Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: editing

Two Publishing Options ~ Two Editing Options . . .

This is the 35th post on this blog that will mention FastPencil publishing-aid company.

editing and publishing

Image Courtesy of Ivan Soares Ferrer ~

In the past post, FastPencil ~ Funny Name, Dynamite Publishing-Aid Company. I shared this info:

I’ve summarized the FastPencil experience this way:

*Write a book on their site,
while inviting BetaReaders or editors to work with you
—> Free

*Revise, edit, check multiple proofs,
upload a cover, work-out front and back matter, etc.
—> Free

*Publish and have the book distributed to
Amazon, Barnes&Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Ingram

(Print & E-book editions)
—> $300

As a matter of fact, if you want to sell your book only on the FastPencil Site (with a very cool sales widget you can use on your own WebSite or Blog) it costs just $9.99.

I’ve used FastPencil and I’m very happy with their services; speaking of which, if you don’t have an editor and can’t self-edit, you can pay them more money for that and other services

Or, you could consider other editing options (always making sure you receive samples of the editing anyone does...).

Just to give you an idea of some fees, Fiction Manuscripts of 50,000 words might cost $500; but, 100,000 words could be only $600

And, if you want another option for publishing, you can consider submitting to  Coffee House Press.

From their Site:

“The mission of Coffee House Press is to publish exciting, vital, and enduring authors of our time; to delight and inspire readers; to contribute to the cultural life of our community; and to enrich our literary heritage. By building on the best traditions of publishing and the book arts, we produce books that celebrate imagination, innovation in the craft of writing, and the many authentic voices of the American experience.”

Coffee House Press is also a good place to look for books that “celebrate imagination, innovation in the craft of writing, and the many authentic voices of the American experience.”; and, if you feel you’ve written such a book, you can contact them:

For general inquiries, you can reach us by email at, by phone at (612) 338-0125, or by mail at the following address:

Coffee House Press
79 Thirteenth Avenue NE, Suite 110
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Naturally, there are a huge number of options for editing and publishing (I just thought my readers might find these three interesting…)

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“But, Do I Really Need An Editor?”

I’ve heard of writers who are able to fully edit their own work—never met one yet… 

Of course, all serious writers move words around and take some out and put some in and notice typos—all forms of editing; but, there’s more to a full editing job than what most writers can handle.

First comes the need for Other Eyes on the manuscript.

Some of this objective perception might come from beta-readers; but, a writer should never count on the betas for thorough editing.

There’s great value in having many beta-eyes on the manuscript before submitting it to the editors (<— yes, that word was a plural…).

Beta-readers are usually not hired—they do it because they love to read and comment—they find plot holes and express feelings about the characters and say things about the writing’s overall effect)—though, listing them in the back of the book is a welcome compensation.

Also, betas can induce the writer to do some self-editing before they engage a pro

So, how many kinds of editing are there?

Opinions differ but BookBub has an article, by C. S. Lakin, that will get you thinking about what various types do and whether they might be needed for a particular piece of writing.

The article’s called 3 Crucial Editing Phases All Authors Need to Sell More Books; and, is still valuable even if the writing is given away for free.

I encourage anyone serious about writing to read the full article; but, I’ll list the major points:

Phase One: Get a structural critique

Phase Two: Do thorough line editing (this is a self-editing phase {to reduce time and cost on the third phase}) There are 9 sub-phases

Phase Three: Find the right copy editor for your book — There are 8 sub-phases here about how to find the right person

And, if you want some in-depth understanding about that third phase, check out The Subversive Copy Editor Blog.

Or, if you’re the kind of person who would rather do all the editing yourself, check out the English Editing Blog—it has three main catagories:

For those who’ve never brought a manuscript to the level that needs beta-readers or editors, Be Aware—you’ll be forming a Relationship with these people

Also, here are 6 other posts about editors ( since I’m tagging this post with “editor”, you’ll need to scroll past it on your way to the other posts :-)
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Writing 101 ~ Don’t Let Yourself Feel Old

My body is officially “old”—my mind is “middle-aged”—my heart is very young—my spirit, ageless… A. J. Spindle

When I write, I blend all these phases of life…

When I edit, I’m constantly shooing away the old me—relying on the maturity of my middle-aged mind—letting my young heart guide me—urging my ageless spirit to shine through…

This blog has over 1,000 posts now; and, back in 2011 I wrote my 17th post—Learn From *Whoever* Has The Truth.

I’m going to reproduce it here with a bit of expansion.

I did some Googling to try to catch up with the young women featured in that post—seems she dropped off the map last year (apart from a few videos about her going to college)—hoping she’s only taking a brief hiatus from her writing life…

I also hope she’s discovering more about self-publishing…

Here’s the post from the past.


I woke up to the fact that I was a writer when I was 42…

It took me nearly 20 more years to get over the idea that what I wrote had to be perfect the first time I wrote it…

“Editing”? Hmmm… Ya know, I’m not a dumb person but I sure had some dumb ideas buried in my subconscious.

My first books were written and published with no outside input.

My Work-In-Progress has had a ton of input–from when I had the first, bare idea to right now and it won’t be published till April.

So, today, on Twitter, I met a 19-year-old woman, went to her blog, and watched a video of her telling me what it took me over 60 years to learn…

Her name is Amanda J. Spindle.

Here’s Her blog.

And, here is her consummately wise video about what it takes to write a book :-)

Now the expansion on that post—after Amanda was published:

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This Editor Needs An Editor . . .

Short post today

I’ve written a number of posts about editing and editors here.

I had one editor for my last book, as well as a few folks who read various incarnations of the manuscript.

After it was published, I found eight typos and a few other small errors.

My next book will have eight Beta Readers and two editors

So, there’s this post I read recently on another blog by an editor—one who presents himself with many credentials:

“I’ve been a publisher, a developmental editor, a line (or substantive) editor, a copy editor, a proofreader, a fact checker, a print layout and ebook designer, a rights-and-permissions researcher, a cover designer, an audiobook producer… and even an author.”

I’m just an Indie author living on a small pension, very lucky to have a group of people check my work without having to pay them.

This man is putting himself out as a total Pro…

Here’s the post’s link (the basic info is reasonably good): 7 Deadly Myths and 3 Inspired Truths About Book Editing.

The following sentence is from that post

“If the changes or suggestions have to do he or she was most likely trying to make the prose in your manuscript consistent with a standard.”

Sure, it’s only a blog post.

Sure, everyone makes mistakes.

Yet, surely, a final read-through of that post should have caught such a malformed sentence

Authors do need editors.

Apparently, some editors also need editors

Sure hope there aren’t any typos in this post :-)
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Free Software for Writers . . .

There’s almost too much software for writers.

And, there’s certainly enough free software that, if a writer can afford a computer and at least temporary connection to the Internet, they can be well supplied with writing tools.

I have 10 free programs on my computer that I use at different times for different jobs. Most are PC-only :-(

First is FreePlane.

This is a mind-mapping tool—sometimes called concept-mapping or information-mapping.

It’s much easier to show you a screenshot then describe what it does (all those word-tags can have images or files attached to them, too):

Another organizational tool is TreePad. This program is a Personal Information Manager, Organizer, Database, and Word Processor—though I feel word processing is easier in other programs. Here’s a screenshot:

Next come the Word Processors.

WriteMonkey: A stripped-down, zen-like program that gets all the bells & whistles out of the way and lets you commune with the words. Here’s a screenshot (the colors can be easily changed):

Jarte: Based on WordPad but much faster and with expanded features. This is for .rtf & .txt files.

RoughDraft: Similar to Jarte in that it handles .rtf & .txt files but also has an on-screen file manager and can have a whole slew of files open at the same time. Here’s a screenshot:

And, the last Word Processor, which is actually a Full Office Suite, LibreOffice. This program has all the bells & whistles that Microsoft Office has and doesn’t cost a penny; plus, you can save files as Word .docs

Now, for some tools to help with words themselves and editing.

WordWeb is a dictionary and thesaurus that sits in your taskbar and can be activated by highlighting a word (in most any program or on a web page) and using the hotkeys—instant definitions, synonyms, and spell checking.

WordNet could be thought of as a thesaurus but what a thesaurus! This program is so high-level I feel compelled to quote the site:

“WordNet® is a large lexical database of English. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are grouped into sets of cognitive synonyms (synsets), each expressing a distinct concept. Synsets are interlinked by means of conceptual-semantic and lexical relations.”

Then, there’s SmartEdit. You put text into it and it shows you the dialog tags, clichés, repeated words and phrases, adverbs, and any monitored words you enter into the program. Here’s a screenshot:

The last free program on my computer, which I’m still experimenting with, is AutoHotkey. Basically, you could automate the opening of all the programs I just listed with single keystrokes. It does a whole lot more:

  • Automate almost anything by sending keystrokes and mouse clicks. You can write a mouse or keyboard macro by hand or use the macro recorder.
  • Create hotkeys for keyboard, joystick, and mouse. Virtually any key, button, or combination can become a hotkey.
  • Expand abbreviations as you type them. For example, typing “btw” can automatically produce “by the way”.
  • Create custom data-entry forms, user interfaces, and menu bars.
  • Remap keys and buttons on your keyboard, joystick, and mouse.
  • Respond to signals from hand-held remote controls via the WinLIRC client script.
  • Run existing AutoIt v2 scripts and enhance them with new capabilities.
  • Convert any script into an EXE file that can be run on computers that don’t have AutoHotkey installed.


Those are my programs. What’s on Your computer :-)
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