Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get two or three types of edits in one. Before anyone starts yelling at me, hear me out. My first editor edited my ms before I turned it in as my thesis for my MFA in Creative Writing. She has a Doctorate in English so I trusted her completely. She looked for typos & other errors, plus repetition and times when I changed a name, etc.
That was good enough for my thesis. Later when I asked her how to improve my ms for publishing, she suggested I add a whole other layer to the story. She wanted that story to be 500 years earlier. Needless to say, I didn’t do that. (Though that’s not to say that I won’t someday write that story she suggested! ;->)
I continued to edit the ms myself 4 or 5 times. BUT one should NEVER trust him/herself with THE FINAL EDITS. People have told me “You’re a teacher. You can edit it yourself.” I would never do that job! Not for a million dollars! It is the hardest job in the world.
As Ronnie says, do not trust a friend, no matter how educated and learned they are, no matter how many books they’ve even written. There’s a reason we don’t call ourselves “Editors.” It is very very difficult job with a HUGE skill set. Find someone you don’t know, but get a sample edit of maybe your worst writing in the entire book, definitely NOT the first 5 pages. So, finally, I hired a Canadian guy who went through the ms TWICE for 2/3 the price an American would charge to go through it once. Again, hear me out. I had gotten prices from several American editors & they all were in the range of 3 cents/word. This guy charged 2 cents a word.
Now you might think that is enough editing for one ms, but after I sent the ms to be formatted (also by a non-American at a very reasonable fee). I was under the impression I still had one more chance to look over the ms before she uploaded it to Amazon, etc. I found approx. 10 more mistakes & sent them to her.
She sent me a not so kind e-mail back saying the document had already been uploaded so I would have to pay her more to download it & make the changes.
Of course, I said “DO IT!” There’s no way I wanted my first-born out there with mistakes. (Sadly, I have discovered that many self-published authors don’t mind readers finding even a mistake/page.) In fact, I know someone who spent several hundred dollars for the perfect cover, but did not spend a dime on editing. Yes, sad but true.
You can always get a great cover cheap, but excellent editing is priceless. If you are short on cash, spend ALL the cash on editing!! You can always change the cover if you want. Though there is lots of great stock art out there so even that can be done right.
You can never get the reader to re-read a badly edited book. Or get them to keep reading OR read the next book you write.
Do your due diligence and DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!
There, you have my opinion. If anyone disagrees with me, I am very afraid to read your book. Very afraid.
Author of “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” (available on Amazon & B&N)
Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too. You can go to her Home page to watch it:
Or you can see it on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P11Ch5chkAc 😉 ❤
Here’s a great part of a post by Joel Friedlander that includes the different types of editing – I wanted to add it to comments, but I guess you can’t comment on your own posts, it seems.
Myth #4: You don’t need to have your book professionally edited.
Actually, this is a myth only if you want to be taken seriously as an author and publish a marketable book. If these aren’t your goals, save your money and forego professional editing. But if these are your goals, consider these reasons for hiring an editor.
The vast majority of writers don’t have the background of a qualified editor—a bachelor’s or master’s degree in English, creative writing, communications, or journalism, and practical experience in all aspects of writing and editing.
Editors are likely to catch errors that authors miss, since it’s easy for authors to inadvertently skip over errors when they know what they meant.
Editors can be more objective than the owner of the writing. After living and breathing the manuscript for months, writers often become too attached to be critical. Editors don’t have this problem.
A good editor will challenge authors to take their manuscripts to the next level.
A second opinion from someone who knows what sells can be invaluable.
A poorly edited book is distracting to most readers.
An author’s future writing can benefit from an editor’s feedback on previous projects.
Having your manuscript professionally edited is expensive—that’s why so many authors don’t do it. But keep in mind that the lack of professional editing is also a contributing factor to why 90% of all self-published books sell fewer than 100 copies.
Ideally, novels go through four levels of editing. Mine do. And so do books that are traditionally published—the ones with whom we compete. That said, if you decide not to have your manuscript edited on all levels, at least consider having it professionally proofread so that your published book doesn’t contain any superficial errors.
Problematic plots, character development, narrative voice, pacing, clarity, plausibility, flow, dialogue, descriptions, and narrative arc
Sentence structure, clarity, fluidity, tone, redundancies, consistencies, continuity, and phrasing
Grammar, punctuation, spelling, verb tense, subject/verb agreement, and capitalization
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation
Here is a good article on how to find the right editor. http://janefriedman.com/2013/05/31/find-freelance-book-editor/