Should You Get An Editor? Self-Published and Indie Author Tips
If you’re reading this article, it’s because you’re a new, self-published, or indie author who hasn’t decided where to go with this next step in writing. Once you finish a book, everything else gets started. But what direction should you take? Can you truly self-edit as competently as that of a professional? Buy, Vay, I’m only self-publishing on Amazon, I don’t expect anyone to even buy this thing—isn’t it good just to have my best friend take a look at it?
Let’s break this down.
Not every idea that pops into someone’s head is going to become a best-seller, not every idea will make it to print—not every good idea, is actually good. But the thing about writing in 2018 is that your writing doesn’t have to be good to be printed and sold anymore. With self-publishing and the rise of the digital library, we are living in a world with billions of ideas being put on the market every single day. Editing is being overlooked, but is that OK?
There are readers who’ll stop their game of Candy Crush to go download a free book in a fit of boredom, readers looking for the next YA thriller between reruns of Keeping Up with The Kardashians, readers who are on the hunt for a groundbreaking memoir that’ll change their lives. The average reader is no longer the brainy class nerd who’ll grow up to become a chess champion or NASA space engineer. We are no longer Star Wars freaks who’ve never had a girlfriend or boyfriend, virginal gamers hunched over a greasy comic book in our parents’ basement. Readers come in all shapes and sizes today, but one thing remains the same, no matter what genre’s in our hands or how it was published.
Self-published or traditionally published, the readers of 2018 don’t care if the story is the next thriller of the summer or just something to help make a bowel movement a little more entertaining. What they do care about, however, is that the story is understandable.
No matter how good your book is, now matter how incredible your main characters are, or how juicy the love triangle is, it doesn’t matter one hoot if the manuscript is riddled with mistakes, poor character development, and incoherent sentences and structure.
But, Vay, my story is perfect; I took a course in creative writing when I was in college and I’ve read my story over ten times already, twice aloud! I even had my sister and a buddy from work take a look at it—and he tutors kids in English on weekends.
Umm … ok, so when are you getting that editor?
There’s one thing about editing that new authors can’t seem to get through their heads:
YOU. NEED. IT.
This may not be the best news of your writing career but it’s the truth. I know the price of editing is one of the biggest reasons authors shy away from it, especially when all you have to do is click a button and turn your head and bam! Who cares about those spelling errors now?
Honestly, who cares about the spelling errors?
I like to pride myself as someone who isn’t bothered by mistakes and misspellings, its not a big deal—editor or not, we’re still human so we still make mistakes. This very article probably has a few errors scattered throughout but hey, I’m not trying to sell you 300 pages of mistakes for 4.99, am I?
No, I’m trying to help you take something that is good and make it better.
I’ve worked with a lot of self-published and indie authors over the years, many of them come with an open-palm, asking for advice and my advice is always the same. Get yourself an editor. I don’t have to tell you that The Rebel Christian offers incredibly affordable editing services tailored to the needs and budget of new, self-published, and indie authors. This is about more than a fluff article promoting my services. I don’t care where you get your editing done, as long as it gets done.
Take a good long look at your work and be honest with yourself. Is it truly as good as it could be? You might say you know your story best—if I would just give your book a chance then I’d like it too. That may be true, but this isn’t about liking your book, it’s about making it as good as it can be.
Ask yourself, do you have a good grasp on English literature? Beyond that—because editing doesn’t always come down to a misplaced comma—do you have the ability to step back and recognize poor structure when you need to? Can you really cut out an entire character because they don’t fit? Can you rewrite the first six chapters because the opening is weak—can you recognize why and how the opening is weak?
One of the things I’ve learned in working with authors as both a reviewer and an editor is that they are defensive, almost admirably so. It is very hard to spot the mistakes in your own work. It is even harder to accept them. But when an author learns to embrace constructive criticism, their work and their workability enhances altogether.
If you’re reading this article, it’s likely because you are on the fence in this matter. I don’t know if I’ve convinced you or changed your mind, but I do hope I have inspired you to look at your work with more than love and passion, look at it with a pair of open eyes—look at it side by side with an editor.