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Melodee’s Rules for Authors — Number Two

Number Two

Never Pay To Have Your Book Edited


See also Rules One, Three, and Four as they are closely related to this Rule.

As outlined in Rule Number One, editing is a part of the cost of doing business, but that cost belongs to the publisher, NOT the author. The biggest reason is Rule Number 1 itself, that money flows TO the author, but there are other more subtle reasons.

The biggest of these has to do with the attitude and approach to the editing task.

A contracted editor working for (and being paid by) the writer makes their money by getting writers to come to them to edit their work. A huge percentage of that income is from repeat business where a writer keeps coming back to have books edited. There is also the word-of-mouth advertising where a writer tells their friends how great John Doe edits their books. This all means that the editor has a vested interest in getting the writers to like them.

As a group, writers have pretty big and fragile egos. We sweat blood, laugh, cry, pull our hair out in clumps, fall in love with our characters, learn to hate some other characters, and in general see our stories as our children. Just like a momma bear, we will defend our stories to the death. If someone attacks our story, we will come to hate that person. In business, we will look for someone who treats us—and our stories—better and likes them just the way we write them.

See the problem here?

The contracted editor will tend to tell us what we want to hear. This may or may not be intentional, but the tendency is to say what the writer wants to hear so we like the editor and will come back to them and tell our friends how great they are.

In other words, for a contracted editor, they have no interest in if the book sells or not. Their income is based on how much the writer likes them. The contracted editor must have the writers like them in order to make a living.

Now let’s look at an editor that works for the publisher…

The publisher’s editors are paid by the publisher. They might be paid on salary (or hourly), or they might be paid per book that they edit. Some publishers even pay a royalty to their editors. It varies, but the bottom line is that the publisher—not the writer—pays the editor.

This boils down to the fact that the editor (and publisher) doesn’t care if the writer likes the editor or not. The editor’s job is to massage the story into something that will sell. If they fail to do so, they won’t work for the publisher for very long.

Both of these editors are motivated by money, but the source of the money is the difference…

Contracted editors only make money if the writers like them.

Publisher’s editors only make money if the story sells.

See the difference?

I have seen various authors (and we’re talking about self published authors here) post messages here and there about how wonderful some editor or another is. They rave about what a great job the editor did on their latest book and how it only cost $800 to have their story edited. When I have read some of the books, they are riddled with simple mechanical errors and have issues with flow and logic.

On the other hand, I have seen writers wailing about some editor at a publisher who absolutely shredded their book. The manuscript came back with more red ink than black. I hear how the author cried for a week over how harsh the editor was. And at the end of the message, the writer will say how much better the story was when all was said and done.

In the interest of being totally fair, I have seen a few cases where this was reversed, that is, a contracted editor doing a great job and a publisher’s editor being horrid. It happens on both sides.

Again, with self-publication the writer and publisher are the same person. But this is another reason to keep the two roles isolated in your mind…you The Publisher must be able to attack you The Author and make it stick. Not an easy thing to do!


Keep Loving!

THWT Question for 06 NOV 2018

Here is the US Election Day Two Hundred Word Tuesday question:


Do you write full or part time and what are your plans for your future writing career?


And remember to GET OUT AND VOTE!

Keep Loving!

Melodee’s Rules for Authors — Number One

Since we are starting over on a new website and blog, I decided to reset my Rules for Authors back to the beginning so as to keep things straight.

Please feel free to comment…I may or may not answer, but I do read every comment. I more or less have to since most are held for moderation to keep the spam level down to something manageable.

So, here we go!


Number One

Money Flows TO The Author


While most of the Rules for Authors are not in any particular order, this is number one for a reason: It is THE most important Rule and actually summarizes many of the other Rules into one easy to understand concept.

So, what does it mean?

Simply stated, the author should always be paid for their work and should never pay in order to create their work. See Rules Two, Three, and Four in particular.

As stated in Rule Number Four, if an author pays a “publisher” for editing, cover art, or anything else, you don’t have a publisher at all…you have a printer.

Think about it…

If you need some business cards, you go to a printer. They will, if you desire, create the artwork, layout, and other technical details for you, and then they will print, cut, and package your cards and ship them to you. You pay the printer for these services, and the printer deserves to be paid for these services. The only place they make any money is by providing those services to you.

A publisher makes their money by selling books. Editing (from acquisitions, to line, to content, and every other stage) is simply getting that product ready for market. The cover art is just marketing. These things are a normal part of the costs of doing business—just like the electric bill—for the publisher.

In other words, these costs are NOT the direct responsibility of the author.

Yes, I know…

The higher the costs of the publisher, the less they can afford to pay the author in terms of royalties, but this is another problem most writers have in their thought processes…an editor (or artist) working for a publisher can process more books for less money than can an independent contractor.

They also do a better job.

If you hire an editor to work on your book, they have a vested interest in saying everything is perfect. Why? Because you are paying them. The more you like them and the more they stroke your ego, the more likely you are to bring them more work in the future.

The publisher’s editors get paid no matter if you like them or not. They keep their job by editing books into something that will sell for the publisher, so they don’t care about your feelings.

And never lose sight of the fact that this is a business. We are all—authors, publishers, editors, artists, etc.—here to make money.

Oh, don’t give me that crap that you write for the joy of writing or that you want to change the world.

You’re going to starve to death with that attitude. Get over it.

Finally, changes in the industry have created a flood of “self published” works. In these cases, the author and the publisher may be the same person. That doesn’t change anything…when you are writing, you wear your author’s hat. When you are publishing, you put on the publisher’s hat. There are a ton of reasons to keep the roles separate, mostly financial…but a few will protect your sanity.

Remember that writing is a lot like sex…

At first you do it for a few close friends.

Then you do it because it’s fun.

But if you’re any good at all, you end up doing it for money.

Keep Loving!

THWT Question for 30 OCT 2018

Here is the Two Hundred Word Tuesday question for this week, and the first question on the new blog/website:

How soon after finishing one book/story do you start seriously working on the next?

Remember to try to answer in less than 200 words!

A New Website

Welcome to my new and (hopefully!) improved website!

The old site was a bit dated and had a few other issues, so as we were ditching Yahoo! (more on this a little later) as our hosting service it seemed like a good time to give the site a face lift.

The menu at the top of each page will let you easily navigate around the site. Simply use the pull-downs to get around.

Some old links in Twitter posts and emails may now be broken, but the full URL of http://www.melodeeaaron.com will always get you to the site. You can use the menus or even do a search of the site from there.

Not everything is done as of this writing…there are more Free Reads to be added (though there are 3 full novels there now) as well as a few other little things. It will also likely be next week before I get back to posting the THWT questions (on Tuesdays) and my Rules for Authors (on Fridays), so please be patient.

Also please note that even if you had an account on my old site, you will need to create a new account in order to post comments to my blog. Once you have created an account, you will be able to post comments, however, your first comment will be held for moderation. Once approved, you will be able to enter comments that will go live immediately.

To create your account, select USERS and then REGISTER from the menu. Other tabs under USERS can be used to manage your account.

Now, I promised you a little more about the split with Yahoo!

In a nutshell, Yahoo! is no longer a very good value. They charge more than twice as much for web hosting than most other providers, their software is typically 3-4 versions out of date (and so a HUGE security risk), and their customer service is all but non-existent. After careful review (we had been with Yahoo! for more than a decade) the decision was made to pull all of the nearly 5,000 web sites we had on Yahoo! hosts and move to a different provider. We will also be pulling almost 10,000 paid email accounts from Yahoo! as well. You might want to sell that stock now.

Sadly, this is a purely business decision based on costs, risks, and other such mundane factors. No matter what, it’s hard to just walk away from a relationship spanning that many years.

And in case you’re wondering, we are now using three different hosts for the varied websites. This particular site is being hosted by siteground.com and we are, so far, very pleased with the service and support.

So, there you have it!

Please check back often as the site is finalized. You may need to refresh your browser (CTRL+F5 on most systems) to get the latest version.

Keep Loving!