Editing

So, a few minutes ago I got a question on editing, and why I go through the stages I do before sending a book to an editor. I’m basing this off New York Book Editors, who’re a reputable group that I first considered before finding my current editor. Most of the publicly available editors have prices near these prices, I should add, unless they’re relatively unknown or new, and those are a crapshoot. There are three types of editing that I’m going to go over, not all of them.

Comprehensive Edit: This part comes after a manuscript critique, generally including making large suggestions on plot, but once the plot is solidly in place. In this they go through and point out sections that have a weak voice, sections that don’t flow well enough, points of repetition that might break immersion, point out illogical or unbelievable elements of the story, and more. Their line edit suggests rephrasing sentences, changing tone, giving characters unique voices…it’s very in-depth. This also includes a Copyediting service, listed below. This generally costs about $1500-$5000 USD, with a turnaround time of 6-12 weeks. My manuscripts would likely be toward the upper end of this range.

Copyediting: This is generally the form of editing recommended for Self-Publishers like me, because we don’t necessarily care what’s suitable for truly mass-market publication like Harry Potter or things on that scale. Copyediting doesn’t change the content of the text, instead they focus on jargon, spelling, grammar, sentence flow, punctuation… everything that makes the text look good. This is what I paid for. New York Book Editors estimate this costs $600-$2100 USD, with a turnaround time of 3-5 weeks. Again, I’d be looking at the upper end of this scale.

Proofreading: The final stage of editing, this is often part of Copyediting, save that this one is just looking for final minor errors that slipped through. They don’t suggest grammar changes, it’s purely punctuation and spelling. NYBE doesn’t offer this service, but I’ve generally seen it offered for about $600 for books of the length of Ancient Ruins.

As you can see, for a self-publisher these are daunting numbers, especially if you don’t know if your book is even going to work, like I did. However, I was saving the money to pay for a full Copyedit of Spells of Old, hoping it’d pay for itself based on the success of Ancient Ruins, but I had no clue whether or not that would be the case or not. It’s a huge guess and risk on my part.

Fortunately, an acquaintance introduced me to Dirty Discourse. This is a self-publishing writer’s site with a monthly fee to remain a member. Everyone on the site is a writer, publisher, editor, or similar individual. Those who aren’t, find themselves kindly chiveyed out of it, as they don’t appreciate lurkers. The site is largely dedicated to the support of those who produce erotica, but it also has large boards with advice for other forms of fiction, and they discuss how to be successful. This would’ve been a priceless site for me before Ancient Ruins came out, and even now it’s helpful for another reason.

Those who are on the site can offer themselves as resources for others. Some people create covers, others provide editing services, or proofreading or the like. It’s specifically a contract between the individuals, however. In my case, I found a good, reputable editor who was able to fully edit Ancient Ruins over the course of 3 days  at less than half the standard price a full editor would cost.

So anyone who is looking into self-publishing, I would recommend checking it out, as it puts it far closer to within reach.

Also, I just passed 109,000 words on Spells of Old. I can feel the home stretch coming up.

4 thoughts on “Editing

  1. I don’t know if you have considered it, but several other authors send what they have completed to their friends before they have finished writing. This obviously wont work if you have a habit of going back to the beginning and changing things up. This should help get it through the friend editing stage faster.

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    1. While that is a possibility, what I found is that it’s actually better for overall editing if they get it all at once. If I give it in chunks, the people who read it forget some of the details and impact of prior scenes. Getting it all as it flows together helps them spot jarring changes of points of view, or personality issues.

      But that’s my perspective. For instance, I had a friend reading Ancient Ruins every day while I was writing it, which helped in some ways, and hurt in others.

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  2. Thanks for answering. I was curious since I’ve never really looked into it myself and most of the authors I follow have publishers, which is a wholly different ball game.

    I hope your writing goes well, and that you have a few much-deserved days of binging video games after you’ve sent it off.

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    1. Oh, it definitely is a completely different game. Going over what authors with publishers do, there’s good and bad to everything. If I was going with a traditional publisher, it’s entirely possible that from when I handed it in, you’d be looking at 8+ months before it was actually published. Possibly more.

      And as amusing as it might seem, I’m actually more likely to relax by writing a few short stories in a different genre than playing video games. Those are what’s been on my mind in my free time the last few days. ^^

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