Myth: Someone else will do most my editing. As long as I make sure my spelling is mostly all right, I’m good to go.
Fact: 1. Your spelling better be perfect. A publisher/editor may reject you based on one simple spelling error. 2. Nobody is going to be doing more editing but you. So you better get used to it.
For those wanting to get their book published: The publishing company has their own editors, yes, your book will be going through a general edit by those editors before publication, yes. They will not take it if it’s full of mistakes. They will not take it or even read it if it contains too many simple mistakes or looks as if no effort was taken in editing it. You are the master, you are the commander, and they want to see that you have enough pride in your work to edit it as well as write it, or they’re not going to trust that it’s any good to read, either. Do everything in your power to send it in already perfect. They’ll go from there.
For those who are self-publishing: There are companies out there who will do a third-party edit for extraordinary amounts of money. Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Some of us just are NOT cut out for editing, and if you are one of those- IT’S OK. Don’t Panic. If you dig around enough, you can find some people/companies that won’t charge as much as you’re thinking, and it may be worth it to save up for if you know you just don’t have the time/energy/patience/skill to edit a full length novel. A grand piece of art such as a novel should not have to fall by the wayside just because of that. But keep in mind that for as many legit editing agencies there are, there’s probably six times more just scamming for money. Do your research. Just like you would for an agent or publisher. See if you can find ones that are used by big name authors, check up on them, find some good reviews, and don’t pay anybody “up front”, unless it’s for reasonable costs such as copying (paper and toner cost a lot), or postage. Any work done should not be paid for until the work is done, period.
And don’t be afraid if you’re quoted a few hundred, to more than a thousand dollars.
You can pay a friend or someone to do it for you cheaply, but it’s probably not going to be the same quality. These people charge a lot because they know what they’re doing (as long as they’re legit.) Hell, call them up and ask their credentials. Do they have degrees, how many years of experience, etc. A lot of them used to be editors at major publishing companies. With more and more people self-publishing, more and more agencies are opening to accommodate the authors’ needs to publish a professional piece of work. Ultimately, it’s your decision. On the flip-side, if you feel your editing skills can accomplish your goals- Then more power to you.
Last but not least: Never underestimate the power of the internet. If you are unsure as to what you’re doing, have a grammar or spelling question, unsure the correct punctuation or just want some advice, do some research. About.com is excellent for punctuation questions and grammar, and you can find many good things through search engines such as Google.com. You can find an online dictionary in a matter of microseconds just by typing in a search engine “dictionary”. Keep in mind that some older copies of document writing programs won’t always have up-to-date dictionaries. You can find anything, including thesauruses and translators. You can find websites with tips and hints for writers: Hell, you can find websites to choose character names. I get a lot of mine from different baby name sites. Have a question? Look it up online. You’ll eventually find what you’re looking for.
Copyright 2012, Stacey Katheryn. More tomorrow!
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