Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Guest Post: Cost-Cutting Editing

by Leti Del Mar

Everything I have ever come across in regard to self-publishing says I should get my work edited.  Even those who don't self-publish are still urged to have their manuscript edited before submitting it to agents or publishers.  It makes sense to have your work edited, but it can also be incredibly expensive. I asked around for someone to edit my 82,000 word manuscript and the price range was $500 to $1,500!  ...And that was people just getting started in the business, not those who come highly recommended.


What if you're just starting out and uncomfortable with spending that much money on editing?  What is an aspiring writer to do?  Fortunately, I've got some cost-cutting suggestions!

When it comes to editing for content, you absolutely need another pair of eyes looking over your work.  A free way to do this is to ask a beta reader to read your book.  A beta reader is someone who will read your work and then give you their opinion. It is a good idea to have some questions in mind you want to ask about plot, characters and setting. A good beta reader will give you his or her general ideas and point out inconsistencies or troubled areas.  I've had great success connecting with beta readers on message boards. Try Goodreads groups, World Literary Cafe and the Kindle boards.

  • Sway students. If you want a more personal touch and are willing to shell out some cash, try your local college or University. It is amazing what $50 will buy you. Post a notice asking for English students to critique your work.
  • Swap edits. Use those message boards to find other authors willing to swap edits. Ask for a thorough edit and have them consider grammar, spelling and punctuation.
  • Swap services. Are you handy with graphic design? Swap a cover design for an edit with another author. Are you super duper organized and have contacts with book bloggers?  Perhaps you could swap organizing a blog tour in exchange for an edit.  Hit those message boards and advertise what you can do in exchange for a good manuscript edit.

There are also some great websites out there to help you edit your work.  Grammar Girl answers all sorts of grammatical questions for free. Auto Crit will assess your work and search for things like overused words, spelling mistakes and some grammar issues. You can try it for free, but their packages start at about $50 a year. I love Grammarly! It does a wonderfully thorough job of searching your work for all kinds of grammatical mistakes.  Again, you can try it for free. Ttheir packages start at around $20 a month.

Are these options as good as hiring a professional editor? No.  However, if you are just starting out or if your books have not sold enough that you can justify investing $1500, these suggestions will help you put together a more professional product -- whether you are self-publishing or submitting to agents and publishers.


Want more cost-cutting advice? Check out my book, How To Self-Publish: A DIY Approach. It is available on Amazon for just $0.99.


About the Author

BioLeti Del Mar lives in sunny Southern California with her husband, daughter and abnormally large cat. When she isn’t writing, reading or blogging, she is teaching Biology and Algebra to teenagers. Leti is also a classic film buff, passionate about Art History and loves to travel.




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This book is for anyone who has ever considered publishing their own work but has either thought the process seemed too complicated or too expensive. My newest book will hold your hand as it guides your manuscript from your word processor to a formatted e-book and paperback. It will show you how to launch and market your book, get reviews, and use social media to establish an author platform. I promise to show you how this can all be accomplished for less than you would spend on a week's worth of lattes!


My Do-It-Yourself Approach is full of useful advice and practical tips any author new to the world of self-publishing can easily implement.

The best news? I am not alone in this endeavor. I have teamed up with 6 other authors who represent a wide variety of writers including; Craig Hurren, Victoria Sawyer, Carmen Stefanescu, Clancy Tucker, Melissa Wray and Lee Zamloch. They have each contributed their insight on topics like the importance of research, coping with bad reviews, creating a brand, utilizing feedback and much more!

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