Monday, April 25, 2016

Editing Process

The editing process is an interesting beast. You reach out to a bunch of strangers over the Internet and offer to pay them money to rip apart your story. That’s what I’m looking for at least. Someone who can take my novel, rip it apart at the seams, and tell me what I need to do to improve it. I had posted the first three chapters online, hoping I’d get feedback. I wanted to hear what worked and what didn’t work. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I didn’t get any responses at all. So now I’ve turned to professional editors hoping they can help me with Ren’s story.

I love this story. It’s very near and dear to my heart because it’s the first original story I ever wrote. It’s certainly not perfect, but I want it to get as close to perfection as I can. That said, perfection ain’t cheap.

For the level of editing I want, I’ve been quoted a minimum of $1100. Now, some editors will proofread it or give it a once over copyedit, which costs in the $300 to $600 range. But let’s say I only sell 20 books at a dollar a piece. That would put me at a minimum of $280 in the hole and…well, you can see why I’d hesitate to spend a lot of money on this.

Now, I know, it’s not supposed to be about the money, right? Be glad you sold any books at all, right? Don’t get me wrong. If even one person buys my story and is entertained by it, I’ll be happy. But when you live paycheck to paycheck, you can’t throw $500 around like you have it to burn.

So, what’s a gal to do?

I’m still collecting bids. I had one editor say she wouldn’t edit my story in the state it’s currently in, but if I want to do a more extensive edit, she’ll give me a quote (I already know it’s going to be WAY out of my price range, but I’m feeling  particularly masochistic today so I asked her to send me one). Another told me she could only get through two of the five pages I sent her because I had too much backstory. Now, I appreciate the constructive feedback and I’m looking at ways to tighten up the first chapter based on her suggestions. But if you can’t even find the patience to get through five pages of my work, why on earth would I hire you to navigate through my 347 page manuscript? Sheesh.

The good news is, I discovered the local university has a writing center and they will help students and alumni (which I just so happen to be) with their novels for free. The bad news is, it’s finals week and then the students who critique your work (creative writing and writing majors) are off on summer break. Bad freaking time on my part, but I think I’ll go out there after work and beg for help anyway. If I can get someone at the school to edit the story the way I need it to be, I’ll feel more comfortable about paying a professional editor to clean up any left over issues. 


  1. Have you heard of the website Scribophile? On there, you can get feedback for your stories by providing feedback to others. You're pretty much guaranteed to get at least three critiques for each chapter you post. I've used it, and people can go in depth with their reviews. I think it's really helpful, plus you can use it for free. There's also writing groups and forums you can join and use. You might want to check it out.

    1. Thank you! I've never heard of that site so I'll have to check it out. Especially since I found out the school isn't going to be able to help me out like I wanted after all.

  2. I found a critique partner through the twitter hashtag #CPMatch I got 3 CPs and my stories have improved greatly.