3 S.R. Johannes: Editing - how I hate the ways..

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Editing - how I hate the ways..

The copyediting process nightmare is hard. I hate it. The whole process.

First of all, I am someone who needs copyediting!!! Therefore I pay for it on everything I put out.
Grammar and spelling are NOT the strongest suits of mine. Yes I said it! 

Yes... I know... I am a writer and am supposed to know this stuff. It's not that I don't know grammar rules or don't know a comma slice from a dangling participle. I can point them out in other works. I just have a hard time on my own stuff.

  • One problem - on a writing level, I type as my character thinks so a lot of times that breaks comma rules or full sentence rules because Grace thinks in incomplete phrases. I do too. I don't know about you but I never think in complete sentences.
  • Secondly - I am not a great typer (this just gets worse doesn't it?) - I am a "pecker" (no laughing) so my fingers don't always go in the order I want them to.
  • But mostly, I just don't see them. IT's frustrating because I look. Hard. I've tried printing it out. I've tried listening on the computer (I am so not auditory). I've tried reading on computer.

Therefore I admit, editing is my weakness so I don't scrimp on editing in my process.

But it's very hard to find good people. Why? Because everyone thinks they are an editor. It takes time to find people who are good and thorough copyeditors at reasonable (not cheap) prices. Who can do it fast and do it well and are affordable. I have found a couple good ones and I have had a few bad ones to where I had to have work redone (and repay)

Why do I pay? I put aside money for covers and editing. I feel those are critical to my book's success. My books need at least 2 formal copyediting rounds. Copyeditors always make mistakes and when I edit the copyedits - I make more mistakes too.

We are all human.

I never mind when a reader sends me a couple typos to fix. I appreciate it.  It's easy to fix and I'd rather fix it than leave it. But it's frustrating when you have paid for it and people think you haven't. And of course, indie authors always get hit worse than traditional authors on any kind of mistake.

Keep in mind - traditional authors have the luxury of the professional editing PROCESS. They go through many-many rounds of editing. Beta, first draft, second draft, line edits, copy edits, first pass pages, ARCs etc. And this goes through at least 2-3 different people over that time. So by the end, most of the mistakes are filtered out.

Indies don't have that luxury. Not because we don't care or because we go too fast (at least not me) but more because we can't afford to have three different look at it over 6-9 months. I have several beta readers, my mom, and then 2 copyeditors. I usually do a few rounds myself but again - not my strong suit. I think because I work on the manuscript so much - the mistakes just blend in - maybe because I know the story so my eye doesn't catch them.

Here are some tips on editing:

Types of copyediting
1) Those who charge by the mistake - this is not a good option for me :)
2)Those who charge by the word - can get expensive if you are chatty in your novels.
3) Those who charge by the page.
4) Those who charge by the type - content editing vs line editing vs copyediting

How to find good ones
1) Friend referrals
2) Check out testimonials
3) BiblioCrunch - matching service to pair you with a copyeditor
4) Sometimes literary agents will post lists like this one
5) Ask Indelibles - check out the resource page

Tips on editing
1) Hire a copyeditor. No matter how good your mom is or how good you think you are.
2) Be sure to get some samples pages done first to see if you like what they do.
3) Know your common mistakes - every writer has them.
4) After a copyeditor goes through it. Search for mistakes that seemed common (bad one of mine is from vs. form.  I type it in fast and then spell check and my eyes never find it.)
5) Go through their edits more than once to be sure you did not make another mistake while editing.
6) Hire a different one to do a second round. I know it costs but it's worth it.
7) Be sure they know your genre. Most will point out voice issues or consistency problems. It would help if they knew and worked with YA books.
8) Do they know Chicago Style?

Any other tips you can share?


Jemi Fraser said...

Those are great tips. I would never have thought of hiring 2 people. I like the idea of getting sample pages too.

Heather said...

Excellent advice! I'd add that there is a huge difference between copy editing and content editing and to be sure to ask which your chosen editor does.

Laura Pauling said...

My biggest copyediting mistake ends up being compound words. I leave two words as separate when they should be one! That and I usually have a few commas in the wrong place.

And, to be honest, typos in books don't even bother me: traditional or self published. I just keep reading past them. A few in the book doesn't pull me out of the story or ruin the experience for me.

Kelly Polark said...

Thank you for the excellent tips, Shelli!

Lauren said...

I'm lucky that my mother is a great copy-editor. She actually has professional experience in it. Much cheaper that way. Although, it's interesting to think about maybe hiring a second one to grab any other errors that she missed.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Thank you all for the feedback. Good to see some of these tips will be helpful and I love hearing your tips I didn't have here.

Patt P. said...

I really like and appreciate your work. Brunette ladies