Hard Truths About Self Publishing: You Didn’t Edit Enough

There’s a switch that turns on when people are reviewing self published books. If they see even one grammatical or formatting mistake they will make sure they mention it in the review. “Good book. Could have used a good thorough edit.” It is assumed by almost everyone that self published books aren’t well edited. I have a theory about this.

Books are really difficult to edit.

It’s an entirely different monster compared to writing a book. There are so many stages to it. Substantive edits, copy editing, proofreading, formatting. You end up reading your book so many times that you don’t know what you’re even reading anymore. The level of complications only increases when you thrown in other books that reference each and are part of a series. There’s continuity between multiple books that needs to be looked after.

I self published Catalyst a few years ago. Before publishing it I  paid a professional editor to proof read and copy edit it. She did a good job. Catalyst is so much better than it would have been without her. I have no regrets using her as an editor but—and remember I love her work and would recommend her to anyone—I still get those silly “could use another edit” comments.

I’m doing a second edition of Catalyst and Beacon and I had a different editor go over both books to clean up all those little mistakes we missed the first time. This new editor also did a good job and made the book even better. I would also recommend her to any of my writing friends. I printed off the second edition of Catalyst and then read through it one more time to catch all the small stuff we missed.

Every time I found a mistake I wanted to fix I put a little post-it note. Here’s a picture.

Photo on 2016-02-06 at 8.46 AM

There are 25 little things I want to change about Catalyst and it’s been professionally edited by two more than qualified editors.

Some of it are grammar mistakes missed by all of us. Some of them are formatting errors on my part. Some of them are simply things I want to change after having not read it through all the way for several years. But for sure they are all things that would have garnered a “this book needs more editing” review  on Amazon.

Remember, this is not a slam against my editors or any other editors out there. This a wake up call to writers. Especially self published writers. Don’t you dare try to put your book out there without hiring an editor. Have some respect for your audience. Your crappy non edited self published books make the rest of us look bad.

Wow, that was kind of negative. Just go hire an editor. That’s all I’m trying to say. If you need help finding one I know of two good ones. I can give you their contact information.


20130114-124742.jpg   Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.15.05 AM

Available on Amazon.
Already Read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

“The Death of Jonas Wakefield”
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Beacon: Book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy
Available on Amazon.
Already read it? Write a review on Goodreads.

Eviscerate: Book 3 in the Ronos Trilogy
Coming soon!
Add it on Goodreads.

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4 Responses to Hard Truths About Self Publishing: You Didn’t Edit Enough

  1. In a way this made me feel better because writing just seems like it is never REALLY done, there’s always room to improve, no matter how much editing has been done.

    Self publishers will always have to try harder. Traditional publishers will always get a pass even though I see typos in traditionally published books all the time.

    Don’t even get me started on newspaper websites. I can’t even remember when the last time was when I read a news story that didn’t have a typo.

    One would almost think the bias should be different. If you’re a guy who wrote and published a book on his own, maybe a typo or two can be forgiven. But if you’re a professional writer and writing is all you do all day and then your book went through an established publishing house and was edited by top editors and a typo still made it through…well…nah, let’s just dump on the self publishers.

    • Well said. I totally agree with you. For I often find typos in traditional books but nothing is ever mentioned in their reviews. When I was in school we had a project where we needed to find grammar mistakes in published works and the easiest place to find them was the newspaper.

  2. Pingback: Reviews are King - Book Marketing Pt.2 - Themself

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