebooks for me and one I give away on my website. Every time we’ve worked together I’ve learned something new. She’s so familiar with my writing, she can correct mistakes without taking away my voice or point of view. I’m thankful we just happened to sit at the same table at a conference almost five years ago and she handed me her card.
Ebook writers also need guidance when it comes to following copyright law, since they are making money from selling their books. I’ve had to advise many clients to take song lyrics out of their self-published books. There is just too much red tape involved and the possibility of being sued for even two lines of a song is too great. If they quote other sources, they need help formatting the citations correctly.
Even when my clients are strong writers, they need help with the extra stuff that goes into book writing. Many don’t know the rules and standards of the process, and that’s where I can help the most.
It takes me about a week to complete edits and takes the client at least a few days to make the changes I suggest. Many clients want a second read-through at this point and that takes an additional week.
Bottom line: book your editor early enough to get the one you want and not feel rushed. Three to four months before you plan to release is ideal