Today Editing is More Important than EverPosted: February 11, 2012
In today’s writing market, just about anyone can become a published author, if they are willing to pay the price. This is a double-edged sword, because although authors are no longer forced to be faced with countless rejections before finally receiving that long awaited acceptance by a publisher, but it also means that you don’t have to actually write well to be published. While I have reviewed many independently published books that are, indeed quality works of literature, I have also reviewed several that have appeared as if the author either hasn’t bothered with the editing process at all, or tried to do the editing themselves and didn’t have the proper skills to do it properly. Nothing ruins a good story as quickly as having to muddle through a poorly written work that is full of grammar and punctuation errors.
Don’t misunderstand me. There are many talented authors out there that publish independently, such as Chris Keys and Tim Baker, whose books I have reviewed here. I did a profile of Tim Baker in my post “Author Tim Baker recommends publishing independently“, because I feel that his books are examples of quality writing. Tim emphasizes the amount of work involved when publishing independently, due to the fact that you do not have the vast resources of a publishing powerhouse at your fingertips. When you choose to publish independently, the preparation for publication, as well as the marketing is all up to the author.
While traditional publishing houses provide editors to help writers make their work the absolute best that it can be, independent authors must spend more of their hard earned money, over and above the publishing costs, to have their work edited. In his article, “The Three Types of Editing: Which Does Your Manuscript Need?”, Yahoo contributor Steve Thompson gives a good definition of the differences between the three types of editing that one might require when preparing a manuscript for publication: basic editing, which is giving the manuscript a proofread, or run through to check for spelling grammar and punctuation errors; line editing, which goes more in depth to check plot structure, syntax, character development and factual errors; and substantive editing, which goes beyond that and involves reworking major pieces of the manuscript . Most editing services offer all of these types of editing for various prices, including my own, Write It Right Editing Services, found at Kaye’s Literary Corner.
If you are trying to get picked up by traditional publishers, you may have feedback from previous rejections to clue you in to what type of editing your manuscript requires, but if you plan to publish independently, it is up to you to determine what type of editing your manuscript needs. Even if you are a proficient speller and have a working knowledge of grammar and punctuation, I caution you against doing even basic editing, which is basically proofreading yourself for one simple reason. An author knows what a sentence or paragraph was meant to say and often, when rereading the work, will see what was meant instead of what is actually there, therefore missing many mistakes that someone else might pick up on. Independent authors owe it to their readers to make their manuscripts the best that they can be. They owe it to themselves, as well, for a book that has been published without the proper preparation shows, and will end up being a book that doesn’t sell. If you are going to spend the money to publish independently, it just makes sense to go the extra mile and have your manuscript professionally edited, so you have a chance of making your investment back on book profits.