Indie Authors: Finding an Editor

credara-coverJ E Henderson, author of the Credara series, has kindly agreed to let me publish an email exchange we had, which provides some insight into why it’s important for indie authors to work with editors and how to find the right one.

Henderson’s editor is Lynette M. Smith of All My Best Copyediting.

“I found my editor by a referral,” he said. “If you notice, her website says she edits non-fiction. But she said she would do it because of our mutual friend. Needless to say she made me feel like a grade school dropout. Which was WONDERFUL! She’s really great. I highly recommend her.”

He did warn, however, that no copy editor is perfect, but it’s still important for authors to be willing to pay for professional editing services. See the rest of his email below:

But one has to seek out the best one possible in an effort to get the best possible result. Some traditional publishers put books through the rigors of multiple copy editors in order to ensure the best result. And still, we’ve seen errors. They will miss things. After you get your manuscript back, read it front to back again. A real editing pro will tell you that they’re not perfect, although they try, and you must re-read the work. So ask for references. A good editor should be very busy and will need to schedule you weeks to months in advance.

Independent authors must understand that this will be one of the biggest expenses, the most important hurdle before the finish line, and MUST NOT be avoided. Don’t leave it up to a really smart friend. Editors have processes that allow them to be both efficient and accurate and they’ve honed these skills over years of meticulous work. Make sure you are finished with the content, editing and all, before you hand it off. Otherwise you’ll need to hand it back to that same editor to go through everything you’ve edited and/or revised. It takes a special type of person with a particular type of personality. The last thing an author wants to read in a review is that the grammatical errors were a big distraction from the story. That’s a death sentence.

The thing about self-publishing is that there is no filter. Anyone can publish just about anything, properly edited or not. It can be a great book, or it can be an awful book. But if the main book selling resources like Amazon & Barnes&Noble get customer complaints or if their editorial staff discovers a book being sold in the online store that is full of grammatical errors, they reserve the right to pull the book.

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