Have you ever visited the Keystone Cliffs in South Dakota?
Never heard of them?
American settlers originally knew the area by a variety of names, one of which was the Keystone Cliffs.
In 1885 David Swanzey, Bill Challis, along with a wealthy investor visited the area for the first of regular prospecting and hunting trips. Afterward, that investor repeatedly joked with colleagues about naming the mountain after himself.
A local historian came up with the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region, and eventually, the Keystone Cliffs were selected as the location for this carving project.
Between 1927 and 1941, an American artist and sculptor along with the help of 400 other workers sculpted colossal 60-foot-high carvings of US Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln to represent the first 130 years of American history.
It was in June 1930 when the cliffs became officially recognized as “Mount Rushmore”.
You see, nobody really cared about the Keystone Cliffs until somebody carved a bunch of presidents’ faces into them.
Your manuscript is a lot like a bunch of rocks.
With the right help and tools, you can turn them into a Mount Rushmore.
Writing and launching an impacting book is often an extraction PROCESS.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Stephen King refers to his writing process in similar terms. His inspiration comes in a way that he likens to archeology; he finds a piece of something sticking out of the ground, and starts to dig around it to see what else is buried there. Before you know it you’re digging up a space ship the size of a city block.1
Some are able and interested in going it alone just fine and can carve something half decent out of that cliff on their own.
But with help, you can do MORE than *just* carve out something decent.
Paying For the Marble Used, Not the Final Sculpture
The first couple of clients of mine who finished their books each had the same unfounded complaint about my editor, who does an AMAZING job in my opinion.
My editor, Lisa Thompson charges by word count coupled with how much of a mess the manuscript is in when she gets her hands on it. Often times she helps reduce the final word count by cutting out repetition or extraneous content.
Well, both of these clients had a problem with being charged by word count if the word count had been reduced through the editing process and felt they were getting nickel and dimed.
I had to explain to each author that we’re giving Lisa a large chunk of marble, and she’s chiseling away at it and throwing away what’s not needed but keeping what turns out to be the sculpture. I then asked if we should pay a sculptor for how much marble is left when the sculptor is done, or how much she had to start with when working on it?
In each case, they got the point, but it made me realize just how amazing of a job a great editor truly does with an author’s manuscript, and how authors who cheap out on one and just put their book straight online without any editors or proofreaders not only do themselves a disservice but their readers as well.
It might be possible to put a nice piece of marble out there on Amazon that some people might appreciate. But with help, you can put a masterpiece out there that will impact many peoples’ lives.
Get in touch with me if you know you need the help of a small team to produce the best book possible.
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- See my post If You’re Serious About Writing, Read Stephen King’s Memoir [↩]