Word Alive Press is known for its suite of all-inclusive services designed to take a writer through every stage of the publishing journey from a completed manuscript draft to printed book on the shelf.
But what about those writers who don’t yet have a complete draft of their manuscript? Writing a book can be a bit like navigating a maze—a maze with a unique route to success for every author. No two authors will navigate this maze in quite the same way!
This spring, Word Alive Press has unveiled a pair of new services to help in the development and drafting stages of a book project. You may have seen these services promoted on the website. Are they right for you? That’s the question I’d like to address today.
First up is the Spark Mentorship Program. This service was conceived in recognition of the fact that sometimes an author strongly benefits from getting feedback on their work while they’re still in the writing stage, before the complete draft is ready.
At its heart, Spark is an editing subscription service where the author submits up to 3,000 words every month and gets customized feedback from a professional editor. The author then has the opportunity to absorb that feedback and apply it to the next 3,000 words, etc. As a result, if the author hits a stumbling block in chapter one, the editor can draw their attention to it, giving them a chance to course-correct at an early stage.
For the author, another big advantage of this program is personal accountability. If you’ve ever tried to write a book, you likely know that forcing yourself to sit down and do the work can be a struggle. And personally, I can relate. To provide the extra kick in the pants I need, I attend a weekly meeting of local writers where we gather around to (1) do more writing, (2) discuss our writing and careers, (3) help keep each other on track.
This is what accountability looks like, and it’s highly effective. Participating in a program like Spark could go a long way.
But there’s yet another benefit: by regularly submitting your work, you also get the advantage of building a mentoring relationship with a professional editor. If you talk to a lot of published authors, you’ll probably start to notice that most of them have a strong author-editor relationship. These relationships can take time to grow and develop, and with Spark that’s exactly the opportunity you are able to tap into.
So with Spark, you get a quick turnaround on critiques of recent writing, you get the accountability of a regular submission deadline, and you get to build a relationship with an editor.
The second new service is called Face2Face, and it’s designed to fill a more occasional need than those who subscribe to Spark. Writers do most of their work in self-imposed solitary confinement, from brainstorming to outlining to first-drafting, and the process can be both lonely and isolating.
Face2Face offers authors the opportunity to connect with a professional editor for an hour-long consultation—either over the phone, or via video chat. This could be a good way to bounce your ideas off someone, get advice on your writing and editing questions, or even just get some well-calibrated encouragement when you’ve hit a roadblock.
There are some key differences between these two services, but they are complementary. If you have some writing that you’d like to get evaluated, then most likely Spark is the program for you. If you’re looking to speak with an editor in a real-time meeting, you may be interested to try out Face2Face.
Another difference is that Spark is designed to provide ongoing writing support, whereas Face2Face consultations can be accessed only as frequently as you need them.
At the end of the day, both are here to provide customized coaching through the ups and downs of the writing life.
Evan Braun is a full-time author and editor. He has authored three novels, the first of which, The Book of Creation, was shortlisted in two categories at the 2012 Word Awards. He has released two sequels, The City of Darkness (2013) and The Law of Radiance (2015), completing the series. As a professional editor, Braun has seven years of experience working with Word Alive Press authors. He is also a regular contributor at The Fictorians, a popular writing blog.