Editing is a HUGE part of writing a novel. For self-published writers especially it can be a pretty costly process to make sure your book is the best it can be before hitting that scary publish button. One thing I was taught by my friend and fellow author Liz Meldon, is that you need to figure out an editing process that highlights your strengths and advances your weaknesses.
For example: If you have an extensive outlining process you can use Beta Readers which help with the flow and story structure, and then you’d only need to pay out for a copy editor proofreading.
If your strengths are catching grammatical errors then you might not need to hire a proofreader, but instead, spend out for developmental editing which will help with the structure of the story.
As a self-published writer, I have learnt that a lot of writing books is a growing game. Your first book, while your baby and your first love, will more than likely show you everything you did wrong. In fact, writing my first novel showed me that I need to stop rushing into things, and do editing at a slower pace to make sure it’s ready before springing it on the world.
Writing books two and three showed me I had a better plotting structure and allowed me to cultivate my stories better than when I wrote by the seat of my pants. As the pantser streak still runs through me, I do allow my characters to stray from the outline and keep it very flexible. But they'll always come back to the main plot point, or sometimes I'll work backwards to make sure their future self matches up.
This time around I had a better editing structure and I thought I would share that process as it may help you with your editing process.
What it looks like;
Printing the Manuscript.
This is not what you think it is. I use a company called DoxDirect.com and get my novel printed double-spaced lines, double-sided A4 and spiral bound then sent directly to my door. I then leave it for a month and do a read through. This will highlight any story structure issues and allow me to find the sections where I have written [insert scene here] to build on them. This is the first kind of editing I do and cost usually depends on the number of pages. This time around it cost me £30/$40
Manuscript Critique / Evaluation
Once I have completed a read by myself and implemented those changed I will then search for someone to read through my manuscript. Thankfully, I know quite a few editors (as they're also authors and my friends) and finding someone to edit my manuscript was fairly easy. Now, an MS Evaluation is NOT a full edit. It IS a full read through which will usually analyse plot, characterisation, narrative and pacing. Plus you can usually ask them to check for anything you know you might do, like with me I use FAR too many glue words. I would recommend using one of the following people;
Briana @ Briana Morgan Books - $75
Ashley Carlson @ Utopia Editing and Ghost Writing - $45 per 10000 words.
Implementing Changes Part 1
Once the Manuscript has been looked over by an editor I will then go through their notes and accept or dismiss the changes they have suggested/made. Usually, they're right and I take on board everything they suggest.
Beta Readers Round 1
My next port of call is always to find at least 3 Beta's to go through my novel and see if there is anything they can find that's missing with the plot. Is there something confusing? Do I say my MC has blue hair in chapter one and Pink in chapter 5 because I decided to change it but didn't catch all of them? I'll ask them to bring their findings back to me in a chapter by chapter summary, and then their overall thoughts on the book.
Implementing Changes Part 2
Pretty self-explanatory, this is the same as Part 1 but with more of a look at what other readers think. There's a lot of things to consider in this section as sometimes they might bring something up but that's how they're supposed to feel so you can ignore some comments. Make sure you have taken the time to make that decision though.
Printing Spiral Bound Copies
Once I have implemented the changes that I accept from the Beta's I then format my book again and get 5 copies printed from Dox Direct. I usually get a discount when I order more than one so this usually costs between £40-£50/$54-$66. I will then send them off to my second round of Beta's (my local writing pals and friends)
Beta Readers Round 2
My second round of beta's, usually helps me catch things like where I have used boat instead of ship or changed someone's name. Yes, there are things that I did while writing The Collective, but without their help, it wouldn't have become the book it is today.
Pro Writing Aid
Now, I know there are going to be some editors out there screaming at me to not use this but I find it an excellent tool for catching small grammatical errors and teaching me the problems with my writing. I run my novel through this program one chapter at a time and let it go to work showing me my issues and telling me why they're issues before allowing me to fix them. This costs $40 a year, $60 for two years, or $140 for unlimited use forever.
The last and final round of editing that I do is send it off to a proofreader. I have a very reliable one lined up for my next books and I am SUPER excited to finally send off my book once all 8 rounds have been completed. Costs between £633-£700/$840-$930
I would recommend one of these three ladies for your editing needs no matter what kind of edit you require;
Ashley Carlson - http://www.ashleyrcarlson.com/editing-services.html
Briana Morgan - http://brianamorganbooks.com/editing-services/
Sarina Langer - https://sarinalangereditor.com/
Once all 9 editing rounds are done I will then format my novel and get it ready for publishing! I use Calibre for creating Mobi and ePub files to upload and Microsoft Word to format. I use templates from Createspace and the lovely Derek Murphy of Creativindie, who also has tutorials etc. to help you format your novel.
There's also a really cool programme for any Mac users out there called Vellum. Your interiors will never be the same - it's fantastic!
*Note: Editors may have changed their prices since this post was written.