Tag Archives: good editing is expensive

Says the Editor: Respect The Reader

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail


I had picked up a book while it was on sale. No big deal; I do it all the time when the book sounds good. As a single parent who runs a microbusiness and has a mortgage and one college tuition staring her in the face, plus needs a second car and to fund a second college tuition, these sales — and I’ll admit it, the freebies — are a gift.

Yes, I leave reviews to say thanks. I suggest the really good ones to my friends, too. Why do you ask?

But this isn’t about the debate over free and sale books, and it’s not about the need to leave reviews. It’s about the responsibility of the author and/or publisher to respect the reader.

Now, this book had a number of big red flags. In the first four percent, we learned twice, in depth, about the main character’s need for anonymous sex. We spent a couple pages of info dump about the other main characters. And there was no clear opening to the book; I could have sliced off the entire four percent and the book would have been better for it.

So… already, it’s suffering from poor editing. Not a good sign.

And then, the grammar. And there’s a difference between uneducated — lots of him and me went together to that place — and sloppy.

I get that lie/lay is a hard construction. I still struggle with it, and I’ve been editing for HOW many years now? (The answer: about as long as my son’s ultimate coach has been alive.) But I’ve learned, because that’s what an editor does. She learns and grows and gets better at her craft.

Just like writers are supposed to.

So we had rough grammar, which didn’t completely complement the author’s voice and stuck out and made me wince. We had grammatical errors.

Clearly, no professional editor worth their salt was involved with this book.

But when I got to the place where a zero was used in place of the letter O, I was done. Now you’ve crossed the line from ignorance, which can be fixed, to a refusal to respect the reader.

Respect your reader.

At this point, it’s not even about editing. It’s about respect. It really is. Because if you can’t be bothered to at least run spell check to make sure something this massive hasn’t crept in, what else can’t you be bothered to do? Learn the craft of writing? Put your best effort on the page? Care about your project, your consumer, your future career?

It’s about respect. Respect the reader. Bring your best. Every chapter, every scene, every paragraph, every sentence, every word. Even if you can’t afford a professional editor, you owe it to yourself and your reader to run spell check and make absolutely certain that you’re not going to leave in an error that shows you don’t care about the product you are selling. There’s a difference between him and me stood there and stared and thr23 people approached. What does that last even say? How many people are involved in this approach?

If you can’t respect the reader, maybe you shouldn’t be publishing.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

#SaystheEditor: It’s about Quality, not Price

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

I often feel like I’m beating my head against a brick wall, yes.

“I am a professional editor! Look at the affect my work will have on your sales!”

I can’t believe this person gets business. But then you read the next line: “Editing doesn’t need to be expensive! I will edit your book for cheap!”

Umm… yeah, okay. I’m sure you will. And a glance at your rates shows that yes, you charge less than I do.

But are you really an editor? REALLY?

Then why can’t you see the problematic word choice in your own promotional material? I’m not talking about a typo; we all make those. I’ve caught some in my own posts, which I’ve proofed a bunch of times. I’m talking about word choice. I’m talking about usage errors.

I’m talking about things you need to know inherently, the way you know two plus two equals four.

Affect/effect is one of them. Because when you use the wrong one in your promotional materials, you make the rest of us cringe. Good editing is expensive — maybe not as expensive as it should be, in my case (I STILL get harangued for my own rates being too low and devaluing the rest of my friends who edit. I keep telling them we are going for different audiences and to chill. Ninety percent of my clients, one hundred percent of whom I like, stretch to afford me now.)

Good editing is expensive. Good editing can make or break a book.

Look at it this way: when I was reviewing for The World’s Toughest Book Critics, I read a few books that were so good, they would have gotten the coveted star from me. But for one thing…

They’d have been better off if they’d taken the $400 or more they spent on a review and paid it to me directly to proofread their books.

Every. Single. One.

Think about that. Those authors undermined their own success and their own chance at getting their book tagged with a superlative because of poor proofreading.

Yeah. Pay that editor’s low prices. Let her have an AFFECT on your book.

I’ll be here when you wise up.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail