Find the Right Editor for Your Book

Finding your Editor

Are you ever curious about editing?


Bryon Quertermous

Oh sure, we all know what editing is, at least as it pertains to our writing. But my experience of editing is probably much different than yours.

Authors published by the Big 5 wonder if they can find the type of editor they’re used to working with if they indie publish their next book. Indie authors wonder how much control they would lose if they signed a contract with a Big 5 publisher. And, of course, new authors wonder how to find the right editor.

Being a naturally curious fellow,  I searched for an editor that could clear some of this up for us. Someone with Big 5 editing experience, who’s now working as a freelancer.

Bryon Quertermous is an editor and an author. His first book, MURDER BOY, is being published March 31st.Murder Boy - Bryon Quertermous

He has over a decade of publishing experience that began in New York with Random House. He spent time spent running Angry Robot Book’s crime fiction imprint as well as working as a freelance editor for New York Times bestselling authors. Books he’s edited have been selected as the best of the year by USA Today and Library Journal among others.

Bryon answers my questions on editing and more in this 52-minute interview, including:  

  • Bryon describes his career in publishing, which included stops at Random House, Angry Robot Books and Carina Press (an imprint of Harlequin) among others.
  • How the indie community supports one another when it comes to information sharing and recommendations for top professionals.
  • An in-depth conversation covering the different types of edits and the importance of each of them, with a focus on Bryon’s specialty, the developmental edit.
  • Byron shares his thoughts on whether or not there is a quantifiable difference between the quality of the editing provided to Big 5 published authors vs. that available to indie published authors.
  • How much should an author be prepared to pay for a developmental edit?
  • Laura Lippman describes Bryon’s new book, MURDER BOY, as a “Dark comedy with a heart.”
  • Bryon describes MURDER BOY and explains why he wanted outside help for the developmental edit of his book.
  • Bryon shares his making it up as he goes along marketing plan, and the way serendipity comes into play when you’re hand selling books to local bookstores.
  • Bryon offers advice to traditionally published authors interested in becoming hybrid authors
  • Bryon offers some surprising advice to first-time authors who will soon be looking for an editor.

Click here to listen to The Author Biz no. 36Links

Bryon’s Website -

Bryon’s book – MURDER BOY

Loren Estleman’s Website

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Using Growth Hacking to Write Faster and Better – With Guest Monica Leonelle

Author Monica Leonelle is the guest in Episode 35 of the author biz

Speed (1)


Do you ever wish you could write faster?

Monica LeonelleMonica Leonelle had freelance writer friends who wrote 3,000 - 4,000 word per hour and she wondered if it was possible for her to hit those speeds.

Many of us have asked the “how can I write faster” question, but Monica didn’t stop there. She set out to test her writing speed limits.

She started tracking, adjusting and compiling different metrics. She normalized her writing processes to track different variables. Then she tried other ways of writing, and before long she hit the speeds her freelancer colleagues were achieving.

Write Better, Faster

Then, even better for us, she wrote about how she did it in her new book, WRITE BETTER, FASTER: How to Triple Your Writing Speed and Write More Every Day.

So, how did she do it? Monica answers those questions and more in this fascinating 52-minute episode.  Here are just a few of the highlights:  

  • Monica discusses her new book, Write Better, Faster: How To Triple Your Writing Speed and Write More Every Day
  • While working as a freelance writer, Monica learned that writing faster meant higher earnings for her business
  • She had friends who were freelance writers who could consistently hit 3,000 to 4,000 words per hour
  • The value of tracking the details of your writing
  • Using the Pomodoro method to normalize writing sessions allowed her to track more details about time spent writing
  • Occasionally using dictation allowed her to increase her words per minute and improve her health
  • A discussion of the importance of preparation to writing speed
  • Monica describes her four-step preparation process
  • She shares details of her two-month challenge to teach herself to write faster
  • Monica explains her dictation process. She uses Dragon Dictate for dictation and an AT2020 microphone to get the best accuracy.
  • The importance of being able to recognize when you’re trying to do too much
  • Monica shares three things we can do, beginning today, that will increase our writing speed.
  • Write Better, Faster: How To Triple Your Writing Speed and Write More Every Day is the first in a series she’s writing called, “Growth Hacking for Writers.” You can get more information on the series by signing up for her email list at


Monica’s Prose on Fire website

Monica’s Guest Post at The Write Life

Monica’s original post on writing faster

Monica’s Growth Hacking for Writers Series

Monica’s Amazon author page.

Click here to listen to The Author Biz no. 35

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How a First Time Novelist Used Silicon Valley Tactics to Launch his Book – With Chris Fox

How a First Time Novelist Used Silicon

Author Chris Fox is the guest on Episode 34 of The Author Biz Podcast.

Chris Fox

Chris Fox

Today’s guest, Chris Fox, is an author who also works as a software engineer for a Silicon Valley startup. That’s a world where careful planning, big thinking and being able to adapt are critical to businesses success.

Chris brought that type of thinking to his author business while writing his first book, NO SUCH THING AS WEREWOLVES.  He identified his “ideal reader” in great detail, and learned what he needed to do to reach that reader.

No Such Thing as WerewolvesWhen he launched his book he wasn’t satisfied with the results he was getting so he adapted, tracked the new results, kept what was working and dropped what wasn’t.  The net result is that five months after the release of his only full-length novel (the next will be released in April) his book still ranks in the top twenty of three different Amazon categories.

As you’ll hear in the interview Chris also produced an audio version of the book and the results of that effort have been nothing short of amazing.

In this 49-minute episode, we take a deep dive into author marketing and audiobooks  covering topics like:

  • Chris gives us an overview of the first book in his Deathless series, NO SUCH THING AS WEREWOLVES.
  • Chris works in the startup technology world of Silicon Valley and thinks of writing and marketing his books as running a startup business.
  • Chris identified an author who is achieving great success in his genre and studied his work and business tactics, prior to launching his own author business.
  • Chris describes the initial marketing plan for his first book.
  • The creation of “Mythical Bob,” the target reader Chris was hoping to attract with his book.
  • Chris breaks his marketing plan into two categories - active and passive.
  • The one small keyword change that doubled sales of NO SUCH THING AS WEREWOLVES overnight.
  • Amazon maintains a list of keywords that will get a book into specific categories.
  • Why Chris chose to be brief with his book description at Amazon, instead of using the entire 4,000 characters available to authors.
  • The value of choosing an evocative title for your book
  • Chris has built a street team to help with user engagement, reader feedback and discoverability.
  • Chris’s next book, NO MERE ZOMBIE, the second in his Deathless series, is scheduled for an April release. He explains what he’ll do differently with the launch of his second full-length novel.
  • Chris hired an author’s assistant to help with the launch of his second book. He explains why and how he found his assistant.
  • Chris has experienced tremendous success with the audio version of his book and suggests Audio Books for Indies, by Simon Whistler to authors interested in producing audio versions of their books.
  • How the Audible algorithm helped fuel the sales of Chris’s audiobook.
  • Chris chose to pay his narrator in full rather than doing the Audible royalty split. He explains why and how that decision has worked out.


Chris’s author website

Chris’s Amazon Author Page

Simon Whistler’s  Audiobooks for Indies

Kindle Boards website

Click here to listen to The Author Biz no. 34

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Building a Solid Foundation for Your Author Business, with Helen Sedwick

Building A Solid Foundation

Helen Sedwick is the guest for Episode 33 of The Author Biz Podcast.

Helen Sedwick

Helen Sedwick

Should you incorporate your author business? How important is record keeping? Do you need a Federal ID number? What should you pay the most attention to when reviewing contracts? What is a copyright and what do I need to do to get one?

For these types of questions, there’s no better person to ask than Helen Sedwick. She’s a business attorney with over 30 years of experience, and the author of what Publisher’s Weekly calls one of the Top Five Resource Books for Indie Authors, THE SELF-PUBLISHER’S LEGAL HANDBOOK.Self Publishers Legal Handbook

Helen believes the best time for writers to ask these foundational questions is when they’re getting started, but no matter where you are with your author business this is essential information.

In this 55-minute episode, we take a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of your author business, covering topics like:   (more…)

Why Blogging Helps Build Author Platforms – with Robin Houghton

Should Authors

Robin Houghton is the guest for Episode 32 of The Author Biz Podcast.

RobinHoughton 042-gs 2

Robin Houghton

If you’re an author in today’s world, you’re faced with the blogging question. Should I blog or shouldn’t I?

As you may have already guessed, today’s show is all about author blogging. While we may not be able to answer the “should I or shouldn’t I be blogging” question, we will explain why it can help you grow your audience and expand your author platform.

Today’s guest is Robin Houghton, the author of BLOGGING FOR WRITERS. She has over two decades of experience in marketing and communication, and she’s been running her own business, Eggbox Marketing, since 2002. Robin now works primarily with writers and publishing industry professionals to help them make the best use of social media.

In this 62-minute episode, we take a deep dive into author blogging, covering topics like:  

  • An overview of BLOGGING FOR WRITERS Blogging for Writers
  • The benefits and drawbacks of the three major blogging platforms
  • Robin answers the ‘why should authors blog’ question
  • Blogging offers an author the opportunity to control the top results readers (and others) will see when searching for you.
  • Blogging can improve your writing
  • There are numerous objectives authors can reach through blogging
  • Determining your blogging persona as part of your planning process
  • The value of your author blog increases over time, with the addition of new, timely, relevant, and interesting content.
  • The value of your blog is the content, not the look and feel of your site.
  • The steps and the costs involved in setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog
  • The significance of maintaining an editorial calendar for your blog
  • Don’t think of blogging as broadcasting your message to the world. Instead, think of it as building your audience, one person at a time.
  • The benefits of being a member of the blogging community
  • Robin explains how blogging helps author sites rank better in Google and other search engines.
  • The value of analytics to author bloggers
  • What analytical metrics should authors focus on?
  • The importance of adding a media page to your author website / blog
  • Robin shares some advance information on her next book, THE GOLDEN RULES OF BLOGGING (& When to Break Them).


Click here to listen to The Author Biz no. 32

Creative Commons image by Edar.

Nicole Lapin and Her Unconventional Book Launch

The Unconventional Book Launch

Author and financial journalist, Nicole Lapin is the guest for Episode 31 of The Author Biz Podcast.

Nicole Lapin

Nicole Lapin

Think for a minute about your last book launch. Did you have a strategy for the launch or did you rely on your publisher? Was your launch unique, or did you follow a path you’ve seen used by other authors? How much time and effort went into the launch of your last book?

For some authors, book launches are an artifact of the old world of publishing, something difficult to justify, with a limited, or even negative return on investment.

But for others a book launch is a tool for achieving the goals they’ve set for their book.

My guest in this episode, Nicole Lapin, was the youngest anchor ever at both CNN and CNBC. She’s a believer in setting big goals and doing the work it takes to achieve them.

Rich Bitch CoverWhen she wrote RICH BITCH, A Simple 12-Step Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together, she didn’t sit back and let her publisher decide how to market the book. Instead, she reached out to experts - people who have written hugely successful books for advice on launching her work.

In this 46-minute episode, we’ll discuss Nicole’s educational and highly entertaining book, and then we’ll dig into her unconventional launch plan. Interview highlights include:  

  • Nicole shares the genesis behind RICH BITCH, a plain English, no holds barred book of financial advice, which is both highly educational and entertaining.
  • Nicole spent years as a financial journalist at places like CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, and NBC. Every story she covered came down to money.
  • Money becomes more interesting when it’s not compartmentalized.
  • The value of goal settings in everything we do.
  • The value of being able to articulate the work we do and what we want to accomplish with that work.
  • The Unconventional Launch Plan for Nicole’s Book
  • Nicole defies conventional wisdom, both in her book and with the way she’s launching her book.
  • The lead up to the book launch was one of the hardest things Nicole has ever done.
  • Reaching out to others who had launched books directly onto the New York Times bestseller list and using that advice to put together her own marketing, promotion and media strategies.
  • Putting together a team to help with the book launch.
  • Nicole decided against the traditional book tour after weighing the return on investment (ROI) a tour would bring.
  • Nicole identified the reading audience for her book and is doing targeted events with groups who already reach that audience.
  • Nicole is using “list and influencer arbitrage” to help launch her book.
  • Nicole spent her own money (and time) hiring strategists, a traditional PR firm, and a social media PR firm to help her reach her goals for the book, which are: 1.) Hit the New York Times Bestseller List on week one, 2.) Create a meaningful conversation that goes beyond the book launch, 3.) Create a sustaining platform for herself and her mission.
  • Using King Sumo to run a contest to grow social media followers prior to a launch.
  • Nicole created a free e-book, THE RICH BITCH GUIDE TO LOVE AND MONEY, to drive interest in RICH BITCH, and as a post-launch marketing tool.
  • Nicole’s use of memes on social media to indirectly drive interest in her book.
  • The value of offline, targeted events to create value for potential readers.
  • Leaving a job to start an author (or any other) business can be scary. Nicole offers some advice for those considering making the leap.


Nicole’s Website

Click here to listen to The Author Biz no. 31

Turning Away from Big 5 Publishing, with Harry Bingham

Turning Away Bestselling Author Harry Bingham is the guest for Episode 30 of The Author Biz Podcast.


Imagine you’re the best-selling author of a highly regarded crime fiction series published by one of the world’s largest publishers, and you notice that most of the sales of your novels are as e-books. When it came time to negotiate the next contract with your publisher what would you do?

Harry Bingham

Harry Bingham

My guest today is Harry Bingham. He’s been an author for 15 years, and in that time he’s had two agents, four publishers, seven editors and 13 books. That’s another way of saying he’s been around the block as a traditionally published author.

As you’ll hear in the interview, Harry saw how his Fiona Griffiths crime fiction series was being marketed and sold in the United States and suggested a change to the ebook royalties from his big 5 publisher. They disagreed, and Harry made the remarkable decision to walk away from a publisher that he enjoyed working with, and one he felt was doing a good job with his books. He chose to self-publish his most recent book, THE STRANGE DEATH OF FIONA GRIFFITHS in the United States.Strange Death

Harry joins The Author Biz to explain why he walked away from his US publisher and the opportunities he sees available to authors today in what he calls the fourth era of publishing.

In this 45-minute episode Harry and I discuss: 

  • The writing style that goes into making the Fiona Griffiths series so unique
  • The response to Harry’s guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog, Why
    Authors Walk Away from Good, Big 5 Publishers
  • The hardcover pricing dilemma facing authors who don’t automatically jump to the top of best-seller lists
  • Harry’s solution to the hardcover pricing dilemma
  • Why Harry publicly shares his sales, advance and royalty numbers
  • Harry’s thoughts on the print market for crime fiction in today’s world
  • The four eras of publishing
  • Transitioning a series from traditional publishing to independent publishing without owning the backlist
  • Harry set up his author website, by himself in an afternoon
  • His thoughts on the Amazon pre-order feature for authors
  • Harry explains why he purchased a Kirkus review
  • Is it possible to get big 5 quality editing done outside of big publishing?
  • Why Harry launched The Writers Workshop over a decade ago
  • The process and the prices for formatting and cover design for The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths
  • Harry’s thoughts on the inherent advantages Indie publishers have when it comes to pricing and audience connection


Harry’s Author website, his Amazon Author Page, his Big Publishing and Me blog Series and the sites for his two businesses, The Writers Workshop and Agent Hunter .

Click here to listen to The Author Biz no. 30

How to Change the Default Fonts and Line Spacing in Scrivener for Mac

I’ve been a Scrivener user for a little over a year now, and I’m on the learn what you need to know, when you need to know it, education plan.  I started a new project this morning with several short scenes and realized I needed to reset the line spacing and font size each time I added a new scene. After the 4th scene, I’d had enough and set about trying to find a solution.

I assumed there would be some sort of project default, so I worked my way through the menus trying to find it.  Nothing.

Okay, maybe there’s a way to reset the global defaults.  It wasn’t super intuitive, but I eventually found the solution.

The solution

Here’s how to change the global defaults for font size and line spacing in Scrivener for the Mac:

1.  Set up the correct font, font size and line spacing in the scene (editor) you’re currently using.

2.  Go to Scrivener, and then Preferences.

Scrivener Preferences Screen Shot


3.Look along the top menu of the Preferences panel for the big A (formatting) and click it.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 10.56.52 AM

4.  Click the button to “Use Formatting in Current Editor.” (Note - If this is grayed out please check to be sure you are in the correct editor - See the comment below from Kristen Elise for more details. Thanks, Kristen)

Click the button causes Scrivener to use the formatting that you’ve preset in step one as the global default for everything in Scrivener.

Now . . . back to my open project!

How to Find the Right Agent for your Book – With Anne Hawkins

Find your Agent

Literary agent Anne Hawkins is the guest for Episode 29 of The Author Biz Podcast.

Do you have an agent? Do you have the right agent?

If so you already know how valuable your agent can be to your author business.  But if you don’t, this episode is for you.

Anne Hawkins

Anne Hawkins

Literary agent Anne Hawkins represents bestselling authors across multiple genres, from mysteries and thrillers to literary fiction and even non-fiction. Her clients include New York Times bestselling authors, Tasha AlexanderTaylor Stevens and Miranda Beverly-Whittemore.

Anne works for the John Hawkins and Associates Literary Agency, a New York firm with a long history in the publishing business. Through the years, the firm has been the agent of record for authors like William James, Jack London, P.G. Wodehouse, James Clavell, Alex Haley and other literary stars.

In this 58-minute episode, we take a deep dive into the literary representation end of the publishing business, covering topics like:

    • The History of the John Hawkins and Associates Literary Agency, which dates back to 1893.
    • Anne’s clients range from best sellers in mysteries and thrillers to history, politics and even nature and the outdoors.
    • Where literary agents fit into the publishing process.
    • An in-depth discussion of how to find the right agent for your work.
    • The importance of having an agent that both understands your work and knows your genre.
    • The many reasons why an agent might not be interested in your book that have nothing to do with the book, itself.
    • A step-by-step guide for querying agents that will give authors the best possible chance to find the right agent.
    • How much follow up should you do when querying agents?
    • What should an author understand about an agent before agreeing to representation?
    • Should an agent’s membership in the Association of Author’s Representatives (AAR) be an important factor when an author selects an agent?
    • Anne describes the process of submitting manuscripts to different publishers.
    • Anne walks us through the different rights the agent negotiates before a publishing contract is signed.
    • The importance of carefully negotiating the terms of the option book.

Click here to listen to The Author Biz no. 29

My Favorite Books of January

How is your To Be Read list looking? Is it anything like mine? Does it have 4 to 5 times the number of books on it than you’ll ever be able to read? Too many books, too little time, right? There are far worse problems to have in life.

January was a tough month for my TBR list. I didn’t get nearly as much reading done as I normally do, and some health challenges with my mother kept me focused on books that were more entertaining than thrilling.

I found myself starting and not finishing a number of books in January. Some just weren’t that good, but a number of them just weren’t right at the time, so they stay on the TBR list.

In the past, I took great pride in finishing the books I started, but as my TBR list expanded I was forced to reset my expectations. As one author friend told me, life’s too short to read books that don’t keep you turning the pages.

Among the books I finished in January, these are my favorites:

SILENCE IS GOLDEN - (Pet Psychic Mystery #3) by Shannon Esposito

Esposito-Silence-Is-Golden-EBOOK-smallI had the opportunity to meet the charming Shannon Esposito at Sleuthfest last year. Her books aren’t the type I normally read, but when I saw the first in her Pet Psychic Series (KARMA’S A BITCH) on sale in early December I snapped it up.

The series takes place in sun-drenched St. Petersburgh, Florida, and features Pet Psychic, Darwin Winters, her business, Darwin’s Pet Boutique and a cast of characters that are richly developed and very entertaining.

These are light-hearted, fun stories and SILENCE IS GOLDEN, the third, and most recent in the series, was every bit as enjoyable as the first two. I think I’m a little bit in love with Darwin and desperately want to shop in her boutique. Highly recommended for those who enjoy sun-splashed cozy mysteries.


Ting-A-LingLAST SHOT (Dev Haskell series #6) by Mike Faricy
TING-A-LING (Dev Haskell series #7) by Mike Faricy

I came to this series through a free short story by Mike Faricy in November. I read the short story, loved it, and dove into the Dev Haskell mysteries beginning with book one.

Imagine Jim Rockford, in Minnesota, with a drinking problem, and you may get a sense of Dev Haskell. He’s a private eye with a heart (sort of) and his own (somewhat warped) sense of honor and duty.  It must also be said he’s not the sharpest tool in the drawer.

These books are like potato chips, they’re good, they’re easy to consume, and as soon as you finish one you want to have another. Reading these books won’t make you a better person, but they will keep you entertained. I’m really enjoying the series.

Early ConundrumsThe REALLY BIG KA-BOOM (January - Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine) A Spade/Paladin Conundrum by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I love short mysteries and subscribe to both Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine so I’ll have access some of the best in the genre.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch is a prolific writer who turns out some wonderful short fiction. The Spade/Paladin series features an elfin female detective and her sidekick, a lovable, overweight geek, who retired early from Microsoft and now spends his time pursuing his passion for science fiction conventions. He worships the ground Spade walks on, and the relationship between the two is priceless.

If you like short mysteries I highly recommend this series, the first five of which have been packaged by the author as THE EARLY CONUNDRUMS: A Spade/Paladin Collection.

PoirotHERCULE POIROT: The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie

This incredible collection contains all of Agatha Christie’s short stories featuring Hercule Poirot.

I came to these stories far later in life than I should have, after getting hooked on the PBS series featuring the dapper, mustache-twirling Belgian detective.  The collection contains over 50 bite sized Hercule Poirot mysteries. Now, if only someone would do the same for the Nero Wolfe short stories.

Dead AnywayDEAD ANYWAY (Arthur Cathcart Mystery) by Chris Knopf

I’m a big fan of Chris Knopf’s writing, especially the Sam Acquillo series. DEAD ANYWAY is the first book of a new series with an interesting twist. The protagonist, Arthur Cathcart, and his wife are shot early in the book. Arthur’s wife is killed, but Arthur survives, recovers.  That’s where things get interesting.

Arthur decides to remain dead and to create several new identities for himself so he can uncover the reason for his wife’s murder and exact his revenge.

DEAD ANYWAY is a marvelous story packed with interesting technical details as Authur goes about recreating himself and solving the crime.

Rich BitchRICH BITCH by Nicole Lapin

I read a galley of this book to prepare for an interview with Nicole Lapin. (The interview goes live on February 24th) It’s a non-fiction book of financial advice targeted to women between 25 - 40.

RICH BITCH is one of the best personal finance books I’ve read in years, rivaling my all time favorite, The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need. (Written by Andrew Tobias, way back in 1978.)

Unlike most of the dry, detail-filled books that populate the personal finance genre, Nicole’s book is written in plain English, using language and anecdotes that will appeal to younger women.

So how about you?  What have you read lately that you’ve loved? Anything to recommend?  Let us know in the comments.


Standard Buzzkill disclaimer - The links to specific books on are affiliate links. If you purchase the books after clicking the links I will earn a small commission, but you will pay nothing more for the books.