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Old 08-05-2010, 10:08 AM   #1
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Agents and editors and publishers, oh my!

The thought crossed my mind, as I was reading someone's .sig, that we've got a remarkable assortment of professional services available here: we've got freelance editors, an agent or two, several small-press publishers ... all kinds of services, in other words, that an author might want to make use of. The only way to find them, however, is to randomly read threads and check .sigs for useful services listed.

Would it be within the bounds to start a "professional services" thread, probably in the Writers' Corner, preferably stickied, where such people could post a small notice about what they do and how to contact them? On the one hand I'd worry about it attracting spam and hence making more work for the mods, but on the other hand, it would be darn useful to any of us who are, for example, looking for an editor to give our manuscript a good polish before we send it off.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:08 AM   #2
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***Would it be within the bounds to start a "professional services" thread, probably in the Writers' Corner, preferably stickied, where such people could post a small notice about what they do and how to contact them?***

I'm sure it's within the bounds to start such a sticky thread, Worldwalker, but I for one wouldn't be seen dead there. Folks who have to tout editorial and publishing services are most suspect. Legitimate servicers and publishers do not need to go on the knocker. Leave that to retailers and vanity press. Neil
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:26 PM   #3
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So if one needs an editor, the only way to get a good one is to hunt him down and winkle him out of wherever he's hiding? This is going to be harder than I thought!

I'm interested in this because I may, in the mid-term future, need editorial services. (nothing in your line, I'm afraid; it's a rather mundane book about websites) In any event, if I do need such services, I'd like to throw some business the way of a fellow MR member, assuming there's one with the appropriate expertise. Hence my service directory idea.

Ah, well, another one of my bright ideas that's shiny on only one side.
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:06 AM   #4
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Nothing to stop you collating the info yourself ...

similar to the lists that Dreams has created of Authors she likes ....
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:11 AM   #5
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I'm sure it's within the bounds to start such a sticky thread, Worldwalker, but I for one wouldn't be seen dead there. Folks who have to tout editorial and publishing services are most suspect. Legitimate servicers and publishers do not need to go on the knocker. Leave that to retailers and vanity press. Neil
Neil, for once I have to say you wrote something that is way off base. I am an editor and have been one for 26 years now and my signature indicates my company, whose name happens to indicate that it provides editorial services. I would also note that your messages indicate your publishing company (vanity press?)

I put my services in my signature so that people know what I do and when I give editorial advice, hopefully it adds some credibility. Isn't that why you constantly mention BeWrite?

FWIW, it just so happens that I do not need to advertise my services. I have more than enough business to keep several editors employed full-time. Besides, I do not work directly with authors and I do not edit fiction (our specialty areas happen to be medical and education for professionals), so the fact that I do "advertise" my services in my signature is really meaningless here.

I guess what I'm saying is that I take umbrage at the braod sweep of your statement. I, like many of my colleagues, truly are highly skilled and educated and "advertise" so that people know we exist. (Isn't that why you repeatedly mention BeWrite, so that authors know you exist?)
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:16 AM   #6
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So if one needs an editor, the only way to get a good one is to hunt him down and winkle him out of wherever he's hiding? This is going to be harder than I thought!

I'm interested in this because I may, in the mid-term future, need editorial services. (nothing in your line, I'm afraid; it's a rather mundane book about websites) In any event, if I do need such services, I'd like to throw some business the way of a fellow MR member, assuming there's one with the appropriate expertise. Hence my service directory idea.

Ah, well, another one of my bright ideas that's shiny on only one side.
Actually, I think it is a good idea. As with any professional service, you first have to know who offers it and then you have to do your homework before hiring, but it certainly does no harm in asking people to identify what they do. I kinow I had a great deal of difficulty in finding a programmer who could code in VBA because people don't indicate what they do in their signatures on a lot of forums. And who knows how many programmers I simply passed by who would have been glad for the work and a good fit for my needs simply because I didn't know. Knowledge is power and one way to get knowledge is to have someone thrust it at you.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:19 AM   #7
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***if I do need such services, I'd like to throw some business the way of a fellow MR member***

That is a great attitude, Worldwalker, and worthy of you. It also, inadvertently, goes some way to answering Richard's justified criticism of my earlier post (either a misunderstanding on his part or sloppy posting on mine -- I suspect that the fault lies in the latter possibility).

The underlining of the last four words in the italicised extract from your post, by the way, is my uninvited intrusion, but I hope you'll forgive me that because they do perfectly illlustrate the point I wanted to make ... but fluffed.

I'm sorry if I offended you Richard. I certainly did not intend to insult any existing member here.

But let's look again at a couple of things: You signed up to MobileRead in December 2007 and, at this point, have posted well and interestingly a generous 1,289 times, and that this is appreciated is reflected in your good Karma. That, as far as I'm concerned, means without the shadow of doubt that you are an active and valuable member of the community we share.

I know that Rhadin contributes much more to us than merely quietly offering, through a modest link in his signature line, excellent, pro editorial services to MobileRead friends here who would benefit from them.

What I'm concerned about with Worldwalker's suggestion is that it might well attract too many fly-by pedlars who, unlike you, are untried and untested here and whose services may well be of dubious value, who have little or no intention of contributing and who might arrive purely and simply to exploit an attractive, established and pretty target-specific pool of over 50,000 potential clients.

I too carry a link to my own website as a signature line, but I wouldn't expect that link to be taken at all seriously had I come here merely to promote my wee house. That would not be fair play, and I don't feel we should risk badly motivated newcomers by freely providing them with a platform that could so easily be taken advantage of. It's worth mentioning that neither you nor I use a book cover or logo avatar, mine is just me (admitedly a snap from ten years ago) and yours is a cute dog that's probably your own pet.

Back on track: Similarly, I would be highly suspicious of someone in the author-promotion and shameless self-promotion threads who posts in no other threads, accumulates very few posting credits and whose sole purpose seems to be to exploit these forums to tout his or her ebook to a a clearly defined potential customer base. This, again, is not criticism of genuine members who offer their general thoughts and knowledge to the community as a whole as well as -- quite acceptably -- promoting their work.

Again, apologies for seeming to have criticised a fellow MR member in good standing, Richard. It was the last thing on my mind. Perhaps I should have included a phrase like 'present company excepted', because that's exactly what I meant.

Best wishes. Happy weekend. Neil

PS: You are right to point out that I mention BeWrite Books quite often, Richard. But only in the context of discussion within a running thread. As far as I know, I've never sold a book through this site.That's OK because I've never tried to and it wasn't my intention to do so.

I came here to seek advice on a reading device I had teething problems with, and the response was overwhelmingly generous and effective. So, in an early post, by way of thanks, and within the running thread where I'd asked my question and been so warmy answered, I invited members to pop into the bookstore section of our site and let me know of any title/s that catch their eye so that I could send them free of charge.

I've made the same offer many times since if, for instance, a newcomer is having trouble buying contemporary books or his/her location and questions suggest something we have that might suit them. I've quietly sent out hundreds of free books to MR members, as many here know. Many receive free books on a quite reglar basis. I've also freely helped members in other ways. Like your own, promotion is not my reason for coming here by any means.

And nope, we're a million mles from vanity press, Richard. I'm reluctant to say this now because my motive for doing so might be misunderstood; but why not pop into the site and take a look at our 'about' and 'for authors' pages, then go to the bookstore section and let me know of anything that might appeal so that I can send the book/books to you in the available format of your choice to take a look at?

I really am sorry and embarrased to have disturbed you with what I now see could well be seen as an irresponsible post. Very best. N

Last edited by neilmarr; 08-07-2010 at 09:29 AM. Reason: trypos -- darned keyboard is doomed!
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:45 AM   #8
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That's one of the good things about MR: It's easy to tell the difference between someone with 2,514 posts and 14,214 karma, who obviously hangs around and does something useful, and some random schmuck with 3 posts and 10 karma, who's here for nothing but advertising. Look at how things work over in the Flea Market. Who's going to trust some guy who just regged today and his one and only post is selling a ridiculously low-priced iPad? I think most of us have no difficulty telling the real members from the bill-posters and occasional shills.

The author self-promotion section seems to be working out well (except from the point of view of my wallet, anyway!), partly because of the whole post-count/karma system, and partly because books of interest often spawn reviews, discussions, etc. This can work for either the benefit or detriment of the author, depending on if he's Tim Myers and hangs out to chat about his books and writing in general, or he's Karl Klein and insults prospective readers when they point out his entire premise is highly improbable.

By the way, Rhadin, the reason Neil has his company in his .sig is to sell books, him being a publisher and all. Aside from him being a useful fellow in many other respects, his company has some rather good books for sale.
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Old 08-07-2010, 09:41 AM   #9
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You make a good point, Worldwalker. Savvy members who've been around long enough to know what a post count and karma points mean can probably work out for themselves who is a legitimate member, around for long enough for anything he might have to offer commercially to have been checked out by buyers and clients and who is here for a free advertising ride.

I've seen and responded to many posts, though, from newer MR members with less experience asking what karma is all about. I guess in a way, we should all feel responsible for avoiding possible pitfalls for their sake if not for our own.

Apologies again to everyone for opening an unwelcome can o' worms. Cheers. Neil
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:45 AM   #10
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Worldwalker and Neil,

I see nothing wrong with Neil or me including links to our businesses in our signatures. after all, what we do is book related. And I know BeWrite isn't a vanity press; I was trying to point out to Neil -- obviously not successfully -- that based on his post, he would be declaring BeWrite to be a likely vanity press ("Legitimate servicers and publishers do not need to go on the knocker. Leave that to retailers and vanity press.").

Neil, just so you understand, I am not offering my services to individual MR members. If you wanted to hire me privately as an author to edit your manuscript, I would refer you to professionals I know who are very competent. I do not work directly with or for authors; all my work is with publishers. If you were to contact me on behalf of BeWrite, I would then discuss the possibility of working with you. However, even then it is unlikely I would accept any work, and very likely I would refer you to a known colleague, because I do not edit fiction at all, and focus my efforts on books for the professional medical and education markets, which are fairly narrow areas in the scheme of books.

My signature includes my "ads" really for descriptive purposes (of course, I'd love to have everyone subscribe to my blog ) and so that MR members know the perspective from which I post.
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Old 08-08-2010, 04:23 AM   #11
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I understand, Richard. Thanks. No hard feelings, I hope, for sparking a misunderstanding. Very best. Neil
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