Saturday, March 17, 2018

Why Hire an Editor

I've been thinking more about indie books of late. And I've been having more people give me book recommendations with a disclaimer: it needs to be edited ... but the story's really good! So how important is it to hire a professional editor before you publish your book?
It's non-optional! I know indie authors don't get an editor as part of a publishing contract. And I know indie authors also have a tight budget for each book. There are some things you can do yourself,  but I always hire out cover design (because the cover has to be good to sell), interior formatting (because I haven't learned it yet), and editing. If I'm telling you that as a freelance editor ... then you should I know I mean business. ;)

The reason I always always hire an editor is because she's. not. me. That's basically what it comes down to! I want someone who's gifted with editing and can read my final draft so that I feel confidant that it's had a final polish.

One danger of self-editing is that inconsistencies can be created while trying to solve problems. It could be as simple as misspelling someone's name or as important as using the wrong name and confusing your readers. But let's establish right now--there is no such thing as an insignificant error. Errors are errors and they lessen the quality of your book! That's why I want eyes I trust (I use Kelsey Bryant). Honestly the task I give her is really just a final proofread, which some people charge less for.

For the other things like getting feedback on character development, pacing, confusing sentences, plot holes ... I use alpha and beta readers. I have a pool of six people I use for alpha reading, depending on who's available and who would be interested in my particular story. This is for a critique on the first draft. For betas I usually open up a form and take about 15 friends to read through a later draft that I can then ready for Kelsey.

This is invaluable and where the bulk of my editing comes in. But I'm not comfortable just having online friends read it, because most of them are readers and writers, not editors. There is a difference, and it shows in a final manuscript. And again, I need one person to give it a last read through.

Why don't I do it myself? 1) Because I'm really done with the book by this point xD I've edited and re-edited and I really don't have the time or energy to read all the way through it. 2) Being my own work, I'm going to read it the way I mean for it to come off, not necessarily the way it will come off to other people--readers. So there's that.

I think the main reason people don't hire editors is because, unlike me, they'd rather spend the time than the money. I totally understand that! And this post is not saying that every published book without a professional edit is bad. Yet I would say that there is a noticeable difference, at least to me as an editor. If your readers can see that difference, your book isn't going to do as well.

So the struggle of finding a cheap editor! If someone's offering you a comprehensive edit for free, you should be wary because they deserve compensation for the hard work that editing is! Yes, you get to read a book. But editing is so much more than that.

Thankfully, there are quite a few writers who also offer editing services for less. To be completely honest here, I'm not sure every one of them should. It seems like a popular thing to do, and I can't imagine that all of them are actually skilled editors. But I digress ... :P

Do not pay $2,000 to have your novel edited. There comes a point where I don't think it is worth your money. But instead of throwing up your hands and deciding to do it yourself, see if you can find a relatively inexpensive editor who will do the job well.

Hiring someone is scary. But the easiest way to avoid paying a bad egg is to hire off the recommendations of friends. That's how I found Kelsey, and I'll be using her to the end of my days, I expect.

And yes, I'm an editor, and the cheapest one I know ... but this is not a post just to promote what I do (although I'd love to have you). It's a post to promote the importance of editors because they're really quite cool and underrated.
OK, so now I'm curious!! Do you hire an editor before you publish? Who do you use? Do you offer beta reading or editing services? Definitely feel free to drop links!

Also, this has nothing to do with editing xD ... but I have some super cute magnetic bookmarks available in my Etsy shop now!