Monday, February 17, 2014

Self-published authors not paying for editing—why it's not automatically unprofessional.

I've learned a lot about the publishing industry the past couple of years, and although I'm sure there are many more things to learn, I will say this: there is no right or wrong way to do it. More accurately, there's recommended, less recommended but doable, and not recommended (and a few still successfully do it).

For example, as our recent poll shows, many writers don't pay for editing. They either do it themselves (not recommended, even by me) or they have a team of volunteers to help them out. Sometimes writers assist one another in editing each other's books.

I don't see anything wrong with this. As long as you aren't actually skipping the edit itself, attempting to do it yourself with no outside help, a professional product can be the result.

Are you going to have a harder time? Yes.

Is there a chance the final product will be less than professional? Of course.

However, just because you shell out a whole wad of cash for some high priced editor does not mean the final product will be the best it can be. Sure, some editors are worth what they charge—at least when it comes to the final product—but money alone does not guarantee that level of perfection for which you strive.

In fact, you might achieve it with volunteer help. I've read the unedited (or self-edited) work of some, and in my opinion all it needs sometimes is a light dusting, so it doesn't surprise me that some people successfully keep their editing bill to a minimum, hovering just above absolute zero.

I don't have enough experience to say for certain that volunteer editing is a viable method, but many writers swear by it just like others swear by their paid editor. The ultimate lesson should be this: someone other than you should assist you in editing your work, preferably as many people as possible. If you pay some of them, fine. If you don't, you aren't automatically the scum of the earth as many would label you.

In fact, it is still possible to be a professional self-published author ... and not pay for editing. What's unprofessional is not getting it edited at all. And there's more than one way to pay an editor, such as how I got our time travel anthology edited, but that's a post for another time.

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