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Split costs; split profits. Editor's Notes #144
April 30, 2013

As a novelist, I tell stories and people give me money. Then financial planners tell me stories and I give them money.
--Martin Cruz Smith

In this issue:

1. Split costs; split profits
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site

1. Split costs; split profits
"I've written a very important book. No publisher will take it, but if you read it, I know you will see its value. I don't have any money to spend on editing, so I want to offer you a great deal. You edit the book for nothing, and then when it sells millions, you will get a big percentage of the profits."

I get a version of this message more often than you might think. I always decline. Here's why.

First, let's set aside the fact that if a publisher, who knows the market much better than I do, isn't leaping at the book, I would be foolish to do so. And I'm saying that as someone whose own book was turned down by a publisher I was certain would take it. I still think the publisher blew that one. Without any help from the establishment, I've sold thousands of copies. So, why won't I work on the books of others for a cut of the profits?

In the case of my own book, I knew the market, and I knew how to reach it. I knew how much effort I would have to put in, and I was dedicated to doing whatever I had to do to sell books.

I think of this as similar to selling a house. If I wanted to sell my house, I would have to put some work into it to make it more appealing. My lawn certainly needs work, and the interior needs paint. Would a landscaper and a painter work on my property for a cut of the sale of my house? I can't think of one who would. Those tradespeople are experts in what they do. They are not property developers or real estate agents. They have no control over whether the house will even make it onto the market. Once the lawn is fixed and there is new paint on the walls, I might decide not to sell after all.

I am an editor, not an agent or publisher. I am certainly not a professional marketer. I have no control over what any writer does with a book once I send it back.

I spend my time doing the part I'm good at: fixing the words. After that, the book is back in the hands of the author.

I don't ever think that the person who asks me to share the cost and the profit is trying to scam me. I believe people who make such requests are simply trying to get what they need without saving up for it first.

Self-publishing is an expensive business. The author bears all the cost. Then, if the book really is terrific and the author is a brilliant marketer, the author stands to make back the costs and maybe even more.

When I began editing, most editors would not work with self-publishing writers. From the beginning, I was happy to help other writers fulfill their dreams of having their own book in their hands. My sample edit gives you an idea of what work your writing might need and exactly what it would cost. Learn more at


2.Tickled my funnybone
The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.


3. Interesting Web site
We all have financial challenges. Some tips on this site might be of help.

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