All posts by Ian Graham Leask The Future of Author Services

After extensive planning and careful examination of other offerings, we have launched to serve authors, especially those interested in high quality self-publishing.

This first phase introduces the most important elements of authorship—editing and author coaching. Other services will be added. We have assembled a team of excellent editors and coaches with a view to helping writers become authors. These individuals all have substantial resumes and have been selected for their integrity and proven ability. They will help writers in all genres to reach their goals, whether it is to write for the mainstream publishing trade, or to become respected self-published authors.

The ultimate goal of most writers is to produce and publish a book. We understand this fundamental desire and have subsequently created an imprint for the called August Editions. This imprint will be the next phase of the site’s development and will be launched as soon as possible. The imprint will allow self-publishers to have world-wide sales reported and paid directly from Amazon, which is an important advantage.

We have assembled staff to help with covers, text design, publicity and marketing. Packages will be made available to help authors in one or all elements of the publishing process.

We value any feedback which helps improve our efforts.

What to Pay for in the Publishing Industry

It amazes me how we choose to value things. A brilliant literary novel that may have taken years to research and write costs, let’s say, $15.99 in paperback and $3.99 on a Kindle.

Readers are outraged if a paperback costs $18.99, yet the same people will drop $100 on dinner with their spouses, and way more than that on new clothes, cosmetics or power tools. And what will we pay lawyers, doctors and plumbers to fix our lives? Yet, we want our brain-stimulation to come dirt cheap.

Authorship is undervalued in Western society and that attitude is unlikely to change. Perhaps this is why beginning authors are weary of spending money on career development, or even learning to write properly.

Yes, private coaching and MFAs are expensive. The professionals who have trained themselves to coach and edit expect to be paid accordingly. Authors should think of them the same way they do lawyers and other helping professionals.Continue reading

Author Coaching vs. Manuscript Editing

I spent several decades as a creative writing teacher, literary consultant and book doctor. For most of that time I seldom needed to draw the distinction between coaching and editing. Both elements merged together with my clients and I loved that process. Although it was sometimes grueling work, especially the editing part, it paid well and many of my clients became published authors.

Now the world of publishing has changed so quickly and comprehensively that we have to clearly separate the two functions of coaching and editing.

Writers who want to become published authors need to learn to write well. Many come to the foothills of the profession with a love of story and perhaps some ability to tell stories; however, strangely, most authors start out as not very good writers. They have to learn their profession, and it’s not easy. The innate “talent” in a writer isn’t usually in putting words on paper, it’s more often the almost mystical ability to remember and imagine, and only then to impart imagery and emotion to readers through skillful language. Imagination is free, the ability to write is costly to learn.

I can’t tell you how many times in my professional life I’ve heard some non-writer say, “That book was so simple—I could write that!” I always answer by telling them to let me know when their first draft is done.Continue reading

How Multiple Rounds of Editing Help Authors Be Taken Seriously

After graduating with a BA in English in 1980, I decided that following my bliss—that is, making a career in the literary world–would be far more satisfying than attending Law School. I enrolled in graduate school, and with the help of a six-year teaching fellowship, pursued my PhD in English. Along the way I picked up an MA with an emphasis on writing.

There was no such thing as self-publishing back then, or at least what was being done in that area was considered the kiss of death for serious authors. The rule of the literary jungle was “publish or perish.” I wanted to be an author, so started training myself toward that goal. My workload was vigorous in all phases of what I did: academic study, the teaching of writing, and of course my own writing, which was mostly literary fiction. It was intimidating and draining, but I succeeded in publishing a few things, and, rather than becoming a professor—partly because I despaired of ever getting a job in the hotbed of politically correct English departments of the late 1980s—I decided to go it alone as a literary consultant and private teacher. I have never once regretted that decision.

In fact, I am now uniquely placed to talk about publishing on all levels. The exciting part of the industry right now, with way the biggest growth, is, ironically, self-publishing. Perhaps this happened because publishing had become so log-jammed by its various gatekeepers that the dam built against the throngs of well educated people wanting to publish, had to burst. And here we are with a million books going into print each year, most of them self-published.

Here’s the problem. The vigor required of literary practitioners prior to this flood of self-publishing has now been severely diluted. Most self-published authors send their books to print prematurely. It’s a nightmare for reviewers, journalists and competition judges, who are deluged with titles by authors who are far better at promoting themselves than they are at the actual writing of their books. Talk about putting the cart before the horse! I would estimate that 95% of self-published books go to print with not nearly enough research and editing.Continue reading