Okay, I've done a little research and it seems to me that the basic e-book self publishing process consists of these steps:
- Write a book
- Go to Amazon's Kindle website or similar
- Upload the book
- Upload a book cover
There appear to be some people providing services in formatting books for different e-readers like the Kindle, the iPad, and so on. There also appear to be a few websites, blog posts really, which provide a step by step guide on how to e-publish thorugh various e-book publishers.
What struck me is that more than once I came across this advice:
Now, I can understand where this is coming from. Professional proofreading is expensive. I'm shortly going to start a proofreading business myself, so I've done the research on the standard rates. It's not cheap. At a range between £7 and £14 per 1000 words for proofreading, you'd be lucky to have much change left over from a grand if you've got a big chunky fantasy novel that needs proofreading. But since I do have a vested interest here in being paid, I want to ask a few things:Don't pay for professional proofreading; do it yourself, and get family and friends to proofread for you too.
Assuming you have a 100,000 word novel, would you shell out for professional proofreading, or would you trust in your own ability and the ability of friends and family to catch all the inevitable mistakes? For my part, having had no training in proofreading (as yet) I don't think I would trust myself to thoroughly proofread my novel. For a start, I've got right here my NaNoWriMo 2008 novel, of which I got a free proof copy of through Amazon's Createspace deal with NaNoWriMo, and I did sort of proofread it before submitting it, and there are still errors that I notice every time I read it. Now, I consider myself fairly good at spelling and grammar - I'll freely admit there are a few words I struggle with, but I look them up when I need to - but there are always mistakes. Typos, words missed out altogether because I was thinking faster than I could type, the wrong name used for a character, that sort of thing. But one could argue that a more thorough read-though would deal with these problems, without the need to shell out £700+, which is a lot of money if you have rent or mortgage repayments, bills for food and gas and electricity, a car to run, kids to raise, and so on.
Would you, furthermore, pay even more money for an editor to go over your novel and pick out where sentences are awkward, structure flows badly, a scene is irrelevant, pacing demands scenes to be switched, and so on? Is it worth it, to you?
For the record, I don't mean to be advertisey here (I haven't told you the name of the business I'm going to start, and I don't have a website or business cards or anything yet in any case, just half a business plan; I apologise if this does come across as advertisey, and I am willing to edit the thread if it comes across that way, I don't want to step on any toes here), but rather to provoke discussion and, to a certain degree, fill in gaps in my research. You see, I can find a lot of information about the self-publishing process, success stories from unknown authors who are making tens of thousands of pounds (or dollars) a year from self-publishing e-books. But what I can't find is what people really think about employing professionals to go over their work before self-publishing (and if there's not a market there I'm going to end up proofreading a lot of business reports and academic books and articles, which won't be as interesting, but possibly more lucrative).
So, in summary:
- Is professional proofreading worth it?
- Is professional editing worth it?
- Would you use professionals for proofreading and editing, or ask family and friends for help?