editing

Publisher Q&A - April, 2017

By Laree Lindburg, owner of Emoon


In life, one thing we rarely lack are questions. What time is it? When is dinner? How long until we get there? When will my show come onto Netflix?

Book publishing tends to add to the mishmash. One inquiry, in particular, pops up more often than most: 

  • What is the difference between the various types of publishing?

Solid question. How do traditional publishing, self-publishing, indie publishing, and hybrid publishing differ? Which is best for you? Are some just like others only with varied names? My explanation may be slightly different than most given that the world of publishing has evolved more in the last decade+ than other industries. Definitions are constantly being redefined. Mediums are weekly being invented. 

All that said, here goes!

 

Traditional

The most common of the lot of publishing is traditional. These are your long-standing, old school publishing houses like the "Big Five:" Simon & Schuster, Macmillian, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Hachette Book Group. These dinosaurs are the Mt. Everest; many wish to summit. Some attempt. Fewer succeed. Traditional pubs offer contracts where the author's work is 'owned' by the house. Royalties go through the house and a hefty cut is taken before a quarterly/yearly check is sent to the author. Occasionally, though rarely anymore, authors are offered an advance against royalties. A typical traditional house will take 1-2 years to release a book. They market and promote their titles although reports from less famous authors tell me these publishing houses are putting most of their marketing dollars in their "A" list author baskets, leaving those with smaller, less Hollywood platforms to fend for themselves.

Due to the rampant changes in the publishing industry today, traditional publishers are beginning to offer alternative models, such as self-publishing . . .

 

Self-Publishing

Self-publishers traditionally require authors to purchase X number of copies in order to print their book. They care little or none for quality and content. They are not evil but serve their own purpose for larger quantity orders on titles that have already been proven or edited, or the occasional person who simply wants to see their book in print. The author pays for production.

 

Independent Publishing

Independent publishers work with indie authors (those who have decided to take the destiny of their book into their own hands) and help them from start to finish produce their book for the reading population. No quantity requirements. This can often be a cold interaction as many indie publishers do not work closely with authors but require them to do much online--independently. The author pays for production. This option is great for those who know their marketing strategy and already have a platform in place. Individuals who have a following, a going business or ministry and simply need a place to print paperbacks to sell at merch tables during speaking events can find this option financially beneficial.

 

Hybrid Publishing

Hybrid is a newer publishing model, which also has the most fluid definition. Hybrid publishing can be one of a very personal experience between author and publisher. Each are invested and want to see success for the title. Sometimes the publisher charges a fee per project (and retains no rights or royalties) and other times the publisher and author discuss options for payment such as a smaller fee with agreement to share royalties of book sales. This model of publishing is suited well for those who tend toward indie publishing, but who also would like a little more guidance. Indie publishing can be more involved and time consuming for the author, whereas a hybrid publisher shoulders the burden with the author.

 

Which model is Emoon?

Emoon's publishing model is hybrid and a bit independent. If you have had a chance to check out our website, you will notice we offer many services. Anyone can come and ask us for just one of those services, say, a cover design or an edit, and we will happily do so. No obligation to publish through us. We also work one-on-one with authors who desire to tackle the entire publishing package, i.e. cover, interior layout, editing, e-book pub, paperback publishing, distribution, and marketing. This does cost a fee (we do not offer a royalties sharing option), yet the author retains all of the rights and royalties to their work.

And Emoon sticks around to help them succeed. We are like a personal assistant to the indie author. Emoon markets books that we help along the publishing road by posting notices on our social media outlets and offering giveaways and marketing exchanges. We can also create a sales sheet to promote the author's work and will design custom banners for book signings. These amenities are included in full packages contracts, and can also be contracted a la carte.

All that said, Emoon does not accept just any author's manuscript like a self-publisher. The authors we work with us must prove their title of a high enough quality and meet other publishing requirements before we will agree to go into contract as their publishing partner. 

 

Conclusion

I hope this helped you navigate the murky waters of publishing a bit better. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to contact us through our website or at info@emoonpublishing.com.

Happy weekend to you!

The Nudge Part 2: Master Nudger

By Jeannie McPherson, EMoon Author


With dreams, come nightmares. Not that we necessarily want them, realistically they happen. When God nudges us toward and through our dreams, we celebrate and express thankfulness. After many decades, I realize God also nudges through nightmares. After all, I don’t do a very good job thanking God when life is difficult.      

Test-taking was not just figuratively a nightmare for my young self, I had nightmares about the real thing. Writing was my academic salvation and more than once my letter grade went from a B to an A or even a C to a B when essays were a major component of a course. My first college English class was a disaster and no number of nudges were going to help me learn grammar, in all its confusing glory. In other academic areas, professors liked my unique way of expressing thoughts, facts, opinions, or positions. But, I still struggled through test taking.

My first graduate class required writing an essay question on why I would be a good school principal.  In no fewer than 10 rewrites, I shared my story precisely, concisely, and convincingly, to the extent the professor wrote, “You need to write and publish.” Writing was again the easy part.  In my career, I was typically successful writing grants, memos, and emails. In my personal life, I wrote Christmas letters and short stories and dabbled with a few manuscripts, but the word publish was as scary as test taking and nightmares. The word written on a note card was just… a nudge a long time ago.  

I found my career path, and soon started a family. I had fulfilled all the dreams I had conjured up, except for one; becoming a published writer. Retirement brought new opportunities but nothing that pushed me to attempt to concur the publishing world. For fun, I took a week-long writing class with a published author at my alma mater, the University of Nebraska. The writing I submitted brought me more positive compliments and assignments, like “write every day at least 550 words.” We discussed how to get an editor’s attention, thoughts on self-publishing, and lots of “stick with it, you can do it.” All these were nudges, but apparently, these were not enough to fulfill the dream of holding a book with the author’s name, Rogene McPherson.

In April 2015, God connected me with Rebecca, also a writer and survivor of personal tragedy. The complexity of this meeting could have only been organized by God and His angels. This nudge was not subtle. God definitely sent me a message that day. Then only a year later, God was at work, again at Christian Writer’s Conference in Omaha, when I met Laree Lindburg and her sister Erin with Electric Moon Publishing. I was immediately impressed by what Emoon could offer me:

  • Wide basis of technology without my becoming a techie, a valuable asset in the writing world
  • Multitude of services provided by Christian sisters including an editor and illustrator
  • Consistent support even when the proverbial nightmares interfered
  • Honest and educationally sound support when needed

I better stop before I sound like a marketing expert trying to get a job. I really only want to write. All of the Emoon Team providing the support indicated above have been like a gentle nudge. God in my world has a new name, Master Nudger. 

Beta Readers Love Me; They Love Me Not: Round Two! (Part 5 of 6)

By Moira Murphy, Emoon Author


After you have decided on what to keep and what to ignore from your beta readers, the next step presents itself.

Do you use a second round of beta readers?

Well, I suppose that would depend upon how much changed from the first draft to the second draft. For example, if the corrections you made were minuscule, then I’d suggest that your editor could probably finish off the last few steps. However, if the changes from the first to the second draft were a bit more drastic, you may want to consider finding a second round of beta readers. As for myself, the changes from my original manuscript to my second was beyond drastic, therefore I required a round two.  I changed the characters, part of the plot, and even the storyline.

So, if you find yourself in my position of needing a second go around with the beta readers, the question becomes; do you use the same group or find ‘fresh meat’? I feel like you can find out quite a bit about the beta readers editing style from the first round. Using that information will help determine whether a change is required. I kept two of the original beta readers, because of their beneficial comments the first round, but I also hired a few new ones. It really is up to you to determine who offered up valuable feedback, and sadly who did not.  And again, I must repeat the importance of finding the right type of person to read your manuscript: fan of your genre, ability to be firm and kind, willing to be bribed. The right beta reader can be the one thing to perfect your novel.

I’ve just received the final comments from my round two, and while the critiques were much scarcer than the first novel, I am struggling to finish!

After working over a year and a half on this dang book, the last few weeks have been the most difficult to push through. But, now that I have a book launch date (*cough* May 6th *cough*), I kind of have to forge ahead.

So persist, I must. And you must, too.

Beta Readers Love Me; They Love Me Not: Opinions Are Like Butts... (Part 4 of 6)

By Moira Murphy, Emoon Author


My Dad had a saying growing up, "Opinions are like butts; everyone has one, but that doesn't mean I want to hear it." Wow, Dad, thanks for that philosophy to carry with me. Sadly, it has stuck around into my adult life. 

However (number one), it didn't leave me with the traumatizing fear of flatulence that you'd think it would leave me with. I actually use it when it comes to beta readers. Yes, every one of my beta readers is entitled to their thoughts—I mean—I did ask them for it. But that doesn't mean I have to change my work based upon every single personal feeling.

There is always the creative license that writers have, it is your book, and ultimately your freedom to choose what ends up in the final work. If you choose to publish indie, as I am, it is you that has to feel content with the printed novel, so if you don't see eye to eye with all of your beta readers—that's okay. They aren't the ones who will have to look back at their novel in twenty years and wonder "what if I had left the book the way I wanted, would it have sold more copies? Would it have gotten better reviews?" That's you that has to deal with those crushing thoughts.

So, please be sure you agree with all the changes that are happening to your book. 

However (number two), you did hire these people. And if you read my article about how important it is to choose beta readers wisely, they do know what they are taking about. The main thing I consider when reviewing beta readers’ comments and critiques is whether there was a common theme among them. Did they all say the same thing about the same part in the book? If so, then it is something you should STRONGLY consider altering. 

I'm on my second round of beta readers now (which we will talk about next week), and I already have two of the beta readers’ comments back, and between the two of them there was only one commonality. So, now I need to take it upon myself to decide whether that part of the book they mentioned is something I need to change.

It's a hard thing to decide whether a few readers or your creative license is the route to take. My advice—which I should take right now—is to wait to hear back from all the beta readers before making a decision.

*GULP* I'll try, if you try.

Beta Readers Love Me; They Love Me Not: Beta Readers or Therapists? (part 3 of 6)

by Moira Murphy, eMoon Author


So, now you’ve received your feedback from the beta readers. Visualize it. You are sitting in your favorite green reading chair, okay so that might be just me… anyway, you’re sitting in your favorite reading spot. You have compiled all of the comments and critiques into a handy dandy manila folder.

therapy blocks

Take a deep breath.

Hold it in.

Release.

Now before you open that folder, I must warn you: you can never be fully prepared for comments on your work. You may think you are, but I promise, you are not. It’s going to hurt, even if the majority of the comments are positive, just one of the negative comments can destroy you. As mentioned in the previous blog; to creative types, our art is our soul. It is at our core, the deepest parts of our psyche, a part of us.  More than that; it IS us. And when someone has the slightest of constructive criticisms, it’s salt in the wound we didn’t know we had.

Okay, open the folder.

In my folder, I received all sorts of feedback; not in depth enough, too knit picky, just not into the genre, loved it, hated it, didn’t even bother to read it at all, etc. I got one of each, and the most helpful beta reader came from the person I was hesitant to ask.

We will call her… Sarah. Sarah is a very nice, very kind, good friend of mine. She loves to read, especially fiction. My one concern with Sarah is that she wouldn’t be able to be mean if necessary. After all, she didn’t have the smallest of mean bones in her body. Surprisingly, Sarah gave me the best feedback out of the group. She stayed away from grammar and punctuation edits, and gave me helpful suggestions, rather than offering unhelpful “this doesn’t work” comments. She went in-depth enough, yet she was kind in her criticisms. She had sticky notes, high lighter and red pen marks; it was ominous… and great!

I think the most helpful part of the whole experience was the physical meeting I had with a few of the beta readers. Being able to have a conversation about the manuscript was productive. Doing so helped to bring questions to ask them to my mind. I was able to examine the queries I had been wondering myself, but was too afraid to confront.

Being that open with someone, in person, about a piece of myself was absolutely terrifying and yet, so liberating and beneficial.

Who needs a therapist when you have beta readers critiquing the physical copy of your life?

For the Love of Books: What Surprised Me Most about Trying to Write a Book (part 5 of 6)

by Becky Swanberg, writer, teacher and friend of eMoon

In July of 2011, I gave birth to my fourth child. At the time, my other kids were two, four, and six years old. As we hit the newborn rhythm and settled in to life with four, I found myself in a strange state of physical exhaustion and mental restlessness. Somehow, I was tired but bored.

That fall I heard murmurings of National Novel Writing Month, a community of writers that set a goal of writing 50,000 words in the month of November. The point of the writing was not the quality of the work but the quantity. Don’t edit. Don’t overthink it. Just write. I signed up with nothing but a vague novel premise and an excitement to stretch my writing muscles a bit.

November 1 came, and I wrote. Each night I found myself at the keyboard, steadily filling the hours of 9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. with a slowly lengthening novel. At 11:00 I’d shut the laptop, feed the baby her last feeding of the day, and then we’d all go to bed.

In the end I made it to 47,000 words. I didn’t have a novel; I didn’t even really have a story with a point. All I had was a series of random scenes, one of which contained the longest and most-detailed Trivial Pursuit game ever recorded in a work of fiction. Not much promise in all that writing. But I did have a main character that I was getting to know and completely adored. So I scrapped the current manuscript, started over, and tried to write her story again. November had ended but novel-writing had just started.

The next version was better, with a vague hint of a plot, so I cut half of it and kept going.

Write, edit, salvage, repeat. This became the rhythm of my writing life.

Two years later, I finished that manuscript, a YA novel of 90,000 words.

That first book was an unexpected journey; it asked so much of me and taught me so much in the forming of it. I learned hard lessons in plot, conflict, pacing, and ending a story. I labored over dialogue and descriptions, fighting the details to not sound forced or contrived. I interviewed people with similar experiences, wrestled with language and dialect, ruthlessly cut adjectives and adverbs that clouded the writing. I even came to tears as I realized that my book was not going to have the happy ending I had hoped. The story had gotten away from me, the main character that I loved so much had outgrown my original plan, and in her growth she seemed to need a different end. Something harder. Something hopeful.

All of these lessons were invaluable. I came away with a wealth of knowledge not only about the process of writing a book, but also about my process as a writer. I met my main character, Macy, but I also met myself in many ways. I learned how I process information, how I plan, how I write best when I’m feeling my way through a story. I learned how the atmosphere of silence, darkness and talking aloud made the words increase exponentially. I created Macy and her world, but I met parts of me in the middle of it.

Yes, it was harder and more time consuming and more exhilarating and more draining than I had ever imagined. But of all the things I learned, there’s one lesson that surprised me the most. I thought the completion of the project would leave me feeling triumphant; I didn’t expect it to make me feel so vulnerable.

There’s something about creating art, pouring yourself out, digging deep into yourself and calling something out that truly matters to you- this is a terrifying thing to pass along to someone and casually say, “Tell me what you think.” It was a confusing reality because I was so excited to share my work and yet so reluctant to actually offer it to others. I was unprepared for how much that story would matter to me in the end. It was an achievement, not for the quality but for the act of pushing through, of finding my stride, of a few small moments in the story that resonated so deeply with things that matter to me.

In time I came to realize that the vulnerability was coming from many places; it came from the depth of the words, the unsureness of the outcome, the effort given in the pouring out. I knew it wasn’t a masterpiece, but it was a sincere and hard-fought offering.

In the offering of something personal, there is a final stage to letting it go. There’s a moment where you actually have to pry your fingers off the work and set it down, knowing that other people are going to pick it up and treat it how they choose.  It was the moment of setting it down that ripped me raw. I expected to feel more like I was unveiling a painting; instead it felt like abandoning a child. But the setting it down, the walking away, the letting the story tell its own story—each hard part of the process was something I needed to experience.

As I reflect on that first attempt, there’s part of me that wants to “fix” that problem, master my own vulnerability, if you will. Surely I can write in such a way that doesn’t leave me feeling so exposed or produce a story that is so personal. But in the scope of creating and writing and building a story, I think that what we say should matter. It should resonate. It should feel like something significant is being offered in the telling. And all I know to write, all I have to really say, is an outpouring of things that deeply matter and move me.

Follow Becky's other amusing musings on her website at www.beckyswanberg.com. While you're at it, do us a solid and encourage her to publish those manuscripts!