You've slaved over your computer for what seems like forever and you've finally finished your book. Congratulations! The first step of your journey is complete! I'm sure you're extremely proud, relieved, and excited to embark on the journey of self publishing. You can see it now: attending book signings, meeting readers, receiving awards, and seeing your books on the shelves of your local bookstores and public libraries. All of that is exciting and something to look forward to, but there's more that you have to do to get to that point. You have officially arrived to the second milestone of your journey: editing.
This second step of your journey actually consists of two parts: self-editing and professional editing. Self-editing is where you go back and read over things to make sure that your story reads as you expect it to. This helps in the case of making sure that you're not forgetting words or full sentences. To be honest, this has happened to me a few times while writing my own novels. Sometimes your brain can work faster than your fingers, and you may forget to type a word or two because you're going with the flow. Self-editing will decrease the chances of that happening.
Self-editing is effective to a certain degree. Because you have worked on your story for so long, you have become so familiar with it that when you read it, you read it the way it's SUPPOSED to be written instead of how it's actually written. This will cause you to overlook tiny typos that readers will most definitely pick up on it.
Professional editing is what you need to completely polish your manuscript. One issue that I see when it comes to authors hiring editors is not being able to afford them. Due to financial strain or whatever the situation may be, some people try to do the editing on their own and sometimes it does not end very well. Most authors do not realize how detrimental the editing process is to publishing until after they publish their book. There has been a few cases where the story itself can be really good, but the editing can knock you down a couple of stars. Here are a couple of examples:
Something as simple as having a book properly edited could have resulted in a better rating. There are some instances where the editing can be done so poorly, that it negatively affects the reader's experience. Here are a few examples:
With self publishing on the rise, many people have the option to publish anything that they desire. We also have to remember that many readers are used to reading books from traditionally published authors, which are usually professionally edited. When readers come across self published books that are poorly edited, they start to believe that all self publishing books are of the same quality, which could make it tough for an author to succeed.
You may think that last review is a bit extreme, but think about it this way. Imagine yourself watching television and you see a commercial about this new burger that your favorite restaurant is adding to their menu. You hurry down to the restaurant and order it, pay your money, and receive the burger that you're so anxious to try. When you bite into your burger, you realize it has been overcooked and is dry, has no condiments, and to top it all off, your fries are cold. Because you're completely turned off by the experience, you go back to the register and demand a refund for your negative experience with this burger. This concept works for books, too. If a reader sees that you're promoting interesting teasers and a cool blurb, they will end up completely disappointed and turned off by a poorly edited book that they can't read. In some cases, some readers will refuse to buy from the author again.
Here's a little publishing story of my own. When I wrote my first book, I didn't pay much attention to the editing. My friends read it and thought it was great, I thought it was great, and my family thought it was great. What could possibly go wrong? I never considered that reviewers would tell me the gritty truth of it all, whether I wanted them to or not. After getting a few bad reviews about editing and reading it over myself after a few months, I saw SO many errors that I had overlooked. They were so tiny! Embarrassed isn't even a strong enough word to describe how I felt. Not only that, I ended up having to pull the book down from the sites they were published on, re-edit and revise it, and have had so many issues trying to get it republished and getting the revised copy to readers who have already bought it. I also have a ton of paperbacks that are now useless because of my editing mistakes. You may think that you're saving money by skipping out on editing expenses, but you'll save money if you do everything right the first time.
My goal at Edits By V is to make sure your book shines when it's ready to be released to the world. Publishing is scary. You're putting your everything, your baby, out to the world to be criticized by strangers in hopes that you reach that one reader who understands and gets it. You've worked so hard on something and you should give it the proper treatment it deserves so that you reap all of the benefits of your hard work. Don't let something as small as editing bring you down. There are plenty of editors, myself included, who will work with you to make sure that you get what you need. I hope all of this information has helped you see how important editing is in your journey. Good luck with your future writing endeavors and never stop writing!