Why You Must Spend Money on
It’s the dilemma most indie authors face: should we bother paying for an editor? After all, we’re understaffed, under budget and often overwhelmed. The correct answer will always be yes, yes, yes! Thankfully, we live in the age of the indie author and with it are plenty of people peddling their editing services. But which kind of editing should an indie author pay for; copy editing, line editing, or proof editing? And what’s the difference?
Let me begin by explaining the different types of book editing:
- Line/Developmental Editors go over the general story and look for poorly constructed characters and holes in story’s plot. If problems are huge they may ask you to rewrite sections.
- Copy Editors look over facts, and also go over punctuation or poor dialog.
- Proof Readers look only for grammatical errors and misused punctuation.
Many indie authors pay big bucks to for several rounds of editing to avoid looking “self-published” a problem that plagues many indie books. However, indie authors aren’t the only ones who are using freelance editors. In fact, there are several bestselling authors who pay for some “light editing” before sending it to their publishing house’s editor in order to preserve their reputations as literary geniuses. So like it or not, we’re all doing it!
Will Editing Get Rid of All My Errors?
No, editing will not make your book mistake free, all books have errors but some less than others. For example, Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight are considered some of the worst written books, yet both authors had editors. In fact, I’m sure their work passed through many hands before it went to print. Yet that doesn’t stop the literati from pointing out the poor prose and redundant verbiage in these bestselling books.
How Much Does Editing Really Cost?
The typical editor makes about $1 a page and up. However, there are those that charge per word, usually they ask anywhere from $.03 – .35 cents and up. In any case, professional editors will ask to evaluate your manuscript before they give you a final quote.
Price ultimately depends on your skill level and the overall complexity of your book. Some books require fact checking and extensive rewrites. However, there are indie authors who forgo the entire process and just publish “as is.” These guys are the reason why there is a stigma against indie books.
Then there are those on the opposite side of the spectrum, those indie authors who spend thousands on editors and still windup with errors in their book. Personally, I have erred on the side of careful frugality when it comes to editing. Meaning, I refuse to spend thousands on an editor who used to work at Random House but on the other hand, I wouldn’t pay for one of those penny-a-page editors that operate out of the Philippines either.
What to Look for in an Editor
The rules are simple when hiring any freelancer and they are:
- Samples: If someone has no samples, don’t trust them.
- Testimonials: Avoid those who don’t have testimonials that can be verified.
- Research: Go to author forums like Absolute Write or Editors and Predators to see what other authors say about them. Google the company name with the word reviews.
- Make sure a company has a money back guarantee policy, or will at least correct any botched job for free.
Do not hire anyone who cannot prove they have command of the English language. There are tons of editor mills where companies outsource their work to people in non English speaking countries like India, or The Philippines in order to maximize profits. Try to find an editor based in the U.S., Canada, or the U.K. if you want decent results. I personally used LinkedIn to find my editor.
Here are some resources for legitimate editors:
Note: I am not affiliated with these companies or their services.
- Kirkus: Yes, Kirkus the company that charges indie authors for book reviews also has offer a copyediting service.
About Those Self-Publishing Packages
Most presses like Lulu, Author Solutions and CreateSpace have editing services they offer with their self-publishing services. For example: Amazon’s CreateSpace charges $0.016 per word for up to 10,000 words and $160.00 for manuscripts up to 100,000 words. This sounds bit on the low side and could be a mill, so author beware!
A Final Note
I can’t really say how many rounds of editing your particular book may need. Honestly, that depends on your budget, experience and also, your self-esteem. Yes, I said self-esteem because if you don’t believe in your work, why would you spend money on it?
Okay, now I’m handing it over to you, have you worked with an editor? If so, who and what were the results? I’d love to hear your stories.