By DONALD D. ALLAN
The world of being an independent author—aka an indie author—is challenging for many reasons; the list of which is exhaustive and exhausting. That aside, I want to touch on an important aspect of being an indie author: editing.
Novels are all about the writing. A real epiphany for some, I’m sure. You will live or die as an author by the quality of your writing. Words are the art form after all. As an author, you take a pallet of twenty-six letters and paint a book. When you’ve written your novel you hand it over to your audience. An audience who is also your worst critic: the reader. The reader wants perfection in your writing without even realizing they want perfection. One misspelled word in a sentence will tear the reader out of your writing and back to reality. It’s shocking and never appreciated by the reader when this happens. Your writing needs to be flawless, with smooth sentences and paragraphs that flow into a pleasure of reading that floats the reader along for the ride and gives them the experience they paid good money for. To achieve this your novel demands an editor. You are not an editor. You’re an artist. You can’t mix the two up.
Indie authors have a finite resource pool to pull from. Indie authors will look to friends for help. This is a bad idea (unless your friend is a professional editor); however, another set of eyes is better than nothing. I would suggest that your friend with the arts degree in English is also a very poor substitute. You require someone who understands how to edit a novel in your genre for readers and provide honest, constructive criticism without worrying about hurting your feelings.
Your choices are varied. You can find in minutes on Google, a plethora of professional editors to take your novel to the next level. They will cost you a lot of money because they are professionals. This is where you need to have a long, honest discussion with yourself and determine if your marketing solutions will return your investment in an editor. Be warned: indie authors are not prolific in sales, especially for a first time author. You need to be realistic. Your novel will not be an instant best seller, and earn you accolades and wealth beyond reason. The return of investment in your beautiful novel will not equal the amount of money a professional editor will demand for payment. You might have to settle for something less; such as a freelance editor.
Whatever you chose, just know as soon as you publish your work it is out there, for good or bad. If you fail to take the time to polish your hard work with an editor, you will need to be ready for the criticism that will surely follow from readers jolted out of the pleasure of reading your novel.
“Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.” Hunter S. Thompson.