Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Too Bee Ore Knot Two Bee...

Yep, all words were spelled correctly. Soooo, why did I put that in my title? Editing.

We all know spell-check can only aid us in our craft so much; the rest is on us lowly humans. This morning there was quite a fun conversation on Facebook started by Al Boudreau. Can you guess the topic? Yep...editing. The question of the morning (sorry, I'm not going to link to his personal FB page) was how to improve the image of Indie/Self-published work through editing.

There were quite a few great suggestions, which is what really got me thinking about this morning's blog. The first one I'll list is self-editing. Now, if you're anything like me you edit as you write, go back through each chapter as you complete it, then go through the book three to four times before releasing it into the world. And, again if you're like me, you miss several glaring mistakes. (I once used 'waste' instead of 'waist'. Kind of changes the whole theme.)

So, how does one go about hiring an editor? There is always the expensive way - search the websites. I don't know about you, but as a starving author I don't have several hundred dollars sitting around in a bank.

Another option is an English student, or even retired teacher. They'll usually work for for way less.

Or what about those editors just starting out? They're always willing to lower their prices in return for testimonial and credits.

If you're not really wanting to pay (or like me don't have an outside job), the next best option is Beta readers. What is a beta reader, you ask? A beta reader is someone, usually another writer or avid reader, who can read through your manuscript and look at it with an unbiased eye. Face it, when you read your own work your eyes will trick you into seeing words that may or may not be there.
A beta reader can not only catch mistakes you may have missed, but they can help with content editing, as well. I made the mistake of not having a content editor with my very first completed novel. Even though I'd belonged to a crit group, and had a couple of friends read through it, no one wanted to tell me a couple of parts were....well, extremely cliched!

How about using a critique group? I do have to say, though, make sure this crit group is willing to rip your work apart in order to make you a better writer. You want to be a part of a group who is willing to say, "Uh, Christy...that's so dumb. You need to change it."
Okay, maybe you don't want someone to be that rough on your work, but you get the point. You need a group who will go through your book with a fine toothed comb to get rid of all the tangles.

Another option, and one I really like, is crit groups on writer's sites. On Absolute Write there is a Share Your Work section for registered members. Don't worry, this site doesn't charge. But, you have to be registered to get the password for a couple of the forum groups. On the SYW thread you can post the first part of your work, chapter by chapter, and they will offer some great critiques.

Hopefully this post was helpful. Do you have some other ideas for perfecting your manuscript? Do you hire an editor with each book?