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On NOT Hiring an Editor (Interview)

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Philip Overby, Sep 26, 2013.

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  1. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Understood. I can accept that :)

    I have read a few good indie books and a few decent indie books. I've read a lot of dreadful indie books.

    When I do find one that is even decent, I do my best to try to spread the word.

    Writing takes a lot of work, and I think the natural inclination is to think, "I've put a lot of work into this. Surely, it's ready." I think most of those people putting out the dreadful books feel that way. As much work as they put into it, wouldn't it have benefited them so much more if they had gone the extra steps to make it actually good? It seems like, as Scribble said earlier, they just threw away all that effort.

    As far as where I got the opinion regarding needing an editor, I got that mainly from my own experience. I thought that my book was decent. I really did. Seriously, I figured that the editor would suggest a few minor changes, and I'd have it out in a few weeks. I'd gotten great feedback from my beta readers, and I thought it read well.

    In short, I was delusional.

    The editor completely opened my eyes to just how delusional I was. Hopefully, after incorporating the comments, the book will be tolerable at least.

    You and Chilari aren't me. Maybe when you think it's ready, it actually will be. I would hate, however, for either of you to waste all that you've put into the book to this point.

    EDIT: BTW, let me know who the author is. I'm always on the lookout for good indie reads. Thanks!
     
  2. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    The point that I am trying to make, apparently unsuccessfully, is that it's not a choice between the Mercedes and a Hyundai. In the end, each will get you where you want to go. Can't come up with a great analogy on the fly here, but I'm saying that I believe, in this case, that it's unlikely that choosing not to buy editing services will get you where you want to go.

    Again, I'm not sure why you seem to consider that offensive. Really, truly, I am not trying to insult you or tell you what you somehow HAVE to do. I'm simply stating what, based on my experience, is the path most likely to lead to success.

    If you feel differently, fantastic. That's what this forum is for: exchanging ideas.

    I would, however, love for you to explain exactly what is offensive about my opinion.

    Thanks.

    Brian
     
  3. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    I've read some incredible indy books, but if I was to follow what some people here are saying, I'd never buy anything except what's put out by the Big Publishing Houses because the message from those people seem to be, "indy = dreck." It's as if the fact that someone makes a conscious choice to stay away from the Big Six Conglomerates that control 90% of the book publishing in the US automatically makes their writing unworthy of consideration.

    What's funny is that by pushing people away from reading indy with their non-stop criticism of indy writers as bad, they're also pushing people away from reading their own stuff.

    You might think if they really had the best interests of indy writers at heart, they'd be telling everyone they can on every public forum they are a part of (like this one) about all the great books they've read by indy writers, rather than always focusing on those that fall short of Shakespeare.
     
  4. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    The book is "Children Of The Fog" and the author is Cheryl Kaye Tardif. Its a supernatural mystery.

    I definitely agree in that putting a work out there that isn't ready is throwing away a lot of potential. I just think there are other ways of gauging as to whether a book is ready or not besides submitting queries and hiring an editor. I recommend editors as well because they are important and I don't think my writing is beyond that, even though I have been doing it for years. I'm young enough, but not THAT young. :) I'm also rather hard on myself when it comes to editing and being realistic over what I create. If its crap, its crap, and it takes more than just me thinking its good to really believe the work is so. We're all different and thank goodness that there are various methods of attaining the same prize.

    EDIT: Apparently Cheryl is NOT Indie. I read somewhere else that she was, but I went to her blog again and it mentioned she is represented by someone else. I apologize for the confusion!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2013
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  5. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    We apparently have a difference of opinion. It's been known to happen even between reasonable people, I'm told.

    See, I thing that only good books tend to lead to success, so the best bet is to encourage potential indie writers to write good books. The biggest obstacle that I see preventing self published writers creating good books and the belief of those same authors that their stuff is good when it isn't.

    Again, reasonable people can disagree about the best way to achieve a goal...
     
  6. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    Agreed, that's why I have placed Librarian on the back shelf. It just ain't ready yet, and I am honest enough with myself to admit that.

    If an author lacks the self-awareness and self-control to step back from their work and say, "this just isn't ready yet," then I'd say they need a lot more than an editor to help them.

    However, a reasonably intelligent and mature person who's sent the manuscript off to multiple readers and gotten accurate and honest responses from those readers can probably make the decision if it's ready or not.

    And if they can't, what's the big deal? Everyone makes mistakes, it happens. It's not like someone's going to die if my book flops -- I certainly don't intend to suicide over it -- and I doubt that a bad book from me is going to cause anyone is going to have a heart attack. In other words, it's not like a bridge or a building collapsing or a mistake during open-heart surgery. It's a book, it's entertainment, people!

    Even if you write the Greatest Fantasy Book In The History Of Forever, some people are not gonna like it. Some people don't like The Hobbit, but I don't see anyone dying over it.
     
  7. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I haven't read anything offensive in this discussion. Moreover, we have to understand that people are offering opinions which we are each free to accept, disagree with, refute, or ignore. This should be true of all opinion & advice.

    That said, I'll weigh in on the issue for a bit. My thinking is more in line with Brian's. At this stage in my life, I just can't see spending three years working on a novel and not doing everything in my power to make it the best I possibly can. That should probably be the goal for every author at every point in time.

    Twenty years ago I couldn't have afforded $1k editorial fees. In that case, I probably would have tried to utilize friends & other writers to fill the editor role. Now however, I consider $1k a minor investment towards ensuring the best possible product out there. I'll probably spend $500 to $1k on photographic manipulation cover art to make sure the product looks no different that traditional publishing on the exterior. That being the case, why would I forego a similar investment on the interior...the writing and the story?

    Can professional editors make mistakes? Yes, no question. Could an acquaintance do just as well? Maybe, depending on who you know. But I submit, if your friends can do just as well as your editor selection, you've made a bad hiring decision. A true professional with good credits has a lot to offer.

    We each should strive to do the utmost to make our stories, our product, the best they can be. After all, you're building a brand. How you choose to do this is entirely up to you. For me personally, it will closely mirror the efforts of traditional houses so that my finished work is near-indistinguishable from theirs.

    If you can accomplish this feat and skip some of those steps involved in traditional publishing, more power to you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
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  8. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    On the topic of Indie books we've read, yes there is a lot more range of quality in indie books than traditionally published books, but I contest that when you remove those who publish a first draft and don't choose to make the ffort to put out something good - the people who won't get beta readers and feedback before the publish - you eliminate a huge amount of the indie range and the difference is left considerably reduced. Yes, the quality range difference is still there, but since we're talking about people who are willing to put in the effort by asking beta readers to provide feedback, and editing based on that feedback, it would be disingenuous to include the infamous first drafters within the Indie umbrella. And I think that almost completely eliminates the "awful books" category and a significant minority of the "mediocre books" category. Of the people willing to put the time in, that leaves mostly books that are pretty okay right up to amazing - which I think is roughly the same range of quality as traditionally published books, with the bulk to the lower end while traditional have the bulk to the higher end.

    But I do think there are some indie authors who, without editors, have produced something that is solid and of sufficiently good quality to start building a career.
     
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  9. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    I think a lot of the dreck is caused by people who see indy publishing as an easy route to quick money, rather than an investment in a craft that they expect to be a part of for a lifetime.

    In other words, they're dilettantes, and should be treated as such.
     
  10. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    Quick note: the world will keep turning even then, we will just be dead in that case.

    That's true about inexperienced/beginning authors. There aren't many people on this forum with entire series of books under their belts just yet (although many of us are working our way there! and many more seem to have other writing experience).

    I doubt your book was "truly dreadful" before you had it edited.

    I don't have a problem with going back and having the first book of your series edited when you're able to afford it (although this is an unforgivable offense in the eyes of some). The content and story will be the same, and I realize that this is something that isn't usually done in fiction writing, but it's done all the time in software and games. But other than that, yes, I agree that the cost is more justifiable when it's for a series. Still, if you don't got the $, you can't do it no matter how much you may like to.
     
  11. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    I actually commend authors who go back and have their first book re-edited or edited for the first time. It shows that they're serious about their craft and are willing to admit making a mistake. I've even offered to write a new review for OG for one author who thanked me for pointing out the technical errors in his book (apparently it hadn't been edited at all), because he said he was going to have it edited.

    Again, I am not against editing. I am against denigrating those people who simply cannot afford a thousand-dollar-or-more editing job and so are forced to make do with what they can get.
     
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  12. Scribble

    Scribble Archmage

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    I also have a Hyundai. And a Civic. Both are modest, affordable, and reliable cars.

    Yes, you can find a good editor among the people you know - maybe. If you get lucky. I'm just saying that I had plenty of friends offering to help me recover my roof 2 years ago. I paid a professional. It would have saved me 2-3000 dollars, but it could have cost me MANY THOUSANDS in damages and possibly friendships if the job went poorly and I ended up with a house full of rainwater. That is a risk I was not willing to take on my house.

    I can get a new house, I can make more money, but I cannot get a new year back if I publish a dud and I don't know it is bad until nobody likes it. Worse, I won't know it's bad until the rain starts coming in.

    There's FREE, there's the Hyundai, and there is the BMW. I don't drive a BMW, I'm not willing to spend my money that way. I am willing to spend some money on the Hyundai. Have you ever seen what a free car looks like?

    I'm not saying nobody should do it, I am just outlining the risk, and it's one I don't want to take.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
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  13. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    Again, a house is not a book. A book is entertainment. A house is a necessity. You could die if your roof collapses. You won't die if your book is a flop.

    I'm not saying books are unimportant -- everyone here knows they are important -- but there are varying levels of importance, and I just don't put books on the same plane as fixing a roof, getting a broken leg set, or building a bridge.

    Priorities, people. Let's get them in the right order.
     
  14. Scribble

    Scribble Archmage

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    I hear you. I am making my goal of becoming a professional writer of fiction a priority. I am a professional software developer. I pay for training courses, books, etc... I could try and do it on my own, but I may go down the wrong path, make mistakes, produce bad software.

    Photography is a hobby. I don't spend money on it, I don't take courses, I have a cheap camera. It's for my own fun, I'm not trying to make a name for myself as a photographer. If I put shoddy photos out and acted as if they were supposed to be considered professional, I would not be taken seriously. That's what I am saying.

    If writing is a hobby, that's one thing. If you want to make it your career, that is another. Software is lucrative, but after 20 years, I know I don't want to be doing it for the next 25. So, I am trying to take a serious shot, the most seriously I know how.

    Priorities!
     
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  15. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    This entirely depends on how you view your writing. No, a flop won't cause physical death. Yet, shattered dreams can be a destructive force all their own.

    For some, their writing success at some point, is a requirement in their view of what constitutes personal/professional success.

    Few things are of a higher priority if that's the view you espouse.
     
  16. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I think we disagree about the quality of those publishing even with beta readers and feedback.

    Again, I have a different opinion. I think that, even considering only these indie authors, the quality range is still heavily weighted to the traditionally published authors.

    Understand, please, that I hope you're right. I'm not sitting at my computer thinking, "Wow, I hope that, when Chilari publishes her book without using a professional editor, it completely tanks so that I can be right. Instead, I hope you have great success and prove me entirely wrong.

    I am positive that some authors have done so in the past. More will do so in the future. I sincerely hope that you are one of them.

    On the other hand, I can't help but feel that the odds aren't in your favor.
     
  17. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    Again, software is not books. Software can, in some cases, cause death if it fails (like the software controlling a backup generator, or a jumbo jet). Software can cost huge amounts of money if it fails and a company loses business or has to shut down.

    Writing is important, but it is not life-or-death. If anyone honestly thinks that good editing is as critical as a good cardiac surgeon, they likely need more than an editor.
     
  18. Xitra_Blud

    Xitra_Blud Sage

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    "Y: I’m a successful author.

    You are a successful salesman, but a mediocre writer."


    Gotta say, I really liked this line!
     
  19. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I suspect we have different definitions of "truly dreadful." :)
     
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  20. Scribble

    Scribble Archmage

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    I think we're getting in a weird zone taking analogies literally, but I get your point.

    This is my way I chose for me, and I accept that not everyone sees things the way I do. The investment of my... spirit? into my writing is costly, more dear to me than money.
     
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