More on the Importance of Editing for Indies

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Wow! Haven’t made a post in a while. I apologize, but I have been busy working on the second book in my series as well as a short story. It’s been one of those, ‘If I write something else now, I’ll lose train of thought’ weeks.

I’m on here today because I got back the fourth of five edited copies of my first book, Journey of the Kings. I gave it out in late March to my five gracious editors. As I said in a previous post, editing for self-publishers is definitely the most important things. No, I do not mean you reading it through one time. No, it does not mean handing it to your wife/husband. No way they will give you completely honest feedback. For indie authors to ever get on the same playing field as authors that go the traditional publishing route, they have to become their own gatekeepers. Self-publishing should not be a shortcut to getting your work the readers. It should involve just as much work. Write it, rewrite it, edit, edit, edit, rewrite, professional cover, beta readers, etc. Whew!

Editing, again, is the most important of all of those. It needs to be done by a professional. This is, unfortunately, where you will have to fork over some dollars, if you have some. Maybe you’re lucky enough to know an editor, but make sure they are good at what they do. I have been lucky enough to connect with some great professionals in my area that actually do this kind of work. Now that I have four copies back, I have begun the process of going through book one and making the necessary changes.

What is the point of me telling you this story? Well, I want to tell you just how different some of these copies are as far as what they found and what it means for you. Before I gave the copies to my editors, I went back through the book and read it very slowly and very carefully, making changes the entire time. Now, of course I knew I wouldn’t catch everything, but even I was surprised at how many errors I let slip through. I mean, I did well in undergrad and grad school. Very well. Looking at my edited copied, you wouldn’t think so.

Even funnier was that, out of the four I have back, each of them have caught different errors. Sure, they all caught the obvious ones, but sometimes each would find something different on a single page. Each of them had stylistic differences, but some of the things they found differently were legitimate errors.

So, I wrote the book and then re-read it very slowly to check for errors. That’s two times through. Now I have four more times through from the editors. In each of them, different errors were found. Are you seeing the overriding message here?

YOU CANNOT DO WITHOUT SERIOUS EDITING! If you think you can, put your work-in-progress down and stop calling yourself a serious indie author. I know it sounds harsh, but if we don’t work to professionalize and get others to do the same, we are destined to fall victim to the naysayers. You know they’re out there, so let’s edit and work hard to prove them wrong. 

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About Allen Watson

I've finally decided to write out the stories in my head. Reading has always been a passion of mine, but now I want to get my own book out there. Bachelor's Degree in Political Science Master's Degree in Teaching View all posts by Allen Watson

11 responses to “More on the Importance of Editing for Indies

  • MarcelleLiemant

    Great post! Where would you suggest finding a professional editor?

    • Allen Watson

      Thanks for stopping by!

      If you do a quick search for self-publisher editors, you will find quite a few. Now, I have not used them, instead choosing to stay with the people I know in my area. At this website there are a ton of people that could help you better than I can – http://indiewritenet.com/.

      Another route is to get in with a good group of people who do beta reading. On twitter and the blog world, I found a good niche of sci-fi people that help self-pubbers like me. Not sure what your genre is, and you may have already done so. Beta readers are great for flow, plot, and stylistic things.

      This week I’ll work on finding a good list of self-publishing professional editors and try to do another post for you. Take care!

      • Allen Watson

        Actually, check out the blog of the comment below this one. They have great resources.

      • MarcelleLiemant

        Thanks for getting back to me. I’ll definitely check out the site and the comments below. I know of a writer with thousands of beta readers, it seems like a really great idea. How did you gather these people together?

      • Allen Watson

        Well, I kind of got lucky with people offering to beta test for me. I write sci fi, so one of the people that follows me on Twitter and already has a group of people that beta for other scifi’s offered. I haven’t used them, choosing to stay with the people in my area for now, but I might one day.

  • change it up editing

    Your experience just proves that we all need at least one extra set of eyes to look at our work. How smart are you to enlist four sets? Love this post!

    • Allen Watson

      Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, I was lucky to have five people that are very good at what they do. I have connected with them over the years, long before i decided to write a book.

  • Tuan Ho

    Awesome! Glad to know you’re still writing Allen.

    Since you’ve been MIA from your blog for a while, I thought maybe you got suspended from your own blog lol

  • Geron Graham

    I agree. I’ve encountered several ebooks that were grammatically flawed to the point of being downright embarrassing. I want to print their stories out, edit them myself, and send it back with a note that says “Dude, seriously?”

    Thanks for the post, Allen. Great stuff.

    • Allen Watson

      I usually don’t get too aggravated with it…well, yes I do. Then I tell myself that I only paid a few bucks for it. I mean, I get bad coffee worth more than that and deal with it. I always wonder if they had anyone read their story at all!

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