I’ve never been a self-publishing zealot. I don’t tell people they should do things exclusively themselves or the traditional way. If anything I tell people to do what feels right for them, sometimes that means doing both. For most people, it’s way easier trying to get published traditionally. Doing things yourself is much harder than people think. Especially if you do it correctly.
This post is about one of those things you have to do in order to self-publish correctly – use an editor. You can’t edit your own book and expect it to be any good. You just can’t. So don’t even try. Go out and find yourself a good editor and pay them to work their editing magic.
A good editor has been either writing or editing for many years and has seen a ton of manuscripts. She or he knows crap when they see it are not afraid to tell you when the crap they see is yours. They should also be good enough to offer solutions and to suggest changes that will improve your manuscript. It also helps if your editor “gets” your genre, even if it’s not something that they themselves edit or write.
You should have a good working relationship with your editor, but she shouldn’t be your best friend. Your relationship should be trusting and relaxed, but not buddy-buddy. After all this is a business relationship.
I always try and give my editor a month or more notice when I will be sending her something, so she can juggle her schedule and I can do the same. I don’t give her unreasonable deadlines and I’m pretty flexible when life gets in the way, either on her side or on mine. I also see to it that I settle promptly. But that’s just good business practice. Right?
One other note about editors. Do not give them your first draft. I usually give my editor the second or third draft, after the manuscript has been read by myself and my cadre of first readers or beta readers as I like to call them. If you do that step right, your story won’t be full of plot holes or other inconsistencies and your editor will be able to focus on other things.
Anyway, don’t skimp on this step in the self-publishing process. You need editing, editors need to eat. It’s a win-win scenario.