An interview I read of one of my favorite authors mentioned this topic. She said she loved writing once she just wrote and quit trying to perfect it as she went along. I kept that in mind when I started writing and couldn’t agree more. I don’t mind editing, but I need to keep Writer Marie separate from Editor Marie.
For instance, Writer Marie gets terrified when she goes back to read her work. Holy Typos Batman! Misspellings, missing words, wrong tenses, duplicated words – and that’s just one sentence. How is such atrocious writing going to sell a book? Keep calm and write on.
Editor Marie comes in at the end. She repairs sentences, creates better flow, adds drama, deletes scenes (that one hurts, it really does), and becomes a punctuation fairy. The storyline gets analyzed: More drama? Yes! Enough steaminess? No – get on it Writer Marie. Loose ends wrapped up? Missed a few.
Once Editor Marie finishes, it’s time for the big guns. Many writers have used friends, acquaintances, and professionals. The most important part is that someone other than you reads your work. Bonus if that someone knows a lot about grammar and punctuation rules.
When I was on the hunt for an editor for FEVER CLAIM, I would’ve taken anyone and the cheaper the better. My content was too risqué for some friends, others didn’t have time to proof hundreds of pages. Another recommendation was using college students, a good idea but I didn’t know any English majors. And I didn’t want to hand my work to someone with no contract to protect me (and them).
So the professional route it was. $ $ $ … seriously y’all. I think it’s the most expensive aspect of indie publishing. I found a company I was happy with and was one of the cheapest out there. She had a contract, she returned my emails, and was full of advice I devoured like a starving kitten. She didn’t mess with the story, mostly sticking to copy editing. I wouldn’t mind a little story editing, but was grateful to have an editor, period. Was she good? I think so … there were A LOT of corrections.
Once I went through the editor’s recommendations, I went through the story one more time. Much of the editing is electronic so I found a couple spacing issues that weren’t resolved when I accepted edits – whether it was a human or electronic error, I don’t know.
I should have gone through it again, but my nerves were killing me by this point. Confident most errors were repaired, I’m okay with a couple of minor errors. Some writers/readers may not be, but perfection with thousands of words and thousands of punctuations is difficult. An avid reader myself, I’ve caught them in books by both major publishers and indies. It happens.
I said it before and need to keep telling myself – “Write Now, Edit Later.” But do edit, it’s extremely important. And when you think it’s done, go through it one more time.