The Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) has programs and talks galore! Tonight, Darin Steinkey, Director & Principal of Aldridge Street Print & Media, gave a talk: ‘Steps to Publishing for the Independent Author’. Here’s the blurb from the library’s website:
Thirteen attendees. The lucky number. Evenly split between men and women (well, 7:6 ratio). A grey haired crowd, average age maybe in the sixties? It seems that writers need time to be able to write. A lot of people with experience publishing. One fellow was a journalist. Another lady had published a textbook for a course she taught. Quite a few people had published multiple books. Some had self-published; others had gone through publishing houses. There were even some who had done both. Lots of talent in Victoria, BC!
After working at Trafford Publishing, Steinkey saw a niche that needed to be filled: editing for independent authors. With his background in literature and teaching, he became an editor and started up Aldridge Street Print & Media in 2008 to fill the niche. Aldridge Street Print & Media actually offers more: they’re a one stop shop for the independent author, offering book design, layout, and printing services as well. What they don’t do, however, is marketing. The genres Steinkey specializes in are memoir and history. He helped a WWII code breaker, for example, publish her memoir. Cool!
Layout, cover design, writing (Steinkey suggested Stephen King’s On Writing and Strunk & White’s Elements of Style), and editing were covered in tonight’s one hour presentation. The focus was on editing. Self-published authors do a good job of getting their books out there, but they do a poor job of editing. Spelling mistakes or glitches in the layout take away from the writer’s credibility: that was the main message of tonight’s talk.
There are three different types of editors. The developmental editor makes sure the story works. The copy editor checks spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The proofreader checks layout and any mistakes introduced in the other layers of editing. Independent authors need all three. And preferably, they are different people: the more eyes, the better.
The takeaway for me tonight was the fee structure for an editor. An editor charges from $50-$75 an hour. They can edit seven to ten pages in an hour. Pages are 250 words. So, let’s take the preface to Paying Melpomene’s Price. It’s eight Microsoft Word pages. Eight Microsoft Word pages equals 4645 words. 4645 divided by 250 equals 18.58 pages (250 word pages). Since Paying Melpomene’s Price is an academic type work, it doesn’t read as fast as, say, most novels. So maybe an editor will go through seven pages per hour. At seven pages an hour, it would take 2.65 hours. Let’s say an editor charges midway between the $50 to $75 rate. At $62.50 dollars an hour times 2.65 hours, the cost comes to $165.63. But that’s just one editor. Three are required (developmental, copy, and proofreader). So the total cost to edit my eight Microsoft Word pages would come to $496.88. Let’s say each of my chapters is about the same length and that there’s nine more chapters. The cost of getting the whole thing edited would then clock in around $5000.
Good to know. Time to start saving. Thanks to Aldridge Street Print & Media for the talk and the gentleman in front of me for asking about editors’ fee structures.
Until next time, I’m Edwin Wong, and I need a second job while I’m Doing Melpomene’s Work.