Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Value of Good Editing to Your Work

Writing is writing whether you do it from home, work, in your closet, in your bedroom or in the car. And those of us who are driven to put words on paper do it because we’re compelled to do so. You can be a writer your entire life and never publish anything. It doesn’t take courage to put your words to paper. Not until you start putting your words out there for others to read.

Publishing what you write probably takes more courage than the writing process ever will. You’re baring yourself to more criticism with the push of a button than you’ll face for any other action. And those criticisms are going to come from complete strangers if your story isn’t what they expect it to be.

A wide sweeping controversy has been ongoing about whether or not self-published authors are professional writers, and I have to say from personal experience, and from years of observing fellow writers and their struggles, WE ARE.

1. We are responsible for every word in our manuscript. Every plot device, every moment of character building, every paragraph of prose that sets the stage for the story comes from the writer’s imagination. The writer has always carried that weight. Not the entity that publishes it.

2. We spend the same amount of time formatting and editing our work as any publisher does. And sometimes more. I have reformatted my last two manuscripts four times each. I have a different format for every place my manuscript is available. I did that myself, not a publisher because I am the PUBLISHER.

3. We promote our work with more zeal than any publisher ever will. We use every social media device available to us and then some. What mainstream publisher have you seen doing anything but putting the book up for sell? So we don’t just wear our writer-publisher hat but a promoter’s hat as well. It’s me you’ll see on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Goodreads, Blogspot, the radio, newspaper, and any other media I can reach to get the word out that I’ve written a good book and it’s out there to be read.

4. As writers, publishers, and promoters, we who self-publish agonize over every missed comma, misspelled word, backwards quotation mark, and blemish that might detract from the reader enjoying our story. In fact, we agonize over them more because they’re our one opportunity to put our best PROFESSIONAL foot forward with readers.

We supply a product just like any publisher out there. And every self-published writer I’ve spoken to says that the formatting and editing of their books ranks right up there with the strength of the writing.

With that in mind, I put out an all call on several writing loops to get some feedback about the editing resources available to us. As always when you ask fellow writers for help, it comes pouring in with enthusiasm.

From all the feedback, the consensus was that it doesn’t matter how many of your writer friends have pored over your manuscript, a professional editor is the way to go. And I have to agree. My last manuscript was read by nine different people looking for mistakes. They did find some. But my copy editor found every typo, homophone, missed comma, everything that nine other people didn’t see. She gave me the opportunity to put my BEST work out there for everyone to read.

And she did one more thing for me. She lifted the worry I carried of putting a product out there that was less than what it should be. As a writer, publisher, promoter, I have to say that worry was HUGE.

Below is a list of wonderful editors who have helped others do the same thing. And I’m definitely including mine in the list.

The Authors Red Room www.theauthorsredroom.com

Lisa Constantino http://www.manuscriptmaster.com/

Anne Victory www.victoryediting.com

Jim Thomsen thomsen1965@gmail.com

Cathleen Ross contact@cathleenross.com

Helen Woodall helenwoodall@gmail.com

Nancy Cassidy www.theredpencoach.com

Red Circle Ink Editing http://redcircleink.com

Jane Haertel haertel@aol.com

Wendy Ely www.creativemanuscripts.blogspot.com

Faith Freewoman www.demonfordetails.com

The last editor on the list, Faith Freewoman, was my editor for TIMELESS, my latest release. She took the stress of worrying about finding all the small, pesky mistakes off my shoulders. And she put a professional polish on my work that made it so much easier to enjoy releasing the book.

The Editorial Freelancers Association http://www.the-efa.org/res/rates.php  This link can offer you the range of pricing in hiring a freelance editor.

To get each editor’s rate you’ll have to do some research. Depending on what kind of editing you want done, from a deep line edit, to just light copy editing to find punctuation mistakes, the more you ask of your editor the more they have to charge for their time and expertise. So rates will run from a dollar a page to forty dollars an hour, and sometimes more. It will be up to you to decide what you need.

Write on, 
Teresa J. Reasor


  1. What a great blog post. Editing is hard when you are so close to the work. It is fantastic that we have others who will help and guide us. Thank you also for all the links..

  2. Well said! Thank you for all the links!

  3. Well said, Teresa. All of my books go through a chapter-by-chapter crit, several beta reads, line/copy editing and content editing, and I know yours do too. It would be unprofessional to offer our readers less.

    Faith is one of my beta/copy editors. A stickler for all the things I don't think about while I'm writing, I think she's fabulous.

    And now back to the business of writing. Hopefully, I can get back to the craft of writing soon.

    L. j.

  4. Great post, Teresa. You and Lucie are as professional as they come. Thanks so much for the list! That is going into my favorites.

    Like you, I have at least five different people reading every chapter. I haven't made the jump to the self-publishing. Do you believe that a new writer should also hire a copy-editor to go over the manuscript word by word before sending it out to editors/agents?

    Nancy Weeks

  5. Well said, Teresa. Editing is something people notice. And, the more indie publishers that put stuff out there, the more readers are going to notice good editing.


  6. Wonderful post! Thanks for the resources!

  7. You have a very professional approach to self-pub - I think it will take you far.

  8. Hallelujah. And when you're browsing those other editors, I hope you'll pop by my site as well. I've worked with a lot of self-published (and big-house published) authors and I'd love to see what you've written. www.WritingWildly.com

    ALSO - what you said about self-published authors needing to promote themselves is 100% true. It's also true that big house publishers don't do it for their authors (unless you're a really Big Name). I'm published (twice) by Penguin US, and they are doing a wonderful job with placement in the stores. Other than that, I'm on my own and chugging hard at it. Writing is tough. Editing is tough. Publishing is tough. But don't be under the impression that once it's out there, it's done. Far from it.

    Excellent post. Keep on keeping on, Teresa!

  9. Amen to this. I'd like to introduce anyone interested in securing assistance with editing and formatting for eBook and print, in addition to designing professional book covers (and those pesky blurbs), to our PubRight Manuscript Services:
    References available.
    Excellent post.

  10. Ladies:
    Thank you so much for commenting on the post. My internet has been down since yesterday morning and I haven't had the opportunity to pop back on and say hello and thank you for the links you're adding to the blog.
    I really appreciate it.
    We all need to put our best professional foot forward in the publishing community. We owe it to ourselves and to our readers. I'll always seek the services of a professional with my work. They're the best at what they do and I'm the wild woman pounding on the computer keys every day giving them something to work with. I know you gals are the same.
    Write on,
    Teresa R.

  11. Very useful list. A good editor (and a good copy editor) is worth the pay. Frankly, anyone who is good at their job should get value for their work.

  12. Jane Haertel (janehaertel(at)aol(dot)comMay 25, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Wow! Thanks for putting me on your list! (My e-mail address is actually janehaertel@aol.com. I'll be putting up a website soon). I love, love, love to work with indie published authors for their entrepreneurial spirit, and because (selfishly) I get to enjoy wonderful novels before almost everyone else. Go Indies! You have taken control of your own careers and are on the cutting edge of publishing. I'm thrilled to be part of that.

  13. I am a Kentucky author, too, and I am still learning the craft of writing. My first books, which have been pulled from the market, were horrible. I later learned to print out my work; I catch the mistakes better. I have a huge platform, and that is why I am a best-selling author. I found out that my loyal fans are very honest, and although it hurt my feelings at first, they have helped me to grow.