1. PhilippeIngels
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    PhilippeIngels New Member

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    Editing a grammatical bloodbath

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by PhilippeIngels, Oct 20, 2010.

    I know the subject of book editing has been discussed a lot on this forum and it seems everyone agrees that you have to edit your own book rather than pay and editor to do it.

    I regard myself as being very creative and I have written a book on a very complex subject. English is my second language and I struggle with grammar. I sent a couple of pages to an online editing service called firstediting.com. They did a free review and it came back looking like a bloodbath.

    I love being creative. I love reading. I even like the writing part as a creative tool but the grammar … oh, the grammar … I would rather leave that to someone who knows what they are doing.

    So, does anyone know if firstediting.com is any good (They want to charge me around $800 for a 300 page book).

    I want to self publish through Lulu as I know a lot about online marketing. They also offer an editing service but it is a lot more expensive. Does anyone know how they compare to other editing services?

    Or would you still say I should edit it myself?
     
  2. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I sounds like a lot of money to shell out to self-publish something, money which you'll likely never get back.

    The only grammatical error I could spot in your post was that commas were missing. But there were a lot of them missing, so if I were to mark them, there would be red dots all over. Perhaps your problem with grammar isn't as insurmountable as you think?
     
  3. nastyjman
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    nastyjman Contributing Member

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    I have to be honest with you buddy; if you intend to convey your artistry through prose, learning grammar is a necessary evil you need to learn. Sure there are artists who defy the rules of their given craft, but most of them aren't ignorant of it. In my opinion, that is, real artists know the rules... then bends and breaks them.

    So you have the option to dole out 800 or learn grammar from a book which may cost 30. I'd say buy the book, learn, learn some more and exercise -- you'd be doing yourself a service just by learning.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    aside from missing commas, i found only two main goofs and one minor... 'and' for 'an' and 'the lulu' which makes no sense... plus a missing hyphen in 'self-publish...

    so i agree that your ms can't be all that bad, based on your post...

    but i also agree with nasty, that you need to hone the basic skills and be able to edit and polish your own work, if you want to be a writer...

    as for that editing service, they have an ok listing on p&e, so they're legit... and the fee is about average, i'd say...

    the problem with paying someone else to do what you should be able to do on your own is that it'll be money down the drain, since it's highly doubtful you'll make anything close to that amount on your book, if you self-publish... so you'll come out in the red for what took you so much time and effort to write...
     
  5. PhilippeIngels
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    PhilippeIngels New Member

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    Is this insistence on editing your own book, which to some degree I agree with by the way, not a purist attitude? And I don't mean this in a derogatory sense because it reflects an artist pride in his or her own work.

    What is the difference between the following two scenarios, taken that we are just talking about grammatical editing and not content editing:

    I write a book, pay an editor to clean it up, self publish through Lulu.com and then market it.

    I write a book, take it to a publisher who will edit it, publish the book and then market it.

    Surely in both cases it is a process of write, edit, publish and then market?


    :) mammamaia, you might have a point about the dubious chances of making money if you self-publish. However, I have, at this blissfully ignorant stage of a first attempt at a book, still considerable faith in my ability to market the book online. It's what I'm good at. I've recently created a short presentation on the methods I employ to get a start-up business of the ground, or an existing one onto a different level of success. I am planning to follow the same strategy for my book.

    I don't know how successful I will be, because I am not really in a position to judge the quality of my own product, so it will be a very interesting project. (Working hard on my commas)
     
  6. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Since you are looking for just grammar edit, you should check out editing services in India. They might cost you a lot less.
     
  7. PhilippeIngels
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    PhilippeIngels New Member

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    As a developer I work with a lot of Indian companies, but a second language writer getting edited by a second language editor does not sound like a good idea to me. Cheap is not always cheaper and I am not, unlike with programming, in a position to judge the quality of their work.
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    English is not exactly a 'second language' for editors in India, and if it's good grammar you want, many are waaaaaaaay better than the average native speaker editor in the UK. This is why English tuition online from India is becoming so popular these days.
     
  9. PhilippeIngels
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    PhilippeIngels New Member

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    This is an interesting assertion. Do you have some facts to back this up?
     
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's easy to Google the many articles there have been on the increase of online English teaching from India recently, or look in specialist EFL journals. I've read several, since I am an English teacher, but I didn't take notes of the sources, I'm afraid. Oh, and I remember there was one in The Times a couple of months ago.

    As to the proficiency of the English, the same articles generally make a point of mentioning the fact that Indian teachers are particularly good, since grammar is taught so well in schools there.

    The rest, I suppose, is coloured by my personal observation of teachers coming over from the UK to work at the university I'm at, and the English skills of professionals coming from India I have met.

    So no stats to offer, sorry.
     
  11. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think it's a purist attitude so much as people are trying to suggest that rather than writing something and not worrying about grammar because you know someone else can fix that stuff for you, you actually take the time to learn proper grammar, spelling, etc. You may be able to write just fine not understand grammar rules and such, but you're going to be limited by your lack of knowledge, so just think how much better you could be if you took the time to learn.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you want to call yourself a writer and hope to be a published one someday, you should be able to edit your own work... that's what professional writers do!
     
  13. McHamlet
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    McHamlet Member

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    My advice would be to find someone who you trust, who understands your style and who's a good native-speaking writer and have them edit it for you. I edited a book for someone this way and it was an interesting and satisfying process for both of us. If you have some stranger from a website do it for you for 2 bucks a page you can't expect a good result.
     

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