Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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May 22, 2024

Indie Publishing 101: All Things Editing

by Jenn Windrow

hand holding red pen over proofreading text in office

In last month’s post, we discussed how self-publishing is a business. And you the author are in charge of doing everything to make that business run. However, there are some things you can’t do alone, and editing is one of those things.

That’s why even if you go with a big press or a small press the first thing they offer the author is editing. So, after you’ve self-edited, it is time to find a professional.

The different kinds of editing.

There are a few different kinds of editing…

Developmental or content editing

This is the editor who digs into your story, plot, characters, ending, all the things that make your book a page turner.

A good developmental editor will tell you when you haven’t included enough information or even too much. They will tell you if a character is likeable or not. They will work with you to tie up lose threads. They will let you know if your ending is satisfying or leaves too many questions. And sooooo much more.

Honestly a good developmental editor is worth their weight in gold. And I am not just saying this because I happen to be one. I have worked with plenty of developmental editors on my own books and they are a huge part of the publishing process.

After you’ve worked with your critique partners or husband or friend, and they’ve read your book and told you what they like and don’t like, hire a professional developmental editor. Someone who is objective and paid to tell you the truth about your story and help you shape it into something a reader can’t put down.

Copy Editor

These are the editors who cross those T’s and dot those I’s. They go through each word and check for spelling errors, overused words, bad grammar, and proper punctuation. They are the final stage of making your book as good as it can be.

I’m not someone who knows all the rules to proper punctuation, I rely heavily on my copy editor to do their job and help me get all those pesky commas in the correct place. Trust me, my copy editor has her work cut out for her when it comes to my books, and she knows how much I appreciate her.

Galley Edits

The last stage of editing your novel before you can upload it for pre-order or publish it is the galley edit. Sometimes called a line edit.

This is usually done by you, the author. You will go through your final manuscript, line-by-line, word-by-word, and make sure that you or your editor didn’t miss something. And trust me, misspellings and forgotten words happen in all novels. Even your Big 5 authors. I am sure you’ve read a book, maybe several that have had errors in them.

It’s hard to catch them all.

I will say this, no matter how times you go through a book, you will find some small errors.

When my first book was released, I was horrified to see that a line that was supposed to say "gear shift" said "gear shirt". I mean how many times had I read that line, had my publisher read that line, only to have it slip through the cracks.

It happens to the best of us, but one of the many good things about indie publishing, is when you see an error, you can fix it, then just republish asap without having to go through the gate keepers to make a change.

Finding a good editor

There are so many things too look for when you are searching for an editor. Personally, I think a lot of it has to do with a solid working relationship. If you don’t like them personally, you won’t like working with them. If harsh criticism bothers you, then having a bulldog as an editor might not be right for you.

How do you find one?

  • Word of mouth is a good way to find someone.
  • Ask your writer friends who they have worked with.
  • Google is another way.
  • And there are plenty of self-publishing Facebook groups that help with finding good editors.

No matter how you go about looking for an editor, there are plenty of really good ones out there.

Final Thoughts

Editing is an important investment for every author. In my opinion, the second best investment you can make as an author. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and editing helps make sure it is a good one.

If you have any questions about the editing process, please add them to your comment below and I will be happy to answer.

* * * * * *

About Jenn

Jenn Windrow Author pic

Sass. Snark. Supernatural Sizzle. 

Award winning author of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. Vampires, Greek gods, and a bit of Demon Destroyer fun for everyone.

Jenn Windrow loves characters who have a pinch of spunk, a dash of attitude, and a large dollop of sex appeal. Top it all off with a huge heaping helping of snark, and you’ve got the ingredients for the kind of fast-paced stories she loves to read and write. Home is a suburb of it’s-so-hot-my-shoes-have-melted-to-the-pavement Phoenix. Where she lives with her husband, two teenagers, and a slew of animals that seem to keep following her home, at least that’s what she claims.

Website: https://jennwindrow.com/

Top photo from Depositphotos.

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9 comments on “Indie Publishing 101: All Things Editing”

  1. Thank you, Jenn for a great overview of editing.

    I am wet behind the ears in this writing craft world but have just finished my fourth self-edit run-through of my premiere long fiction - a cozy crime novella. I am currently tailoring it for a contest submission, but that will likely change in the longrun.

    My budget is ...well non-existent, and I think, for me a developmental editor is what I need to save my pennies for. Having said all that, what do you think about some fo the AI-based software for copy editing, e.g., ProWritingAid, etc.?

    Also, if you have any thoughts on finding beta readers or know anything about websites like SavvyAturhors which I believe recently launched a 'Critique Match' program, I would love to hear.

    Thank you, again, for your enlightenment.

    1. First of all congrats on finishing your novel, that alone is a huge step!!

      A lot of authors use Grammerly for copy editing, but you still need to buy the software. One thing you can do to save money on editing is offer some kind of trade for editing services. If you’re a copy editor yourself, you can trade with an author who does developmental editing. Heck, I’ve even traded bird sitting for copy editing. It’s one way to cut costs on editing. But there really aren’t any good AI services for developmental editing since it is more about making sure the story, characters, and plot are all in order.

      SavvyAuthors is a great site. They offer very cheap classes, pitch opportunities to editors and agents, and like you mentioned the critique match. I’ve done a lot with them in the past and found the site and the authors on the site to be a lovely group of people.

      You could also look for local area writers groups to get more eyes on your story, and also possible find a couple of authors you can work with regularly. I’m not sure it’s a thing anymore, but when I was first starting out I used MeetUp to help me find my first writers group. But you can also do a simple google search.

      Classes through places like Lawson writers Academy will also help you find like minded authors to work with and help
      You build an author support group.

      Beta readers and critique partners are a little different. Beta readers are usually readers, not writers who will help you figure out which part of your story works and what doesn’t, but they won’t give you level of detail that another writer will. Most beta readers come from people you already know.

      I hope this helps a little.

  2. Jenn, great overview of editing! I find it such a critical part of the process and am shocked at how often it is misunderstood and under-valued. Having seen BAD examples of editing, I have come to think a good editor is worth their weight in gold... and any penny they ask for.

    1. It really is one of the most important parts of the publishing process. And if the ones that most authors feel like they can skip.

    1. Aren’t you supposed to be recovering?

      You’re smart, it’s sooo important to get the story right before it goes out to readers!!

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