The PSAs have been saying: if you want to be an amateur writer, self-publish; if you want to go pro, get an editor — a good editor.
Writer Unboxed recently posted on thebenefits of a good editor from a writer’s point of view. And that was the kindly worded version. Melissa Foster and Amy Edelman at IndieReader.com and later the Huffington Post were not nearly so kind in their wording as they pointed out the four main reasons whyno one wants to take “indie authors” seriously.
The biggest offenders: egregious editing and hideous covers — both of which can be fixed when a writer works with a decent editor and publishing company. And neither is particularly earth-shattering. Writers, readers, and bloggers have been saying the same thing for some time now.
Foster and Edelman quote Gary Henry, @LiteraryGary and writer of Honest Indie Reviews, as saying,
“I look at indie books the same way I look at amateur athletics. It’s about fun. As long as they’re free or 99 cents, all they need to cover for editing are the basic mechanics of spelling, grammar and punctuation. Indie writers who want to charge more — turn pro essentially — owe their readers a more highly edited story — one that’s edited professionally for style, as well as mechanics.”
Maybe it’s time to go pro.
Time to sign on with an editor, publicist, and art department who won’t let you get away with shoddy, occasionally confusing prose, or suspect online authorial practices, or — heaven forbid — nasty cover art.
You can buy these services á la cart from sundry businesses. Paying out of pocket to contract editors, publicists and artists who may or may not be reputable. Have you ever gone to small claims court? Trust me, not fun. Or you can sign on with a publishing company.
I hear ya: the whole reason for going the indie route was to avoid traditional publishing companies and the enormous amount of time they take to publish a book.
But what if it’s not a traditional publishing house?