This week James talks to bestseller Suzy K Quinn and editor Adam Strange from Kevin Anderson & Associates, who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on editing to the show.

Show Notes

– Vinci Books are recruiting contact [email protected] for more information
– James gives useful SPS Live 2024 information
– Please contact [email protected] with any accessibility requests or questions.
– Kevin Anderson & Associates ghost writing and editorial agency, Adam and Suzy give us the skinny
– What KA&A can offer on an editorial basis
– Advice for new authors and how to strategise
– Adam talks through the editorial process

Resources mentioned in this episode:


PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page


Speaker 1 (00:03):
Publishing is changing. No more gatekeepers, no more barriers, no one standing between you and your readers. This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch (00:19):
Hello and welcome to the Self-Publishing Show with me, James Blach. Happy Friday to you. If you're listening to this on release day, if you're watching it on YouTube, I apologise for my sweaty appearance. I have just been for a run. It's busy time. I need to record the podcast and then maybe even have some dinner, a little insight into my day. So why is it so busy at the moment? We've got our conference bearing down on top of us three weeks away from where I'm sitting now. Vinci Books is crazy busy at the moment, which brings me on to my first at all point to mention today, which is that Vinci Books is recruiting. We're looking for somebody to work, basically an indie author who knows the indie world inside out and can join the team, somebody who can add a bit of rocket power to our marketing effort.
But principally you'll be looking after the bookshelf, getting books online, uploaded to KDP, organising blurbs, organising keyword research, doing some keyword research and all that stuff. And you need to be familiar, I think with the environment with, so if I say book funnel, you know what I'm talking about, which I know is most of you listen to this. So it is a full-time position. We are looking for somebody most likely based in the UK at first anyway. I suppose there's a possibility if we split the job in two and did two part-time and somebody could be in the States. So maybe we won't rule that out. But anyway, we're looking for the right person. That's the key thing for us. We're going to be a growing company. There is investments in the company, there's a team now, authors are coming on board and we're wanting to focus.
I want to focus on the digital advertising side, and at the moment I'm spending a lot of time uploading books to Amazon and organising the transfer of titles. So that's the key job that you'll be doing when you come in, should you be interested in that? If you are interested in it, we've got a PDF. We can send out to you with a lot more detail than I've gone into here. Find out if it's the right fit for you. If you just drop an email to Jed dot cope, COPE, [email protected], Jed will send out the PDF and maybe we'll have a chat in the near future. Okay? Yes. The other thing happening at the moment is we have a course launch at the moment. So launchpad is open probably for the last time this year, to be honest. The way things are going, I'm just so busy at the moment and we need to make sure that the students who have been enrolling and lots of people have been in the last couple of weeks, that they are seen through the course properly.
So launchpad is your foundation course, get everything in place, handhold you through the complex process of mail, list funnels and formatting and everything else, all the way to running your first ads to sell your book, and that is available at You have until Wednesday midnight to sign up and then that closes, like I say, for the rest of the year until 2025. So Wednesday midnight on that front. Now the show, I'm going to talk a little bit about the logistics of the show. I know not everyone listening to this is coming to the show, but lots of you are. So for those of you who are coming, I'm going to tell you a little bit about how it's going to work. And if you're still on the shelf, on the shelf, not on the shelf, you're not on the shelf, you're on the fence.
If you're still on the fence about coming, there is another deadline you need to be aware of. We are going to stop selling tickets on the 21st of June. So that is deadline day, which allows us then to organise with the accurate numbers for the actual conference. So 21st of June is the last day. You will have to buy a ticket to SPF Live if there's SPSL, if there are some tickets available, it should be at the moment, but can't guarantee it. But 21st will be deadline day. And of course if you want to buy a ticket, it's So what's going to be happening? Well, first of all, it is taking place at the South Bank Centre, the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London's South Bank, which is sort of diagonally opposite the Houses of Parliament. It's with an easy walking distance of Covent Garden, of soho, of the west end of Trafalgar Square and all those places.
It's an absolutely fantastic location. It's a really vibrant part of London now. Lots of street food and all that stuff going on, and lots of coffee shops and bars there as well. So you won't run out of places to go and a really, really nice venue. We love the venue. It's a single track, so there'll be no choices about going see this session against that session. Everyone's going to be in the same room at the same time listening to the same thing, which is unique to our conference I think. And something I really like about it, doors will open at 8:00 AM on the 25th. That's Tuesday, the 25th of June. That'll be the earliest entry. We'll get going about nine 15 I think. So you've got a bit of time to arrive. The first day we'll finish at five 15, but then we have the party, the Self-Publishing Party.
So that is going to be in the evening from 7:00 PM until I think it's 11, we get thrown out. Buster Birch provided the music, the fantastic band hopefully won't call me up to dance, not to dance, to sing like they did last year. Well, didn't turn out to be too bad, and I've had a couple of drinks at that point, so it's probably okay. I might try and nominate someone else this year if you were there, you're not what I'm talking about. So that is day one to the party in the evening. Hopefully it'll be warm. We've not had a great year so far, sunwise. We had a nice warm sunny day yesterday, but they're few and far between 'em. But hopefully in three weeks time it's middle of June, Wimbledon will be going. We will have a nice sunny evening so we can stand outside.
We should also mention if you are English or Scottish, you may be interested in the Euros are taking place at the time, and that's the European Football Championship. So soccer to our American friends, England are involved in it. It is the Final England Group game that evening, I think at 8:00 PM So we are going to put some screens on. Hopefully England will have done enough at that point to have qualified for the knockout stage of the tournament, but just in case it's a Nailbiting game, there will be screens there so you won't miss the game in the evening as well. Okay, that's day one, day two, Wednesday the 26th of June. Registration opens at 8:15 AM and the conference closes at four 40, which gives us enough time to clear out quite strict deadlines on our contract there. So we do need to clear out on time what do you need to bring with you?
The only thing you really need to bring with you is a QR code. We have a little grab bag, you got a little tote bag. I don't think I've got any here. I have an old one from last year somewhere. But you've got a tote bag. There'll be a pad in there and a pen. I think you can make some notes so you don't need to bring too much with you, but your QR code, which if you've got a ticket already, you should have emailed to you, but you can log into your account at reox to get that. If you haven't bought your ticket yet, don't worry. All of this will become clear once you buy your ticket. Who's going to be at the show? We've talked about some of the guests in the past. So let me remind you, El James and Lucy Score will be there looking forward, very much to chatting to them.
I've been in touch with them this week about how that session's going to go. We are definitely going to ask them about story ideas and plotting and structure and inspiration and writing. Do these Scrivener, whatever, as well as lots of other authors. And it won't just be those big six, seven figures, seven figure authors, maybe even more than that. Many, many figure authors, El James and Lucy score. It won't just be at the top end, although that's really brilliant to hear from them. It'll also be authors who make 50, 60, 70,000 pounds a year dollars enough to quit their nine to five, and that's a really important area. So there'll be a panel specifically on that organised by Amazon, and I think that will be of great interest to us as well to learn from them. We'd also have people like Steve Hicks and Craig Martel and lots of inspiration, lots of actionable insights.
That's what we go for all the time. A lot of focus on audio this year as well. I'm going to be talking about ai, my pet subject. You can get the UpToDate timing and schedule and lots of other things at our FAQ page, which is learn self-publishing dot com slash sps FAQ or one word, not really a word. Learn self faq. Now, in addition to the speakers on stage, there's also going to be an opportunity to meet some of the service providers who provide things that we use in our everyday Author lives. So you've probably used a lot of these services already, in which case you can go and meet the people behind them. And if you don't use them yet, you might want to have a chat with people and find out what their services are and whether it's something you might end up using.
So here is a full list of the service providers who are going to be there. Amazon, KDP of course are going to be there along with Audible, a CX Pro writing aid, read Z Google Books, drafted Digital, digital Authors Toolkit, book Funnel, veem, publish Drive, book Vault, BookBub, find a Way, voices by Spotify, dly Pocket fm, wf, Howells, written Word, media, merch Jar, Google as in Google Play, and Kevin Anderson and Associates more about them in just a moment. And of course, learn Self-Publishing will be there as well. You can learn about our courses and there will be a sneaky little discount for people who have turned up to the conference if they want to buy a course while we're there. I also want to say a huge thank you to Podium Audio who I don't think it'll be there in person, but they are part of the service side of the conference and they've helped on the conference.
Frankly. It's what we do with our service providers. They will muck in with sponsorship and that enables us to stage the conference on the grand scale that it takes place. So yeah, go and have a chat with those people. Merch Jar, who are the last people in to have a physical presence at the conference are going to be at the party, which seems very appropriate. If you know Scott from Merch Jar, Cameron Rather, I should say Cameron Scott, Scott, I always get confused when it's two first names. Cameron, I've hung out in various places with Cameron and he's a super nice guy and I think him being at the party with Little Stand by himself will be perfect. So please go and speak to Cameron from Merch Jar. And by the way, I'm a big fan of Merch Jar. If you're running Amazon ads, you need to have a conversation with Cameron Scott, I promise you, you won't regret it.
Okay, if you're still to get tickets, I've given away that link already. SPS Live Food, refreshments, coats, accessibility. There's brilliant array of good coffee and good beer and good drinking and good food all around South Bank, just outside the front door of the venue. So don't worry about that. Of course we will provide tea and coffee and stuff, but if you're like me and a bit snobby, you might want to go outside to get a nice cappuccino rather than the coffee in the foyer, but it will be there free of charge in there. Of course, there's even a clo from available, so if you do bring some stuff and you want to drop off a bag or a coat, a small bag or a coat, you can do that as well. You don't have to lug it around all day. If you've got any accessibility requests would be really good to hear from you in advance.
And obviously it's an accessible venue, it's just good for us to plan and to make sure that somebody there waiting for you knows or knows what sort of parts of the accessibility accoutrement are going to be used. So you can drop us a line at support self publishing That would be great. And finally, we want the show to be self and safe and welcoming, I should say. And so there will be plenty of people there who can make sure that happens or if you've got any issues, we'll help you deal with that. They'll be wearing bright yellow and they love those T-shirts, believe me. Okay, so that is it. We'll be standing on the Bank of the Thames looking out towards the Houses of Parliament before you know it in the middle of that show, it's going to be a special one this year.
I can't wait to see you there and do come and say hello to me if you think you're shy or I'm unapproachable. I'm not. I'm very approachable. It's a bit like your wedding day for the organisers on these events. It all goes by in a blur, but that is no reason for not saying hello to me. So it'd be lovely to talk to you. Okay, I told you I was going to say something a little bit more about Kevin Anderson Associates. If you dunno who they are, you might have recognised a lot of those other names from the list of service providers, but Kevin Anderson and Associates is an editing agency effectively to get a bank of editors and book coaches who can help you write your book and get it from your draught to publication point. Kevin Anderson, not to be confused with the brilliant Sci-Fi writer Kevin J. Anderson. It's an American company that has a UK presence that's being headed up by Susie k Quinn and Adam Strange, and they are our guests today. So we're going to talk to Susie and Adam a bit about editing, a bit about their service and a bit about the whole approach to editing that we should be following. They're going to be at the conference as well, of course, as I said. But let's hear from them now and then I should be back for a quick chat at the end of the interview.
Speaker 1 (13:15):
This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer,
James Blatch (13:21):
Adam Strange. Susie k Quinn from Kevin Anderson and Associates. Is that right? Or is it Kevin Anderson Associates and Associates.
Suzy K Quinn (13:30):
James Blatch (13:31):
Are you the associates?
Suzy K Quinn (13:33):
I believe we are. I believe we are the associates.
James Blatch (13:35):
Two of many, two of many. And we should say, because it confused me at first, unrelated to Kevin Anderson, the Sci-fi writer whose books I read as a kid and met at 20 books a couple of years ago. Not the same Kevin Anderson,
Suzy K Quinn (13:48):
Not the same. Kevin Anderson?
James Blatch (13:50):
No, he's busy working on June projects at the moment. Okay. Look, we're going to be talking a bit about who you are, what services you offer, but also I'd love to talk a bit about storytelling. So I know both of you, this is your area you have a lot of experience in, but who wants to go first and tell me about KA and a,
Suzy K Quinn (14:08):
Oh, should I go first? Adam, what do you think?
James Blatch (14:10):
Why not? Go for it.
Suzy K Quinn (14:12):
Ka and a, which is really hard to say, isn't it? I struggle with that. I think our American friends chops off the tongue a bit easier. So Kevin Anderson and Associates we're a ghost writing and editorial agency, so they're a big agency in the States. They take on really successful publishing editors like Adam, and they've got a huge team in the states and they're doing very, very well. So we're opening up their London office, which is the model is basically bringing in really good talent from publishing and opening it up so anyone can access that talent. So basically, whereas before, the only way to access Adam would've been to get publishing contract, which is not always, and it's not always about whether it's easy to get either. It's just about the competition and only so many spaces. Fred's time now with Kevin Anderson, anyone is able to hire New York Times bestselling or Sunday Times bestselling editor for their manuscripts. And we also do ghostwriting, but that's probably less interesting to your authors.
James Blatch (15:14):
I dunno. Some of them are very busy. They've always do a bit of help knocking out another series. So effectively it's a marketplace for editorial talent.
Suzy K Quinn (15:24):
Yes, that would make sense. But it's all in-house, so we don't do any freelancing. We don't have freelance editors, we have them, they're on the staff, so we kind of fence them so no one else can use them basically.
James Blatch (15:36):
And how does that work? So if I went to you with a book, would I choose the individual editor or would you take on the book and then decide within your group who's best suited to do this and you basically give me the edit back?
Suzy K Quinn (15:50):
Well, it could be either really. We do have authors who choose who look on the website and they look at the team and we've got many different skill sets within the team. So we've got editors who have had massive, massive success with business books. We've got Adam, who's a bit of an all rounder, so he's done a bit of everything and had certainties number ones. And he's good for the UK market. He knows the UK publishing industry. He's on our time zone. And then we've got sort of, how many editors is it, Adam? We should know this shouldn't. 19
Adam Strange (16:23):
Between 18 and 20. Between
Suzy K Quinn (16:26):
18 and 20. And they've all got different kind of talents and books that they've worked on. So we have 10 French's editor, or if someone's on the sort nonfiction side, we have Roger did the Lean Startup and Rich Poor Dad. So you can hire the editors who worked on those books and bring in some of that talent on your team.
Adam Strange (16:48):
There's usually a fairly obvious fit because we've got that breadth of editorial experience. We can all reel off, oh, I worked on expert YZ book. When the internal team is sort of saying, has anybody worked on this kind of thing before? There'll be two or three candidates from the team. Well, I've done the market leading book in that area, so I might be the relevant person.
James Blatch (17:14):
And so are both of you editing Susie, you edit as well as Adam? Or you have a different role in the company?
Suzy K Quinn (17:21):
Well, very counterintuitively. I'm not editing or writing, I'm nothing either. It's just setting up the strategizing and it's fun stuff for me. A nerd. Yeah, and I have to say that I did have a conversation with Kevin at the beginning. If some really fun ghost writing project came along, could I do it? And so yeah, I might do that as well. It might be something.
Adam Strange (17:44):
And what Susie's not saying is that her experience, her vast amount of experience in the writing and her editorial work as well brings to bear is that she's a really good person for potential authors who we want to work with or we want to work with us to speak to in the first instance. She can give them an overview of what we might think might be suitable for their manuscript with knowledge behind her kind of thing. She's very authoritative and knowledgeable in that kind of area. So as somebody to sort of bring an author in a comfortable kind of way for them, she's ideal for that.
James Blatch (18:25):
She's authoritative, a knowledgeable can confirm story checker. I
Adam Strange (18:29):
Think I'm
James Blatch (18:31):
So Adam, you are at the coal phase then you are actually editing. Susie described you as an all rounder. Is there a preference you have?
Adam Strange (18:41):
Not really, to be honest, James. A sort of what I've found over. So my experience in the trade was always on nonfiction predominantly, almost exclusively. So I would work on anything from your sports persons or Tobi through to the TV tie-ins through to popular history, popular science, humour books, all sorts of cookery, the whole sort of wide range of stuff. And that range point was really what I enjoy, enjoyed in the trade and still enjoy now in my role here as well, there's something of interest to be found in pretty much any manuscript that comes across my desk and I'm always learning, and that's what I love about it. I don't think I'd enjoy the job so much if I say solely did business books or solely did sports books, for example. I often talk for myself as being intelligent but relatively ignorant. So there's always, I love being surprised. I love being prompted to think a little bit differently about the world or find out something that I didn't know before. So an all rounder suits me fine. Yeah,
James Blatch (20:00):
Those sports books, they fascinate me. They are generally ghostwritten and the kind of David Beckham Ryan gigs books. I remember Private Eye famously described them years ago as books for people who don't read books and they're sold at Christmas, aren't they? And their granny will buy the Sun, the book, he loves his football, but probably doesn't read books and won't read this autobiography. But actually every now and again, you get these utter gems like Andre Aga, I can still remember almost every page of that book. It was the most astounding autobiography I've read.
Adam Strange (20:30):
Yeah, it was. And that that's was one of those exceptions where the author was willing to stick his head above the parapet and actually really, really expose his inner kind of turmoil and the struggles of his life, which sadly, some books in that sports arena, celebrity arena don't tend to deliver so much or occasionally don't deliver so much. But to your point about the nephew or grandson or grandchild who will get given that book, I always think that because I've always operated in the very commercial end of nonfiction, those books that are bought as a gift once a year, or those books that are bought by people who will only buy one book a year. And honestly, I really fervently believe that just getting somebody to read a few pages of one book a year is a good thing. It reminds them that books are there in their world and at some point they might pick up another one. It keeps a presence however little or however small of literature in their world. But yeah, the ones that I've always enjoyed working on are the ones where somebody's got a lot to say. I worked on the published a book by the cricketer, Kevin Peterson many years ago, and that was notorious for the lengths that he wanted to go to express his opinions, should we say Yes. Great, great.
James Blatch (22:08):
Well he was such a shy man who very rarely expressed his opinions, wasn't he? So it's unusual that he did that in the book. It
Adam Strange (22:13):
Was remarkable. We weren't expecting it
James Blatch (22:15):
From that. No, everyone in America, no idea who we're talking about, but I'm trying to think of an equivalent. There's no way in the states. Yeah, no, but a cricketer who thought a lot of himself and not so much of almost everyone else around him, but brilliant Britain's best, England's best batsman who we just stopped using because he became too difficult to have in the change.
Adam Strange (22:34):
James Blatch (22:35):
Enough cricket chat. Okay, so we've got authors listening to this. You see a lot of manuscripts going through your organisation every day. Should we talk about some tips, some things people get wrong, best foot forward in terms of commercial writing? Susie might be your area. Oh yes. What would you say to somebody who said, oh, I've got this great idea for a book. What normally happens is they describe some lofty literary idea. They, it's about a boy who doesn't know he is a robot or something like that, but they don't know why people buy and read books, which is kind of your specialty.
Suzy K Quinn (23:14):
Well, nice to say. So James, thank you so much. So I did the same thing when I wrote my first book. If someone said, what's it about? I'd say, well, it's about a girl who's gone to Japan and she's part of the hostess industry, but then it's also about a geisha and it's about 1970s Japan and it's about recent and at the end and it's about coming back. I you try to do a new author often without really realising that simple is the best thing. So in terms of tips, I would say having a really, really clear, you could hook someone really quickly with your story and they want to hear more rather than you telling them more rather than, we've all had those conversations about our books. You can see someone's sort of eyes laser, you start telling them about them, what your book's about, and they kind go, oh, okay. And you say you're sort of giving them more information if you can do it the other way around and you can say a sentence and then just be quiet and then they ask for more, that's good. You're in a good place with that book.
James Blatch (24:11):
So high concept as they call it in Hollywood, a sort of single sentence that says what this book is.
Suzy K Quinn (24:17):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Good way to put it. So
James Blatch (24:20):
That's your starting point. And then you get into the writing side of things and I write thrillers and I read a lot of, not a lot, but I do read the kind of James Pattersons when they come out and the Lums and the past and so on.
Suzy K Quinn (24:35):
And he somewhat did James.
James Blatch (24:37):
Well, I can't be the only person reading James Patterson because he is the world's bestselling author, so me and others. But his books are, I would say, simple in terms of the way they're put together. They're short chapters at the end of almost every chapter. The last sentence is, and then somebody went and you have to turn the page and start the next chapter, otherwise you dunno what happened when the arrow went into their head or whatever. And it's the world's bestselling author I believe at the moment. And it's simplicity itself the way these books are put together, which kind of backs up what you are saying, don't overcomplicate things, which I think new authors almost university tend to do.
Adam Strange (25:20):
And I would just say as well that I think you've gone a step too far forward really, James, when it comes to, yeah, and the cliffhanger at the end of every chapter is a great device, but before you get to that, you really need to have strategized in terms of outlining your book in terms of making sure that, I mean there are a few authors, well you'll speak to quite a lot of authors who might say, or aspiring authors who might say, I just write, I just sort of start writing and I just see where it's going to take me and I don't really, I'll get to the end when I get to the end. It's, they very rarely come up with a book that is brilliantly coherent and tightly written just off the bat like that. I think to have that clear structure and that clear outline is absolutely imperative and then keep referring back to it, deviate a little bit from those train tracks if you want to, but always come back to what is going to happen in this next chapter because I mustn't forget that I need to get to this point at some point soon and I'm actually going to get to it by chapter 17.
Okay, everything's all right. That's the kind of thing that I find is sometimes forgotten by people.
James Blatch (26:33):
I completely agree. In fact, it was a big, because there's a big debate in writing in circle about pants versus plotters, CT pants writing or it out. But I agree with you Adam, and I'll say, I'm happy to say this, I think the people who do pants just have a mind that happens to be able to hold all that information in. Mine doesn't work like that. If I don't plot it, I'm a bit lost and actually I stopped writing because I don't really know where I'm going. Plotting is absolutely key for me and I believe it is for everyone. It's just you might happen to have, like Marie Force says she sits down, what's his name, Jack Richer Lee Charles says he sits down on the 1st of September and the book for, but if he writes a book a year, he spent not telling me he spent six months refining this to the point where he sits down the first September, it's plotted. It's plotted in his mind. So he's plotting, he's not Ping Marie Force is probably plotting as well because she thinks it through
Adam Strange (27:28):
And they've been doing it, but also they've been doing it so long and they've got, I'm thinking specifically sort of debut authors as well. It is all very well doing that when this is your 18th book book or whatever. But yeah, to begin with,
James Blatch (27:46):
Well, it'd be interesting to know how Andrew Child writes because he now writes them, I believe, and I suspect he and Lee have a few pages written out of what's going to be in this book, which is plotting. And also I found Susan, I dunno if you found this, how you write your books, but I found when I decided to embrace plotting, it gave me the freedom to enjoy writing again. Because for me, I knew where I was going in this chapter and I had the joyous job of simply writing it rather than sitting there, sitting there thinking, oh, what's happening next? I can't write myself into a corner here.
Suzy K Quinn (28:16):
Yeah, I think it is also good as well for people who, a lot of people when they start out writing, they have another job, but they're doing it at the same time. So I think it's really hard to not, if you've got the plot there already and you know what you're writing each day, it makes it so much more easy to switch, easier to sit down at your desk and carry on. Whereas if you are just sitting there every day and then just writing at one point, you're going to get yourself really stuck usually, unless you're a genius, which well done if you are.
James Blatch (28:43):
Do you either of you have any particular sort of plotting books or courses and stuff that you'd recommend? Actually, we do have a course we recommend to us, Susan, which should mention in a moment, but I mean like Kill the Cat, save the cats, don't kill the Cat, save the Cats, for instance. Any in particular that you'd recommend?
Suzy K Quinn (29:03):
Shall I answer this one? I'm conscious of jumping. I mean, save the Cat I think is really good. I think there's a book called The Seven Basic Plots, which is amazing. It's about, it's sort of 20 books in one. I can't gesture on a podcast, but if you imagine my hands, they're spread very, very wide to signify a very large book. Yeah. What else? There's another one, I want to say William Goldwin. I want to say it's a scripting book.
Adam Strange (29:30):
Is that into the words?
Suzy K Quinn (29:32):
I don't think so. It's called something really simple like script or something. But someone out there is going to know that and Message Me please and let me know which one it is. Yeah, I'll find it out afterwards and add it. You can add it to the Comments
Adam Strange (29:47):
Into the Woods is one that I would recommend. That's a book about stories by John, John York. Sorry, I've just looked it up. And then also, funnily enough I have it here today. There's Stephen King memoir On Writing.
James Blatch (30:05):
On Writing, yeah.
Suzy K Quinn (30:06):
Yeah. Love that book. Yeah,
Adam Strange (30:08):
There's a whole, I mean, I think what we're saying is there are tonnes are quite a lot out there and it's kind of whatever sort of floaty boat really.
Suzy K Quinn (30:14):
By the way, we are meeting John York in a few weeks, ed, I forgot to tell you that. Yeah, because talking about potentially courses and things. So yeah, that's going to be interesting.
Adam Strange (30:25):
Brilliant. Heard it here first.
Suzy K Quinn (30:27):
Yeah, exactly.
James Blatch (30:28):
Shall we plug your course, Susie? We should plug your course. We allowed to do that. You're crossing the streams. I know in your various
Suzy K Quinn (30:34):
Well crossing the themes a bit, even though my course is brilliant and the best writing course you could ever do, I feel. Yeah, we are here to talk about kaa, so I feel I'm like, I'm muddying someone giving me an analogy there, Adam. What am I doing? Ghostbuster? Where they,
James Blatch (30:51):
I'll tell you what Susie, it's my podcast. So I'm going to overrule and say that we can mention that Susie has a brilliant course called How to Write a Bestseller that sets out in detail the kind of structured process and the key things that you've noticed over your time of why some books sell, excuse me, and some books. So if you head to learn self-publishing dot com slash bestseller, you can have a look at everything that's in that course. There you go. Plugged on in it. It is a brilliant course and I recommend it not just part of our stable, but I recommend it to anyone getting going with writing.
Suzy K Quinn (31:25):
It was in itself a bestselling course as well. It's still best.
James Blatch (31:28):
Exactly, of
Suzy K Quinn (31:29):
Course, but very meta. Yeah,
James Blatch (31:32):
Yeah. Okay, so the editorial services, let's talk about that. So some people particularly new into writing may not know the stages that you go through. I'm still at the point, in fact, I probably, I didn't use a dev developmental editor, my last book, my third book felt it. There was a novela as well among an aing about whether I do my next one or not. But development editing is the first editor. In fact, if you want to take a step back from that, I dunno if you offer coaching book coaching, which is kind of whilst you're writing your book, I found that incredibly helpful for Book one.
Adam Strange (32:05):
I love book coaching, the book as being a book coach from a selfish job satisfaction perspective, it really delivers. It's great. We spend a lot of time at the outset of that process, strategizing, again, sorry to use that word, but ultimately we want people to read these books and that's vital and that is essentially sitting down with the author and me sitting down with the author or another editor sitting down with the author spending eight to 12 hours across a number of different sessions working out who is this book for? What are the seven key messages? What are the three key messages? What's the one most important message? How are we going to deliver that? And what tone of voice, what other kind of books are people reading who might want to read your book as well? How are we going to then position this book?
Where would it sit in the marketplace? All of these things that a publishing house would actually look at as well. You do that and you do that critical element of the outlining and structuring, which I've talked about already. And then we're off. And then the authors offer the races. They'll write the first chunk of their material, they'll deliver it back to me. I'll give it a very heavy edit and sort of say pointing out, look, we said we'd try and do this. You are doing this, you are doing it brilliantly here. You're not doing it so well here. You could do with a bit more work on this kind of area. How about this is something we hadn't talked about. We can explore it more, et cetera, et cetera. So a load of notes come back with that first amount of material. The next chunk of material comes in from the author, sorry, without going into too much detail, the author doesn't take in those changes at that point.
They then continue writing, but having absorbed that detail, all of those suggestions and recommendations from me, next batch of material, I get back from them. They will have fewer queries in the margins from me because they will have picked up some of the stuff that I pointed out in that first batch of material and so on and so forth. So by the time I get that final batch of material, the final chunk of text from their manuscript, it is flawless in theory. So essentially that we have reached a point in their journey where they are a confident and very competent writer and it's brilliant. It's lovely to have helped somebody gain that confidence and technical ability if you like to write really engaging writing.
Suzy K Quinn (34:42):
I was going to say it's like a really, really good creative writing course, but it's less expensive and it's quicker and you get a one-on-one kind of editor with you. But I've done loads of creative writing courses and I'm not sort of against them per se. You always learn something, but there's the fast way to do things and there's the slow way. And I would say definitely had, I had my time again, having a book coach is much faster. As someone who's worked within publishing and can see you through it is a good way to go.
James Blatch (35:07):
It's on the job kind of version of that, isn't it? Which is how they get people into a lot of professions these days and moving that way and teaching in particular, I think. Yeah, I completely agree. And I think this is something the trad industry has done. Well, not for its first author for the beginning of their career. Because at the beginning of the career you just write this book in the dark, no clue, never speak to anyone, then you send it out as a manuscript. But once you're into a publishing house, that's something I think try has done well because sit and have an early conversation about book two and all those questions Adam just outlined, what's it about? What are you trying to say here? And then they start the process. Whereas indies never get that. You are always by yourself. So having a book coach, I found it.
I used Jenny Nash in the States and found it absolutely invaluable and it was probably worth more than several creative writing courses for me to fund. When they get back to you every week about scene saying the same things about where's the meaning in the scene and what's this scene doing all the rest of it, that eventually is a brilliant way of reinforcing it. You can tell someone once on a creative writing course, but when you're told it 37 times in a row in your chapter writing, it sinks in. I think it's a great way of doing it.
Suzy K Quinn (36:21):
Yeah, absolutely. And about your own writing as well, because we've all got our own little things that we do. Oh, you don't expand characters enough or you overdo these scenes or whatever the thing is. And may I say that Adam's great at that. He's such a nurturing editor, obviously he's had all the kind of successes and many Sunday times bestsellers and all of that. But as a human being, just spending time with him and being edited by him is a really, really nice experience. He's a nice sort, kind person to be around. So it's not, I mean, sometimes being edited is difficult and so you kind of want someone who actually cares and is trying to bring out the best of you rather than to put onto you what they think is the best thing.
James Blatch (37:03):
Yeah, you never want an editor kind of showing off that your knowledge. You want it to feel like a collaborative experience and that's when it works best, just technically. So when you're right, Adam did cut out for you and me, Susie, but sorry Adam. That's right. This system we've got here should record Adam locally, so when it all comes out, it should not have any cuts. So that's the theory. So there would've been a little bit of talking over in the middle of it. But yeah, anyway, that's an aside. I'll find out in about five minutes whether that's worked or not. Can you tell us a bit about how to access the services and maybe give us an idea of cost? Adam, maybe for you or Susie, are you the strategy?
Suzy K Quinn (37:44):
Adam, you can go either way, but yeah, so how to access the services. I mean, one of the nice things about the services as well is you can choose from US editors as well as UK editors. So you'd go on the website, you'd have a look at the editors and you'd think, okay, I can pick one of these people for my team. Right. That's amazing. And by the way, in publishing, having been traditionally published and self-published, there were editors and there were editors, and I've had both, and you can't pick them, but with ka, you can go on and choose who you want to be your team member. So it is not an inexpensive service. It's definitely the higher ticket of editing rates. I would say you are looking at between say 3000 and 8,000 depending on the editor you pick and depending on the length of your manuscript.
So it's definitely on the higher level of editing services, but you get what you pay for and if you want to be in the energy of the big success, you hire the best coach. When you are playing golf hire, you don't go cheap on that. You go for the best one because you want to have the big success and you want to have the person that's experienced that success and seen Sunday Times bestsellers and seen all this kind of thing happening. So yeah, so they'd access our services by either scheduling a consultation with us on the website. You can schedule a consultation, it's a free publishing consultation and you can also send you a manuscript for a free assessment by our former literary agent, Adrian, with us. And she'll give you a kind of sort of skim read free assessment of the manuscript is not particularly detailed, but it's a kind of inroad into our services. So you do get some free assessment there. So Adam, since I've hogged all the airspace for a long time, is there anything you'd like to add?
Adam Strange (39:24):
No, no. You covered all of that and I'm still, for some reason I'm having technical glitches as well. Sorry about that, James.
James Blatch (39:33):
That's alright. No problem. Like I said, we should hear everything you said one way or another. Brilliant. Okay. And you're both going to be at the conference in June, so God, it's a month's time now. It'll be less than a month by the time this interview goes out, which is scary for the organising side of things and people presumably can come and have a chat.
Suzy K Quinn (39:54):
Oh, we'd love that. Absolutely both. I'm talking for Adam here, but I know Adam likes human beings, so yeah, no, we absolutely love that. And so we're talking at the conference and then we've also got a stand there, so we'll be hanging around and we can talk to anyone about their manuscripts. We're very happy to talk about where they are in their self-publishing journey. Any tips on that and just general editorial stuff we're very, very happy to talk about. So yeah, come talk to us at SVF, we'd love to see you.
Adam Strange (40:19):
Absolutely. And between us, we've got experience across the author side and the publishing side and the ING side as well. So any random question, I dunno, I'm throwing out a challenge to us both here, Susie, I reckon we can probably pretty much answer any question that anybody's got so we
Suzy K Quinn (40:37):
Can answer any question. And I actually, I forget that about you Adam. Adam has also been a literary agent, so he is also got very good advice. Should you be straddling the, I know we are self-publishing and that's wonderful. Great. But authors also often have in their head that they'd also like to try publishing, so he'll be great advice on how to get Ary agent or whether you should get ary agent.
James Blatch (40:56):
So finally, someone better tell us where we can find you online.
Adam Strange (41:02):
The website at the moment, I mean the UK specific website is going online very soon, but for now, ka should take you to everything you need to know about us
James Blatch (41:16):
Ka just the one a ka
Adam Strange (41:18):, KA
James Blatch (41:20):
Dash writing
Adam Strange (41:21):
Com, writing com. We'll get there.
Suzy K Quinn (41:23):
Yeah, it should take you to the website and you can get a free publishing consultation with me on the website and you can have your manuscript assessed. So it is an easy link in there.
James Blatch (41:32):
Brilliant. Well, we'll get that link onto the show notes anyway, so it'll definitely be there. And most likely I think the UK link will be live, I suspect by the time this goes out as well.
Speaker 1 (41:44):
James Blatch (41:44):
Okay. Well, can't wait to see you on the South Bank next month. Thank you very much indeed. Adam and Susie, thanks so much, James.
Speaker 1 (41:53):
This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch (41:59):
There you go. That was my first three-way using Riverside fm. I thought it worked really well. It looked a bit like Dallas didn't, the beginning of the Dallas programme, if you're old enough to remember that if you're watching on YouTube, but it was an absolute whiz to edit. Thank you very much. Riverside fm. Brilliant podcast recording software. They have brilliant talking to Susie and Adam, can't wait to hear them. Susie will do a great talk, as she always does on stage at S SPS live. And don't forget, you can pick up your ticket at learn self self-publishing dot com. Remember that because I'm not going to say that again slash SPS live. And one other quick reminder that you can sign up for Launchpad, you have until Wednesday night to sign up for Launchpad, if that's what you want to do. That is the same address Forward slash launchpad. You get a lot of information there, find out whether there's a good fit for you. And don't forget, there's always a 30 day money pack guarantee. Okay, I think it might be time for my tea. All the remains for me to say is it is a goodbye from me. So goodbye
Speaker 1 (43:00):
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