Creative ideas are abundant. How can they be corralled? How can you select one or more and develop them into a coherent concept appropriate for a book? By asking questions about your project, I begin by clarifying your vision for your book. Together we map out a way forward, gauging capacity and laying down a process that works for you.
A query is the first contact with prospective publishers. It is a letter of introduction and includes the briefest synopsis of your project. It should stimulate sufficient interest to lead a publisher to follow up by contacting you.
A book proposal is a lengthy document that follows a successful query. Its structure generally includes a description of the book, a working table of contents, a synopsis of each chapter, a tentative production schedule, its proposed length, a list of competing titles, an author biography, marketing suggestions, and possible reviewers. The book proposal is the vehicle for marketing your book to prospective publishers who will offer a contract to you on the basis of its strengths. My book proposals have proven to be timely and persuasive.
Once you have conceptualized your project, you may seek assistance with the writing process. Structured or open, regular or occasional, coaching can involve brief daily check-ins or less frequent but intense interaction with you as you generate drafts. A blend of coaching styles often suits an author’s needs. Whatever the approach, I ensure that your book gets done.
Acting as your liaison with prospective publishers, I take your book proposal, sample chapter or complete manuscript to appropriate publishing houses. I follow up with them until one or more offers you a publishing contract. Alternatively, I can recommend publishers with whom you can initiate contact. I have achieved positive results with both of these strategies.
The most general in scope, developmental editing requires a sensitive attendance to your writing to ensure effective consistency between the concept and its explication. I read for impact, clarity, and detail. Structural editing focuses on the mechanical formatting of the book’s components so that it reflects a logical presentation of your ideas. In my copy-editing role, I correct typing, syntax, and punctuation errors and improve all stylistic errors where necessary. Similar to copy-editing, proof-reading is done in the final stages, concentrating on minor errors. The goal is to produce a manuscript that it is as close to perfect as possible.
An anthology is a collection of writing by a number of authors who make individual contributions to a book. Essays and research papers are two popular genres, but anything can be used in accordance with the editor’s concept. As your publishing development consultant, I take care of all of the background work needed to pull the project together. This may involve communicating with the individual authors, ensuring all contributions conform to style, creating a chapter order, meeting deadlines, dealing with author queries, administrative tasks, and ensuring each piece fits soundly into the whole.
For monographs, this involves my input into the structure and development of the manuscript, supporting the author and providing guidance as needed. What usually works well is a breakdown of the process into stages and a review of multiple drafts. For anthologies, manuscript assembly involves the collection of all of the authors’ contributions, finalizing a chapter order, creating a table of contents, and assembling all of the elements of the book that may include a foreword, author biographies, index, and back cover promotional information.
A customized service, I provide research on the substantive subject matter of the book that, for example, may include its history and context. I contact experts, fact-check, and conduct library and original field research. If interviews are required, I ensure that ethics guidelines are followed and required documents for informed consent are used.
Sometimes required by publishers (and preferred by readers), indexing involves the methodical review of every line of text and the assembly of key words and concepts. These are formatted into categories and sub-categories and presented alphabetically at the end of the book. A painstaking task that many authors wish to avoid, indexing is a service that I am happy to provide to authors.