Self-publishing and editing

There are writers who think they can self-edit. There are writers who don’t think their work needs to be edited. There are writers who are afraid to have their work seen by an editor. And there are those writers who think they can’t afford an editor. All of those writers are wrong. There is one exception to this rule. Those editors that write. And even they have the sense to make sure a proof-reader goes through their work.

Put simply, an editor is a diamond cutter. They are the person that takes the dullness off the shine. They allow the sunshine to burst from the page. The person that stops you from looking foolish. When you consider that every great writer, that has ever lived, has an editor, why would you (first-time author) not need one?

I understand the fear element. Most writers fear their work is not good enough and giving it to a professional will only highlight this, such is the thought of the rookie author. In my experience, editors find the best in a book. They will question plotlines, check quotes and maintain historical accuracy. They are looking for the frailties of the book so a reader doesn’t. I promise you it is better when an editor finds a mistake, than a reader.

What about the cost? At 3P we have two price points: one, without editing services and two, with editing services. Most people go with the editing services. If you have a friend that has edited your book they don’t find all the mistakes. They almost have an obligation not to find them. You are their friend after all. They are the type of friends that allow a lady to walk out of the toilet with her skirt tucked in her knickers so they won’t be embarrassed, but will let the world see her underwear. Recently we proofread a book with over a hundred typos in the ‘final’ manuscript. That isn’t the way you want the public to see your work.

That’s the justification but I haven’t covered the cost. As with everything, it varies. I have seen people offer editing services for under £200 and I have seen it offered for a few thousand pounds. Our additional cost is £1115 (to our primary offering), but that includes the proofread and layout as well so you get triple the value. It’s simple really; it takes time and you want talented people (we call them the ‘diamond cutters’) checking your work. If you say you can’t afford it, ask yourself ‘can I let my book out for sale and it’s full of mistakes?’ I did it once. Never again.

My advice is get an editor. Send the completed manuscript checked as many times by you as you feel to get it into the best shape possible. This will make the editor’s job simpler and they can spend more time on polishing your work. They will send you guide notes and track changes. This gives you the option of making their suggested changes or discarding them. You are still in control of your book, but now you have expert help. The result is a book to be proud of. If you are struggling for the money, take your time. Save, beg or borrow and send your book out right. You owe it to yourself and to the reader that has invested in you.

Should you get an independent editor or stick with the one provided by the self-publishing company you are working with? This depends on a number of factors. The first is do you trust the company you are working with? Hopefully you do, in which case they will provide you with an editor that will understand your needs and is accurate. After all, their reputation is staked on this as well as yours. If you are publishing yourself then you should ask other authors who they use. Some will keep this quiet as they are precious about their editor, but most will give you good advice. And finally, what if you don’t get on with the editor or feel they don’t ‘get’ your work? That’s easy, you can get another one or you might check that you are not the one becoming precious. It’s an easy thing to do. We love our work. Our child. Our baby. But for a child to grow you have to allow it to see the world, and that’s true for your book as well.

As always if this has inspired more questions contact us at 3P Publishing on 01536 560410 or email andy@3ppublishing.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you.

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