Friday, March 4, 2016

#12: When Editing Costs YOU Money!

Forgive me for being out of touch! Blogger is glitching like crazy for me. I've been reluctant to post this one cuz it's full of spacing and image problems that I still haven't figured out how to fix. But I don't want to get too far behind in the process, so onward, good authors!! 

Luckily #12 in the Book Deal Boot Camp isn't (quite) as rough!
It has to do with what the inside of your book looks like. Because there's one other editor involved in getting your book on the shelves: the production editor. They work with the copy editor and the printer, laying out your 12 pt Times New Roman manuscript into book pages. They choose the font, arrange the spacing, numbering - and everything else you expect to see on the pages of a published book. 

In the biz, this part of the process is called 'flowing the book.' It's a time-consuming job that starts many months before your book is released. There's one hitch - if you don't get your major edits done before this stage ...

Your publisher can charge you money to get the book done!

I didn't have much to do with my production editor on my first book - and if you're a novelist, neither will you - because most novels are straight-ahead prose. But if you're a non-fiction writer whose book contains lots of charts, graphs or other images, you may be in closer contact with your production editor just to make sure everything looks right.

I did have to work more closely with the P.E. on my second book. 

That's because there were extra visual elements - like newspaper articles, party invitations, a sign or two. (The book was about the Hamptons and we really wanted to reflect what life was like there, cuz it's a lot more than hanging around the pool!) I had no idea how much extra work these elements would be for the production editor, but she was a doll through the entire process. In the end, St. Martin's press did a lovely job and those visual elements looked gorgeous.

But here's how this part of the process can cost you money ...

Bill, Payments, Money, Business

By the time you move into the copyediting phase, the book will already have been flowed. Copyediting usually means a little fix here and there, so that doesn't affect the spacing of the text in a big way. But if you're making big creative changes - adding or removing whole chapters or scenes - that might mean the book has to be 're-flowed.'

It's an expensive process that publishers don't enjoy paying for - the business has tight enough margins as it is. So it's within the publisher's right to charge you the cost of re-flowing the book. On my second book, there was even a "Dear Author" form letter attached to the manuscript that indicated any changes that affected the 'flow' of the book would be charged to me.

Getting a book deal doesn't mean you have free reign!

Unless you want to pay out of pocket, don't think you have until the last minute to make sweeping changes to the story. Make sure you get all your major, creative revisions done when you're still working on the book in manuscript form with your editor. Your royalty rate is only around 10% in the first place ...

You don't want to actually have to pay for editing too!

Still more to go in the Book Deal Boot Camp! I'm determined to help make your first deal a success! Thanks for following along!!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that would totally suck to have to pay for last-minute changes when, as you state, author royalties are already so low.
    Thanks for another informative post.