Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Thing That's Easy to Forget - Editing

Currently reading - Pale Demon by Kim Harrison (HC)

Editing.  Despite what a lot of indie publishing writers think, almost everyone definitely needs it.

Hell, I need it.  One of the most difficult things to learn as a writer is how to look objectively at your baby.  Don't fool yourself into thinking you can upload your first draft (or second or third) to Amazon.  For your baby to sell, it needs to look and smell its best.

Start with the basics.  A copy of Strunk & White's Elements of Style is always a good reference guide.  Take classes, in person or online.  Find a good critique group.  Don't take the criticisms personally.  Learn from everything anyone has to say, even if it's what not to do (or how to deliver critcism more politely than it was delivered to you).

If you find you need additional help, hire a freelance editor.  The hard part is finding someone you trust, with previous experience and who's reasonable.  Ask for recommendations from other writers you know.  Prices can ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand.  Make sure you get references before SIGNING ANYTHING.  Know what you want from the editor.  Confirm that you both agree on what constitutes line editing, copy editing, proofing, etc.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  A freelance editor works for you!

I'll warn you now.  Even when you've had a dozen people read and critique your book, invariably you'll find a typo when you're re-formatting the file for upload.  *grin*

(Editor's note:  Tess brought up a good point about reading your manuscript aloud.  I use the Text-to-Speech function in the Microsoft Reader, which is a free download.)


  1. Having the computer read the manuscript is the best tool I've found in editing!!!!!

  2. Great points! After the formatting chaos, I ended up with several different saved versions of my MS. And as luck would have it, the wrong one was uploaded. Thank goodness the option to resubmit exists. I agree, editing is a must!

  3. Melissa - At least it was a fixable problem, right? I already have nightmares of doing something like that. LOL

  4. Tess - I love that the Microsoft Reader lets me do text-to-speech!