I’m Timothy Pike, founder of the writing community ChapterBuzz, and I’ve created this series to help you publish a top-notch book.
At the end of this article, you’ll find your Quick-Action Steps. These are easy steps you can take right now, today to move forward.
Step 1: It’s time for editing
Of course you plan to revise your story, probably many times. If you’re like most writers, you’ll go over it and over it, hoping to get it perfect.
But what ends up happening is not what you might expect: the more you go through your manuscript, the more familiar you get with it, and the less you notice the mistakes. The typos and awkwardly worded sentences simply fade into the background after a while.
That’s why working with a professional editor can take your novel from good to great.
A freelance editor is an expert not just at spotting minor errors or bigger problems with your work, but also telling you exactly how to fix them. A good editor will be patient and explain his or her thought process, which means you get to learn a lot in the process.
I’ll be blunt: it would be a huge mistake to self-publish a book without having it edited. But far too many self-publishing authors do this anyway, and soon find themselves wondering why their books aren’t selling.
It’s a mistake you can’t afford to make.
When your reputation is at stake, a second, trained pair of eyes is an absolute must.
Even all the big names (Stephen King, Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling, for example) have editors—sometimes entire teams—that get their novels ready for publication. Editors at publishing houses can be ruthless, though. They’ll slice, dice, chop, and puree: This chapter doesn’t work. Get rid of this character. Your story needs a different ending.
What’s great about self-publishing, on the other hand, is that you’re the one in charge, and you always keep creative control over your work. Think Chapter 4 should stay? Chapter 4 stays.
An experienced editor knows grammar inside and out, and can easily spot errors at the sentence level.
But early on, you might also benefit from a different type of editing—one that focuses more on the “big picture.”
So what are the different types of editing? These are the most common:
Developmental editing. Need help with your plot, the structure of your story, or character development? This “big picture” service will help you organize your novel and tie it all together nicely. It is quite time consuming, therefore requires the highest investment. Cost: 3.5¢–10¢ per word
Substantive editing (also called content or line editing). Okay, you have a story written. But you know it’s not perfect—the narrative could flow better, some paragraphs could be rearranged, sentences rewritten, or it may need that little extra…something? Hire a substantive editor to help with this. Still time-consuming, but cheaper than developmental editing. Cost: 2.5¢–8¢ per word
Copy editing. Let’s drill down to the sentence level. Do the words flow? Do the sentences have rhythm? Any grammar or punctuation issues? A good copy editor will also keep a keen eye out for dangling modifiers. It’s like a car wash for your writing. Cost: 1¢–5¢ per word
Proofreading. All the major work’s been done, so now let’s sweep up and mop the floor, leaving it sparkling clean. Any remaining (minor) issues such as misspellings, extra or missing words, punctuation errors or anything else that shouldn’t be there are wiped away, and you’re left with the final text for your book. A proofreading pass takes the least time, therefore costs the least. Cost: less than 1¢–3¢ per word
Whether this is your first published book or your tenth, you want it done right, and editing goes a long way toward a finished, gorgeous book that keeps your readers turning pages.
Your Quick-Action Steps for today:
- From the types of editing I talked about, decide which one is right for you
- Contact an editor today. These editors will be happy to help!
Want it all done for you? My “Complete Amazon Author” publishing package comes with everything you need (including copy editing and proofreading), giving you a beautiful published book on sale at Amazon and the Barnes & Noble website, both in paperback and for Kindle.
I take care of all the details, leaving the fun part to you: giving your creative input wherever needed!
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