Marry your Editor

In a previous post, Quick! Find an Editor! Go!, we had a lively conversation regarding writer resources. From this conversation, I gleaned these four tidbits:

1.Writer’s Digest.com. This link was provided by Serena(e) Artiste, and it has a lot of seminars and there is some free content which is probably meant to entice you to purchase the seminars. I didn’t locate a listing of editors, but I did sign up and will now get lots of adverts for seminars. And some free content!

2. http://pred-ed.com/. Preditors & Editors

Preditors and Editors, this was suggested by Ms. Brandy at Blood Toy and Russell J. Fellows.  This site is one I want to discuss in more detail, because it is the precursor to what I envision. You see, P&E was constructed back in the dark early days of the internet. As they say in the About page on that site,

Preditors & Editors was founded in July 1997 by Dave Kuzminski as a resource and a simple compendium for the serious writer, composer, game designer, or artist to consult for information, regardless of genre.

Web design has come a long way, baby. (Now women can smoke cigarettes and die of cancer, too! Thanks, Virginia Slims.) That is, if you look at the web site, you’re going to see coding that looks…  Let’s just say it’s not been redesigned for some time.  Nevertheless, the intent is good-hearted and there are extensive links.  Which one do you click first? I went with AAAAA BOB’S PLUMBING.  Alas, the link was dead.

The organization of the site is alphabetical. There is no categorization or any search widgets or any optimization. Back in the wild wild west days of the web, they frowned on pictures. Pictures slowed down website loading and the people with 2400 baud modems hated you. Times, they are a-changing.

This website, sort of like most churches I’ve seen, exists in a time-warp that takes us back to the days of 1997: The Backstreet Boys are singing “Quit Playing Games (with my heart)” and Elton John is making another gazillion dollars off Candle in the Wind.  Remember Jewel? Foolish Games. (The churches are usually still back in the 1950s. “We love hymns,” they say.) Time travel exists!

I digress. One of the things the site does well is warn against publishing scams. Thus, the predator part. Or Preditor. See what they did there?

They have umpteen zillions links, if you want to click through them.

The website does NOT seem optimized to reflect the giant sea change in Indy and e-publishing.  We’re more savvy out here, and we’re used to being able to sort our content of databases by more than alphabetical. I want a specific kind of editing, with a certain price range, and someone in my own currency. Quick, find it! Not with that website. This feels a lot like craigslist.

3. UK Artist’s Yearbook. Ah, the Artist’s Yearbook, now in it’s 114 edition. Or so. That’s a lot of £11 going in someone’s pocket. Or several someones. I haven’t seen it, though Vanessa-Jane Chapman told me about it. In a southern English accent. She says it’s splendid and lovely.  There’s articles and lists of resources and such.

4. Which lead me to the Writer’s market. (USA). Right. So the Writer’s Market, that’s the US equivalent of the Brit one above, and thus the idea that no good idea goes unpunished is supported.

Back to the website with editors information. Amidst the examination of such an object, Dave S. Koster pipes up (in that Alaskan drawl he has… do Alaskans drawl? I’m sure he will turn out to be from Iowa) and says, “The real question though is how do you find an editor you can work with and who won’t send you back something that really doesn’t help?”  That sent me to idea #2, which is to use dating software to match up authors with editors. Why not? Choosing a spouse and choosing an editor are similar ideas. While there’s some things about an editor that I might not look for in a wife, by changing the human factors that make up good matches, you can ask a flurry of questions and find ideal matches for professionals in the the Indy world.

The bare bones of such a website would be the information Preditors has on it. A greatly expanded database with coding to determine important things like price, and personality, nationality, schooling, experience, and a resume, all of them searchable by the end user would produce something that would create at least an ebay experience, if not an eharmony.com experience.  The first one, ebay of editors, is quite do-able. The second, that one would take some money and a team of programmers some time, and the payout isn’t there.

But the idea of a dating website could also be applied to authors. I know there’s a few sites that do this already, sort of, like goodreads and smashwords.  But how about a matchmaking site where we help you marry a book? You’re a reader, come in, tell us what you like, what you dislike, rate these books, and let’s match you up with some choice authors. The authors present us with their curriculum vitae, and the pedigree of their book. Who were the editors? Traditional or Indy? Can we buy it in paperback?

There’s something like 3 million books on amazon. That’s 3 BILLION words. I can’t read that many. You can’t read that many. But out there in the slushpile, there’s some gems and we don’t know it yet.

There’s the name for the website: SlushpileBooks.com.

How to Get Honest Reviews

In Amazon, you can click on the reviewers and that gives you an email (sometimes). Find reviewers you like from reviews on similar novels to yours and email them a request to review your book, and comp them a copy of the book for an honest review. Be very professional when you do so you do not taint your reviewer in any way. Or have someone else do it on your behalf.

I’m not sure how to comp them a book, though you can send books to someone directly on their Kindle. They must know the name of their kindle device so you can email the manuscript to them, and they must add your sending email to the permitted senders list. Some people may be wary about accepting direct books, but it works. Do not send PDFs. Those do not scale. Send a Word document.

Perhaps those that have done this process know a better way to comp books. If so, I’d love to hear it.

This is in response to Brandy’s comment about gaining honest reviews.

Also, M.J. Moores writes a tremendous piece on the other side of this, here:

Reviews for your Book.

I also read an interesting piece on whether authors should pay for reviews.

See here:

Should Authors Pay for Book Reviews?

The longshot of that is no, you shouldn’t. There is an alternative, which is to solicit reviews. As the article says,

Going through the process of getting blurbs, testimonials and reviews is one of the best exercises in feet-on-the-ground book marketing any author can have. It will teach you a huge amount about how books actually get sold, and how your book is being received. That’s incredibly valuable learning for any author.

The hard part is figuring out how you go about the process, etc. It’s much easier said than done.