Technically, this post isn’t just for indie authors, but since I’ve heard so much about a certain issue on the indie loops, I’m going to focus on those authors.
More and more people are telling you that you need to have your work edited before you publish it on Amazon, Smashwords, or other sites. I agree and not just because I’m a freelance editor. The problem is even hiring an editor doesn’t guarantee your work will be error-free.
We’ll assume the editor you hire is capable of doing the job. That’s not what this post is about. The problem is that once you have the edited version of your manuscript, you still have to make changes. Sometimes, that means accepting the changes made through Track Changes, but more often, it means rewriting certain parts. Unfortunately, many writers don’t bother to send their revised manuscript back to the editor for one last look. Oh, I see you cringing. Stop it. I know editors aren’t cheap and you’re not made out of money, but your reputation is at stake. Do you really want to put out a book with typos or grammatical errors just because you didn’t have your polished version double-checked by an industry professional?
I can’t speak for all editors, but I can tell you how I operate. For novellas and novels, I offer a free sample upfront. This allows you to see what I can do for you and it shows me how much work is involved so I can give you a quote. Let’s say you hire me, I edit your work, and return it to you. Maybe you struggled with the first fifty pages and then everything pretty much smoothed out. In that case, you could revise and resubmit those fifty pages and since this is the second time around, there wouldn’t be as much editing involved, so I could charge you less. Or maybe you’re really only concerned about a certain chapter or a few scenes here and there. That’s fine. Send them to me and I’ll take a second look. I don’t need to edit the whole manuscript again, unless that’s what you want. The important thing is that you have the weaker scenes reviewed after you’ve made changes.
My point is that you don’t have to pay an editor the same fee when you resubmit, unless you’ve added scenes or fresh material, so the cost isn’t necessarily as high as you might think. If you don’t want to spend the money on having your full manuscript edited a second time, then pick and choose the scenes or chapters that gave you the most grief when revising and submit those.
If you don’t, that’s up to you. Just don’t go blaming your editor if reviewers find typos and grammatical errors in your published book. If you made any revisions after the editor saw the work, she can’t be responsible for the changes you made.
One last bit of advice, before you send your manuscript to an editor, try to make it as polished as possible. Have your critique group and beta readers go over your story until you’re all sick of it. The closer your manuscript is to publishable work, the less you’ll have to spend on editorial services.