Follow by Email

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Professional Editing Tips for Self-Publishers

I know you don't want to hear this but it needs to be said (again)...
You should have your book edited by more than one editor! I've said this in the past and upset some people who think because they gave Joe Editor $300.00 their book is now perfect. Here are some real facts...
*Publishing a book (correctly) is expensive and a large part of that expense is EDITING. Even more so for first time authors or if you have no formal training in writing properly. Your work is going to need much more extensive editing.
*Proper editing TAKES TIME. Coming with a deadline of 3 weeks or a short, strict timeline is foolish. It's not because the editor is lazy or not working on your work. This is a timely, tedious process when done properly.
*Learn the difference in editing and proofreading. Did you know that Random House's proofreaders catch an average of 200 errors and if they don't catch at least 150 errors when proofreading an average length manuscript, it is sent to another proofreader to be gone over again. This is AFTER being edited by 2 of their on staff editors.
*Do some research instead of waiting for your FB friend to tell you about it.
*One person can not successfully edit and proofread your book. You need an editing team (of at least 2 people but preferably more).
*You get what you pay for. If you pay $600.00 for typestting, book cover, editing and business cards or whatever else is thrown in there, that is going to be the quality of your work. Don't then complain about the outcome, that's what you paid for.
*If you pay Joe Editor to edit your book, then go to print, don't blame Joe Editor. It is your responsibility, as an author/self-publisher to go through the proper steps to put out a proper product. Now- if you've had at least 2 edits and a proofread and your book is still filled with errors - then you should sue the hell out of those 3 people but if you're not doing what you need to do as a professional by following all of the steps, then take the blame your self.
Obviously, as a service provider and not a client, I am on the editor's side today but I also follow these rules. Our editors don't work for us for free. As publishers, we have to pay them to edit our books we publish as well. It sucks to own an editing service and have to pay for editing, however, I know that to put out a professional book, I must pay 2 (or more) of our editors to get it right as well as proofread it myself when it is done... If I, as the owner of an editing service have to pay for edits, why wouldn't you? Or, you can keep blaming the editor for your un-professionalism in following through the proper steps to self-publish and continue putting our sub-par (Not measuring up to traditional standards of performance, value, or production) work.
THAT BEING SAID, our editors are the bomb :) I appreciate you all, Jason Rashon Scott, Jill Alicea, Shannon Fields, Aquila Butler, Jason and Windy Goodloe. Check us out and let us help you complete this project professionally.
Friend us on FB or follow us on Twitter
You can also visit our website at

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Scoop on Editing and Publishing with 21st Street 08/31 by Author Queen | Blog Talk Radio

The Scoop on Editing and Publishing with 21st Street 08/31 by Author Queen | Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Self Publishing & Professionalism… The two CAN co-exist!

Everyone is saying it. “The market is over saturated with NON-professional self-publishing authors and it gives us all a bad name.” 
Whether that is true or not is for debate but I’d like to share some things I think can help the novice author.
It is important to use social networking for promoting. Whether it elicits even one sale is not as important as the exposure and familiarity you can create regarding your name, brand, title, etc. These are all ways you are going to get that recognition. Of course you want to be yourself; no one wants to be fake or phony. However, there is a time and place for everything and your ‘Author John Doe’ page is not the place for intimidation, disrespect, political or religious views (unless this is what your books are about), etc.  I’m not saying you don’t want your character to shine through. I am saying be mindful that other professionals in your industry may also be viewing these posts. You might say, “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me…” and that may possibly be the way you feel which is fine. But when you are not respected in your industry amongst your peers, it will only hurt you.  All of my blogs are just my opinions unless I state something as a fact and in my opinion; this is just not a good look. I know I personally will not bother reading anyone’s work that has been offensive on social networking and I may be missing out on some great stories but I don’t feel like it is a loss because they are many other great stories out there by people with pleasant positive attitudes who I am honored to support.
Respect those before you. I’ve heard it say several times how this established author or that established author thinks they are all that or they are stuck up and so on and so forth. That may be your opinion and that may actually be the case as well. Here comes my ‘however’… However, you have got to respect their hustle and when you have been in the business and the industry for as long as they have, people may be saying that about you as well. Unfortunately, this is not an easy industry to be successful in and it may harden a few people at times but the hustle, grind and hard work they have put in still deserves respect. You ain’t gotta like ‘em, but you should respect them. (And when you’re in the game as long as they are, see if your attitude isn’t a little different.)
Be leery of who you associate yourself with in the industry.  Don’t make someone show you who they are directly. If they show your neighbor, take heed. Anyone can be anyone they want to be on the internet.  Just because I holler out this or that authors name all the time doesn’t mean that author likes or respects me so don’t be misled by these people who holler every name in the industry on their tweets and FB posts like they are best friends.  Actually ask that person whose name they are hollering about them. You might have a whole different outlook after that. I see it all the time where someone is name-dropping another person’s name just to lend themselves some credibility. Don’t fall for it. Do your research.
Now for my favorite part of the process. Editing, proofreading and typesetting are all soo important to put out a professional product. Of course, I suggest 21st Street Urban Editing & Publishing ( ) *shameless plug* however even if you don’t use us, you have to use someone so here are a few things you need to do when searching out your editor.
The first thing you will want to do is figure out exactly what you are looking for in an editor. Once you do that, you need to contact them and get specific prices and details of the service they are providing. You will also want to check references by not only contacting the references they provide, but also view the work as well. Also ask around, this industry is very small and even people who haven’t directly used the service, may know someone who has. Make sure there is some type of formal training. Just because you can spot a typo in a book, doesn’t make you an editor. It is an extremely difficult, most of the time thankless job that takes a special person to do successfully. Research is very important and should be something you are doing to all of your service providers throughout your publishing endeavor.
You should also ask for a sample edit. I think pretty much any editor will provide you with a short sample edit so that you can get a feel for the process as well as their editing style. You need to know what the process is before it begins so you know what to expect.
Allow your editor time to work your script. If you are giving an editor a short period of time or constantly emailing them to find out how much longer, the work is going to reflect that. It may not necessarily mean they are sloppy or not competent to do the work, but more of them wanting to please the customer so the process may turn out a rushed finished product.  Schedule at least four weeks at a minimum for your books to be in edits but allow up to eight weeks if need be. If you are looking to use a well-established editor, you may not be the only one and she may be booked out for months so schedule ahead of time and don’t rush it for your own sake.
Some manuscripts (especially first time authors) need way more work than others and you need to have that time allotted. DO NOT schedule your book release party before your book is at the printers. Scheduling a release date is great, as long as you have also scheduled that time period for proper edits and typesetting to take place. Nothing is more annoying or a more telling sign of a novice author than someone trying to go to edits three weeks before their scheduled release date. I never like to give an exact release date until I get it the delivery date confirmation from the printer. There is nothing wrong with saying Fall/2011 or Summer/2012. This way, you are not looking like a dumb ass when your date comes and goes and you have no book or worse yet, you have a sloppy, unprofessional book.

I will revisit this again with more suggestions. I look forward to the urban genre getting the respect it deserves and that starts with us.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Self-Publish - Getting Your Book Ready To Print

So you have completed your manuscript and you want to self-publish. There are many steps that now need to take place. A lot of the steps in order to successfully  self-publish properly you are probably not even aware of. There is more to it that just getting an ISBN number, book cover and printer. 
In this particular post, I am just going to go over the things necessary to get your book to the printer. In future posts, I will elaborate on each of these steps I am referencing, as well as additional helpful tips and information. I am going to share with you what has proven to work for us. This was definitely learned via lots of money, frustration and research along with trial and error.
Let me get started...
The first thing I suggest after completing the manuscript is to get your book cover if you haven't already done so. This is so that while you are completing the rest of the steps, you can begin advertising your book and getting people familiar with the title to your book as well as your name as an author. There are hundreds of terrific book cover designers out there. One of them is Vonda Howard with Cupcake Creative Studios She has done a phenomonal job on our book covers and we have been very happy with her work.
The next step is to have your manuscript edited. Of course, I suggest our editing service, 21st Street Urban Editing & Publishing however even if you do not use us, USE A PROFESSIONAL! This is not a service you want to skip or try and find the cheap way out of. Make sure you get a sample edit from the editor, references that you ACTUALLY CHECK and a contract that has a confidentiality clause included.  There is no committee that governs editors such as the American Medical Association for doctors or The Bar Association for attorneys. Anyone can throw a website together and start claiming they are an editor. There are no tests to take and nobody regulating their conduct. It is very important to check their references as well as view their published work. Friends and references are two different titles so make sure the person verifying is actually a reference and not just a friend. Also, it is imperative to hire more than one editor AND a proofreader if you want it done professionally and correctly.
Now that your book is off to the editor, the next steps are easy. It is at this time we apply for the Copyright, ISBN Number and LCCN Number All of this can be accomplished in an hour or two via online and you will feel totally accomplished when it is done. The copyright certificate will arrive quite some time later. The ISBN Number you will be able to get immediately upon applying for it and the LCCN Number they say takes up to two weeks but usually is sent via email with in a week.
Upon your manuscript being completely edited, you should then have it typeset. By this time, you should have all of the required numbers and information for this process to be completed. (Remember, I will be posting individual blogs about each of these steps later on.) Once your manuscript is typeset, you are ready to find a printer.
These are just the steps we take to physically get the book printed. There are lots of other things we do that make for successfully publishing the book. Stay tuned to find out what those other things are. 


Welcome to my blog. My name is Niccole Simmons and I am one of the co-founders of 21st Street Urban Editing & Publishing. I decided to create this blog based on the many questions I get from aspiring authors, editors and self-publishers. This is a tough industry to navigate for a beginner and my intent is to help make the transition to successful author, editor or publisher, an easy one for you.
I would love to get your input on what topics you would like information on and will be happy to share what ever knowledge I have in the area of your request. Please send any requests for specific topics of my blogs to
My first blog is going to be about getting started on your self-publishing endeavor so stay tuned and I hope I can be informative and helpful!