You can read. You can write. But should you be self-editing?
Like writers everywhere, you probably write alone. And if you’re like many writers today, you’ll publish on your own. But should you be self-editing too?
Despite some statistics that suggest the contrary, the answer is no.
Too often I’ve seen self-published work that falls far below proper publishing standards. Not taking the correct steps to ensure that their work is market ready will almost always lead to poor sales, poor reviews, and a sense of disappointment on behalf on the author. Should said author choose to release a second book, savvy readers who were let down once may not risk their money a second time.
You should self-edit to a certain point, writing draft after draft to develop your story and clean up any glaring issues with grammar, spelling, or punctuation (although these can really wait until later). But before you upload that file to your self-publishing platform of choice, seek out a second set of eyes to go over some of the deeper character, plot, and setting issues.
And no, your mom doesn’t count. Neither does your spouse. Unless, of course, they are professionally trained editors.
Editing, along with professional cover design, is one of the most important steps an author can take when bringing their work to the market. So why do so many self-published writers choose self-editing over seeking out an expert?
I’d suggest that some writers just aren’t aware how important editing is. I was the same way with my first novel, Raincloud. I did some self-editing and believed it read well. But after a professional editor provided me with notes, I realized that I would be selling my novel short by self-editing only. Not only that, after working with a professional editor I found that my writing improved overall.
Cost might be another factor. But many editing services offer a free sample edit so you can see the benefits of working with a professional. Believe me, the benefits greatly outweigh the costs.
Think of professional editing as more of an investment in your hard work and growing skills as a writer.
Lastly, I feel that many writers are just too excited go through the editing process. They finish the book and just want to get it into the hands of readers. Again, the time invested will only do you good and help your book be the best it can be. Editing takes time, nurturing, and a whole lot of hard work.
In the end, the choice to employ a professional editor is one of the best you’ll ever make. Give your book its best chance. Self-editing is fine for the early stages. After that, call in the team.