I had a reviewer comment on the editing and polishing of my books and how they are “painstakingly created” with obvious “care and love” with each detail.

That comment made me smile. Thank you. <3 I’m not perfect. No one and no manuscript is perfect. We are humans. And humans make mistakes and the brain “fills in” details we can easily overlook. BUT, I’m very particular about delivering the most polished book I possibly can to avoid those pesky errors from pulling readers out of a story. Especially since I self-publish.

There are many people involved in the process of releasing a book, and it varies for each person and whether the author releases a title via a publisher. Self-publishing a book is expensive and time consuming. I can’t comment on anyone else or their process, but I wanted to thank those involved with my most recent release. Especially after the reviewer comment.

Yes, I write the story. Yes, I design the art. But I’m blessed to have an awesome team of people who are fabulous to work with. The process is extensive and often intensive. I take a while to write a book, but I also take quite a bit of time to polish the details before release. I can take anywhere between 2-4 months after finishing a story before it’s released. It could be because of my word count, it could be because I’m obsessive about errors, or it could be because I’m an insane Little Red Riding Hood perfectionist who needs the scene to be “just right.” Regardless, I’m very happy with my team of professionals and I’m incredibly thankful for their talents.


Starting with the cover…

I had the pleasure of cyber-meeting Eric McKinney of 6:12 Photography some time ago. He’s a talented photographer and a wonderful professional. He’s the photographer responsible for taking the photograph of the model on the cover of A Worthy Man. The moment I saw the image, I knew he was my “Vann.” (Thank you!) This is the first time I’ve worked with him to license a cover image and I’ve already licensed another photo for a future MoHH story. (and no, I’m not revealing the MCs for that book yet LOL)


The guts of the story…

I’m blessed to work with Jae Ashley. She is my editor and has the patience of a saint. I had the pleasure of meeting her years ago, and truly, I don’t think I could publish my books without her. She’s incredibly professional, thorough (my goodness she’s thorough!), and did I mention patient? 🙂 She runs through multiple cycles of edits with me for both the story and blurb until I’m happy (and if you know how much of a perfectionist I am, you know that’s not an easy feat). She is always available, pleasant, and knows how to tell me to fix something without telling me it sucks donkey balls. Thank you. <3 You are an amazing editor, professional, and friend.

After running through a ridiculous number of editing cycles with Jae, I run through a proofing (semi-editing) cycle with Kathy Kozakewich. And just when we think everything is clean and polished, Kathy finds more things that need to be addressed. And Jae and I go through the process of reviewing each comment.

After we’ve gone through everything and have a polished manuscript, I do a final read through. I will print it, read it out loud, and read it in a different location (phone or tablet instead of computer, etc.) I will find errors, streamline text, and eliminate redundancies. And again, Jae and her campaign for The Patient Saint of Editing proves to be valuable as she goes over everything I found.

After all that, I then send it to Judy Zweifel, my proofer at Judy’s Proofing. I don’t know how she does it, but she turns around a manuscript in record time (48 hrs or less) and still manages to find things. A missing word here and there. A random wrong word in a common phrase – TWICE (guess it wasn’t so random after all LOL).

After I have a fully edited and proofed manuscript, my obsessive inner-detail-oriented beast insists on doing another re-read. And still, I find a few things, here and there. And again, I send it back to Jae for one final look to ensure I didn’t “break” something with a change.

Yes, I’m obsessive about details. And yes, I’m sure I drive Jae bonkers during the process. But I know that what the book readers receive when they spend their hard-earned money is the most polished story I can possibly deliver.

And I also know there’s no way I can do this alone.

Thank you. <3



Jae Ashely, Editor

Kathy Kozakewich

Judy’s Proofing

Eric McKinney
6:12 Photography