Writing Non-Fiction? Are you Realistic?

When I submitted my first book for publishing, publishing houses were still viable. I was brave and submitted a manuscript. The return message was discouraging as it is for most.  I was told I would do better with a platform. 

But that doesn't mean the person without a platform doesn't have something meaningful to communicate. 

The response I got that day also urged me to try article publishing first. I made queries mostly to no avail, and then got a gig with a web content company. To date, I have over 400 purchased articles published in a 10-year period. This is my anniversary of getting my paid writing career off the ground!

Over time, publishing houses went belly-up. CEOs were let go. Self-publishing began to take the stage.

I don't believe in writers pursuing self-publishing with companies that make you pay to have your book published. Too many friends of mine have ended up with stacks of books in their garage. They have no idea how to sell them.  

I do believe in Kindle Direct Publishing by Amazon (KDP). I have had good success with it. 

Typos and Edits 

Before you go and self-publish through KDP, though, I want to share some points. I recently paid $10 for a book from someone I met on Facebook. Something in her post resonated with me. I hoped I'd find a path and inspiration from her book.

It started off great. But then it led me down bunny trails. Reading it from the viewpoint of a writer who has done editing, her errors were glaring. There were grammar errors, punctuation errors, typos, and so on. But what really bothered me was understanding the point of the book and some of the examples. 

Motives and Focus

I believe some authors have the idea that writing a book makes them seem legitimate or important. I believe one's motives should be better than that. 

That leads me to write this blog and ask some important questions:

What is your reason for writing and publishing your book? 

Maybe you do have a good story to tell or sage advice to offer others. Perhaps you've uncovered a market in search of a solution you can provide. If that is you, what is the human part of you saying? Are you sincere with your motive or are you doing it to present an image? 

Is your motive for writing simply an attempt to earn loads of money? When I tell an average new non-fiction author what they can expect to earn they are sometimes offended. One friend said, "I can't charge a mere $5 for my book after all the work I've put into it." I've seen some authors charge over $20  for their book. I'm not sure there is a market for such by unknown authors. Amazon will suggest a price to set and the author will only receive a percentage of the sale. 

Yes, authors put in hours upon hours to write and edit. Some work on projects over years. All the author's marketing is on their own time too. Unless they write a blockbuster, their royalty payout will be fairly small in comparison to time spent.  

I don't mean to be negative, but realistic from being in the writing world interacting with writers for some time now. 

Get your motives right, clearly communicate your message, and set realistic goals for your writing and all will be well. 

Editing or Proofreading for the ESL EAL Market




  
There is a writing, proofreading and editing market for the EAL and ESL sector.

Many people need help with written work here in Canada and the USA.  The work can range from a newcomer needing to fill out government forms to an engineer writing a report. It might include a university professor submitting a scientific journal or a student submitting a paper. 

Some people I've helped with their written work have included:


  • A scholar submitting scientific journals  
  • An executive needing his CV tweaked
  • A BSc student applying to med school
  • High school students needing essays proofread
  • An MBA student's multiple submission of documents 
  • A recent immigrant's government documentation 
  • A Professional Engineer submitting a report
I offer my services virtually.  I don't ever have to meet a client face-to-face, but I can if necessary.

If you are a writer and want to help out this market try these methods:

  • Put ads for your services on online directories such as  www.Kijiji.comwww.craigslist.comwww.foundlocally.com
  • Post an ad in your local school or college.
  • Spread word by word of mouth.
  • Spend time in the ESL/EAL communities getting to know people who may need your help.
  • Do quality work and don't get pushed around.
If you want to do this type of work, set boundaries. For instance, it won't help a student if you significantly change their writing. Their professor or potential employer needs to see a true representation of their abilities through their writing.

Use the Right Style Guide 

Be careful to ask if there is a specific style guide you're to follow eg. APA, ALA, CMOS, or other. Scientific writing is much different than writing for the arts. 

Decide how you will do this work. When I started, I worked in person with one client.

Another author brought a thumb drive to my house and picked up the changes a few days later. 

Then I began email exchanges with clients. 

How to Do it

I always edit in MS Word with track changes on. I send back a marked-up and a final copy. I allow one revision in the price quotation.

I have found I need to charge more for most ESL/EAL writing when the grammar is extremely choppy. It takes time for me to understand what is being communicated. That is more time consuming than simple editing. It is about making the writing make sense. 

Getting Payment

I usually back the work and then forward an invoice to be paid through PayPal. 

I had one student who wanted to ignore the invoice and when she did pay it, complained about having to pay the Paypal service fee. In the future, I may only return half a document until it is fully paid. 

If you have an idea of how to do this more effectively, perhaps with a document download prevention program until payment arrives, that would be ideal. 

Editing and Proofreading Help for the ESL/EAL Student

I live in Southern, Ontario, Canada but I can edit your ESL/EAL work, in most cases, no matter where you live!

If you need proofreading or editing of your project, let me know how I can help at this email, or visit my website at www.RosalieGarde.com for further information.