You’ve finished writing. Phew. And now you want to self publish. Stop!
Have you had your work professionally edited? If you have, you can skip this bit. If you haven’t, well I recommend you DONT skip this bit. You must not ignore editing and rush to publish. Let me repeat that. Ignore editing at your peril. You’ve just spent a long time writing your soon to be eBook. Being an independent publisher (hey, that’s you!) means you are responsible for the book being as much of a quality object as humanly possible.
Just because you can publish to Amazon Kindle Direct in 5 minutes to hundreds of millions of potential readers doesn’t mean that you should. Just take a deep breath and remember that once your eBook is published, it will be around for a long, long time with YOUR name on the cover. So get it right first time. Don’t rush to publish. Or you will regret it. You may sell a few initial books, but if its a messy sloppy, horrible thing to read you will never build repeat business. You’ll infuriate the reader that has taken a gamble on you and been let down by an unreadable piece of work. Think they’ll give you a second chance and buy your next book? Nah.
I’ll say it again. You are about to become an independent publisher. Don’t make your first book your last. Make your eBook as good as it can possibly be. Don’t skimp on quality. It’s your brand that will be out there forever. Make it a quality brand.
Editing does a few things. It makes sure you’re making good sense. A good editor can cut the flab out of your project and help your writing engage with your target audience. It cuts repetition and helps craft the best possible form for your words. That’s true wether your eBook is fiction or non-fiction.
There’s a lot you can do before you hire an editor. Remember if you’re paying someone for advice on your eBook, you’ll want to be at the point where you’ve really done all you humanly can with it. You want to get the maximum value for your investment. So, regularly print out your work and take a red pen to to it. Regularly revise and update. Read your work out loud. Get a sense of the rhythms of your writing and edit where necessary. Let someone other than your family read and criticise your work. Often, family and friends won’t want to offend you. So find someone willing to give you some honest feedback on your eBook. You’ll be surprised how this can reveal strengths and weaknesses in a piece of writing, no matter whether fact or fiction. Take that red pen and be ruthless with it! Rewrite if necessary. You want your eBook baby to be the best it can possibly be, don’t you?
There’s only so far you can self edit. If it’s a long eBook there will come a point where you are completely saturated with reading and re-reading and self-editing. At this point you’ll be blind to see the bad bits. That’s the point you need to hire an editor. Professional editing will take your manuscript to the next level.
If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you just cannot afford to bypass the editing process. It is well worth the investment of time and money. A good editor does much more then just find your typos, spelling and grammatical errors. A good editor will read your story with a critical eye and offer notes and suggestions on what should be cut, what should be moved and what should be expanded. Good editing can improve the pace and readability of a work of fiction. Non-fiction also benefits from a critical editing eye. I’ll say it again. Ignore editing at your peril.
Your eBook will exist for a long time once it is published on-line. The words in your book are your voice. You do want your voice to be the best it can be don’t you? So go hire an editor. If you are serious about being a writer and publishing your work, spending a few hundred dollars on a editor will be the best investment you can make. You’ll also learn a lot about yourself as a writer in the process.