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“My Independent Editor”….Susan Hughes

My friend and editor that is professional and supportive !  You need your book edited? Proofread?

Check out Susan Hughes, “My Independent Editor”…..for your editing needs.  Also find her on Twitter!  She has been so supportive and helpful to me – I am indeed grateful.  Highly recommended.

My book – “Alzheimer’s Through My Mother’s Eyes” review shared on “Women’s Work: Women’s Worth”….. thank you


Does your book suck….?

In no way, do I profess to be a professional or even for that matter an amateur at marketing/promoting ideas.  I am a beginner, out with my first book and working hard to do what I can do to better myself and my marketing and promoting schemes.

Trying to figure out and help as much as I can (as a mere beginner) – I am happy to pass along what I have learned thus far.  My publisher/editor was without a doubt the reason I was able to publish an error free book – professionally styled, edited, rearranged, rewritten, and countless other tasks to make my book the best it could be.  Her advice was invaluable. 

Long before my book (Indie) was published, she informed me of the need for changes.  She informed me that I needed to be open to suggestions and changes (good and bad) to make my product marketable.  This of course, included criticism.  I sucked it up, I’m a “big girl” – and said bring it on.  What can I DO to make my book even better?  What do I need to change?  Suggestions? What will make it better?  What will draw readers and make them excited?  My goal is to HELP caregivers.

Number 1 – top of list. Professional editing…. edit, and edit…then, edit some more.  Do NOT hand your draft to a cousin who is a teacher, or a neighbor on the street who thinks they are qualified to edit, having a family member who is definitely not qualified to edit, or editing it yourself as though you are a professional editor.  NOT investing in a professional editor/publisher is a huge mistake. WHY don’t these first time writers understand this? 

The next step – she gave my “draft” to one of her BETA readers who was a qualified Alzheimer’s nurse since my book is about Alzheimer’s and Caregiving.  Perfect.  THEN I had to be prepared for some harsh words.  I couldn’t come across bitching and moaning as a caregiver, who wants to read that?  That was not my goal for my readers.  Who wants to read my boo-hoo story?  No one.  The readers want to learn about being a caregiver they don’t want to read page after page of me complaining about being a caregiver.  WOW, that one hit hard, but she was right.

My thought process changed completely.  I had to tell it like it was but not as a complaining daughter.  My effort had to go into “what I would have done” and “what I should have done” as she advised.  These were very pertinent points that her BETA reader brought up after reading my book.  Example:  I criticized Mom still driving with her limited capacity, but the next day bought her new tires for her car.  You know what?  The BETA reader was absolutely spot on. 

I listened and changed all that she suggested   I rewrote and reworded “what I would and should have done” and trust me, there were tons of them to change.  The best thing is NOW the reader can say to themselves…..aahh she is so right — my Mom has done the same thing, NOW I know what I need to do.  I offered advice, let the readers know the mistakes I made as a caregiver, and what I did to rectify them.  What I SHOULD have done to rectify them.  What I COULD have done differently years ago.  We also added back in the “journal dates” as suggested, so the reader can keep track of dates and not have to keep flipping back in the story as Mom’s Alzheimer’s progressed.  We added many good times so it was not all “gloom and doom” throughout the book.  I added numerous helpful resources at the end of my book for caregivers to contact.  Many of these I originally had no idea even existed but I wanted readers to know the valuable agencies they could contact – and have the addresses, phone numbers etc. for each one. 

My book is now taking shape beautifully.  It flows.  It works.

Now, the editing–proofreading–checking and verifying all the journal dates–and reading it again and again.  I brought my draft to a fellow English teacher (department head) who also edited and proofed.  I sent my draft to a close family friend that has known me since childhood who is familiar with my family, parents and childhood friends.  I also paid a local BETA reader to read and edit.

Then the editor edits it again.  Sends it back to me to edit again.  I read it over, she read it over – several more times.

A tremendous amount of work, but worth every second.

So, I see postings from new authors that need help with marketing/promoting.  They have written their book and are ready to sell it.  But how?  How do they promote their book?  After looking a few of them up I discovered why they had no reviews listed on Amazon.  The language and spelling are horrendous.  The words run together in rambling sentences.  Punctuation and capitalization are completely screwed up.  Even if I were not a new author, if I had purchased one of these books and actually paid money – I would ask for a refund.  One or two errors I would understand (maybe) – but pages and pages of nonsense I would be requesting my hard earned money be returned.  But these authors only want MARKETING advice?  I don’t get it.

One lady wrote (I’m not really sure what the subject was) – and she, in particular is asking about marketing.  Her book is for a genre that would definitely fall in a certain category that I think has a huge audience.  The writing was horrible.  It was atrocious to say the least.  But all she is concerned about is SELLING her book.  How can she market her book?  What does she need to do to promote her book?  I asked her on the site if she had her book professionally edited before it was published? (I already knew the answer) I just didn’t have the heart to tell her that her book was terrible as I realize she just doesn’t SEE it, she doesn’t understand that she won’t sell her book with the error ridden pages.

Some of them had used a self-publishing company and I have already had my rant on that subject.

One man figures, Oh well, at least I got a book published….it’s too late now !

One lady said she is receiving rave reviews on her book – and I said how wonderful that was.  I asked her if she had checked her Amazon  (written) reviews on her book?  I looked her book up, and there was not one single review written.  She inferred all these friends who had read it, loved it, but didn’t want to write a review or simply didn’t bother to write her a review.   I felt badly for her.  Shame on her friends.  

I spent a couple of hours trying to help one man with advice on what I have LEARNED and been told.  I let him know I knew NONE of this before I started writing. I wanted to help him – share the information that has been shared with me.  I have learned, I have been open to advice and criticism – I am only repeating what professionals have told me…  And work it does.

He claimed to have rave reviews as well……I won’t even go into his book.  Also, no reviews written for his book on Amazon.  I then went as far as to suggest someone (a professional editor that was willing to talk with him to assist him) and I never heard from again.

Is it ego?  Is it actually thinking that you wrote a book, so now it will sell (no matter how lousy it is)? What is it?  I don’t get it

I’m done.  I tried and it ended up costing me 2 hours that I could have devoted to marketing my book….”Alzheimer’s Through My Mother’s Eyes”….I will help if an author is OPEN to suggestions and/or criticism—as I was.

I am still a beginner and still learning.  I take information in and process it to make my book a better product.  You have an idea or suggestion for me?  Please, let me hear it.  What can I do to make my product even better?  How can I advance myself?  If you want a free download, I will welcome and be honored for your opinion. 

I hope this helps someone.

Thanks for listening…