thinking of self-publishing?

I have helped a variety of authors at different points in their journey, from writing (editing at various levels) to self-publishing (design, ISBN allocation, POD, paper printing). Do have a look at the Editing, Designing and References pages for examples.

How much?

There is no straightforward answer, I’m afraid. You need to be prepared to spend a minimum of £100 for a reader’s report; and a minimum of £500 for a basic proofread or copy edit; and then £30 an hour for designing.

I’ll happily do a sample edit of a page or two to: a) show you how I can help; b) to give me a better idea of what might need doing to give you an accurate quote.

Hope that helps!

More and more of us are trying our hand at writing, whether fact or fiction, fantasy or biography, printed books or ebooks. No matter where you start, or where you end up, there are definite steps that every author has to take between the idea and the reader.

Step 1 is the magic, creative bit and all yours. It is hard work and you need to be dedicated, persistent and keep working at it. It could take years. Just don’t plagiarise or use copyright material.

As Orla Ross, novelist and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, says to indie authors: “Skipping editorial is bad manners to the reader.” At this stage you need to begin seeing yourself as part of a team (can be tough, I know) in order to get your baby out and growing.

What do you want: an edit or a proofread?

  • Development editing, which is a general assessment of whether your hard work is ready for editing. You will get a report on: whether the structure works; if the characters and plot are believable; what it might be worth taking out or making stronger; and, above all, whether a reader would enjoy the experience of your book.
  • Copy editing, when the text is in good shape then it is time for a thorough going over. This is when the language is assessed and oddities, or just plain ‘wrongness’, are amended; when the structure is checked for sense and accuracy. Once the words are right, so that the reader will understand your story, then the document can move on towards formatting, design and publication.
  • Proofreading, which is really a final check of the first design stage, pre-publication. This makes sure that odd spellings haven’t slipped through; that the punctuation is correct; that any styles, formatting and layout are all in the right place.

Step 3 is up to you and your computing skills but a professional designer will know what special things need doing, and what you need to avoid doing (especially if you are going the ebook route).

Step 4 is a minefield of options that keep expanding at the rate the WWW is expanding – plenty of advice will be freely given!

POD, ebook, print; KDP, Ingrams, Gardners – what/who are these and which should you engage with?

Step 5 – reaching out to the reader (or marketing) – doesn’t really belong at the end, it ought to be a sub-part of all the previous steps since you want to be announcing your work in advance, not flogging a horse that’s been a long time out to grass. If you are a social media fan then you’ll already be running those fingers over the keyboard.

ISBNs: why bother?

As ALLi say in their very helpful book Choosing the Best Self-Publishing Companies and Services:

“A good service will always offer you the option of using your own ISBNs and publishing imprint name. Do not let the provider insist you use its assigned ISBN. By doing this, you give up the right to be identified as the publisher of your book. 

There is nothing inherently wrong with using an assigned ISBN from a provider so long as you understand that you, the author, will not be the “publisher of record” and cannot take the edition of your book “as is” to another service, without first changing the book files and logos and reregistering the new edition with your own ISBN and publishing imprint. 

There may also be additional issues with copyright on the cover images used. And you can’t use a CreateSpace ISBN to distribute on Ingram, for example. 

Contact the ISBN issuing agency in your country (Bowker in the US; Nielsen in the UK) to request and purchase a block of ISBNs yourself, before contracting a service.”

Happy to sell you a Shakspeare Editorial ISBN at cost; happy to advise you on purchasing your own.


Shakspeare Editorial does NOT take royalties from your sales; after all, you have paid for the services you need.

Needless to say, I’d love to help you achieve your publication dream (do get in touch) with as few or as many stages as you need (and am happy to handhold/train the less technologically comfortable).

If you are new to this writing lark then it might be worth reading some/all of these books: The Power of Point of View by Alicia Rasley; Show, Don’t Tell is the title of several books on the very important trick of entertaining not lecturing; Structuring Your Novel by KM Weiland; and How Not to Write a Novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Kittelmark.

“Read over your compositions and, wherever you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.”

Samuel Johnson

I love it you have made an excellent job of it thank you.

Tracey Bryant

The Dog Poo Fairy: proofreading, design and production as print and ebook, See her Facebook page

‘The book is great thank you for all your hard work.’

Keith Brown

Mere Kaffir, Available on Amazon

‘Dear Alison, It has been for me a pleasure working with you, I am overwhelmed by the book, so a big Scottish thank you and I will keep in touch.’

Richard Glass

Autobiography, The Long Journey

‘I would like to say thank you for the book and cover. I do not mind admitting that I was a little bit emotional when I saw what you had done; after all the hard work to finally see it looking like a book was fantastic … I would like to say how much I value all the help and support you have given me.’

Andrew Walker

Following The Star, Available on Lulu

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