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The Independent Editor Podcast

Independent editing is a mentorship industry. There is little to no targeted training and an absence of concise, reputable-seeming resources available. Enter: the Independent Editor Podcast. With episodes dropping every other Wednesday, starting October 27, it is our aim to serve as a support for aspiring editors who may be experiencing a crisis of confidence, a community for those that toil alone, and a resource containing detailed and practical direction. Below, we present to you a sampling of what’s coming:

 

Why should you care what we say? To kick things off, we talk about how we each found our way to the industry—and to each other; Stuart tells us how he purposefully waded in while Madison explains the fortuitous manner in which she found herself shoved into the deep end. The stark difference in our paths (and experience levels, with Stuart 20+ years into this whole thing and Madison just three) means we’re able to speak to independent editors across the spectrum. Here, we also get into the changes in traditional publishing which allowed for the flourishing of the independent editing industry.

 

In this episode, we explore the breadth of opportunities that exist for the independent editor by talking our way through a project’s life cycle, covering many of the classic services that can be offered, including: coaching, developmental editing, ghostwriting, cowriting, line editing and ongoing assistance, copy editing, marketplace assistance (for both traditional and self-publishing) and publication support. But what you can do doesn’t stop there; we also discuss the endless possibilities for writers to turn whatever they are good at and like doing involving the written word into an income stream, and the importance of that very diversification.

You cannot be an independent editor without having clients. And so today, we talk about how to source them. They’re out there; it’s up to you to connect with them and sell your services with confidence. Believing that, earnestly networking, and accepting both when leads pan into something great and when they go nowhere are all essential parts of the equation. Which, of course, means you need to be comfortable hearing “no.” Are you ready?

 

When people search you out, what do they find? Are you their person? Your editorial platform is what determines this answer. All parts of your online presence work together to establish your credibility, express your personality, and show your engagement, but the crown jewel of it all is your website. In this episode, we cover both the general guiding principles and the specific building blocks you should consider while constructing your digital home. We also talk about social media’s role in your overall platform, as well as how to decide when the time is right to launch and invest in your editing website.

 

Clients Crushin’ It: Windy Lynn Harris

Windy Lynn Harris does it all. She writes, she edits, she gets published regularly and, better yet, she helps others do the same. And that is why it is no surprise that her book, Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Work Published, is celebrating its fourth publication anniversary with a new printing! It has reached thousands of writers over the years and helped them market their short writing effectively, and now that goodness goes on.

Earlier this month, Madison Utley sat down with Windy to discuss her book’s journey including the origin of the project, how she got it over the finish line, and what it has meant for both its readers and her career.

 

Q: Talk to me about the conception of this project. 

A: The idea actually came from my friendship with Stuart—which, believe it or not, began on LinkedIn. I had read a copy of Blueprint Your Bestseller, his first book, and thought: “Wow, this is really useful.” So when his name popped up as a suggested connection on LinkedIn, I sent him a note that said: “Hey, I just read your book and it was great.” He wrote me back saying, “That’s very nice for you to say. Would you be willing to fill out a survey about it? I’m actually working on book two now and I’d appreciate your insight.” Little did I know that Stuart and I would go on to become critique partners for life. 

But at some point in there, Stuart said to me, “You help people get published all the time. You’ve done so many talks on this. It feels like a big enough idea to be a book.” I wasn’t sure, but he pushed me to write down a table of contents to see if I had enough material. I came up with an outline that was 30 pages long. When I sent it over, he was like, “So yeah, this is a book.” Stuart said he would help me figure it out, and that my next assignment was to actually write some chapters. 

Q: Once you decided to go for it, what did the writing and publishing process look like?

Stuart essentially walked me through the entire process I had read about in Blueprint Your Bestseller to figure out what I was really talking about and what order it should go in. When I was finished with the material, Stuart told me he had a relationship with a certain publisher and asked if I wanted him to make a connection for me. I was like, “Of course!” He did that, and I sold the book. I didn’t have to show it to anyone else. I didn’t have to get an agent. So I think part of success can just be that you’ve got to be in the room. Be a literary citizen. Make connections. When you have a question, ask it. 

As writers, I think we need to be able to recognize when we meet somebody we click with and say, “I understand you’re looking at the world of writing or stories in the same way as me. I think we have something in common. I could use your help and you could use mine.” You have to find your tribe in that way. You need trusted readers to give you the honest feedback that you need to hear. 

Q: Did you think about giving up at any point during this time? 

A: Absolutelyand that came out of fear. It wasn’t because I didn’t have enough material. I worried, “There’s not a lot of value to this. Anybody could figure out how to do it if they took 20 hours of research time. Why would they pay me to consolidate it?” I had to come around and say, “Because they don’t want to take that time. They want to go to one resource and find out exactly how you do this.” It took a while to realize I had a new package to offer that wasn’t somewhere else on the shelf out there, and that it was going to save writers’ time. 

Q: What kinds of responses have you gotten over the past four years? 

A: The response has largely been, “I didn’t realize how easy it was to get my work out there.” It’s really surprising how quickly writers get published once they have the path opened to them. Truly, we can all find the right place for our work. Getting a book published can be like a salmon swimming upstream, yes, but the world of writing short stories and poems and personal essays is completely different. With shorter works, we handle our own projects. And if you market your polished work, you can get it published. It’s just that simple. 

 

Q: What has the publication of this book done for your career?

A: Immediately, it gave me a fantastic platform to meet more people. The credibility of having a published book beside me made it easier to market myself and suddenly doors opened without me even having to ask. It was a complete 180 from me raising my hand above my head to having to turn opportunities down because I was all booked up. 

Q: How do you see your business evolving into the future?

A: My business model is currently changing a bit; I’m doing less traveling and more editing, which is exactly what I eventually wanted to happen. I’m making less time for speaking engagements because my favorite thing to do is the editing work with short story and essay writers, and I have a waitlist of those clients. It seems there are enough of my books out there in the world that people are finding me organically and through word of mouth. 

I’ve also partnered with my author friend Susan Pohlman to host an annual writing retreat. We did our very first last month and it was absolutely wonderful; that’s going to become a focus in the future. We had 14 short story, essay, memoir, and novel writers all together at a lakehouse in Pennsylvania. The retreat provides a getaway for writers to have some relaxation and writing time, but it also facilitates extensive craft discussion and practice, like an MFA course crammed into a long weekend. With our combined experience, Susan and I feel sure we can figure out how to get any project published no matter what it is. And if we don’t know an answer, we’re confident we know somebody who does. And finally, the retreat is a chance to connect with other writers. Like I’ve said from the start of our talk, cultivating community and finding appropriate critique partners is just so important.

Out & About: Two Trains Running

In September’s newsletter, I told you about a project I supported as a developmental editor: Aren’t We Lucky? Stories of Resilience from the InkHouse Community. What I didn’t share is that I was fortunate enough to be invited to contribute an essay of my own to the compilation.

Now it’s a daunting task to be asked to capture the essence of resilience in a 600-word essay, but I had a secret weapon. Because I was privileged to coach each writer featured in the book, what I wrote had the benefit of being inspired by all of them, and wouldn’t have been possible without them.

What I realized, in the end, is this: Resilience is already there inside you. It is more a matter of accessing it. You can believe in other people’s resilience as a reminder to them, maybe, or a placeholder, but you can’t inject it into them any more than you can motivate their blood to pump. It is something we must find our way to ourselves.

It’s not often in the Covid era that we get a chance to read to each other, so I’m excited to share my essay in this form here.

  1. Two Trains Running


The BA Band: Lisa Tener

We’re excited to share that friend of Book Architecture and industry stalwart, Lisa Tener, has launched her new book, The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day.

When the Covid pandemic hit, Lisa’s personal journaling practice expanded as she threw herself into the pursuit with renewed vigor. Her daily writings infused the otherwise largely challenging time with beauty as she experienced rich inner growth and tapped into a new source of free-flowing creativity.

Having rediscovered the power of journaling for herself, both as a healthy processing mechanism in hard times as well as a gateway to previously inaccessible creativity, Lisa felt compelled to spread the wealth. Today, September 22, the fruit of that labor is being presented to the world; a resource created to uplift, spark creativity, and help guide readers towards fulfillment.

The Joy of Writing Journal contains creative and multifaceted prompts to helps users’ get their thoughts onto the page, whether in the form of a blog post, short story, poem, essay, book, or simply as a means to have fun and learn more about themselves. Better yet, the journal is interactive, containing QR codes which, when scanned, link to video and audio-based guidance and inspiration from other writers.

It has been a pleasure to witness Lisa pour her heart into this book, driven by a clear passion to equip others looking to access joy through their creativity with the tools to do so. The journal captures some of Lisa’s most valuable writing advice in a concise, innovative, and fun format. Sound up your alley? Ours too! Grab yourself a copy of The Joy of Writing Journal here