Print on Demand Publishing – Your Book, Your Editing Responsibility

Guest Post by Chris Hoole

I am nervous about getting my work into print.  I have a great idea that I know will sell in the current market.  I don’t want to share it with a big name publisher with complicated contracts and far off deadlines.  Print on Demand publishing is ideal for my needs but here is the big stumbling block – the editing.

I am a creative writer not an editor.  I don’t pretend to know all about the English language and all its tricky little nuances.  However I do know just how annoying it is to spot a spelling or grammar mistake in a published work (be it novel, magazine article or web page). If writing is your game then mistakes are unprofessional and can cast doubt on your authority as an author.  I do not want my readers to feel this way.

So where do you go for help getting your writing edited?

Paid for Editing Services

The first obvious stop is the paid for editing services.  These are numerous online and offer professional editing and proofreading services for all kinds of books from self-help guides to creative writing.  This sounds promising until I look into the costs. 

A large number of these services charge per word.  This can get pricy if you have written an epic novel spanning hundreds of pages.  In some cases you will have to pay for both proofreading and editing separately as these are two different services.  Proofreading is the cheaper option as this just deals with checking for errors.  Editing can be more expensive as this will involve going much deeper into the work and providing suggestions for amendments to continuity, point of view, theme, character development and so on.  

Professional services can charge anywhere from 1p to 5p per word.  This means for the average 50,000 manuscript you are looking at around a minimum of £500 to get your book edited professionally.

You should seriously consider using a professional editing service for your first publication. Good editing can help you change your creative writing for the better without losing your unique style.  If you are thinking about using a professional editing service then here are a few tips to help you make the most of your money:

  • Credentials
  • Rates
  • Payments
  • Testimonials

Literary Friends

Realistically the majority of new self published authors will be working on a very tight budget.  This means professional editing services could be way above your price range.  A few of my friends have also gone down the Print on Demand route.  They also found professional editing to be too expensive on top of the costs of the publishing.    They did have some good tips to offer though on editing your own work:

·    Credentials – it seems anyone can set up an online business these days.  Make sure you check the credentials of any person offering proofreading and editing services online.  Have they worked in the publishing industry before?  Do they have any relevant qualifications in this field?

·    Rates – double check the rates before you agree to anything.  Make sure you get a clear, free quote for how much it will cost to proofread and edit your work.  This should include any additional costs such as any postal charges necessary for sending and returning work.

·    Payments – if you are using an online service make sure they have a secure e-payment system.  Be wary about any website that only offers offline payment options.  This is not very professional and could indicate the service is not very robust. 

I want my creative writing to be perfect when it goes into print.  I feel a responsibility to my readers to make my work as professional as possible.  However I do have to think realistically about cost.  A professional editing service could improve my work, but will the results really justify the expense?  For now I am going to try it alone, but I am still leaving my options open.  If I get stuck or feel that error-hunting is getting on top of me then I may give the professionals a call.

Chris Hoole is a copywriter and creative writing expert that enjoys social media and writing. He loves to find new fans in new places.

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Posted on October 6, 2011, in Publicity & Writing, Writing & Publishing. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Amen to that! I so wish more self-published authors would think your way!

  2. Chris, I agree with you that for many writers the cost of professional editing is much too high. On the other hand, there are some writers who can do their own editing. I think you can. Great post.

  3. I agree with RonIf you are writing fiction, don't forget voice. A character's voice is not necessarily "grammatical".I like to do my own editing in order to not lose the voice along the way.

  4. All,There seems to be a confusion between editing spelling and grammar and editing style. "We don't need no editors!" is a grammatical error. It might even be acceptable in a character's dialog, for example. "Hear" for "here" and similar stuff not caught by spell checkers tend to rattle most educated readers' sensibilities.However, character description, dialog, POV, use of first person or third, etc, are stylistic choices–experienced writers will have a more difficult time listening to what an editor has to say because these choices are subjective (there are rules but successful writers break them all the time).I have put my time in being the first kind of editor for others' writing and feel I can minimize these kinds of errors in my own writing (there's always another error, just like in computer programming there's always another bug). I insist on making my own choices for the second kind of editing. I'm an avid reader–I know what works, at least for me.Therefore, I don't feel I need an editor. On the other hand, I am a reviewer for Bookpleasures and try to support indie authors like myself. However, at least one of my reviews was a dressing-down for an indie author that was abusive on both types of editing. Authors like these give all indie authors a bad name. Shame on them!Bottom line: Indie authors have the responsibility of writing the very best they can. If they can't edit their own work (I have my own tricks there), they need to get professional help (in the case I mentioned, I think the author used a relative, usually a no-no, unless he's Stephen King). The digital revolution means that anyone that puts his mind to it can publish a book. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean that his book is quality writing. Reviewers have the responsibility to weed out the schlock (btw, I've seen some poorly edited Big Six-published books, especially in the eBook format). Readers have the same responsibility.All the best,r/Steve

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