So my first excursion into the world of professional editing is complete. Charlie Bray at The IndieTribe has completed re-edits of my first two books An Agent’s Demise and To The Survivors. Now they are both updated on Kindle, Smashwords and on Lulu for the hard copies.
Firstly an apology:
Sorry fellow authors and Readers.
I wish I could have afforded to do the edits before I launched the books to avoid the review criticism. How many sales lost? Then there is my criticism adding to the overall criticism of self pub books. I cannot reverse the past, just fix the future.
What have I learned from the experience? Lots of things:
- Fresh eyes spot all sorts of issues that readers and I had not seen. Luckily, not plot inconsistencies although I had one character re-appearing when a sentence before they had left the scene. I had not noticed and I hope no readers had. Now fixed.
- It is so easy to get caught up in the story and miss the odd tense issue
- My biggest problem though was punctuation in my grammar. Run on sentences, no commas. Some is clearly style and how I was listening to the words in my head, but now redone; hopefully to the satisfaction of my future readers.
- There is still a lot of conflicting advice especially on dialogue style and contradictions with old advice and education I received.
- Also I still have a frustration with using conjunctions to start sentences especially and and but. Less of an issue with some but I know it may be technically correct I just think it looks wrong.
- The software (Scrivener and Word in my case) is just not accurate enough and almost entirely useless in dialogue. This is where punctuation has to be used to cause pauses and hesitations for how the character is speaking regardless of correct grammar rules. People do not speak in correct grammar. Making written speech comply just looks clunky. Few people converse in a grammatically correct manner.
- Don’t get me into a discussion on English dialects, reginal variations of US, Aus,Can etc. spelling. In the end I don’t care what the Chicago Manual of Style says, which is frequently quoted on discussion forums. It’s English! Now I have my nationalistic rant out of the way let’s move on.
So to the other side of the coin Finance
The outstanding issue, is their a return on the editing investment. I won’t know that for ages. The costs are not easy to cover when only selling a few books per week. Covering £1,000 of editing investment needs nearly £1500 of sales on Kindle at 70% and at an average £3.00 per kindle book needs 500 sales just to break even.
Now I’ll have to advertise again to try and generate interest, more cost to be covered.
Will I do the editing route again – yes because I want my books to be free of that criticism, but it’s still a lot of money to find, to blow on an egotistical journey.