I wrote a book review recently that was less of a review and more of an appeal to people who love books to please abide by professional book-publishing standards before publishing books. It happens so often these days: everyone has a book in them, as the saying goes, and it’s easier than ever to go ahead and publish your work without a nigh-unattainable Book Contract from a Big Six Publisher. In a lot of ways, that’s great. There are so many great books out there that can’t get published using old-school tactics because, for one reason or another, they don’t fit the profile of what a publisher is looking for. All too often, what said publisher is looking for is saleability over content–quantity over quality. So in many cases I welcome self-publishing and fly-by-night online publishers that operate on shoestring budgets but get books out into the world.
But I do not welcome the idea that one of the middle-men to be cut out of the process of publishing is… the process of publishing. The book I “reviewed” a few weeks ago wasn’t a book: it was a bunch of ideas that could have been worked with to produce at least one good book–perhaps three or four whole books. But it had not been edited for content or style. It had not been looked over by someone with an eye for focus and clarity. And even if it had been in shape to get beyond the larger editorial process, it had clearly not been copyedited nor proofread. It was riddled with incorrect word usage, dangling modifiers, pronoun confusion, misplaced and misused punctuation, redundancy… the works. It made me sad to see this. The ideas in the book were worth exploring and mining, crafting and polishing. This could have been a book I’d gladly recommend to others. But instead it was a brick of incomprehensible text. And it had already been published by a publishing company that clearly didn’t care enough about its products to do so much as a cursory glance at a typeset page.
This is where the publishing industry shines, folks. While you might find a few typos in a book you buy at the store, and maybe a few more glitches and formatting errors in eBooks, what you see is a largely error-free result of several or even dozens of human beings working together to make the author’s ideas as presentable as possible. What you get is a finished product, not the beginning of a lengthy book-making journey presented as something it’s not.
And then it occurred to me that I need cash. And that I have taken numerous courses in copyediting and proofreading, have worked as a writing tutor, have been an editor for several types of publications, and I now work in the managing editorial department of a major publisher. Instead of writing nasty reviews… I could help! I could do this!
So this is my official call to those of you out there who want to turn your ideas into published work: let me help you. I know industry standards and have all the reference books on hand. I have the know-how and even the insider savvy to help you turn your rough draft into an agent-ready or submission-ready or self-publishable work. I won’t pull punches. I will work hard. I will charge near industry-standard rates, because I am a busy woman and if I want to take on a project it needs to be worth my very-little-available-time. But I will be happy to help. The people who read this blog are the kinds of people who I wish would speak up more. Let me help you do that, in print!
I can’t get you a book deal, but I can help you make your book look like it’s already got one! Or your essay or story or whatever! Send me inquiries! misslagsalot @ gmail . com
Let the games begin!