Lynette M. Smith understands your world. She has been working with book authors since the mid-1980s and with several small publishers since 2009. She's an indie publisher of her own books, too. See GoodWaysToWrite.com for a list of her published works, and visit the Testimonials page here to see what other publishers say about her work.
You define the working relationship. Lynette can work with you as your subcontractor (billing at subcontractor rates) or work directly with your author client, either billing you at subcontractor rates or the author at regular rates. Or you may prefer to give your author clients the contact information for several qualified copyeditors or proofreaders, and let the client choose with whom to work. All My Best does track and acknowledge such direct referrals.
The rest of this page shows how Lynette can work with you as your subcontractor. (Or, to read how Lynette works directly with authors, click here.)
When your author is ready or nearly ready with a best effort at a final manuscript draft in MS Word, that's the time to involve All My Best. Here's the step-by-step action plan:
- Save money (optional). To reduce billing time on manuscript formatting and copyediting, your author can apply tips from All My Best's Writing Tips section and MS Word manuscript-formatting tips sections. (Note: These tips are offered as a free service, regardless of who you decide to hire for manuscript formatting and copyediting.)
- Request an estimate or quote. If your manuscript is smaller than 35,000 words, request an estimate for manuscript formatting (document scrubbing) and copyediting. If your manuscript is at least 35,000 words, request an estimate for manuscript formatting and a binding quote for copyediting. For the binding quote, send five random but representative sample pages from the latter 90% of the MS Word manuscript, as the first 10% tends to be overpolished and therefore not representative of the manuscript as a whole.
- If it's inconvenient to isolate the five random but representative sample pages into their own file, send the entire manuscript and just state which five pages you consider representative.
- Lynette will time herself at copyediting those five pages and calculate a binding copyediting quote per 1,000 words, applicable to the entire manuscript. She will then send you (the publisher) the work sample, the binding quote, and an estimated start date and turnaround time.
- Reserve time. If you like the estimate or quote and work sample and the turnaround time works well for you and your author, you can reserve time in Lynette's schedule by remitting the start-up deposit she cites, either by check or PayPal payment.
- The deposit will be about 75% of the total copyediting estimate or quote (exclusive of manuscript formatting time, which is billed separately from copyediting).
- Deposit checks are not cashed, nor are PayPal deposits withdrawn, until the work begins, unless you or your author experiences an unusual delay in manuscript ready date.
- Receive the copyedited files and invoice. When the formatting and single-reading-pass copyediting are completed, you will receive, besides the invoice for balance due, two copyedited files:
- A Track Changes version, in which all suggested additions and deletions, as well as author queries/comments (shown in the margin), are marked; and
- A Clean version, in which all suggested additions and deletions have been "accepted" and all queries/comments have been deleted.
- Remit the remaining balance. The balance stated on the final invoice is due upon presentation. The invoice will itemize the formatting time (billed by the hour), the copyediting time (billed by the hour if less than 35,000 words or billed per binding quote for longer books), and any additional consultation time or other unexpected tasks (billed by the hour), and will have the prepaid start-up deposit deducted.
- Process the revisions. You and the author may work with whichever version of your copyedited manuscript (as described in Step 6) you prefer, as you accept or reject each of the suggested revisions, either individually or paragraph by paragraph, or a page at a time. If your author decides to work with the Clean version, though, it's essential that he or she at least review the Track Changes version so (a) the author can see what changes were made in the Clean version (if the author disagrees with a change that was made, he or she should change it back) and (b) the author (and perhaps also you, if applicable) read the queries/comments in case you and your author decide to make further revisions as a result.
- Have your author's rewrites and other revisions copyedited (recommended). If you want Lynette to copyedit any rewritten or otherwise revised passages, yellow-highlight those portions and then return the entire manuscript to her. She will copyedit only those highlighted passages and return updated Track Changes and Clean versions to you, along with an invoice for the nominal time involved. Repeat Step 8 and remove all highlighting.
What's next? Now the clean, copyedited, manuscript, approved by you and your author, is ready for layout. Send it to your favorite graphic design professional who specializes in creating book layouts. Have that person (and/or potentially a separate illustrator) design a book cover as well. Your designer will eventually send you a PDF file of your book's interior layout, and another PDF of the book's cover spread (back/spine/front).
Hooray! Your book-layout professional has sent you those two PDF files (book interior and cover spread), and you and your author think they look gorgeous! Then your professional says, "Let me know if any corrections are needed, or if you approve it for publishing."
Caution! It's definitely a good start to have your author read the PDF to see if any errors are found. But face it: Your author, who has read the book's contents so many times by now, is likely to be blind to some types of content errors, as the mind simply invents what it wants to see.
Also, it's unlikely that your author is familiar with best practices for book layouts, though it will help to read Lynette's 40-page handbook, 80 Common Layout Errors to Flag When Proofreading Book Interiors. Your author may neglect to notice these problems:
- Errors in repeating headers,
- Inconsistencies in the treatment of various heading/subheading levels, line spacing, font sizes, or paragraph indents,
- Lines that look too stretched out,
- "Widow and orphan" problems (whereby the first or last line of a paragraph stands alone on a page),
- And so on.
That's where All My Best comes in. Here is Lynette's own step-by-step process:
- Schedule project. As with copyediting, a start-up deposit (from you or your author, depending on the arrangement you specify) will reserve the time. (See Step 4 earlier on this page for how that process works.)
- Review layout. Lynette first reviews (but doesn't yet read) the two-page spreads of the book's interior to spot and flag all these problems.
- Read carefully. Returning to the beginning, she carefully reads the content to detect and flag any lingering content errors: two periods (or none) at the end of a sentence; misspelled, missing, double, or run-together words; inappropriate end-of-line hyphenations, and more. (If the book was professionally copyedited and professionally laid out, and there aren't too many graphics or captions, Steps 2 and 3 together take about the same time as a light copyedit. For budgeting purposes, that translates to about $12.75 per 1,000 words.)
- Send corrections to layout professional. Lynette will return the annotated (flagged) PDF to your layout professional (or to you, if you would rather be Lynette's sole contact) to have all flagged errors corrected.
- Receive revised PDF. After those corrections are made, the layout professional sends a revised PDF to Lynette (or to you, to send to Lynette) for approval.
- Compare new PDF to previous annotated version. Lynette verifies that all corrections were made properly and that no new layout errors ensued. She flags any remaining problems in the new PDF and returns it to the layout professional (or to you, if requested).
- "Rinse and repeat." Steps 5 and 6 are repeated until the layout is as error free as practical. (Note: The billable time involved for Steps 5–7 can vary greatly, depending on the experience and diligence of the layout professional.) Once that stage is reached, the author can approve the book for publication, although some authors at this point prefer to request a hard-copy proof of the book to personally examine (or have Lynette examine) one last time before granting approval.
- Bill the remaining balance. Lynette will send you (or your author, if you request) a final invoice for all time involved for Steps 2, 3, 6, and 7, less the start-up deposit, with remaining balance due upon presentation via either PayPal or check.