Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's an Editor's Market

How many of you indie authors use professional editors? No, this is not a rhetorical question. Once we decide to self-publish, the responsibility falls on each author to put out a book with production values and looks that can compete with any book published by a small press or even the Big NY guys. No easy task, I know. But I love my fiercely independent streak and wouldn't sign a book contract at this point in my writing life.

Although I'm one of those authors who self-edits as she writes, I am a firm believer that you must have your manuscript edited or at the very least, proofread by someone that knows the business or is damn good at editing (yes, I believe there are born editors out there. LOL.)  When I was with Bella Books, my editor was one of the best. She interned and did some editing for a NY publisher. I was very fortunate to have had her as my editor. When I requested to be released from my contract with them, I used the same editor for my next book because she has her own freelance editing business. However, she was expensive. $1,200 for a 59,000 word manuscript.

I know many of us are hurting in this economy. My thoughts are: How many self-published authors are going to begin getting creative in how they pay for editing? How many will only go with several good, high quality beta readers? Or how many will just learn to self-edit? Still, I have to wonder how many professional editors will be willing to take payment plans? Even with a very generous payment plan, I still owe the final payment to my editor. I will not be able to afford $1,200 again for editing. I will lean heavily on my own editing potential and use the services of good, reputable beta readers and one good friend who is really a great editor although she has no business and doesn't even do it freelance. I pay her a small fee because I feel she deserves some compensation. But it isn't anywhere near the cost of most editors advertising their services. I've been saying that editors are going to be the main gainers in the eBook and self-publishing revolution.

So my question is one of concern for all self-publishing authors. How are you handling the costs of self-publishing? The cost of editing, book formatting (if you're going to publish in paper) and also eBook conversions. How many have learned to do the work yourself?