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Partnering For Quality
BY DENISE AGNEW
During the first session of the 2012 Novelists Inc. Conference, several panelists discussed their ideas, outlooks, and beliefs about what quality means in this rapid and ever-changing publishing landscape. The main thrust of the panel was to address how authors can maintain quality despite changes relating to discoverability in an e-book world.
Right off the top, panelists agreed that in just one year the industry has altered dramatically. Not all of the changes proved positive for authors, or at least not as many affirmative changes as in the previous year.
It is more difficult for authors to be discovered because of the number of e-books being offered at online retailers. On the plus side, authors have a tremendous array of opportunities to direct the flow of their own careers in a way they never have before. Genres are no longer as delineated in scope as they had been and there are opportunities to blend genres in a bigger way. Without the restriction of shelf space, an author can plan on many more years of sales than previously. Indie-published authors can build a significant and close relationship with their readers based on the length of time the books are available.
Publishing representatives on the panel maintained that a great story and making characters stand out is a sign of quality. When it’s obvious an author has checked facts and done research that also shows integrity in the work.
Emotional engagement in a read is perhaps more important than a skillfully designed plot. It’s evident if an author is faking a true interest in the story, plot, and characters. An author who can create a memorable reading experience already has a one-up. Unless readers remember a writer’s work, that author is starting from scratch with the next book release.
Typos and grammar issues may not bother every reader, but it screams ‘unprofessional.’ Utilizing critiques, beta readers, editors, and proofreaders is highly important to maintain excellence.
It is difficult, if not impossible, for most authors to do all the steps required for self-publishing effectively.
When hiring an editor, remember they wear their editorial heart on their sleeve. Be sure to consider the following: Does the editor get you and your work? Does the editor understand what you're trying to do?
Interview them to make certain you’ll be a good fit and they understand what you’re trying to do.
Work with professional formatters, and always examine each work in each format to make certain they are done correctly and look good. One industry guest suggested that it’s better to hire a typist to rekey older books rather than scan them because of the significant formatting issues with scans. Don’t be in such a