It took me a while and some boneheaded publishing errors to realize that authors need editors like the shore needs the sea. Bottom line: it’s impossible to spot every mistake in your manuscript by yourself. And sure, you can get your roommate or mom or brother to go over your work, but unless they’re trained and have a ton of experience in the editing biz, chances are they won’t find all of the errors either. (although it’s a great idea to have any of the above check out the manuscript BEFORE it goes to your editor)

But most editors do much more than just find errors in your work.  Some will beta read your raw manuscript and point out plot holes, flat dialogue and unconvincing characters before the real edit even begins. Good editors are also painstakingly detailed, going over your manuscript line by line. That’s right, not by paragraph or by page, but by line. That means they will take a look at every single sentence and make sure that sentence works before moving on to the next one.

So why are many writers so reluctant to make use of such a necessary service. The price, of course. It’s an investment to hire a good editor, and they definitely don’t offer their services for free. And why should they? As noted, it’s a great deal of work to focus one’s mind on page after page of letters, words, paragraphs, and chapters. Just the thought of editing a novel outside of my own makes me wince. It’s a pain, and there is a price to cover that headache.

But it’s an investment that pays dividends back to the author. A good editor can knock a writer from amateur to pro with their fine tuning and surgical nip/tuck of your manuscript. It’s embarrassing to publish a novel only to have readers point out your errors in their reviews. You can actually destroy your potential readership by putting out an unprofessional manuscript, thinking that readers will give you a pass because you’re an ‘indie’ author.

Guess what? Indie doesn’t mean amateur. It doesn’t mean unprofessional. The goal of any independent writer should be to produce a product that is just as good or better than anything traditionally published. Any other goal is a waste of your and the reader’s time.

I’ve been asked by some peers about how to find good editors for indie authors. So I’ll highlight a few that I feel comfortable about recommending. Remember to check any potential editor out for yourself to get the facts and a quote on their services.

Bubble Cow: Recommended by Charles Cornell, writing peer and author of crime thriller Tiger Paw. (which was edited by Bubble Cow) He has nothing but good things to say about their services. Their site displays many of the books they’ve worked on, many of them by indie authors.

Moody Edits: Ran by Jennifer Moody, who I ran across on her Facebook page. She’s been a professional editor since 1999 with a broad resume of clients. She is more than willing to work with indie authors.

Writerz Block: Julie Stanley has a passion for writing and editing. I have the pleasure of knowing her as a friend and writing peer, and know that she loves what she does. Specializes in working with indie authors.

Todd Barselow: I catch Todd’s posts on Facebook all the time, and his clients often include a thank you to him in their books. Todd is a true professional and is highly recommended by his clients. Also has no problem working with indie authors.

H. Danielle Crabtree: Because every good writer needs a great editor, H. Danielle Crabtree works as a freelance editor for indie authors. She has a ton of experience in her field and can accommodate various writing styles.

J. R. Wallington: I’ll end by highlighting J. R. Wallington, whose services I’ve taken advantage of personally. Ms. Wallington was a joy to work with on my novel Silent Empire. Her edits and suggestions made it a better novel than I could have done on my own. I’m currently revising my epic fantasy manuscript with her ten pages of notes from her beta read in hand.

These are just a few of the talented and hardworking editors out there. A writer has no excuse for not being able to find one. I know, you’re thinking that you don’t have the money lying around to hire an editor. But look at it as something to budget for. As you work on your novel, you can put away twenty bucks here and there, right? By the end of your writing journey you’ll probably have most of the money tucked away if you have a little discipline and look at editing the way that it’s supposed to -as a necessity, not an option.

I survived my first publishing efforts without an editor, but that was mainly due to kindly readers who pointed out the errors to me privately. Needless to say, I had to upload a new version of those works more times than I want to admit. I won’t be doing that again. Having finally worked with an editor, going back to doing without is a no-go.

If you’ve gone through the blood, sweat and tears of actually completing a novel from start to finish, that’s an accomplishment. So go ahead and take that last step and make it a professional manuscript. Your readers will appreciate it, and you will too in the long run.

*Disclaimer: any errors in this post are not to be held against me. This blog isn’t professionally edited 😉 *