Friday, May 1, 2015

The Importance of Being Edited

Editing, or the lack thereof, is the hot topic in the indie publishing world right now. No longer can indie authors hope to break out without paying for an editor. Readers just won't put up with the crap even for a good story (Although, I saw Fifty Shades, and it's stellar lack thereof, so.... sure.) 

But as a serious writer, I do see the importance and the need for proper editing. If we do not make an effort to present the best book possible, then we are just creating garbage. And after spending the last two years reading a lot of indie books, I completely agree. I get annoyed when I pay for a traditional book and find massive errors. When I bought Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games in hard cover, I was so disgusted by the numerous sentences which I could not even begin to decipher because the traditional publisher didn't bother to pay for an editor. 

She got shafted. 

But as more and more indie authors get on board, I have noticed another problem. Editor's prices are so all over the charts. I know this, because I free lance on occasion as an editor. Every time, I want to make sure I am charging fair prices so I check the climate. 

There are a lot of sharks out there ready to make a quick buck off us authors. And the problem with editing is that (unlike, say cover art) an author doesn't know what she doesn't know. How do you pick a good editor, and know you are getting a good editor?

I have heard so many horror stories of authors paying upwards of $1,000 and then having readers complain about the book not being properly edited. Just because you get a bunch of red ink, doesn't mean the editor did a good job. 

Are they providing just grammar, will they provide content editing, what about fact checking?

How does an author know an editor will do a good job? How do they know they will get charged an appropriate price? Talk to other authors and see who they have used. Check references. Read the editor's works. Ask questions. Make sure you know what you are getting, when you will get it, and how much it will cost. Most importantly, have a contract. 

But don't let the fear of not knowing prevent you from getting your book edited. Do the research. It will make your book better and will allow you to be competitive. Just be sure to factor that cost into setting the price of your book. 

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