Just How Much Editing?

Oddly enough I kicked the post I had scheduled for now to later in the year because I really wanted to talk about this.


Publish Wholesale Add

The title of the post should explain it all. Just how much editing are you really going to get? This really sounds like some kind of off-shore broken English deal.

Do you really think a one & done editing pass will bring customers in?

The short answer is no. A happy customer will tell, at best 5 people over the course of their life. A shafted customer will tell hundreds of thousands via posts on the Web and thanks to the Internet Archive Projects many of those posts may well outlast the human race. If you plan on charging a professional book price, and for a POD book you have no choice because the per unit printing costs will force the price, you need to put forth a professional product.

Finding a qualified editor is both expensive and time consuming. For one of my geek books they go through 3 rounds of editing using 2 different editors. My novels go through 5 rounds of editing using 3 different editors.

I simply had to post about this when I got the email. A qualified editor will cost more than that for a first round edit. I have no knowledge of this particular service, but I’ve seen reports on other low cost “one & done” services. Typically you have to send a text only (not document but actual txt file) which gets fed through some spelling and grammar checking software. You can do that. There are quite a few grammar checkers free for linux out there. Yes, the first one at that link is commercial as are a few others listed there, but I found it to be a pretty good list. If you are into paying for a commercial editor/word processor there is even a version of Scrivener for Linux now.

Even with all of the wowsy tools available, they cannot replace professional structure editing. Here is where the rubber meets the road for editing. It is neither quick nor cheap. This editing typically requires someone taking detailed notes while reading then proofing the notes to make certain character names didn’t change part way through, a vehicle you claim can only do 90 MPH is suddenly doing 120 MPH without any portion of the story explaining this, etc. The list of what can be broken in a plot line is longer than the list of writers and their stories. This type of editing cannot be done by  speed reader or a skimmer.

So, before publishing, decide what kind of product do you want to release. Do you want to try to sell something which has no more editing than any of my blog posts? Fine, but use a LOT of pen names because you will be a one & done author otherwise and you won’t sell enough copies to make a dent in the production costs.

Roland Hughes is the president of Logikal Solutions, a business applications consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS platforms and Qt on Linux. Hughes serves as a lead consultant with over two decades of experience using computers and operating systems. With a degree in Computer Information Systems, the author's experience is focused on systems across a variety of diverse industries including heavy equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, stock exchanges, tax accounting, and hardware value-added resellers, to name a few. Working throughout these industries has strengthened the author's unique skill set and given him a broad perspective on the role and value of technology in industry.

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