Being an editor isn’t the easiest of jobs, and part of the problem is that a lot of authors don’t see the “need” for us. (At least until bad reviews because of editing start coming in.) Many do, and I’m grateful for them–as are their readers, I’m sure–but many see what we do as a luxury. I get it. It can be expensive! But so can publishing an unedited book.
I asked Joylynn Ross, literary consultant and publishing coach, who I have had the pleasure to work with over the past couple of years, to offer her insights on this topic, and frankly, I think she has said it better than I could have!
“What’s the fricken rush? That’s a question self-published authors need to ask themselves. I know it’s a question I wish I’d asked myself prior to putting out my first book. Had I, then my very first self-published novel, that was littered with errors, would have never seen the light of day…not that day anyway; the day it came off the printer a hot mess! But instead, I would have waited, learned more about the craft and the full writing process, as well as the different types of editors, and saved up enough money or set up payment arrangements with professional editors (not an English teacher or someone who did “good” in English class), but professional editors who can be vetted throughout the industry.
“Readers were forgiving with my first novel (thank God). “Yes, it had errors, but the story line was so good I got past them,” said one forgiving reader. Well, I’ve never forgiven myself for allowing life gurus to manipulate me into thinking that my “good enough” was good enough to hit the publish button on. I learned that it’s never fair to charge a reader for anything less than my best, no matter how eager I am to get that story out of my head and share it with the world. And even though I was given grace almost two decades ago when I didn’t have nearly the amount of resources and technology an author does now, I’m not giving it to today’s authors, who know better but refuse to do better, especially the ones who use the cost of editing as the reason why they bypass what’s only the most important part of the writing process.
“If you can’t afford to edit your book, then you can’t afford to publish it, because, trust me, whether it’s horrible reviews or no reviews at all simply because a reader couldn’t get through the book, it’s gonna cost you. One way or another…it’s gonna cost you. Majority says writers have to have thick skin, so shame on the other writers who baby, coddle, and join the pity party of those complaining they can’t afford to get editing done. Be honest with your fellow literary artists and tell them like it is. Tell them the truth! When they start whining about not being able to afford to edit their books, let them know that they can’t afford not to, then offer them ways and suggestions, such as saving up and payment plans, so that they don’t put out their “good enough,” but instead, put out their “best.” I mean, what’s the fricken rush?”
Yeah, editing can cost a lot…but as a reader as well as writer and editor, it’s not a luxury! Put as much effort into the production as you do the writing and the advertising. A lot of editors–myself included–are happy to work with authors to make it easier, such as payment plans.
So if you’re worried about affording to get your book edited, I ask if you can really afford not to.