So as most you know by now my spelling and grammar isn’t the greatest, some would say (and have) that it even sucks. This is not for lack of trying, I do take an English class once a year when I have the time and money. Back in my high school and college days I took loads of English, creative writing, and poetry classes. I learned a lot, but I also picked up some bad habits along the way. I also may have a slight disability, many of my past teachers and professors inquired if I was dyslexic. Whether I am or not I have no idea, I’ve never been tested and I don’t plan to. I get by as best I can. For these reasons and even more that I didn’t put above, I use an editor. Well I guess I should say editor’s, but not all I use are professionals. so maybe we’ll say editor and gifted friends and family.
Before I go through the embarrassment of having a professional see how inadequate my spelling is I have three to five friends and family members comb through the final draft. I print off, or go to my local print shop, and ship each a single sided copy held with a large paper clip and complete with a red pen. My instructions are fairly straight forward; look for mistakes and if there’s a better way to write a sentence then add that in the margin or on the back., and of course I want their opinion on if the story is any good. Now do I always take their advice? No. I do however compare each copy to look for constancy. As most of you know by now my wife is beta reader number one. She doesn’t always correct spelling and grammar, but her approval is the first thing I look at before moving forward on a project. Before I go forward I do want to point out that I only have the one book published and two others on the back burner waiting to be finished. However I have had a lot and I mean a lot of short stories that almost made it to publication. These are the type of stories that are around 50k words and would only be in eBook form. The type of thing you see on amazon or nook for .99 cents. Alas unless they get approval from most of my beta readers I don’t waste the resources. Perhaps I will someday put them all together as a collection, but maybe not.
Not all editors are made equal, nor are all affordable. For example when I was seeking an editor for Black Thorn I first looked up a few editors I knew about in New York. These are the best of the best and as such charge by the word and its not exactly cheap. These guys charge anywhere between .03 – .09 a word, when you multiply that by 80k words you get around $9,700.00 on the high end. Now they do more than just a simple once over. They do proofreading and copy editing, really go all the way to make your work shine, but if your an indi author self-publishing your work these pros are way out of the budget. I do want to note that there are a lot of pro companies that will charge a flat rate between 1,000 and 1,850 and they do a fantastic job, but again that’s a large chunk of change. So most of us go for freelancers on places like Fiverr. My editor charged me $200 so not super expensive. My one stipulation was that the editor was a native English speaker and didn’t use any software to edit. I also wanted someone with a long background, high rating, and preferably a degree in English. The other problem was I needed someone who would do a novel, which really narrowed the candidates down. In the end my editor was fantastic.
Despite my amazing beta readers and editors my book still has some errors. Most are simple typos that most people wouldn’t even pick up on, others not so much. I include my URL to my website and encourage any readers to point out errors they find because in the end, the fans are the ones who are going to find the error and man are they happy when they do. I remember my delight every time I found an error in any of the Harry Potter books. So I try and keep the file up to date when ever these emails come in and I am happy to say that its not often. Although this doesn’t help those who purchased the paperback, it does help the E-readers, because all they have to do is go into their account files and update the work. In the end the work will never be perfect, I have never read a book that doesn’t have at least a few typos, spelling errors, or grammar errors. From Rowling to Martin they all have had their issues because their human and people make mistakes. They also make some of the most amazing worlds so we can and must forgive them. Thank you for reading.