Having worked for 35 years as a journalist, Mark Eklid came to Reedsy as a seasoned writer. However, he struggled with writing for pleasure while simultaneously producing thousands of words a day for a living. When his professional life changed significantly, he decided it was time to pick up one of his old ideas for a novel and see it through to the end. His goal was to be able to proudly hold a published book in his hands, saying “I did this” — which meant ensuring it was as professional as possible on all fronts.
Looking for reliable publishing services
At the start of my publishing journey, I was equipped with a certain level of know-how. Working for decades as a journalist, I had ample experience editing my own words and designing the pages of newspapers. But when it came to editing a full-length novel or designing a book cover, I was in very new territory.
So I decided to turn to people for whom self-publishing was not new terrain, and I joined the Society of Authors. At one of their meetings, I asked the other members where they went to hire reliable editors and cover designers. Reedsy was the name that came up again and again.
I decided to do it all through Reedsy
Writing your first novel is a strange process. At the outset, I had confidence in my ability to write, to construct a plausible story frame, and to engage readers with believable characters. But even though I told myself, “I think this is going pretty well,” there was still a nagging voice in the back of my head saying, “It might still be rubbish.” So sending the completed manuscript to a professional editor was the logical first step for me. Not only because all stories should be worked on by an editor, but also because I needed an objective opinion to help clear away the self-doubt.
Based on the recommendations from those at the Society of Authors, I decided to look for an editor through Reedsy, and ended up hiring Nicola Lovick.
New authors, understandably, aren’t always familiar with the differences between terms such as developmental editing, copy editing or editorial assessments. When I work with an author, I want to ensure they are receiving the service their novel really needs. So when I first agree to work on a project, I start by reading the manuscript with that in mind.
While the initial plan was for me to give Sunbeam an editorial assessment, the characterization, structure, and plot were all very strong from the get-go. I decided that Mark’s manuscript was in good enough shape that only a very light editorial touch was needed, so we decided to move forward with a copy-edit instead.
Copy-editing means correcting typos and spelling mistakes, making sure sentences flow well and raising queries such as: Why is that character wearing a blue dress in chapter five but a pink skirt in chapter seven? During the entire process, Mark and I had a very open dialogue and so the collaboration went smoothly and was thoroughly enjoyable. He was a fantastic author to work with!
While I had asked three people in my circle to look over the manuscript and had spent hours polishing the story myself, it wasn’t until Nicky got back to me and said, “I love it, It’s really good,” that I truly felt I had created something worthwhile. I didn’t want to publish for reasons of vanity, I wanted to know I was putting out something worthy of standing on bookshelves. So after Nicky’s encouraging approval and thorough copy edit, I knew it was fit for publication.
I believe that if anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly, and so hiring a professional cover designer and investing in marketing was always a given for me. I was aware that there were sources of professional services out there beyond Reedsy. But, because I had such a positive experience with Nicky, I decided that Reedsy would become my one-stop-shop for publishing my first novel. I went on to hire designer Vanessa Mendozzi, who was also an excellent collaborator, and signed up for Reedsy Discovery — Reedsy’s book marketing tool.
Working with professionals gave me confidence in the quality of my book
For someone feeling his way through the final processes of publication, it was more than useful to find everything I needed in one place and to be confident that I was dealing with experienced professionals. What stood out for me with both Nicky and Vanessa was how efficiently they worked and how rapidly they came up with good, helpful, strong options. At every step of the way, I felt I was collaborating with people who not only had the knowledge I lacked, but also people who were willing to listen to my thoughts and understand my goals. I found that very impressive.
While I, and I’m sure many other authors, did feel tempted at times to rely on my own previous knowledge of editing, I’ve learned over the years that it is crucial to run whatever you intend to publish past the eyes of an experienced editor. Preventing just one mistake from appearing in print makes the expense of employing an editor worth it, in my view. We all make mistakes, and bypassing an editor means you’re gambling on the quality of your finished product. For basic peace of mind, I wouldn’t take that risk.
I would happily return to Reedsy without hesitation and have also recommended the site to people who are also setting out on the journey to becoming published authors.