Adventures in Self-Publishing with Cedric Cross

I’ll start by saying that anticipating a response on the edits to your novel is torture. Xlibris does a great job by updating me on my novel and informing me where the process of the book is at, but waiting on them to edit just doesn’t do well for your sleep habits. Writing a novel takes time, but so does publishing it.
I’m Cedric Cross, a contributor to POD, Self Publishing & Independent Publishing, and I’m here to encourage you to start getting that book of yours published.
When I last posted, it was March 4th, 2010 and in that post I mentioned I had submitted my novel for editing with a self-publishing company, and that it was just getting under way. Well, now the editing is done and the book is moving to cover design! Before I elaborate on the first process of cover design, I’m going to give a thorough walkthrough of the editing process. (Although there was more waiting than action on my part, and not too much to specify and detail on.)
The day you submit your novel to the company, which for me was Xlibris, you receive an email AND a call from a representative thanking you and that they will be getting back to you to confirm they have received all of your materials. This takes all of about one hour if you submitted everything in the correct format.
How do you know how to format your manuscript?
On Xlibris’ website, there is an FAQ page and it answers this question. I just followed it word for word and it was pretty easy.
To keep the novel to your style, they ask you how you want these:
How you want your emphasis, CAPS or italics?
The spelling dictionary you want them to edit your manuscript with; Merriam Webster, or another one. They didn’t specify, but they use Merriam Webster automatically.
This one was cool:
They ask if you want American or British spelling – ex. color to colour; realized to realized; recognized to recognise. (I chose American, since I was born and live in America.)
Whether you want breaks in your paragraphs or not, when they seem too long.
A name in fiction – what this does is change any name you typed about real places to the actual spelling of that particular place or thing; ex. Seven Eleven changed to 7-Eleven.
Xlibris does not change anything that isn’t in their dictionary as they have to be careful not to edit one of your characters or something you’ve given a random name too. This cuts me a huge break since I went a little further on the original scale to give my characters names I had never heard before. (Kaveri, Malin, Leaius, Kaius, etc.)
When they began the process of editing, they told me it would take about 2-3 weeks (business day weeks) for them to edit my 70,000 word manuscript. When I submitted, I talked to the submission representative and she did a quick review of my novel and said she couldn’t find any obvious spelling errors or grammatical errors, so she expected them to complete it a little earlier. And they did. It took them a total of 7-8 business days, which was great!

So the editing process for me wasn’t exactly that long. The edits to my novel were—I think—not too severe. They were obvious rookie mistakes and something I can quickly clean up and remember. Here is an example of some of the edits.

Here is an example of some of the things they feel will help with the flow of reading.

At first, they send you the first ten pages to see if you like their style and if you approve it, they continue to edit your manuscript in the same way. They leave comments, so you know exactly what they did and why they did it. So it’s a learning process as well. Now the only thing I am waiting for is for them to contact me and let me approve all of the edits, or deny. So it was painless—it didn’t change anything about the plot and it was fast. My best advice is to edit beforehand with a clear mind so that you aren’t going to do anything to change the personality of your character or the plot of your book. Don’t edit just to satisfy Microsoft Word and its habit of underlining your mistakes, there’s always the ignore button, or even better the ‘add to dictionary’. That’s all of the editing process in a nutshell, so hope I helped!
Cedric Cross is a writer from San Antonio, Texas. At eighteen, he has already written his first fantasy/YA novel, The Black Eagle, soon-to-be published with Xlibris. Join Cedric here regularly as he discusses his experience of self-publishing and writing.

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