Congrats! You’ve finally typed… THE END. Now what?
The first thing to do is pat yourself on the back. There are many authors who write, but never finish their Works in Progress (WIP). It is a huge accomplishment to complete that first draft of your WIP. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.
The next steps that I find are the hardest steps to complete. You have your 1st rough draft. Great, but it’s not publishable. I mean, unless you are some sort of writing superhero, there are bound to be a few mistakes, typos or plot holes in your story. It is nothing to be ashamed of. People make mistakes. I’ve been there and will always make mistakes in my writing, be they large or small mistakes. No one is perfect. Slowly, but surely, I am learning from my mistakes and even find myself stopping in the midst of a sprint to correct my errors.
I am of the firm belief that you should write your book first and edit second. There will always be time to edit the book, but in order to keep that creative machine working you need to write the book and get it out of your brain.
This means that you write until you type, “The End”. If you want, you can keep a journal as you are writing and say, “Come back to page 56 or page 56 paragraph 3 and do this…”. It doesn’t matter what you do to keep track of what is missing or what needs to be edited, as long as you finish the book first and edit second.
I write until my characters tell me to stop. They have a firm idea of when to stop and when to begin the second book, while I am merely the tool they use to get their story out into the world.
Now, you’ve reached “The End”. Time to edit. There is nothing wrong with completing the edits yourself, but please have someone else review it. An editor can help you see the errors you may not be able to grasp. However, I cannot stress this enough, read your book before you send it to the editor. By reading your book, you effectively edit before the editor.
I find this process helps a lot when it comes to deleting unwanted sections, or fixing typos and plot holes that are really easy to fix. Sort of like cleaning the house before the maid comes. You don’t want them to think you’re a slob!
You may end up with a few drafts during the editing process, but don’t be discouraged. This is something all authors go through. You are not alone. The editor is the professional. Learn from them or even ask questions. As long as you’re polite, I have no doubt they will bend over backwards to help you see things clearly.
I recommend being as involved in the editing process as you can. Right now for my debut book, Curse of the InBetween (available for pre-order here), I gave my editor permission through Google Docs to access my draft and make suggestions and revisions, as well as any notes or comments about what she would change or even what she really liked.
Let’s talk about an icky word, pricing. It’s a touchy subject. As Indie Authors we have to be the ones to pay for editing and the like. Whereas, if you are publishing traditionally the publisher handles all of that fun stuff. Some editors cost thousands of dollars. Not all, but some. Pricing really depends on a few things, i.e., length of book, experience of editor and genre of the book.
I have talked to one editor in particular, who shall not be named, who asked for an exorbitant amount of money because I wanted her to edit a romance genre book. It was my mistake. She didn’t normally edit romance, nor did she even like romance. It was not her fault. I needed to do my research. I need to find an editor who fits me and my lifestyle. Luckily I did and I’m happier than ever about the way the edits of Curse of the InBetween have been going.
Now, length of the book is a bit trickier and depending on the type of editor you hire will depend on the price. Some editors that I have met over the past year have quoted me from as little as 0.04 cents per word to 0.08 cents per word. The latter would cost me approximately $4,000 for a 50,000 word book. Outrageous, right?
Not all editors are like that. Most will give you a quote! Always send any prospective editors a sample edit (5 to 10 pages of your first draft) to kind of give them an idea of what your book is about and what your writing style is. This will give the editor an idea of how much the entire project is going to cost. Some editors are amazing when it comes to payment. They offer payment plans or you only have to pay them so much in the beginning of edits and then the remainder when it is finalized.
More experienced editors, while still amazing, might not need to take on a newbie author such as myself. They have past clients coming in from all over for their services. You need to find an editor that fits your lifestyle, book and temperament. I’ve known too many editors and authors who have butted heads over a book simply because they disagree with wording or the plot of the story.
Ask around before picking an editor right off the bat. Do your research and as always, make some friends. Editors can be your closest friend during the editing process!