Posted on

Final Book Proofing Tips – Make It Perfect, Let It Go!

Final book proofing tips: Make it perfect and let it go

The time between your line edits and clicking that “submit for preorder” button is a daunting one. On the one hand, you’ve read your book so many times you’re sick of it. On the other, you have that fear: What if I miss something? To combat that fear, we’ve added some book proofing tips to help you get peace of mind.

Get it Printed

We’re digital people, so we don’t print out manuscripts. Ever. (Save the trees!) The lone exception comes at the time of final proofing, when we order the first proof from CreateSpace. This is quite possibly the best and worst part of the process. Best, because it’s finally a real book! Worst, because it’s time to find those last oopsies.

A note on proofing and your service provider: If you’re using a hybrid approach with CreateSpace and Ingram, know that you will have to approve the book on Ingram before you can order a printed copy and pay for any edits for new versions. Therefore, we recommend using CreateSpace to proof your book.

Try Not to Read It

Final book proofing tips: Prioritize your edits to know what's nitpickingAfter an unboxing video, we get right to work with a red pen. That’s right, bibliophiles, we’ll mark up that pretty book like there’s no tomorrow. Because the book has already been through a line editor, there shouldn’t be too many issues. But even the best editor misses things, and you might find small things you forgot to incorporate as well.

Do your best to stay out of the story. For this work, it’s better to take breaks than try to eat the whole apple. If you find yourself slipping into the action, step away until you’ve rested enough.

Keep an Eye for Formatting

One of the benefits of getting a printed proof is you’ll not only get a chance to see the text, but any custom formatting. This is the time where you can adjust spacing or size to move a scene break from one page to another, or fix any issues with your chapter headings.

Note: If formatting is making your head spin, contact us for a quote.


Final book proofing tips: You may be tempted to make big changes. Resist the urgeYou may be tempted to tweak things in your book at this point. Maybe change a phrase, maybe adjust a plot point. Resist this urge unless it’s absolutely necessary. All authors are perfectionists, but if you continue dithering in the details, you’ll never get the book out the door. This is why we recommend setting a deadline to have the book finalized. That way, you’ll have to decide: Is this edit necessary or just nit-picking?

Another surefire way to know if you’re nitpicking: If you’ve flagged something in the printed proof, but upon reading it in the manuscript, you find it doesn’t bother you.

Other Options for Proofing

Because we don’t trust our own eyes, once we’ve proofed the book, we enlist some of our most eagle-eyed readers to take a gander. This is an oft-used double-win for indie authors: You’re releasing early versions to your favorite readers and getting help finding typos. Without fail, our readers always come back with different typos, telling us that truly no one is infallible.

If you don’t have readers yet, or you don’t trust them, another great tool is to listen to the book using a text-to-speech function. It comes standard in all Mac computers, and is available through some programs for Windows. While we’ve used this tactic before on blog posts and shorter texts, sitting and listening to a book for a few hours has proven to be difficult. But if you want to make absolutely sure, it’s a great option.

[contact-form-7 id=”910″ title=”Contact Us”]

Posted on

Working With an Editor – Tips and Tricks to Maximize Success

Working with an editor: Tips and tricks to maximize success

On your publishing path, you will inevitably work with an editor (and if you don’t, we recommend you do). Having been on both sides of the equation, we’ve assembled our best tips for hiring and working with an editor.

Why Hire an Editor

Working with an editor: Use your author network to vet potential editorsFor those who are looking to take their manuscript and publishing career seriously, an editor is non-negotiable in our view. Editors do everything from make sure your story flows, to finding your split infinitives, to checking for periods and more. At a minimum, you should hire a line editor for your manuscript. We’ve written and published thirteen books so far, and we still outsource line editing. It’s just that important.

Covering Your Ass…umptions

Up front, we want to offer a Buyer Beware. There are lots of folks out there who offer editing services for varying prices. Before putting down any money, make sure you’ve done your homework. Get recommendations from your fellow authors (find them in genre-based Facebook Support Groups). Ask your prospective editor if they’d be willing to do a sample test run.

You also want to be careful about how much you pay. A 100k word manuscript single edit shouldn’t cost you thousands of dollars (although if you’re getting multiple rounds, it might). Make sure to get a few quotes until you find someone you can work with at a fair price.

If you’re concerned about plunking down a lot of money, you can set up a contract outlining expectations, timeline, and payment options. Some editors require 50% up front, and the rest upon delivery, and some expect it all up front. Do what feels right for your budget, and always err on the side of keeping your money.

What To Deliver

Working with editors: Deliver your best work to your editor. Why pay for someone to fix what you already know is wrong?Your editor should receive your very best work. This may seem counterintuitive–if they’re going to fix it anyway, why not give them mediocre work? Think of it this way: you’re paying them to bring your book to a higher level. Why would you waste your money and have them flag things you could’ve fixed yourself? Take the time to make sure the manuscript is clean of large errors and comments.

Depending on the type of editing, you may deliver the manuscript in one file or break it into chunks. For line editing and other non-subjective review, we prefer to get it in one go and send edits back. For content editing, we’ve found success with fifty-page chunks, especially if the manuscript needs more work.

Disagreements Happen. Communication is Key.

A good editor will always make you feel like you’re in control. But sometimes, you may disagree with their edit. And that’s all right! As we talked about a few weeks ago, getting feedback is a balance. Your editor understands that some of their notes may be disregarded. However, make sure to let them know, especially if working back and forth, that you’ve decided to go a different direction. It will help them adjust fire on their notes, and keep frustration to a minimum.

You also want to make sure to keep an open dialogue on timelines and expectations, and include lag time on your publishing schedule if there’s a delay. Editors are human, after all.

[contact-form-7 id=”910″ title=”Contact Us”]

Posted on

How to Find Beta Readers and CPs – Your Best Writerly Friends

How to find beta readers: Your best writerly friends

Authors have different ways to solicit feedback. Some prefer a more collaborative approach, where they use critique partners during the drafting process. Others prefer to draft in solitude, then share a nearly completed version. Either way: You’re still in need of a set of eyes to find the issues in your manuscript. Today, we’re going to talk about how to find beta readers and critique partners.

The Importance of Other Insights

First, why are betas and CPs so important? Mostly because this feedback comes during the editing or drafting stage.

How to find beta readers: If you seek beta feedback too late, you might not be willing to incorporate it

If you’ve ever had a boss ask you to rework an entire presentation the night before the big meeting, you know timing is crucial. Likewise, if you seek heavy feedback too late in the editing process, you may be recalcitrant to make the changes. The beta stage, therefore, is a crucial step. It’s the place where you’re “open for comments” and willing, ready, and able to incorporate them. Even if it means chopping large chunks of your manuscript, and rewriting others.

For that should be the role of your betas/CPs. Unlike a line editor, who searched for grammatical issues and typos, or a QA reader, who finds those all-important final quality issues, your betas should be looking at the text as a reader would. This is also the job of a content editor, if you so choose to go that route.

Use Your Network

When looking for help on your manuscript, you should start with your existing network. Do you have any fellow author friends? Readers or fans? Bookworm friends? All of the above make excellent beta readers–for different reasons.

How to find beta readers: Recruit a mix of authors and non-authors to read your book. You'll get structural feedback plus the reader's perspectiveYour author friends will be able to lend a critical, structural eye to your work. They will undoubtably be the harshest of your beta readers, but also the most willing to offer creative solutions. It’s generally a good idea to enlist one or two of these eagle-eyed critiques.

Your readers or fans probably won’t be as focused on mechanical issues. However, they will be able to provide a reader’s perspective. They may also just come back with, “I loved it!” In which case, they serve as an ego-booster. As every author knows, these are important to keep morale high and the process going. Also, these folks are great for reviewing subsequent books in a series for continuity.

If you don’t have any author friends or reader fans, then your bookworm friends are also good to review your book. But be wary: Sometimes they may overlook issues that other readers may not. An independent set of eyes is always critical.

Using Author Groups

Another great way to locate beta readers is to join writing groups, or author support groups on Facebook. We chatted about this a few weeks ago. There are thousands of writer-focused groups, some even specific to your genre.

There, you’ll undoubtably find more of the author-type readers. They may ask you to beta read their in return, or barter some other kind of help. Either way, pay it forward always.

Finding Paid Beta Readers

If all else fails, or if you want a little extra assurance, you can always seek out paid beta readers. Note, however, that a paid beta read is not the same as a content editor. A beta reader generally won’t leave detailed comments in the text, nor will they be on the hook to offer solutions for the issues they bring up. An editor, on the other hand, will do all of that.

With that in mind, keep an eye on your costs and your current skill level. For example, while we offer beta reading services, usually we only accept beta reads from authors with a little experience under their belt. Instead, we’ll suggest a content edit, where we can deep dive into the manuscript and really give you the bang for your buck.


Posted on

How to Take Feedback – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

How to take feedback: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Writing can be a solitary endeavor. But when you’re ready to share your art, you’ll have to seek feedback from others. Learning how to take feedback is an essential tool in the writer’s toolbox. Of course, line edits and typo checking are pretty easy to fix. When it comes to the more subjective areas, like characterization, plot, and overall likability, it’s good to know what’s good feedback and what should be set aside.

In a few weeks, we’ll talk about where to find sources of feedback (editors and beta readers), but before we get there, it’s important to be prepared.

The Initial Reaction

How to take feedback: When you get it, give yourself enough space to detach emotionally, so you can really understand itDepending on your closeness to the manuscript, you may experience a variety of different reactions upon that first email from your editor. Some folks take their “lumps” like a champ. Others move into defensiveness. But our advice is simple:

Read it, understand it, then let it sit.

A lot of writers talk about giving the manuscript “space.” It means to step away from the work long enough to detach emotionally from it. When you’re in the thick of drafting, cutting or changing can seem daunting. Taking a break from the work means you come back with fresh eyes and more energy.

The same concept can be applied to taking feedback. On first blush, “I didn’t connect with the character” can seem like a slap in the face. But after a week, maybe you reread your manuscript with that thought in the back of your mind. Perhaps you locate small tweaks in dialogue and action to make your characters more relatable.

Listen to Everyone, Change for a Few

How to take feedback: No one reads a book the same way. Expect your beta feedback to varyJust as you shouldn’t expect to get five star reviews from every reader, you should expect a varied response from your beta readers. It’s not uncommon for each person to come back with different feedback. The key is understanding which feedback deserves full attention.

In general, if more than two people make the same comment, it should be a red flag that something should be fixed. Otherwise, use your discretion as the author. Maybe you make small tweaks to dialogue, as we said above. Or perhaps an entire plot point needs to be scrapped.

If you’re writing a book that requires sensitivity readers, their feedback should be taken with a bit more gravitas. When penning a story that features heavily in another culture, it’s a good idea to recruit a few readers who live that culture. The more perspectives, the greater chance your book will be true to life.

On the other hand, if feedback comes out of left field, boil it down to the basic criticism, and focus there. For example, when the dragon book was in the beta stage, we received a ten paragraph essay on how the book could be more like Outlander. The book, however, was nothing like Outlander, nor was it intended to be. Instead of making the book something it’s not, we took it as a signal to focus more on worldbuilding to prevent others from making the same error.

Tackle the Beast…Slowly

Another rookie mistake authors make is to adjudicate comments too quickly. This is especially an issue when working with an editor. When you don’t take the time to really work on comments individually, you may not do as good a job. While you think you’ve fixed the problem, you may have just slapped on a bandaid. Give yourself plenty of time to make the changes.

When edits come from multiple sources, we like to consolidate them as comments in the text. We use Scrivener, so any comments have to be incorporated this way anyhow. For Word users, you can combine two versions of a Word document to get everything in one file.

Then we knock out the punch list until everything’s been taken care of.

[contact-form-7 id=”910″ title=”Contact Us”]

Posted on

POV Violations – Head Hopping and Perspective Changes

POV Violations: Head Hopping and Perspective changes

A continuation of our series on self editing and writing tips. As always, your mileage may vary, and every story is unique. For many authors, side characters and secondary characters can tell as much of the story as the protagonists. But one thing newer authors trip up on are POV Violations (point of view violation). Basically, you have established a point of view for the book (First, Third Close, Third Omnipresent, etc), and then violated it. Usually by sneaking into the perspective of another.


POV Violations happen when the author writes about a perspective not already establishedWe say this is a newer author tripping hazard, but it happens to the best of us. You’re going along with a third close or a first person with one character, and then this happens:

I didn’t know what to say. Sarah didn’t know either. She thought I was full of crap.

Since your protagonist isn’t inside of Sarah’s head, we don’t know if she knew what to say, or what she thought. Thus, another case of POV violations. To fix it, we can only make an educated guess, based on body language.

I didn’t know what to say. From the look on her face, Sarah didn’t know either. And I’d wager she thought I was full of crap.

Very small adjustments, but important to maintain the point of view.

Movie Scene Exits

Another oft-used violation happens when a writer is envisioning their books as a movie. When we have a camera narrator, we can break away from our protagonist, and see events unfolding when he’s walked away. In a book with a close third or first POV, that’s a violation.

John strode out of the room, leaving Henry and Jane behind. They looked at each other, wishing he was somehow different.

In an omnipresent narration (where there’s no main protagonist), this would work. But if we’ve been sticking close to John for the entirety of the book, this comes off as a bit jarring to the reader. Unfortunately, the only resolution is to cut the violation, and incorporate the salient plot points in some other fashion.

New POVs later in the book

POV Violations: Establish your main POVs early and don't deviate later in the bookOften, small POV violations happen in drafting and are easy to fix. But sometimes, authors need to tell another perspective, and decide to drop an entirely new POV in a scene.

There are some cases where this works. If you’re writing a series, and in the follow-on book decide to expand the narrative with new perspectives, this can work. Within a single book, you generally want to keep new perspectives limited to the first half of the book, unless it’s a prologue or epilogue.

If you’re at the 75% mark and feel strongly that only this POV would suit for this narration, consider adding more scenes of that POV in the first few chapters. That way, your reader can establish that emotional connection early. Otherwise, you may have to rethink how to execute those plot points using your existing POVs.

Hey, we didn’t say writing books was easy!

[contact-form-7 id=”910″ title=”Contact Us”]

Posted on 1 Comment

Character Motivations: Keeping Your Story Straight

Character Motivations: Keeping your story straight

When it comes to writing good, compelling characters, there’s a lot to consider. You want to create someone memorable, who readers can relate to. But most important, you want to make sure that your memorable, relatable character doesn’t change midway through the story. And for that, we need to understand character motivations, and how that impacts your plot.

What is Character Motivation

Character motivations: Identify what your protagonist wants, then keep it from themAny actor will tell you that a motivation is the underpinning for a good performance. You have to understand why someone acts in a certain way, even if the explanation never comes out in the text. When you understand your character, you can then write them in a way that’s believable.

To start, you need to understand what your character wants. What is the thing that will give them their “happy ending?” Your plot should revolve around keeping that thing from them. So as they go about your narrative in pursuit of that thing, their actions within the book should reflect that thing.

Changing Direction

Of course, humans are multi-dimensional creatures, and so are book characters. What a character wants at the beginning may not be what they want in Chapter Twenty. Sometimes, your plot dictates that a character’s motivations must change. The trick is to make sure to bring the reader with you when you make those transitions.

An example would be a thief in pursuit of a treasure. If he gets to the treasure and decides that he suddenly doesn’t want the treasure, the reader feels cheated. Why had they gone on this adventure if the thief changed his mind?

However, add in additional detail about how the treasure belongs to a young widow, who the thief befriends and grows a relationships with, and the reader can understand why he’d make an about-face.

Ret-Con and Mid-Series Changes

Character motivations can change. Just make sure to bring the reader along for the rideThe dreaded “ret-con” (or retroactive continuity) is what happens when a new book or TV episode changes the existing background established by a previous installment. This happens a lot with pilot TV episodes, where the overall idea behind the show may not be solidified. In book series, however, it becomes an issue when an author decides between books to change an idea–and neglects to take the reader with them.

For example, in one book, the narrator promises the relationship is platonic, and there’s no sexual tension between the two. But in the following book, the two characters suddenly can’t keep their hands off each other. The author indicated through background information that much more had passed between them in the space between the books. However, the reader, who was not present in the action, doesn’t get the emotion. And thus feels cheated because the author has “changed” a character.

Extra Eyes Help

Think of character confusion as a lack of communication. Authors are free to transition to any motivation they want, but when they fail to communicate the how and the why, that’s when problems start. One of the best ways to combat this issue, besides an awareness of plot, is to talk to your beta readers or enlist a content editor.

When it comes to character motivations, your betas are often your best assets. They are usually readers themselves, and quick to point out where a motivation change was too hastily executed. This is also where a good content editor can help. In a few weeks, we’ll share our best tips for incorporating feedback from your editor and beta readers, so come back for that.

[contact-form-7 id=”910″ title=”Contact Us”]

Posted on

Showing and Telling – Not As Simple As it Sounds

Showing and telling: not as simple as it sounds

One of the most used phrases in editing is the dreaded, “Show, don’t tell.” What it means, very simply, is that the prose is using direct words and phrases (He was very angry) versus description (His blood thumped in his ears and he clenched his fists). While the definition is pretty clear, the application of showing and telling is much more nuanced.

Note: While most of the examples in this blog post are made up, they are inspired by our freelance editing clients. 

Explaining Away the Plot

Showing and telling: When the reader is present for the action in the plot, it packs a larger punch narrativelyAs freelance editors, we encounter a lot of showing and telling, but usually more telling. For most of our clients, it boils down to a lack of awareness of your plot. And also, just a hint of writer laziness. The most clear example of showing vs. telling is when an author explains away an entire scene in a single sentence:

Later, Anita went to the council meeting. I followed along and they discussed the upcoming presidential election. I watched as a heated argument arose between Anita and Councilman Jeffords. After that, we had lunch and discussed it.

Our editing comment would be something along the lines of, “Turn this into a scene.” Unless the council meeting offered nothing of plot-or-character-value, this is a chance to continue building your world. When the reader is present for an action, it keeps them engaged.

Body Language

When it comes to dialogue, writers have to strike a balance between giving too much background and body language and keeping the conversation going. More often than not, we see a lot of dialogue and not a lot of descriptors, which can both confuse the reader as to who’s talking and not give us a clear picture of the emotion in the room.

“I didn’t say that,” he said.

“Yes, you did. You totally said that.”

“You are such a liar. I can’t believe you’d say something like that about me.”

“I can’t believe I ever loved you.”

The words, by themselves, are powerful. But with the addition of some body language–a pause here, a turning away there, an averted gaze and flushed cheeks, we can glean much more about this conversation. This is especially crucial when building relationships between characters in your text.

Duplication with Dialogue

Along the same lines as above, we see a lot of authors duplicate sentiments found within dialogue, or understood from subtext:

I was so angry. “I can’t believe you did that.”

“What?” he replied with a small shrug. He obviously wasn’t concerned about it. “There was nothing I could do.”

Yeah, right. “That’s such bullshit.”

In this case, you may be able to get away with one or two asides, but as a reader, you know that Person A is angry, and from the shrug and dialogue, you know Person B doesn’t care. Instead, you could

Purple Prose

Showing and telling: Learning when to use each is a crucial author skillWe’ve also dealt with some authors who go above and beyond on the showing standpoint, giving us an entire chapter of exposition on how cold the outside is. While there are some readers who enjoy that level of detail, there are others who see a block of text and flip to the next page. Here is the flip side of showing and telling – too much showing.

There’s also such a thing as purple prose, or prose that’s too elaborate or ornate. Usually, this prose involves some rather unique word choices describing action that isn’t very interesting:

The elfin woman shrugged her bony, pale shoulders, her silvery hair fluttering with each movement. Her golden eyes danced about the room, absorbing everything from the chandelier to the marble tile floors. With a flick of her ebony cape, she swept toward the aperture on the wall.

In some cases, purple prose works. Fantasy books with massive amounts of worldbuilding benefit from having more detail. If you’re an author with a flowery writing style, do what works for you and your preference. But keep in mind that too much detail can distract the reader.

How to Fix It

It really boils down to the uniqueness of your book. No two stories are exactly alike. In general, here are some rules to keep in mind for showing and telling:

  • Plot explanation: Ask yourself: Is this scene crucial? Would writing it give an additional view into this world or the plot?
  • Dialogue: What are the characters doing? If they’re sitting around, staring at the wall, dialogue-only may work. Look up some articles on body language and try to incorporate it.
  • Purple Prose: Is the paragraph too descriptive? Is there a reason for the detail, or is it just to fill space?

Reading through your manuscript to find the issues is really the best way to locate the problems. That’s why we’re such big believers in getting additional feedback, especially for newer writers learning the craft. After a few rounds with an editor, it becomes easier to understand where to utilize each practice.

[contact-form-7 id=”910″ title=”Contact Us”]

Posted on

How to Self-Edit: A Key Author Skill

How to self-edit: A key author skill

There are many skills you need as an author. An eye for plot, a sense of empathy for good characters. Nerves of steel to withstand criticism and bad reviews. But one of the best skills a new author can hone is the ability to lend a critical eye to their own work. In today’s blog, we’ll share our tips on how to self-edit your manuscript.

Know When to Edit

The first step for any author is to know thyself. Or, really, know thyself at the present moment. Authors are creative creatures. We’ve found that no matter how similar a book, drafting rarely happens the same way twice. There are a thousand variables in your life, from kids and career to the weather and alignment of the moon. Depending on these variables, your mood will change. When and where you should start that all-important self-editing should too.

For example, if you are trying to draft a book in the midst of renovating a house, running two businesses, and having to deal with obligations around friends, family, and kids, you may want to just draft, draft, draft without any consideration for self-editing. We’ve had moments where we stare at whole sections of words, knowing they have to go, but not wanting to fall backward in our word count goals. And then we get stuck.

Many new authors believe that there’s only one way to write a book. They get so wrapped up in what they should be doing that they forget the first rule of writing: There are no rules. Knowing your own threshold is the first step to success.

Put it in a New Frame

How to self-edit: Reading your manuscript in a different format triggers your brain to notice different thingsGenerally, our drafting process works with both self-editing and drafting (depending on the mood). At the end of three months, we get a “first” draft, which usually pretty nearly is what the final book looks like. Depending on your skill level, your first draft may not be close, but that doesn’t matter. As long as you have a book-shaped draft, this tip will apply. Export or email the book to your eReader, find a spot away from your computer, and read your book as a reader would.

There are a few reasons why this works. When you put your manuscript in a different platform with a different color scheme and shape, it triggers something in your brain. The book is no longer yours, it’s any other book you picked up off Amazon. And then your writer brain turns into your reader brain and you can become more critical.

The trick is not to overthink it. Leave one or two word comments, like “More,” “Confusing,” or our favorite “WTF.” Because you’re reading on a tablet or eReader, you won’t get sucked down a rabbit hole of fixing those issues and can take in the whole draft.

What to Look For

Our recommendation is to give your manuscript a few weeks to sit untouched before you give it a read. Or, if your life is fairly hectic and you can’t remember what you had for breakfast, less time is fine. The key is that you’re reading the story with fresh eyes.

While you should be reading without any preconceived thoughts, we always like to keep a list of things to look out for. These are easy flags for you to go back and review later:

  • Scene openings: Is the world adequately described?
  • Dialogue: Is the conversation easy to follow? Is it clear who is speaking?
  • Emotional fallout: Have we given enough emotional resolution following a large event (such as a death or plot twist)
  • Characters: Are the characters staying true to how they’ve been described? Are they reacting for plot’s sake, or is the plot driving their decisions?
  • Repetition: Has this thought been conveyed before?

Because you don’t have to fix errors, simply find them, you can be more honest with yourself on whether something isn’t working. Even if there’s a question, flag it and come back to it.

When it’s all done, add in your notes as comments in your manuscript. Don’t be worried if there are a lot, or if it seems like your entire manuscript is covered in comments. That’s actually a good thing! It means you’ve got a critical eye for locating problems. Just tackle a few at a time, and you’ll get through them all.

Then do the process again and again, until you’ve got something for your beta readers.

Why Self-Editing is Important

How to self-edit: The better you are at self-editing, the better your books will beWhy would you go through all this trouble if you’re just going to hire an editor? In the first place, editors are not supposed to be the authors of the book. They are merely there to assist authors in clarifying their vision.

If you’re self-published, you are most likely paying your editor. If you truly want to get your money’s worth from that resource, why would you give them sub-par work? Essentially, you’re paying them to flag and fix things you already knew about. If you give them your very best work, they have a chance to elevate it to an even higher level than you could on your own. And who would say no to that?

At the end of the day, the better you are at self-editing, the better you’ll be at writing books. This is a skill that comes with practice and time.

[contact-form-7 id=”910″ title=”Contact Us”]

Posted on

The Importance of Editing For Self-Published Authors

Why is editing so important for self-published authors? Find out in the blog today

Welcome to the first in our next blog series, focusing on the magic of editing. We at SGR-P are both providers of editorial services and accepters of it. For the next few weeks, we’ll talk about different editorial topics, from self-editing to finding your betas. We hope that it helps shine some light on this subject, and convinces you why editing for self-published authors isn’t something to be ignored.

What is Editing

Editing for self-published authors: Depending on your writing style, editing can happen at any time in the drafting process.Let’s start at the beginning (the very best place to start…). When we talk about editing, we are talking about a multitude of different steps in the publication process.

There are several kinds of editing out there:

  • Content editing is the process of looking at your story from a 10,000 foot view, and providing feedback. Generally, your content editor doesn’t help with typos or line edits (although they can point out clunky phrases). They will point out inconsistencies in characters and plotholes.
  • Line editing takes your 10,000 foot view and drops it down to a 100 foot view. Your line editor may blend with a copy editor to find typos and grammatical errors.
  • Copy editing goes even further to a 10 foot view, focusing solely on the grammar and typos
  • Quality Assurance (QA) editing is the final review for typos and errors that the previous three editing processes missed.

Depending on your drafting style, it can happen as you write, or it can happen in one big chunk (or both). Where and when you need to outsource depends on your own comfort zone.

The Publishing Process

For our alter-ego, S. Usher Evans, she follows the same basic process:

  • Step 1: Finish a “first draft.” Sush likes to self-edit along the way, so it takes her a little longer to get those first 75,000 words down. Generally 3ish months.
  • Step 2: Let it sit for a week, then read on the Kindle. This is another self-edit, where she rips her manuscript apart with the ferocity of the most persnickety reader, versus the persnickety eye of a writer.
  • Step 3: After repeating Step 2 once or twice, the manuscript is released to her beta readers. These lovely loves are readers and other authors who provide an outside perspective to the story. After incorporating those edits once more, it gets another view on the Kindle.
  • Step 5: The manuscript gets shipped off to the incredible Danielle Fine, who has been our go-to external editor for 11 of our 13 books. She rips it apart, as she does.
  • Step 6: Once Dani’s edits are incorporated, it’s time for the first printed proof. One more read with an actual red pen.
  • Step 7: The final step is to ship the nearly-complete manuscript to our bevy of QA readers, who have a keen eye for typos and formatting errors.
  • Step 8: The book is ready for preorder!

Why Is Editing So Important?

You might be asking yourself why should you go through all this trouble. You’re a pretty godo editor, your good at finding typos and whatnot.

For self published authors, it's important to remember nobody is perfect. Good editing will help reduce mistakes.Did you find the typos in the previous sentence? (It was a test!)

One sentence is easy. A 400 page book is another story. Even our QA readers end up finding different things in the book, although there is a lot of overlap. No one person is infallible, and you shouldn’t have to be.

Besides that, editing isn’t just finding typos, as we said above. A good content editor can take your book from okay to fantastic by helping you clarify your thoughts. A line editor will give you a punch list of issues in your book to knock out. While you may be able to find some great beta readers out there, a paid editor is a contracted resource. They will take the time to make sure your book is the best it can possibly be.

All of this boils down to one basic idea: You need a paid editor if you want to pursue a career (or even moderate success) as an author.

Time-Value Proposition

For authors, you’re expected to do a whole lot of stuff. Build an audience. Grow your social media. Develop marketing campaigns with blogs and Instagram posts and whatnot. And keep writing more books, of course.

When you outsource your book to a paid editor, you are placing worth on your own time. You’re saying, “I could spend six months reviewing each chapter in painstaking detail and still risk issues. Or I could hand it off to you and get it done in a month.”

We also like to use this scenario: An editor will run you around $400 (depending on word count). If you publish your book on Amazon, you’ll have to sell 197 books at $2.99 (with a profit of $2.04) to break even on that edit job. If you don’t use an editor… you may not sell any books at all. And no authors wants their debut novel littered with one-star reviews about poor editing.

[contact-form-7 id=”910″ title=”Contact Us”]