Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Editors...Who Needs Them?


I published my first three stories on a shoestring budget.  I spent ten dollars that I didn't have for cover art, and that was it.  I relied on myself, Beta readers and my mom, who taught seventh grade English for forty years, for editing.  

I had looked for editors for my manuscripts, but the ones I found using Google, charged thousands of dollars.  I decided that if those were my options, I would take my chances.  I'd read enough self-published work, I knew my stuff was at least not as riddled with mistakes as some other stuff out there.  So I crossed my fingers, hoped for the best, and kept looking.

 Then I discovered the myriad of resources on Goodreads.

I had posted in a group for writers, asking about editors.  Initially, I was dismayed at the responses.  Things like, "I spent $2500 on my editor, and it was money well spent."  I have no idea what that particular person's word count was, or the services rendered, but that number was so out of my price-range, I stopped checking posts on the thread.  It was disheartening, to say the least.  I had some money coming from a project I had working.  I had decided to spend some of it on an editor, but four figures for 50,000 words was not in my price range.  At all.

Then I met Catherine.  

She is a wonderful person, who is educated, dedicated, friendly, and most of all, affordable.  She understood my reticence about handing over money to someone online, and provided references.  She even offered to edit a sample chapter, to make sure we would be a good fit.

To my chagrin, Mom's years of teaching grammar to seventh graders (and me) wasn't enough.  Apparently, I love misusing commas.  Since Catherine doesn't edit my blog posts, you guys may have already discovered that, and I hope that you can see past my love for inappropriate commas.

Anyway, this post is not about plugging my editor, it's about the realization that everybody needs one.  No matter how many sets of eyes look at a work, it is always good to have professional editing services go over them with a fine toothed comb.  Period.

Falling for Heaven probably saw more sets of eyes than all three of the other works put together.  I was nervous about my first attempt at paranormal romance, and I had a lot of betas look at it.  A couple of them even took a shot at the editing aspect of it.

Catherine not only took out hundreds of commas, she verified a couple of historical inaccuracies, reminded me of Ms. James' overuse of the word "hitched", but she also pointed out qualities of my writing that she loved.

So you see?  She edits and she praises.  I love her.

I know not every writer is lucky enough to have stumbled upon a gem like Catherine.  I feel blessed to have her as an integral part of my process.

I stole this little piece of her from her blog, and I hope she doesn't mind.  It sums up beautifully how she feels about her editing, and it's the main reason why I like her so much.  She really likes her job...

I just had a wonderful experience with a new client, and I always have mixed feelings when I finish an editing job. I am sad because the job is over. When I am working on a job, I spend a great deal of time with the manuscript. A lot of my late-night hours are spent in front of my computer. In most cases I’ve become attached to the characters, and there is a sense of loss when I have to send them back to their rightful owners. I admit that sometimes I hate to say good-bye. But I am also happy that I’ve seen a project to its completion.

See what I mean? I just love her so much, I could put her in my purse and take her with me everywhere I go. I've recently decided to take my profits from my first quarter's sales and re-invest them in more editing services. Catherine is working on editing my original stories, so that I can re-publish them, edited. I'm so excited about that, I can't even begin to describe it.

Finding Catherine, and using her services has brought my writing to another level. I can now tell people, with pride, that I'm an author. Yes, a real author, with an editor and everything.

For those of you that are interested, here's her website. If this post wasn't enough, she has recommendations on her site, and can put you into contact with others who have used her services. Okay, so it turned into a plug. I'm not sorry.


  1. I've been very lucky to have a friend who is a retired copy editor who helped me along, and I love that your blog is littered with comma errors. So is mine!

    I agree however, that an editor is essential if we want our novels to be well received. Too many indie authors leave out this step, and it reflects poorly on their work.

  2. You're awesome for sharing your lucky find with us! :) Congratulations on the release of Falling For Heaven!

  3. You are very kind! You are also a dream to work with.

  4. I think it is near impossible to edit your own work (the final edit, anyway). You need distance and perspective that the writer doesn't have. Also, serious editing is a specific skill, and just because you can write, doesn't necessarily mean you can edit. But, yeah, a good editor is expensive. I'm starting a savings account just for publishing expenses!