by Winnie Kay
Edit your work before you submit!!
~~To Err is Human; To Edit, Divine~~
My apologies to Mr. Alexander Pope for butchering his famous quote, but I found this title appropriate within the concept of writing.
In a sense we are all writers. From the moment you grasped a stubby pencil and a Big Chief Tablet and struggled to stay within the lines as you wrote that first letter to Grandma, you became a writer. Some of you carried your newly discovered ability to communicate to a higher level as you took the time to edit your work—evident by the eraser smudges splattered throughout the paper. This added effort demonstrated your dedication and hard work to offer your beloved granny a well-written account of your adventures and your dreams.
Over the years, your writing skills developed, and now that novel of yours—sure to be a best seller—is finally ready for publication… Or is it? Have you checked your masterpiece for typos, misspelled words, punctuation and grammar errors, POV infractions, sentence structure integrity, and inconsistencies with exposition of settings and characters? Can you even see the holes in your story-line anymore?
Traditional publishers (the ones who pay you for the right to publish your work) certainly include a complete edit of your manuscript as part of their process in order to protect their investment and their reputation. If your story manages to break through seemingly impossible barriers and you’re one of the rare authors offered a book deal, it is most likely due to the fact that you hired a freelance editor prior to submitting your work.
The Self-Publishing industry offers editing and/or proofreading services for an additional fee within their varied packages. If your submitted manuscript is riddled with errors too numerous to count, reputable self-publishing establishments will reject your work or charge you dearly for a complete edit in order to maintain their integrity. A professional edit outside the employment of their services can save you hundreds of dollars.
E-book self-publishing services like Smashwords, Kindle Direct, and Publish Green have recently joined the indie (independent) book publishing market, allowing authors to digitally upload their manuscripts to their sites. These are not publishers and they take no responsibility for the quality of your work. Since they are distributors and retailers, authors do not forfeit any rights to their work and are free to sell their rights to a traditional publisher if the offer arises. Some of these services are free, but you receive only a portion of the sales. Some charge a fee upfront and the author keeps 100% of the sales. Typically, these services do not offer editing assistance. What you upload is what goes out to the public. Proofreading, formatting, designing, and marketing are solely in the hands of the author.
No matter the route you take to have your work bound and printed, it is vital to the success of your book and to your reputation as a serious writer to present a polished, professional product that will generate a positive response from your readers. Though you feel you have the skills to self-edit, be aware that because you have caressed and molded your written work of art for months, even years, your eyes are no longer capable of seeing your own errors. The fresh eyes of a freelance editor will spot any flaws that you would overlook. After all, you’re only human.
A Few Useful References!