Thursday, July 8, 2010

Yog's Law: Editors

Now, by going the self publish route I don't have to shell out as much as $750 dollars in the quest for an agent.

No, by self publishing I can shell out money in the quest for an editor.

Some people have noticed that self published, especially in the not too distant past, was code for, "No one in their right mind would publish this!" Bad writing, insipid plots, grammatical errors, and cardboard characters have been the hallmarks of self published fiction. (This is not necessarily true for non-fiction.) This is often because people who publish their own work don't bother to hire a professional editor.

Want to have an idea of the value of a real professional editor. Read any of the first four Harry Potter books. Then read Deathly Hallows. How much do you want to bet a copy editor got anywhere near Deathly Hallows? Not much? Me either.

I know I can spin a good plot. I write decent, occasionally brilliant, dialogue. I'm not a grammarian. I don't process information visually, so my prose is weak on the what do things look like front. (Actual comment from a beta reader: "Can you make this more visual?" My response: "Probably.") I need an editor. By going the agent/publisher route, they'll pay for an editor for me.

By going on my own, I need to hire one on my own. Fortunately this is the internet age, so editors are easy to find. I've got two professionals who specialize in sci-fi fantasy work, and one who I know through a board I hang out on. All three will get bits of the book to work up, and then they'll send me what they can do with it, and how much it'll cost to do the whole thing.

Keep in mind writer friends, they are doing the first bit for free to show me what they can do, then I pick the best match based on what they send me. Once again, if they want money upfront, it's time to go find a new option.

So, stay tuned for the next Yog's Law Update: Editors II.

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