(and romance, mystery, history, fantasy …)
By making your book as good as it can be, of course (what else did you think I was talking about?).
Ok, now that I have your attention, you weren’t really going to publish your book without getting it edited first were you? You know, deep down, that your book deserves it.
- Readers will quickly desert you, even if you’re the best storyteller in the world, if they can’t get past the typos.
- They will also desert you if what made perfect sense in your head fails to unravel properly on the page.
- Readers will make you sad if they post shitty reviews on Amazon, because they really couldn’t get past the typos and spaghetti-like plot (and that’s if it even gets past Amazon’s new standards).
- Your reputation as an author will suffer if you don’t publish the best possible version of your book.
- Your second book, and third and fourth, will ride on the reviews of the first.
- You’re unlikely to hit the best-seller list with a badly written book that no-one cares about.
What you put into your book is, more often than not, commensurate with the way it will be received. And that sometimes means spending money. It’s tough, but it’s true. You can also have the best written book in the world, but if it’s hiding behind a lame cover or badly formatted text it won’t get noticed either – but that’s an article for another time.
I know what you’re probably thinking – you’re an editor so you would say that. Well, yes, obviously. But editors get their books edited too, by other editors, and they pay the going rate for it. Now why would they do that if it wasn’t worth it, especially as they edit for other people and in theory could edit their book themselves?
It all boils down to this: you’ve spent, perhaps, years writing your book, editing it yourself and getting friends, family and beta readers to read it, you believe in it and are proud of your efforts – so why the hell send it out into the world without making sure that it’s as perfect as it can be? It’s like wearing a Chanel suit and walking around with a cheap supermarket carrier bag instead of a proper handbag … eventually someone’s going to say something and it won’t be kind.
Still not convinced?
Well here’s what you get for your money when you hire a professional editor:
- Years of experience working with words.
- Professional knowledge of the publishing industry.
- An eye for detail and a flair for accuracy.
- Someone who will be honest with you without worrying that you’ll be upset (I say honest, not mean, we’ll tell you what friends and family won’t, but we’ll also tell you how, or help you, to fix the problems with your book).
- Someone who will work with you to make your book the best it can be.
It’s not just spelling mistakes. There are different types of editor. The ones most often used by self-publishers are: development editors who will help you with your big picture (make sure your story works), copy-editors who work with the spelling, grammar, punctuation and consistency of your text, and proofreaders who take that last look over to make sure everything is as good as it can be.
So, down to the nitty-gritty …
Will it be expensive to hire an editor?
Well, it can be, but if you prepare your manuscript as much as you can before you send it to an editor it will be less expensive (and expensive is subjective anyway). That means formatting it properly, running it through a spellcheck and getting as many people to read it and give you feedback as possible – then, and only then, should you approach an editor.
Will it be worth it?
Hell, yes. It can mean the difference between a well-crafted, well-presented book that you are proud of and something that would end up on the slush pile. A copy-editor will help you polish your words, while a developmental editor can help you sort out those fiddly plot holes, and for crime writers that could mean helping you get away with murder (on paper only, obviously!).
Still not convinced? Take a peek at this author earnings report from Feb 2016 to see what the independent author is up against.
As a self-publishing author you are up against a LOT of competition, there are literally millions of books out there competing for the attention of the buying public, so if you want to be seen it makes sense to produce a professional standard book. Hiring an editor may not propel you to the best-seller list or make you millions, but it will give you a better chance than if you go it alone.