The Editing Process
The internet wants everyone to believe that becoming an Indie Author is easy. Most articles you find will offer motivational advice such as “Just write, and Amazon will take care of the rest.” I have news for you…this isn’t true. Yes, writing and self publishing through sites such as Amazon, iBooks, and Smashwords are a large part of being an Indie Author. What the internet hides however, is everything else that goes into the self publishing process.
Take for instance the editing process. I feel comfortable stating that most people know that their book has to go through some form of editing. However, if all you do is write and read like most Indie Authors you don’t really understand the different types of editing that need to be completed or even where to go for the services. There is almost never a mention in articles about how to find reasonable priced editors.
I’ll help my fellow writers out with this problem and offer this gem called Fiverr. Fiver is a website where professionals offer their services at a pretty reasonable price. There are reviews for almost all of the sellers and you can talk with a seller before placing your order to make sure you are comfortable with them. The best part about Fiverr is the money back guarantee that most sellers offer. I have as of yet to need this feature as I tend to research sellers carefully and bug them with messages so that I truly understand what I am purchasing.
Another tip the many articles on the internet fail to educate new writers about is the different kinds of editing a book might need. Most articles about Indie Authors focus on the fact that most of the books do not appear to be edited for grammar errors. I’ve personally read some books where I can understand where the authors of these articles got lost on the grammatical error rant. However, many of those article fail to do anything but rant. How about offering a solution every once in a while. Not everyone went to school and obtained an English degree with a focus in composition. Personally my English degree is in Literature. My classes consisted of reading novels and writing papers on them. Yes, the professors expected the grammar to be correct but grammar isn’t something that is taught in college unless you sign up for the class. I don’t know many people who would intentionally sign up for a grammar and composition class though.
The solution that I have found for my lack of grammar and composition skills when writing is to print out so many chapters at a time, grab a cup of coffee and a pen and read through it. Reading over my work when I am not trying to type and add more to the story lets me see my work from a readers prospective. I catch so many simple mistakes that I wouldn’t have caught trying to read it through on my laptop. This is one form of the editing process. I am sure it has a technical name but as I’ve mentioned you really have to dig through some articles to discover it.
I am one of those people that after I find all the things that need correcting I get overwhelmed by the thought of going back and entering them into my document. This is where friends or co-workers come in handy. I manage a restaurant so I’m lucky to have plenty of college students as co-workers and they will usually do just about anything for a little extra cash or a free meal. Now, for those of you who aren’t as lucky to have someone willing to enter in all your corrections, I’m sorry, but it still has to be done. But you never know, one of your co-workers might find the fact that you are writing a book fascinating and want to help. It doesn’t hurt to ask around.
Once this first process of editing is done it’s time to bring in a professional to really read through your work and make all the corrections you missed. This is when you go to Fiverr, or at least I do. Try to find the editors that are going to give you the largest amount of words for your money. I have a favorite I’ll share if you email me. This is the easy part, most of the editor will send you a copy that shows the markups and another copy that can be used right away. And there you have the grammatical errors fixed.
You may think you are ready to hit publish now but I urge you to hesitate. One of the most important parts of the editing process is finding a beta reader or two who is willing to read you book and critique it for you. Beta readers are readers who love to read and will help you by pointing out plot holes or changes in point of view. Most Indie Authors have seen the phrase beta reader because if you are like me you love to read and you stalk your favorite authors through social media. I have realized that just because I know what a beta reader is doesn’t mean I know how to find one. Established Indie Authors have entire street teams for this type of thing but how did they get the following? As a new Indie Author where can I find willing readers who will, like all those Amazon reviews say “received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review?”
This is where you use your reading
addiction hobby to your advantage. I assume being an Indie Author you know about GoodReads. If not I have to wonder if you just read physical books. It’s okay if you do, I’m not judging, I have two bookshelves myself. However, most of my books are on my Kindle that Amazon graciously provides access to GoodReads right on the home screen. Now before I got serious about writing I just used the site and app as a way to keep track of the books I’ve read and find new ones based on the recommendations. As I started writing and stalking investigating authors more I realized I could join all kinds of groups. Specifically you can join groups to become a beta reader or offer up your books to be read by a beta reader. There is even a group for authors to beta read for each other where they swap books with other others in the group.
I suggest using this method to get at least one or two beta readers. Of course you can always use your family and friends but you will be better using someone who doesn’t know you and is not afraid to tell you there is something wrong.
Becoming an Indie Author
Once you have all the editing complete you can feel better about pushing the publish button. However, if you want a bestseller out of your book I would wait and research how to make that happen. I’ll offer some advice on what I found on being a bestselling Indie Author in a post coming soon. Good luck and don’t forget to contact me if you have any questions about the information I have provided.