Port Yonder Press. The brainchild of this small-town Iowa gal (formerly of big-town Wisconsin). It’s a piddly press, granted. We use digital printing to order instead of offset short runs / expensive warehousing. We have no really really HUGE names on our authors’ list (though we do have some BIG names, to be sure). I can speak my mind. My board of directors is me, and no one can fire me but me myself and I. BUT.
…I often think about how much more I can make editing books for a price, rather than merely editing and publishing them with the hopes of becoming rich and famous one day when that unique specimen of a manuscript happens along and I’m able to tweak it to perfection, win a substantial literary award, get my name and the name of Port Yonder Press “out there” beyond the few on our Facebook page and those who Stumble Upon our website by chance. I think about those 50,000 books we would sell should that become a reality. I think that one day there will be an actual break in the industry big enough for a decently good small press to squeeze through.
And then I hear of editors I respect and don’t respect getting $2 or $3 a page to perform basic editorial tasks. Basic. I think of others getting $1500 or more for a 200-250 page manuscript. I think of all the editing I’ve had to redo because the highly-paid editors left so many gaffs behind. And I think, “All modesty aside, I can do this and a far-sight better.”
I think of my copyeditors and know I can’t do what they do, nor nearly as well. I miss typos sometimes, like calling a chicken coop a “coup” or leaving a dash out or adding one in when the Chicago Manual of Style says differently. Sometimes I get mixed up on verb tenses and the like. I need my copyeditors. Meticulous copyeditors are worth their weight in chocolate, and platinum, which brings more than gold these days.
This is a ramble. I get rambly and a little piqued when I think of all those money-grubbing editors who don’t always know what they’re doing. I get slightly annoyed when I know an author has paid buku bucks to have their work edited only to find I have to redo something in nearly every line because the editor really didn’t know their stuff. I get slit-eyed and a bit owly. I think how much money I could be making by editing instead of barely breaking even by publishing. I think of my writing career and how I’ve set aside so much these past few years. Then these lessons come to mind:
1) Recognition via an award justifies my own self-worth, and one day it’ll all matter; heck, it even matters now. I’ve probably done more in 3 years than most small presses have done in 10, though not nearly as much as a few.
2) I’m doing a lot of things right even though I’ve had to plow my way through the crowds with my stark and bold opinions and prophecies of where this industry is going, especially the Christian fiction industry. I’ve made a few enemies, but they’re the ones I really don’t care about anyway.
3) It’s easy to call oneself an editor; much much harder to actually earn one’s worth. And those who are more interested in getting the money than getting it right need to get out of business.
4) Many times copyeditors should be paid the big bucks, or at least as much as the line/content editors, especially if they use the Chicago Manual of Style and are on a first name basis with such.
5) Never, ever, pay too much for an editor.
I need to get back to editing,