Thursday, April 28, 2011

Self-pub Resources: Woulds & Shoulds Editing and Design

People have asked me who made the fall-over-fabulous cover for Between. Here's who! Meet the dynamic duo: Clare and David from Woulds & Shoulds Editing and Design.

Why did you decide to start your own editing and design company?
Clare: I think it’s a combination of several different factors that just happened to collide at the same time.

Firstly, I’m especially passionate about self-publishing because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time—I’m a YA writer myself.

David and I met almost a year ago at the Creative Book Publishing program at Humber College. Right away, we found that we had a lot in common, but also a lot of different skills that complement each other. I’m good at seeing the big picture, so I like doing substantive and line editing, as well as formatting. Dave is detail-oriented and also a grammar nut, so he’s great at copyediting, proofreading and he also has a flair for design. << CT: Major understatement! *grin*
After we graduated the program, we both had internships at publishing companies, but we were looking for paying work, because surprise, surprise, publishing is a little low on paying jobs in Canada at the moment, at least for new grads. There are plenty of internships, though, and the competition is stiff. People aren’t in publishing to make money; they’re in it because they love books.

I happened to land a freelance contract with a man who was self-publishing his book, and so I guided him through the process, and took his book from unedited manuscript stage to a polished, formatted ebook. This was a lot of work for one person, so I hired Dave to do the copyediting for me.

It was in a little Thai restaurant in Queen’s St West in Toronto that we realized that we could really help people improve the quality of self-published work. I wanted to help authors realize that they had the power to be their own publishers and really take control of the process; that with the right tools, they could be a success. Hence our unofficial motto: Be the Author You Want to Be.

So, here we are six months later, with a slew of clients and a growing reputation for quality, professionalism and passion for self-publishing.

Where did the name Woulds & Shoulds come from?
David: Woulds & Shoulds comes from an apocryphal quote from Oscar Wilde, who supposedly said the following upon handing a manuscript of his to his editor: “I’ll leave you to tidy up the woulds and shoulds, wills and shalls, thats and whiches, etc.” We felt the reference was suitably literary, and fitting in that you can leave your work with us and we will take care of the nitpicking and polishing. That and some people might make the mistake of putting apostrophes in Woulds and Shoulds because you don’t see those words pluralized very often, which is the type of common quirk of the language that we’ll be sure to get right!

What background do you have in the business?
Clare: I have a combined honours in journalism and psychology, and Dave has a B.A. in English. More importantly, though, is that we are grads of the Creative Book Publishing program. This is a special, accelerated program at Humber College in Toronto that teaches the business of publishing—everything from the editing, production, design, and the marketing. We got to meet some amazing people in the industry. As part of the program we also had to create our own publishing companies and present them to a panel of professionals, which was a real eye-opener for how much work and how costly publishing 5-10 books a year really is.

As for actual work experience, Dave completed an internship with HarperCollins Canada in the sales department, and I currently work for ChiZine Publications, a small press that publishes science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Describe the services that your company offers.
David: We offer a myriad of services that covers pretty much anything an author will need if he or she wants to self-publish their book. Our individual editing and design services range from substantive editing to copy editing, reader’s reports, which can be useful for manuscripts as well as full ebooks, as well as cover design and interior layout services. While we can do any combination of these things for someone’s book, we do offer bundles that include a lot of the services that complement each other and offer great value. We also include some marketing support in everything we do for self-published authors, as we know that having a supportive and active community for these types of projects is what drives sales and makes the process truly fulfilling for everyone involved.

How are you getting the word out about your new business?
Clare: We’ve got a few things going at the moment. We’re particularly excited about our Self-Publishing Success Interview Series, where we speak with authors from all over the world about their experience in publishing their own book. The response for that so far has been great, and inspiring. I hope it inspires other self-pubbing authors too.

We have our blog, which we’re trying to update a few times a week, our Facebook page, and a new twitter account. LinkedIn has also proved useful, and if you don’t have an account, I definitely recommend it.

Our future marketing plans include a writing contest, and more blogging. We’ve really shied away from paid ads because I don’t think that’s as effective as really reaching out and joining the community.

Where can people find out more?
There are a couple of ways to get in touch with us!
Our website is
Our Facebook page: I get super excited when people like our page.
Our twitter is @wouldsnshoulds.
Our emails are and

Thanks Cyndi, for allowing us to speak with you and your readers! If anybody has any questions for me about writing or publishing, feel free to get in touch. I’m excited to hear from everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Great interview! I loved it! Hopefully more self-published authors will learn about Woulds & Shoulds Editing and Design. By the way... I am Angie from the YA Book Club. Thought I would stop by and I love your blog!

    XOXO Angela's Anxious Life