Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When You Can't Afford an Editor

You've just finished the first or second draft of your book and want to have it edited.

Unfortunately, you can't afford to hire an editor (you are an author after all and this is your first book). What do you do? Is there FREE editing help out there?

Actually, yes.
Photo by: TheCreativePen, courtesy of Flickr

Here are a list of options:
  • Some authors will trade an edit if you give them a free edit for their book.
  • Authors and book readers will edit if you promise them a testimonial either in your book and/or on your website. (I offer a free book upon publication for an editor's time).
  • Consider carefully the family members you ask to edit your work; it's often better to choose editors that can give you constructive criticism.
  • A professional editor may make a trade on a service you offer in exchange for editing work. It never hurts to ask.
  • You may be able to get editing help from a professor or a college student needing a project. A professor may edit your book for free or at a substantially lower cost because you were once in their class or you show particular promise as a writer. 
  • Set your manuscript aside for at least a month before you go back to it. Just a few days will not work. You need to be removed from the manuscript for a substantial length of time. Try working on another book project during the month before you return to edit. 
  • Have various reader types read your book for errors. For example, one reader may catch grammar errors, while another will know when you have changed the main character's hair color without knowing it. Know how a reader reads; find out what they notice about a book by asking questions prior to having them read your book.
  • Check online. Join a critique group. There are writers out there with the same dilemma.  
When it comes to getting an editor for your book, remember those who typically read your genre. While others can give valuable feedback, it's the writer or reader of say, "Science Fiction Fantasy" who can tell you what's been done before when it comes to aliens, or what works in a scene on another planet and what doesn't. 
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