Feedback from a Client on the Editing Process
Recently, an author who was considering the idea of hiring me to edit and help self-publish his memoir asked if I could connect him to Judith Kelliher, the author of “A Wartime PhD,” so she could serve as a reference.
He knew I had provided similar services to Judy when she published her book about her brother Bobby’s two tours in Vietnam. He specifically wanted to speak with Judy as we three were once all colleagues at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. What follows are the author’s questions for Judy and her answers.
What did you consider the most valuable part of working with Janice on your book?
What was invaluable was that I had worked on this project for six years, and my book needed a keen eye and fresh perspective. Janice brought both. She has the experience of working on other books so she knew the process and what else I would need besides editing of the manuscript (such as obtaining an ISBN and copyright, identifying what goes in the front matter of the book, etc.) Janice also brainstormed with me to come up with the title, which I am very happy with. She designed the cover and the layout. Her experience was hugely helpful. She prepared all the files for the printer, too.
What kinds of suggestions did she make? Did you act on all of them? If you had differences, how did you resolve them?
Janice edited the manuscript for grammar, clarity, and flow. She used track changes, and the Comments feature in Word to note her edits and questions/suggestions, which made reviewing the document easier for me. In the vast majority of cases, I accepted her suggestions for rewording, but there were a few times I felt strongly about keeping the writing as is, and she respected my view and agreed with me. Some of her suggested edits made my writing more powerful and punchy.
In what way did your book turn out differently from what it would have been if you had not worked with Janice on it?
Overall, I would say my manuscript was in pretty good shape (for example, I didn’t have to move chapters around or large chunks of text). BUT all the things I mentioned above made the book a cleaner read with additional clarity. I was too close to the book after six years, and it really needed that professional eye, which Janice has!
How did Levellers Press help you get the word out about your book? Was your experience with them positive?
I hired Levellers to handle the printing. They also collaborate with Amazon and fulfill book orders. I had a very good experience with their team. They did not help me promote the book. So far, my only promotion has been through Facebook and word of mouth. There was a story about my book in the Wilbraham-Hampden Times and we are waiting for a MassLive story to come out. I plan to do more promoting when I come up for air from work!
What kind of reaction have you had to your book?
The feedback has been incredibly positive! My brother and I have each received very heartfelt and moving comments personally and via phone, email, text, Facebook, and some people have even taken the time to send handwritten cards! If you go to my Amazon page you can also read comments left there: https://www.amazon.com/Wartime-Ph-D-Soldiers-Vietnam-Learning/product-reviews/1951928113/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_show_all_btm?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews.
I thank Judy for her remarks. The author in question has decided to work with me, and that means you will be hearing more about his memoir as our work together evolves.