I follow Catherine Howard’s blog on writing and self-publishing, “Catherine Caffinated” http://catherineryanhoward.com. Two of the main points made in all her writings are “Write, write, write” and you MUST have your work edited BY A PROFESSIONAL EDITOR before publishing. while I agree in theory with both of these propositions, I must take issue with the second. The reason is very simple, MONEY. Without going into agonizing detail about why this is an issue (regular readers of this blog have probably gleaned most of the details anyway), suffice it to say that hiring an editor is pure and simple well beyond my means. “The Petticoat Rebellion” is over 100 iBook pages long. At $5 a page (ridiculously low-end) thats over $500, at $50 a page ( an actual quote received from a professional editor) that’s over five grand – yeah, right. I am not saying that prices within this range are out of line, they are not. Editors should be paid for their work at a fair price. These fair prices are simply beyond my reach.
So, where is all this going? What are the problems and pitfalls of editing your book yourself? I would say that the first issue would have to be a combination of elation followed by disappointment. You actually finish a book! The elation is grand. You have done something. You have achieved a great accomplishment. All of your work, all of your research, have now come to fruition. Then your life partner reads it. “Oh No ! This needs to be changed. You can’t have this picture here, there’s no transition here, you need to change this, I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.” And now you’re in a Charlie Brown moment, AAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH !!!!!
Now you’re back to slogging away: reading over the manuscript, changing this, changing that, fixing this formatting, moving this picture, Will it never end? It’s a recurrence of that same feeling you got every semester in college. Looking over your paper, as the deadline approaches.” Oh, the hell with it, this is as good as it’s going to get. I’m turning it in just like it is. Let the professor make the edits, give me my gentleman’s “C” and let me go home.” But then the awful question arises. Is the” C” good enough? You are putting yourself out there, you are trying to establish your authorial reputation, can you afford to put it out there less than perfect? Then you think back on all those crappy e-books you have bought over the past few years. I have one in German, didn’t know it was in German when I bought it.. You wonder where these people learned how to write. Is this supposed to be a translation? – it’s like one of those bad kung fu movies, broken English at best, a cultural insult at worst. And the best part is, while some of them were free, you actually PAID for some of them. So what’s it going to hurt if you put one out there less-than-perfect? Aren’t e-books and iBooks revisable? Let’s work on the new one for a while, then make a few more revisions on the old and post the revision.
Oh, what to do? What to do?
Boy, I wish I had a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to have this damn book edited. Has self-publishing become a game just for the rich like so many things in this life? Can someone even talented “like me” but desperately poor have a chance in this industry? These are some of the first questions A writ er must deal with when entering the world of self-publishing. The techie stuff maybe difficult for some people, but at the same time, it can be relatively simple and straight forward. We all know it’s the writing that’s the tough part. But now the writing is done. Stay tuned to see what happens.