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Virgin Author Ch 4 But No Really, Editing

Chapter Four:

But No Really, Editing.

Shine, Polish, Repeat - then Pros

Go online sometime when your parents aren’t home and just look at it all. You know what I’m talking about. Go online. Find the bad stuff. I mean the really nasty, like oh my God, why? Stuff. No need to troll. Just be aware. Beware too. That could easily be you. Every crappily done book should be a cautionary tale. (I mean, if you think about it, they often literally are). If you go to writers cons or comic-cons or whatever it is you young whippersnappers are into these days, you’ll even find em there too. Books that, as gently as I can say it, never ought to have been published(in their present form). I’m talking horrible covers (yes, covers matter. No, your buddy you know who is a maverick on Microsoft Paint should not design your cover). I’m talking bad spacing. I’m even saying glaring grammar and spelling mistakes.

Here’s the thing. As good as you are. As awesome as you are (and I’m sure you are)… In the immortal words of the great literary poets of our time, Disturbing the Peace, “Move Bitch, get out the way!I’m serious. No one needs another shitty amateur ebook. No one.


Ok, now take a deep cleansing breath with me, and edit that shit. I mean, really edit it. More than just running it through spell check. Even more than running it through Grammarly (I love you, Grammarly). Even more than applying your 3-5 beta reader’s comments. EVEN more than working in your old English teacher’s suggestions. (I know, I realize this sort of commitment is kinda a big deal).

There comes a time in every young writer's life when they need it. Whether they know it or not, or you know it or not, when you need a pro. You need the unrivaled god-like powers of an editor. AND not just any old editor, either. You need one that preferably gets you. One that is vetted by your local writers guild or some outside national editor’s association. Don’t just Google search this, son. This is where being an active part of a professional writers group will go miles for you. Really get you off… to a good start, that is.

Remember the first time you realized you might actually be able to make a few bucks off this? Crazy, I know right? You want to get paid for your work. Your long hard slogs through depression, anxiety, and wonderfully awesome creative orgasms of literary splendor. You made your Good Art. Now you want some cash for it – Maybe even a little respect too. Well, so do editors. Good ones cost money, hun. Save your allowance. It’s worth it. Now, they might not charge you a crap ton, but it’s still money. But it’s money well spent. It’s necessary.

Just do it, ok?

In this humble author’s experience, editors who handle what he typically writes (Fantasy) have quoted rates anywhere from $400 - $2,500 for content and some line editing 85,000+ word novels. I think that’s decent and I’m not well off by any means (anyone want to help pay my electric bill next month?Serious offers only, please). In related news, I’d be happy to content edit your WIP (Work In Progress) for $10/1k words – just hit me up. Find editors who specialize in your genre. Ask around your professional writer community (not on Facebook – the ones in… you know… Real Life). Or check out Writers Conventions – You can usually find a few editors hanging around those, too. Gateway to Publishing Conference and Convention is a great one for this. If you have trouble paying all the dough up front for an editor, ask if they’ll take payments, or are willing to split the bill up somehow… or hell, if you're good at something, see if you can swing some sort of trade deal. My point is, you never know until you ask. So ask! If you’d like to learn specifically who I’ve had edit my own works in the past, shoot me an email and I’ll help how I can.

Shine, Polish, Repeat – then Pros

Ok, you got all that?

Now, what were you supposed to do BEFORE you even think about publishing your book?

That’s riiight.

Get It professionally edited. You want someone who knows what they’re doing and is used to handling your genre (if possible). Then, listen to the person you paid to edit your book. Seriously, listen. No one writes a perfect book the first time around. No one. (The Bible doesn’t count). It’s going to be a shot to your delicate writer ego to read through the feedback. And that’s perfectly ok. On one hand, do your best to soberly consider what your editor has to say. Your book will be better for it. Now, on the other hand, you’re allowed to retain some of your integrity. In the end, it’s your name on the cover, not your editor’s. Strike a balance, especially when it comes to style and your story’s heart. Just how shitty amateur novels are an Amazon sale a dozen, just so are heartless, mass-produced, formulaic New York Times, Kirkus Reviewed books too. We don’t need more consumer content. What we need is more honest-to-God literary art.

Once you’ve worked through your edits, work through them again. Shine, Polish, Repeat. Get your novel to a point where you’ve worked it through as many conceivable times as you can.

Make it glow. Make it blush. Make it glorious.

Then (and only then), lift up thine eyes to the next phase.

In one final note on this chapter, also learn when to stop. When you’re finished, you’re finished. It’s no use to anyone to keep trying to push rope editing your book. There’s always going to be little things to primp with your book. In fact, I try not to reread my currently published fantasies with a critical eye anymore. There comes a time when it’s good. Leave it alone. Even if you still have that lingering feeling like something has been left undone. Because let’s be real. After you’ve written, reworked it 3-5 times, had multiple beta readers go through it, sent it through an editor, then go through it again – she’s good, shorty. She’s good. Pour a drink or three and clink it with some friends – the hardest part of this long hard slog is done. And you made it happen.


Next, we’re talking what happens next. We’re talking that exciting, stars-in-your-eyes time that everyone wants to jump to in the beginning. How do I want to get this thing published? How do I make the world know my name?

Throw up your sign for all the world to see! Going official happens next chapter. But wait! I just stumbled on this blindingly informative post. Series? What about what happened before? Gotcha covered HERE.

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