1. Australis
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    Australis Active Member

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    Does my ebook need an editor?

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Australis, Sep 20, 2015.

    I've written a book of 40k, and will self-publish it online. Yes, I know that the ebook isn't commercially profitable, but I still don't want to publish a pile of dog biscuits either, so I was hoping that a could get a few people to read through the first section, and tell me whether it needs an professional editor, and how much difference it would make.

    Would anybody be interested in giving it a critique/analysis?

    PS: If anybody can recommend a good, not (too) expensive editor, that would be cool too.
     
  2. Australis
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    Australis Active Member

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    PS: A bit about my book

    Genre
    Realistic fantasy
    Adult, primary female, non-romance. Will interest some YA.

    Book details
    Skulda is on her own, scouting her enemy’s garrisoned estate, when a young girl crosses her path. The girl, barely entering her teens, has led a troubled existence, and somebody with a heart might have found pity on the poor girl. But Skulda is heartless. Her only concern, how best to use this girl for her own advantage, and she quickly forces the girl into a pledge of serfdom.

    Where potential foes exist from every nook of this uncivilised land, the choices both women take will have a dramatic effect on their lives, if they live long enough.
     
  3. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You'll be able to post sections for critique when you've been a member for two weeks and given two critiques to others. :)

    Looking at your book details, there are some grammar errors that an editor would iron out. On the other hand, you're probably going to make a loss on publishing the book if you pay an editor. You have to weigh up the pros and cons and decide what's best for you.
     
  4. IML Publishing
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    IML Publishing New Member

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    Australis, I would be happy to help you out with your book. You do not need a professional editor and I can show you how to do this yourself. The most important part is you need patience and a clear mind.
     
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  5. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    When you have hit your two weeks and are able to post your critiques, I'd be happy to take a look and help you out. Hiring a professional editor might not be in your financial interest, but having a few savvy readers give you some "unprofessional" advice will help you immensely.
     
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  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you were to hire an editor, hire a good one - and good ones who can actually make a difference to your book doesn't come cheap. If you're not willing to invest in a good editor, don't get an editor at all, because getting a bad editor can seriously screw up your book. Plus, as cheap as the editor might be, if their work has either made no difference or in fact made your book worse, then that's still money down the drain.

    Unfortunately, I speak from experience. Hired a crap editor and my novel's still suffering for it now - still unfinished partly thanks to him.
     
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  7. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    When you're ready, put it through a narrator and have it read aloud to you.

    You'll be surprised how many errors you are able to correct by listening rather than reading.
     
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  8. Australis
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    Australis Active Member

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    At least you don't have to accept every suggestion an editor makes.

    I've decided to use an editor, at least this one time.
    (and yes, I know it's not a financially wise thing to do)
     
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  9. Erez Kristal
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    Erez Kristal Member

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    Best advice I heard since I started writing. It's priceless.
     
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  10. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just buy an editor. Someone who understands the industry. I had a mate who paid for an editor, and the editor took his money and turned around and told him it was crap and to throw it away... he disagreed, I read it, it was crap and he should throw it away. Editors are useful.
     
  11. Aple
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    Aple Member

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    Every book needs an editor.

    Old English teachers make great editors if you know of any.

    Always have two or more sets of eyes going over your MS and looking for stuff before you go through it a final time before publishing.

    Because believe me... the readers will find it.
     
  12. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Aple , I agree that books need editors, but I disagree that old English teachers make great editors - I'm sure SOME old English teachers make great editors, if they've had proper training, but there's a lot more to being a good editor than knowing the rules of grammar.

    Honestly, when I hire someone to edit my books, I look for people with industry editing experience. They know the expectations of publishing, and even publishing in my specific genre, they have the attention to detail needed to catch errors, and they're experts on fiction, which most English teachers aren't.
     
  13. Erez Kristal
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    Erez Kristal Member

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    Seems like the best time to write your novel is in highschool. :)
     
  14. Aple
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    Aple Member

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    True. But I always have one person specifically looking for grammar and punctuation. And an old English teacher is great for that.

    I have other editors for the rest.
     
  15. Erez Kristal
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    Erez Kristal Member

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    I been thinking this through, I have a feeling that in most cases a professional editor is a waste of hard gained money if you are planning to self-publish.

    Everyone know that bosses always want to hire people with experience, because if they don't have any experience they know they are taking a bigger risk with training the employee, and even after they trained the new employee they don't know what kind of results they will receive from him.

    How many editors can proudly say they edited a successful novel?
    How much of that success was due to the editor prowess?
    What is the editor record of success?
    What is the real extra factor the editor brings to the novel?

    Assuming that your editor does have a successful novel under his belt, and that he even has a good ratio of successful books (more than 10,000 copies sold.) How much would he charge you for his work?

    Maybe the best test is to first have a book that actually sells, and then try to perfect it even further.

    What do you guys think?

    Do all the guys who said you need a good professional editor have any financial data to back their claim?
    How about an editor to suit your needs, assuming you know your weaknesses. For some, like me, it's grammar for others it's pacing and etc.
     
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  16. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are different approaches to writing, with different goals for each.

    I think one of the most practical, if somewhat mercenary approaches to publishing is that an author needs to produce as much as possible at a level that meets or exceeds what the market demands. Not absolute top quality, just good enough to meet the expectations of that specific group of readers.

    So if you're following that approach, you need to know what your market demands, and what you can reasonably produce on your own. If what you can produce on your own is at or above the expectations of the market, then, no, you don't need an editor. If what you can produce on your own does not meet market expectations, then you do need an editor.

    But this is only one approach to writing. A lot of people are producing something that's really important to them, for one reason or another. I roll my eyes when writers talk about their books being their babies, but that doesn't mean I deny that there's a really strong emotional connection for a lot of writers. If you've spent five years slaving over a project and then send it out at not-its-best because you didn't want to spend a few thousand dollars on getting it edited, then you're really not valuing your time all that highly. You've spent thousands of hours working on the thing, so do what it takes to make it right.

    Alternatively, some people are trying to use self-publishing as a gateway to Big 5 publishing. If that's the case, it makes sense to pay for editing because you don't want the Big 5 editors to think you put out a shoddy product. Similarly, if you're planning to build a career in self-publishing, it may make sense to pay for editing at the start to make sure you're putting out a product that won't embarrass you later.
     
  17. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Of course, all that depends on one thing.

    Money.

    If you can't afford an editor, you need to find another way of doing it.

    And not everyone can afford an editor. I have no idea how much professional editors charge so lets round it off to £25 an hour. At the last count, my book came in at a reading time of 18 hours which means a total cost for editing would be approx £450.00

    I can list you at least 15 things which to me, that money could be better spent on and those things are not luxuries, we are talking about the essentials, like food shopping, the gas bill, school dinner money for my children, petrol money for the car, cat food, public transport fares for the kids, art supplies for daughter's college education, insurance, and hub's medication to mention but a few.

    Yes, my books are my babies, writing is what keeps me sane and I will go to almost any lengths to ensure they are as good as I can make them, but not at the expense of taking food from my family's mouths. £450 comes under the heading "major purchase" and there's no way I would expect to spend that amount of cash purely on my book.

    I'm also a stubborn little bitch and would probably ignore every (or 99%) of the editor's suggestions anyway.

    :-D
     
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  18. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    All books need editing. Sorry, that's just the way it is. Almost no one can successfully edit their own work - the simple fact is that instead of reading what you wrote you read what you intended to write. It catches people out.

    Self publishing doesn't change that. If anything it makes it even more important that the book be professionally edited since the first thing anyone will say if they see a book with mitakes in it is - this is more SP rubbish.

    From here you have two roads you can travel. You can go indie or you can try to get a trade deal. If you try to get a trade deal do not hire an editor. If your book is successful in getting an agent / publisher, they will pay for editing. If you go indie, it's all yours to pay for. But the profit is all yours too.

    If money's an issue you want to minimise your edit costs. So start with beta readers. Three or four at least for a first book. You want people to tell you want they think of the book. What they understood, what they liked, what they didn't. That should take you to your next draft.

    After that hit the edit software. Turn it all up to eleven and go through your book in excruciating detail. Yes most of the stuff the software turns up is not errors. It doesn't matter. What matters is that you pick up those things that are errors, and everything else you getto think about line by line. It takes time and it's a pain, but it's invaluable.

    Next a text to speech reader. Again, line by line, listen to what comes out and see if it works. This works because when you hear the work spoken you hear a different voice rather than your own internal voice.

    Last hire a basic word proofing editor. You've already done the work of a development editor with your beta readers. Proof editing is the cheapest type of editing. And you only want to do it once.

    Sorry to be such a pain, but the internet is filled with unedited self published works that will never see the light of day as they rank two million down on Amazon's shelves.

    And there's more financial pain to come as well. You need quality cover design as well.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  19. Erez Kristal
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    Erez Kristal Member

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    I did some searching last night, cheapest I found for grammar proofreading was 900 euro for my first novel which is hitting the 100,000 words mark. Its not that bad considering I can easily cover that amount of money by working any decent job.
    However, I can also use that amount of money to work in a cheap and good location for a whole month. Studying to improve my Grammar and giving my final drafts even more polish, something which editors won't be able to do.

    If you want a great editor who will also have advice for on how to improve your book, you are staring at a 5000 euro bill, that money won't be spent for turning you into a better writer. Or you can skip the editor, and work on improving your personal editing skills.

    For some people, like me, I think grammar editors are a must, at least for my first books. For others, who were more eager students in their high-school years, they can probably skip even that.

    Funding here is the biggest issue, if it is easy for you to make money, then using an editor won't be a big deal and even save time. If money is hard to come by then an editor might not be the best solution. Now I know I am just a beginner and haven't even published my first novel, but I would appreciate it, if people who supported using editors with all their heart, have information that supports its financial justification.
     
  20. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think my heart is involved in any side of the editor issue, but in terms of financial justification? Again, it depends on your goals.

    I have a moderately successful name established in a niche genre. When I self-publish, I hire an editor because my name is my brand, and I don't want to cheapen the brand by putting out a substandard product.

    When I start a new name in a new genre, I hire an editor because I plan to build that name, and I want to build the name as someone who puts out well-edited work.

    Those are both financial decisions. Building and protecting a brand are important elements of building a career.

    If you can't afford an editor, you can't afford an editor. But that doesn't mean it's a poor financial decision to use one. If you invented something and were going to start selling it, you could rent factory space and hire workers and do marketing and launch the product with a splash. But if you couldn't afford all that, you could work in your basement, putting the product together yourself with substandard tools and dodgy materials. Just because you can put the product together yourself doesn't mean it doesn't make financial sense for someone to rent the factory and hire workers if they can afford it.
     
  21. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I never said don't have an editor and I believe I also said (way back in this thread) that using a narrator program (what you call text to speech) is a fab way of picking up on mistakes that you can't see (I'm not going into deets here about the human brain and how it compensates for errors. Done that)

    And yes, I have editors. Four of them. But I'm very lucky in that I don't have to pay them. But that doesn't stop me doing all the re-reads and listening to narrators first.
     
  22. RikWriter
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    RikWriter Member

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    40,000 words seems awfully short for a novel. That aside though, I personally don't use an external editor for my stuff. I had an agent for my first two books back in the mid 90s, and she had me working with three different editors. Though she couldn't get my books published, working with those editors did help me to better edit my own manuscripts.
    Some people rush through their first draft as quickly as possible then take a long time to edit, but I'm more of an edit-on-the-fly type as I feel that going back afterword and adding or excising whole sections of text adversely affects the flow of the book. I do a proof-read for spelling, grammar and continuity errors after I finish the manuscript, usually re-reading the book several times.
     
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  23. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But if a book has flaws of any substance, it's unlikely to sell. I've bought self-published books that were about ninety-five percent there, but the lack of that last five percent of polish meant that the book just wasn't engaging enough to finish reading. And these were nonfiction books, where you'd think that I'd be willing to read it just for the information. I wasn't.

    (Of course, yes, I bought those books. But now I'm in a multi-year break from buying self-published books by anyone but established authors. You don't want your self-published book to be the inspiration for its readers to stop buying self-published books, do you?)
     
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  24. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Some evidence of the cost effective value of proper editing? I on't think it exists. But just go through the lists of Amazon books in your genre and look at the comments. Notice how most of those that rank highly don't have comments like "needs editing" while those down the bottom are strewn with those comments among their many fewer reviews.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  25. Erez Kristal
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    Erez Kristal Member

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    A good suggestion. But it in no way means, that the book at the top used editors and that the books in the bottom didn't a questionnaire for all those authors is in order.

    What you can understand from those comments for less successful books is that the quality of editing+writing in their published book wasn't enough. Some can achieve good quality using only beta readers, and other benefit from the use of professionals, this is why question cost vs benefit is so important.

    I can't help from feeling that beta testers are much more vital to a success of a book, the more the merrier. However if anyone had any scientific information regarding the validity of using editors, I think it will e much easier to sway independent writers to use them.

    How does one become a good editor anyway? How do you measure it? What is the different between a beta reader and one? (Grammar aside)
     

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