I recently attended the EFA (Editorial Freelancer’s Association) conference in Chicago and enjoyed a session about self-publishing. As a copy and line editor, I know I have the responsibility to help self-publishing authors present their best work. Often, that means the writer must be patient. Too many are so excited about finishing their book (who wouldn’t be?) that they rush to publish it without taking care of important things like having the book professionally edited and proofread.
Have you ever read a good book but stumbled over misspellings, duplicated words or sections (I’ve caught a few) or the misuse of homophones? (Like, “your” instead of “you’re” or the their/they’re/there conundrum.)
As a writer, you must perfect your craft and only publish your best work. This means seeking help from professionals.
One thing that really caught my attention at the conference was that self-publishing authors who hire professionals to perfect their books earn 34% more than those who don’t. If you spend, say, $1,000 to have a book edited and proofread and sell 2,000 copies at $15 each, that equals $30,000 in sales. Or, do you want to sell 1,320 books and earn less than $20,000 just to save the $1,000 you'd pay an editor and proofreader? What makes more sense?
Would you rather earn $20,000 or $30,000 from the same book?
If you think hiring a professional is “too expensive,” you need to think again. You may get your book out faster and cheaper without hiring one, but if there are typos and errors, your cover looks homemade, or the poor format is distracting, you will be sorry you didn’t spend a little more money to make a much better impression. After all, your book is the culmination of months or years of hard work. Do you really want to scrimp on its finalization?
Unfortunately, few will bother to read the awesome story you’ve written if your book is not professionally finished, covered, and promoted. What a waste!
Once you realize the importance of outside resources, be sure to hire a professional editor and proofreader. Very cheap “editors” can surely be found, but they don’t have the training and experience of a qualified editor.
Search for editors in your area or on sites like ACES and EFA. A professional editor should be a member of more than one editing organization and will have their own website with several client reviews and display many samples of their work.
Remember what the co-founder of the Rolls-Royce Charles Rolls said: Poor quality is remembered long after low prices are forgotten.
The bottom line: You want to remember how happy you were after hiring a professional editor, not how disappointed you were with a cheap one.