Why hire an editor?

Why Editors Can Boost Your Book Sucess:

BookBaby Insights for Self-Publishing Authors

Stephen Spatz, president of BookBaby, a service provider for independent authors, carried out a survey in 2017 to ask over 5,000 self-published authors about what are they writing, how they publish, what services they use, what they do to market and promote their books and what they attribute their success to. He spoke about this at the Author HQ at the London Book Fair in 2017 and some interesting facts emerged that apply to anyone thinking about either self-publishing using the traditional publishing routes, or both.

Briefly, 50% publish fiction compared to almost 15% who publish non-fiction, and about 32% who publish both and the spread of topics for self-publishers can be seen below.

Self published genres
Self-published fiction and non-fiction genres

Of those who are currently published, the group was split by book earnings of up to $100 (less successful) in the last 12 months and those who earned $5000+ (354 authors, very successful). The high earners were then asked what they attribute their success to, and the results are eye-opening as you can see from the image below. The biggest difference was that those published authors who earned over $5000 in book sales in 2016 used other professional services a lot more than those who earned under $100. The biggest game changers were hiring professional editing services and a professional book cover designer. Of course, this shouldn’t be a surprise as the quality of content and the visual appearance of books are often the biggest factors readers base their purchasing decisions on.

Using cover designer and editors contributes to more book sales
Hiring an editor is important for publishing success

On the marketing front, successful authors used promotional activities a lot more than unsuccessful ones, with the biggest differences coming from pre-sale awareness building, holding a book launch event and offering giveaways for readers to expand their reader base. Lower earners did not do this as much.

Successful authors use pre-sales and book launch events
Best ways to promote books for self-publishers

While this is primarily a US market survey, Spatz did state that approximately 20% of the respondents were global, so these results may only apply to the North American market that has embraced self-publishing with a little more fervor than European and other world counterparts. Nevertheless, the results are food for thought for any writers thinking about how to maximise the success of any books they publish. They key definers for book success are professional editing and book cover design with a solid array of promotional activities. Full details of the survey can be found here.

If you are a self-published writer or thinking about publishing, have you or would you consider using an editor and a professional book designer? If so, leave your comments below!

Best wishes,


All the fun at the London Book Fair, 2017

I’m just back from attending the wonderful three-day London Book Fair for the first time (14-16th March 2017) and I wanted to share my experiences. This fair really is a fantastic opportunity to meet with publishing industry professionals from around the world who attend to negotiate rights, sales, and the distribution of books written by authors worldwide. More than 25,000 people attend each year and there are plenty of opportunities to mingle with and learn from people from all aspects of the publishing world. Inside the Olympia, the fair is spread over two floors and in two main halls. What I loved most about the London Book Fair was the openness and friendliness of everyone there and the spotlight it put on self-publishing authors. Also, unlike the world famous Frankfurt Book Fair, everything is in English and the program of events is varied and invaluable for indie writers out there who are planning to publish either by themselves or by traditional publishing routes.

I spent most of my time at the Author HQ where successfully published Kindle authors LJ Ross, Mark Dawson and Rachel Abbot talked about their writing processes, how they market and promote their books, and what they attribute their success to. I spoke to many authors who were in absolute book heaven and loving every second of it, so if you are a writer, this fair is definitely not to be missed. The Kindle Self-Publishing stand is right beside the Author HQ so it’s easy to speak directly to the authors who are more than happy to have a chat and help you on your writing path.

writer's hub

Besides the exhibitors, there are many other hubs for various possible interactions and networking, like the English PEN Literary Salon, the Children’s Hub, an Illustrators’ Gallery, the Literary Translation Centre and the Writers’ Block exhibitors who offer a range of services and support for self-publishing writers, like BookBaby, Type & Tell (site soon to be in English) and Clays.

On top of all that, Publishers Weekly and The Bookseller publish a daily roundup magazine so you can find out what went on, what’s coming up and what’s popular for every day of the fair.

This is an excellent opportunity for networking. Keep an eye on the #LBF Twitter and Instagram feeds to see what exhibits are hosting a networking session and head along. If you’re there early enough, you’re likely to get a cuppa or a beer too. Have no fear of speaking to anyone, have no limits, and ask any questions you have. There are also plenty of food and snack areas inside so why not strike up a conversation with your neighbor in the queue. If you struggle with networking, head to the nearest bar, which will be filled with others attending the book fair and just say hello. Remember, you all have something in common to talk about!

LBF networking

Were you at the London Book Fair? Will you find this article useful for your next visit to the fair? If so, please leave a comment below.

The Frankfurt Book Fair: 5 Tips for First-Time Visitors

I decided to check out the Frankfurt Book Fair as a first timer to see what’s going on in the publishing world. As this is renowned as the world’s largest book fair, it was definitely worth checking out for me as an editor but as this first is vast, here are five tips I would like to share for first timers if you’re thinking of going to the next one in 2017.

Ireland Stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Ireland Stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair

1: Yes, this fair is enormous! It lasts for five days and there are over 7,000 exhibitors from more than 100 countries spread over three huge halls with two or three floors each. Not only that, well over a quarter of a million people visit the Frankfurt Book fair from around the globe! The first three days are trade only. That’s busy, so be prepared for large crowds, especially on the weekend when it’s open to the public and books go on sale. From what I could tell, one hall is dedicated to German language books and related products and the rest is for countries from all over the world. That means it takes some time to get around so definitely pack comfortable shoes!

2: Have a solid plan! Download the Frankfurt Book Fair app and spend time before you go deciding what you want to do and see and note the location of each. I would recommend you also write this down somewhere else as the app didn’t work offline for me so I couldn’t access the information while there, although the help desks can look up events for you too. Obviously, if you already have meetings planned before the fair, give yourself enough time to move between locations. There are free shuttle buses outside to help you move between halls, but I just walked.

3: Networking is simply saying hello!  As I went to theFrankfurtt Book Fair solo and was new to the book fair scene, I simply found out where the many networking events hosted by exhibitors where (either via the Twitter feed or by listening out for a party!) and just started chatting to some people who were more than happy to give me the lowdown on their day. Also, don’t forget to check out what’s going on at the Literaturhaus as this is where a lot of the evening networking happens.

Outside books and food stands at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Outside books and food stands at the Frankfurt Book Fair

4: Eat outside! All of the tasty food is in the outside area where you can get crepes, hot dogs, good seafood dinners, roast chicken, salads, curries, tea/coffee stands, and more so you’re spoiled for choice! There are also reading spaces and stages for live events and interaction with speakers so don’t just stay inside the halls.

5. For self-publishers and indie writers: If you’re here as an independent writer, you’ll be able to soak up the atmosphere in the self-publishing area, which has a good program of events that offers great opportunities for networking. You can see an example of what went on in this space at the 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair here. Other than that, I didn’t really notice another space for writers.

If you’re heading to the 2017 Frankfurt book fair, let me know and it would be great to hear your plans. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch or comment below!

Thanks for reading,


To print or not to print? That is a question.

For readers, the debate between digital or book reading has raged on. Preferences swing and sway, even for me. I enjoy both equally; as long as I can actually read what I want, it doesn’t matter what format it comes in for me. My main gripe with digital books is it’s less easy to pass one on to someone you know will enjoy it, as you can with a physical book, while my mountain of print books is unwieldy compared to my hundreds of digital books, all neatly stored away in one place.

Well, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Centre, reading from printed books is winning (in America, at least), but for you writers out there, there are some pros and cons when considering how to share your writing with the world.

Digital Publishing

There are certain advantages if you intend to publish online through, for example, Amazon’s KDP or Createspace.

  • It’s cheaper
  • It’s easier to promote; people can leave reviews
  • You can revise and update easily

If this is your chosen format, a proofreader is a good idea so that you have a second pair of eyes check your writing to make sure it reads well and is delivering the message you intend. If an error is spotted at a later date, or you want to add something, you can just amend your version online and update.

Printed Publishing

This is a whole other kettle of fish. You need to really quadruple check everything as once it’s printed, there’s no going back (unless you reprint, which can cost a lot more). Ideally, an editor who knows about formatting, typesetting, and margins as well as checking sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, etc. is essential. If a book is printed with print-blog-2mistakes (this happens way more often than it should), it can really affect a reader’s ability to read your work and your reputation. Don’t let this happen to you.  It really is worth investing a little time and money to make sure your work is the best it can be. This will give you peace of mind too.  So contact me today if you need some final touches and check for your work and fully achibe (really? I mean, REALLY?) your potential.

Thanks for reading. If you have any comments or anything to add, feel free to do so below. Until the next time,


I need to write more blog posts, right?

With all my busy editing and proofreading for content and book writers, I often have trouble finding the time to write myself (read: procrastinate). So, I’m currently following Nicole Dieker on Spark Notes as she has great tips to boost creative writing skills.

But how can we make ourselves heard with so much content out there in the digital world?  Well, it certainly helps if the tone is solid, engaging and informative (check out Ewan’s great writing for how to make important issues humorous and engaging).  I have proofread and edited for thousands of clients and it’s really easy to spot a good writer from a great writer (regardless of whether English is a writer’s native language).

So here is my top 10 list of what makes writing easy to read, enjoyable, and useful for others:

  • Write on a topic you’re passionate about. That really comes through in the written word.
  • Use simple words that are easy to understand. Don’t get too fancy or you will alienate some of your readers.
  • Keep sentences short. No rambling necessary.
  • Watch those apostrophes. It’s confusing if they’re misused; the poor little things.
  • Keep your audience in mind with the tone of your writing: formal, fun, fantastical…
  • Watch your punctuation; it’s a maker and breaker of all writing.
  • Use your spell and grammar check, but beware, they do miss things.
  • Ask someone to eyeball your work. It’s surprising what we all miss.
  • Watch out for those sneaky similar sounding words (homophones); sounds right word, but is it??? See my post title for an example (write, right?)
  • Keep your style consistent; do not switch between US and UK spelling;  if you capitalise one word once, follow through.

When in doubt, that’s what an editor can help with. If you’re stuck on how to say something, we can help with that too. We’re not about just getting the scary red pen out; it’s a conversation between an editor and a writer so the writer’s work is the best it can be.


Like this post? Share away! If you have any comments, feel free to get writing.

Until next time,


My Road to Freelance Freedom

My Road to Freelance Freedom!

Hello Everyone,
It’s time. My new career path has beckoned. And I, like so many nowadays, have eschewed the 9-5 office job for dawn til dusk, my office is the world, freelancing.
Many there are a few out there thinking about taking the plunge but are not sure where to start. So I wanted to share my path to freelancing and hope that it inspires many out there to have the faith to spend your life doing what you really want.

So, I started out in Psychology but switched to Neuroscience for a more ‘secure’ career path (or so I thought). I enjoyed the variety of work involved and did so for a number of years. One of my daily tasks was writing and reading others’ work and after a time, I was involved with assessing research journal submissions and in contact with editors, which I loved (but I didn’t realise this til much later).

After a number of years, a change of scene beckoned, so I moved to Italy. And besides my daily research, I helped colleagues by checking their written documents and helped correct them when necessary. I actually did monetise this then as I was one of the very few native English speakers working there at the time. But I still didn’t realise the potential…sigh…

A quick shift back to work in Ireland eventually led to being downsized so I hit the road and travelled for almost two years. And that’s when the penny finally dropped. While lounging on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, I started writing some content and reaching out through freelancer websites. And so I have continued…
It took me four months to build a reputation at first and do some small jobs, and now, 16 months later, I am hitting my previous ‘career’ salary every month with my proofreading work and have maintained this for the last three months. My goal is to grow this even further.

I am now fully committed to being a freelance editor and the work continues to come. So now it’s onwards and upwards through the Social Media jungle to reach out and connect with people who love what they’re doing as much as I do. I will post updates on my journey to help anyone out there possible!