Self Published Author | Why Professional Editing is the Best Investment

If you’re thinking about self publishing your work, I can say from personal experience that professional editing is an absolute must. My manuscript was recently edited, and I’m in shock at the amount of work still needed to maximize it’s potential. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. It was the best investment I ever made–in both the story and myself as a writer. But let me tell you–its amazing how blind you (the writer) can be to everything wrong with your story.

Does this sound familiar to you?

You write a first draft.
You write a second draft.
You write a third draft.
It goes through Beta Reading.
You incorporate suggestions/feedback.
You self-edit your work to the best of your ability.
You think, “Finally! I’m done! Now I just need a professional editor and I can publish my work.”
Your work is professionally edited. 
And guess what?
It needs more work. A. Lot. More. 

If you’re new to the indie scene, this probably struck a chord for you. If you’ve already experienced this and learned from it, you’re probably nodding your head in sympathy. If you’ve never experienced this before because you wrote a damn good story (the first time around) and never had this problem, then I’m insanely jealous of your talent. This was my line of thinking as of December 2014. I’d finished my MS after several rounds of rewrites, editing and beta reading. I was done. Finished. Caput. It was time to publish it! So I contacted my editor, secured a December slot, and planned on releasing the book in February. It is now February. And I will be doing no such thing.

My MS was returned to me in mid-December, polished and reader-ready. All I had to do was accept the changes, convert to EPUB, and upload.  So, why didn’t I? Because my book isn’t finished. To publish my book now would mean to ignore my editor’s feedback on the off chance that I know better. Which I don’t. To be clear, I expected changes would be needed. I’d be arrogant to think otherwise. Hence the editing. But I had no idea it would be to this extent. Even after all that beta-reading and self-editing, it still needs work. At first, I was crushed. But then I remembered that to be a successful writer it requires thick skin, tenacity and humility. After reading my editors feedback, I let it sink in for a couple days, and then I got back to work. I spent days outlining the rewrite, and although the changes are substantial, its more structural than anything. Once I did this, I knew exactly how to fix my story. As most writers know, there’s a formula to great storytelling. In fact, some follow this formula instinctively. Others need it mapped out. I’m the latter. I found this great blog on “Writing The Perfect Scene”, and I used it to outline my rewrite. In this particular case, the word “Scene” is used to describe the structure of your story. It comprises of two parts: Scenes and Sequels.

Scenes follow this pattern:

1. Goal

2. Conflict

3. Disaster

Sequels follow this pattern:

1. Reaction

2. Dilemma

3. Decision

When I mapped out my story using this formula, I was amazed by how much of it was driven by the plot rather than the characters. It may seem like an amateur mistake, but when writing a story, it can be very easy to fall into this trap. After all, it’s just you, the keyboard and the computer screen. No one’s hovering over your shoulder, calling you out when you become selfish in your storytelling. I’m not going to lie. I was obsessed with the plot. And it showed. But when I was made aware of it, it became painfully difficult to ignore. I’m now ten chapters into the rewrite. My characters have full rein. And I’m butting out. For those of you contemplating professional editing services, please learn from my experience and budget accordingly for this. It’s the best investment you can make for yourself as a writer. You can write the perfect story–doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.

I invested in both copy editing and content editing. Copy editing polishes the words on the page. Content editing looks at the big picture, which in my case, paid off big time. Both are important to your credibility as an author.  Of course, should your story require further changes after undergoing content editing, then proofreading services would also be needed.

Lastly, the release date for Intertwined has been postponed indefinitely. I hate to do this, especially because it was delayed once before. But in the best interest of the story, I feel its necessary. I’m aiming for a Spring launch date, but due to recent unforeseen circumstances, can’t make any promises as of yet. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this in my previous posts, but in addition to writing, I also manage two vacation rentals. Business is booming! Which is good, but sometimes takes me away from writing time. Just know I’m working on it and setting time aside everyday to complete the rewrite as quickly as possible.  Thank you so much for your continued support!

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