A Beta Reader is someone who gets a first look at what is supposed to be a nearly completed manuscript, and then offers caring, but candid insights into the book’s strengths, as well as those areas where the book fails to deliver. This process comes before developmental editing, or before the final clean-up stages in the editing process. Pen 2 Pen has a team of both beta readers and post-publication reviewers. Please note, a beta reader is not an editor, but can help the editing process greatly.
Developmental editing looks for the holes in your book manuscript; things that you’ve overlooked that need to be included. We also look for other issues such as redundancy, for instance, that stand between your manuscript and a successfully completed book. This is the first stage in editing because it inevitably leads to rewrites to fix the problems we’ve identified.
This is where we look at spelling, word choice, grammar, punctuation and all the things that Mrs. Johnson tried to teach you in Tenth Grade English. No book is ready for publication that hasn’t been professionally copy-edited.
(For non-fiction manuscripts)
Fact-checking applies to non-fiction books that are telling a story where facts matter. A great example is told in the book and movie, All the President’s Men, when you’re introduced to two young journalists who are sitting on the biggest story of their lives and every last fact has to be checked and double-checked—and checked again—before it can go into print. Some fiction books require fact-checking as well.
In today’s politically correct world, readers and critics are more sensitive than ever before. Offense can be taken where none was intended, and such offense can totally derail a book’s successful launch. We’ve all seen it happen. Worse, we’ve seen books written by men and women who mean well shattered because of unrecognized insensitivity. Fortunately, this can be prevented.
What we do is turn the book over to individuals who, because they are part of the book’s market, can look at it objectively and find areas where a little more sensitivity can lead to a great deal of added success.
Of course, not every book needs this kind of attention, but if your book addresses individuals or groups in ways that might be misunderstood, you need sensitivity editing.
Proof editing/Proofreading/Fresh Eyes Editing
This is the final pass taken by a skilled editor, looking for items that have been missed by the editorial team. In a market where poorly edited books seldom get a second chance to make a good first impression, this final stage of editing can be a life-saver—and a book-saver
Because book design, like all design, is subjective, the results are in the eyes of the beholder. It has never been more important for a self-published book to look and feel just like the best work put out by one of the Big-Five traditional publishers whose books line the shelves at Barnes and Noble or Books-a-Million.
With our background and experience in working for and within the industry, we know what a professionally designed book looks like. We make sure that our clients’ books have that same look and feel, one that spells reader satisfaction and sales success.
Design includes all of the following:
- Front Covers
- Back Covers
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Page Layout
- Table of Contents
Production in all formats:
Publishing today includes more formats than ever before. Setting aside books for kids, graphic novels, and other multi-media productions, each book can be produced in one, some, or all of the following. The choice is the author’s, and we can help in every step of the way to determine what’s needed. Then, we deliver on that need.
- Print Manufacturing – including POD or Short Run Books
- Premium Hardcover Books
- Coffee-table Books
- Audio Books
Marketing and Promotion
Promotion and marketing always spell the difference between success and failure for authors. One reason there has been a huge move away from traditional publishing and toward self- publishing is that royalty publishers (traditional publishing houses) across the board have dropped the ball on promoting their clients. Those writers swiftly realized, “If I have to do my own promotion, why should my publisher receive ninety percent of the profits?” The answer is simple; they don’t deserve it and they don’t have to receive the majority of the profits of your hard-earned work. Our Marketing and Promotion Companions are to help with everything from marketing plans, market research, press releases, press kits, and more.
Distribution, Wholesalers, Retailers
If you want your book to appear in bookstores such as Barnes and Noble, Books- A-Million and local bookstores across America, you’ve got to have your books carried by one of the major book distributors.
Not every book belongs in a bookstore, but if your book does, we can plan out in advance just how to publish your book to ensure that bookstores have the option of buying your book from one of their regular distributors.
If your book has international appeal, we can even help you line up distributors in English-speaking nations around the world.
After Completion Care
Digital marketing is an entirely different kind of marketing than what authors have traditionally done in order to sell books. Fortunately, we have on our team real, experienced experts in the field of digital marketing who will help you achieve goals that mean book sales, including becoming an Amazon Bestseller or generating at least ten well-written five-star “verified purchaser” Amazon reviews, the kind that get Amazon interested in helping to promote your book.
Digital Press Kits
Not every author wants to deal with the news media. Reporters can be intimidating, even when they get everything right. However, the news media remains one of the most powerful tools available to authors who want to “get the word out” about their new book. One of the best ways of generating favorable press coverage is to create and maintain an up-to-date digital press kit.
Our Marketing Companions will work with you to identify “news” items that deserve to be written up as press releases, either to actually send out to reporters and editors, or merely to be “found” on your website’s digital press kit.
Your pre-launch activities will be identified in your book marketing plan, but as we get closer to your book launch, we will work with you to revise, refine, and enhance those initial plans. Your launch is a major step toward success, and what you do before the launch can be decisive.
Many authors—and an increasing number of publishers—have pre-launch promotions, where readers are offered an attractive percent discount if they buy the book four to six weeks in advance of publication. This extra money beyond what you’d budgeted for launch will help your launch to be even more successful, and we have the expert Companions to help out.
Every book needs its own kind of launch event. No two books are the same, just as no two authors are the same. We make it a point to help our clients determine what will work best for them—and for their new book—then we step in to assist in the implementation, to make sure each event is polished, professional, and profitable.
Some may want to launch in support of a charity, cause, or even their alumni association (which is a great place to launch a book). Others will want to hold a launch event in Washington—if their book addresses issues of national importance—or in Hollywood if it’s all about entertainment.
Your book deserves its own special launch.
For example, one of our author/friends went back to her hometown to stage a launch-event book signing. At this event, 200 people showed up to hear her read from her book, and she sold 175 copies of the book right there at the event (and many more via Amazon or her own website in the next week). At $20 a book, that $3,500 gross profit went on to underwrite a lot of other special launch events, from Columbia, SC to Virginia!
Another author wrote a book about his life in the streets. After creating a grassroots campaign he launched his book, not only in his hometown, but his home state, and sold 1,000 books in less than a month. At $20 a book, he made a whopping $20,000 with his unique campaign. Not bad for a “self-published” book!
Each book and its success is different; however one thing is universal: your book needs—demands—its own launch. When it comes to your launch, we’ll help you succeed!
Post-Launch Ongoing Promotion
Too many authors roll the dice on their launch, then sit back and assume that they’ve done all they could to sell their books and achieve their other goals. They couldn’t be more wrong!
Be it novel or non-fiction, there is no time-limit on a book’s salability or shelf life. If yours is a non-fiction book about an aspect of society that is constantly changing, we’ll work with you to come out with updated editions every year or two. New, updated editions that can sell well, all over again.
One book we successfully published a few years ago is now in its third edition, and each edition continues to sell very well. So far, this book has sold over 30,000 copies in total, with each new edition generating new sales. The reason is simple. Each new edition adds to the book’s content, bringing it current in a tightly competitive market space where the business world is constantly changing.
On the other hand, we are promoting a novel that was originally published in 2004. Its publisher took it out of print in 2012, and when the rights reverted to the author, he re-published it on Amazon. There, the book continues to sell well, in part because—though it’s a novel—it’s based on a true story, and the underlying subject matter continues to remain newsworthy. Whenever more topical news breaks, we comment about it online— and sell more books.
There are dozens of stories about books we’ve kept selling well long after their launch cycle had ended. It’s merely a matter of remaining focused, continuing effective promotion, and watching the cash register continue to ring.
The total cost of our Publishing Package is $5,000. The cost includes all of the above-mentioned services, with additional unlimited consultation.