Writing by itself takes little to no money. If you’ve got a laptop or a notepad or a blank wall, you can write.
Being an author, however, can accrue many expenses, especially if you’re attempting to self-publish. Some of the bigger costs can involve getting covers, purchasing ISBN’s, marketing, and formatting so the book looks good. One of the biggest costs, though, is editing.
Look, you need someone else to look at your book. No matter how creative you are, no matter how good your grammar is, you need more eyes on that manuscript before you bring it out to meet the public.
There are many levels of editing, of course.
- Developmental editing looks at big-picture stuff. What plot holes remain? Does the story structure hold up? Do the character arcs actually arc or do they more sort of lie there like dead fish?
- Line edits look at more smaller-level stuff. Do the sentences communicate what they should? Do they convey the right emotions? Did you forget what tense you were writing in and changed it up every paragraph?
- And then there’s proofreading, the bane of every writer. Spell good, you know, and grammar the best!
I’d recommend you get someone that’s not you for each of those levels. It can be the same person for each, of course, but someone who isn’t you. Why do you need someone else?
- Without a developmental editor, you won’t realize that your favorite chapter not only adds nothing to the plot, it actually slows things down. That developmental editor will take away your darlings so you can have a better book.
- Without a line editor, you won’t realize that you missed that word that renders an entire paragraph incomprehensible.
- Without proofreading, you look like an amateur.
Editors are necessary… and they cost money. They’re worth the money. They make your book so much stronger than it would be otherwise. A good editor is your ally, too. They’re not trying to tear your down or change your vision. They’re trying to make it the best it can be.
And I am so, so blessed that I sleep with my editor.
She’s my wife, I mean.
I married her.
Well, she was my wife before she became my editor.
She’s got a degree in English. She reads in-genre constantly, so she knows how fantasy books vary from, say, nonfiction. She’s got an eye for detail. She knows how to tell me I’m wrong (and she’s usually right about it, too).
What that means practically is that we work together as a team. Any book I’ve authored is as much hers as it is mine. I may create the raw words, characters, and plots, but she is the one who refines all of them into something good.
And I don’t have to pay her!
That’s not entirely true. I’m thankful I don’t have to pay her cash. She figured that if I paid her standard rates, I’d owe her at least $1000 a book.
Instead, she just wants chocolate chip cookies.
This is a deal I can live with.
So, go find yourself an editor! Maybe marry her.
But you can’t marry my editor. She’s taken.