How to Avoid a Predator Editor

Updated: Apr 18



Editing. It’s a word that can send shivers down the spine of any author. But it is also a crucial step in the publishing process that can’t and shouldn’t be avoided. The publishing industry can be a huge and overwhelming expanse, in which many predators lurk, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting new authors.


Thankfully, there are some stalwart publishing professionals who are determined to help new authors from falling foul of these predators. In this post, I share some of these safe havens where authors can seek reputable editors and other publishing industry help. At the end of this column, I also share the generous and practical advice of 27 professional book editors in my latest blog listicle, for those who are in self-editing mode.


Reputable Recommendations


Sam Missingham—creator of The Empowered Author website and blog

This ex-Harper Collins Head of Audience Development has a Supplier & Services Listing that includes recommended cover designers, web developers, publishing services, editorial services, and author coaches.

Sam also has a brilliant list of UK Book Bloggers broken down by what genre they review, whether they review traditional and/or indie books, as well as advertising opportunities on their blogs.


Victoria Strauss—publishing industry blogger and co-founder of Writer Beware

Okay, so Victoria might not technically have a list of recommended resources, but her Writer Beware website, blog and Facebook page lists hundreds of scammers to avoid, from dodgy literary agents, to shady vanity presses, to rip-off writing contests. If you’re about to use a service in the publishing industry and you’re not sure about them, Victoria always has her emails open and is very receptive to helping authors who write in for help—but have a thorough search of Writer Beware first to see that she hasn’t already addressed the issue.


Jane Friedman—publishing industry consultant, and award-winning blogger

The services Jane lists on her Recommended Resources page include those who she has either met and worked with directly, or who have long-standing and respectable reputations in the writing and publishing community. She has links to: editing and coaching, copyediting and proofreading, book design and production, book marketing and publicity, agent or publishers research, permissions and fair use research, legal issues / literary lawyers, author websites, and news & trends. Jane is also open to professional consultations.


Informative Publishing Industry Newsletters


I’m always digging around the internet and social media in the name of research, especially for current information about the publishing industry and about having an authoring career. The internet is a vast expanse of information and it’s easy to end up down an endless rabbit hole. In my web travels, I have come across several fabulous resources that deliver this kind of info straight into my inbox. Here are some of my favourite newsletters.


Free-to-Subscribe


The Writing Tip Double-Double—by Angela Ackerman, co-author of the Thesaurus Collection

A bite-sized weekly newsletter that contains one practical writing tip you can apply to your draft immediately, and one publishing-career-focused tip shared from experience of being a successfully published author.


Electric Speed—by Jane Friedman, author of The Business of Being a Writer

A fortnightly newsletter that shares digital tools and helpful resources for writers, including Jane’s professional recommendations for specific types of software, website plug-ins, e-book distribution services, free books for writers, marketing tools, and favorite online instructional videos.


Publishers Lunch—by Publishers Marketplace

The shorter, free version of their daily newsletter and weekly deal report, which shares some of the publishing deals made the previous week. It offers a great snippet of insights into what books are being sold to publishers and the offers being made to authors.


CrowdFire

Weekly social media and marketing newsletter—not just specific to writers, but super practical for learning how to get the best out of all social media platforms, as well as current trends in online marketing. Subscribe via the pop-up window on the blog landing page, or scroll down to the end of the blog home page to submit your email address. You don’t need to download or use their media management app to receive their newsletter.


Paid Subscription


Publishers Lunch Deluxe—requires PublishersMarketplace.com membership of US$25 per month

Daily (work days) newsletter that gathers stories of interest to the professional trade book community, along with original reporting, plus a little perspective and the occasional wisecrack added in. A detailed look inside the happenings of the publishing industry. Subscription can be cancelled at any time, so it’s worth signing up for a month to check it out.


The Hot Sheet—by Jane Friedman. Annual subscription US$59.00

A fortnightly award-winning newsletter described by Michael Larsen, author coach and former literary agent, as “The Hot Sheet is The Economist of publishing but a lot easier to read.” It’s the best publishing-industry news and analysis—especially for authors. There are two options to try-before-you-buy: on the landing page is a link to the latest edition of The Hot Sheet, or you can subscribe and receive two free issues before committing financially.


Before You Go …


I aim to keep a blog packed full of helpful information for writers, especially newbies. Here are my Top 5 personal favourites, including some great articles from guest bloggers:

  1. 27 Book Editors Share Their Editing Top Tips and Naughty No-nos

  2. Show, Don’t Tell: It’s Not Just About Emotion

  3. Self-editing Techniques for Over-writers

  4. What is Purple Prose, and How Can Authors Fix It?

  5. Two Roads Diverge: Traditional vs Independent Publishing

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