Saturday 19 July 2014

Writing a Book - Advice on Types of Book Editing

Book editing is the most difficult aspect of writing a book. My advice is not to use an editing service until you have the book to a high standard, otherwise you may have to pay for several edits. There are many types of editor, author editor, copy editor and beta reader. (the last one is not an editor, but is a useful part of the process).

If you go to a copy editor they will mainly be interested in spelling, grammar and the correct word usage. This is why it is important that this is the last stage of the process, otherwise you may have to repeat this stage.  A copy editor will typically charge about 1$ (or £1) per page. That seems reasonably cheap HOWEVER...

A copy editor is not really interested in making your story read well, nor that it's exciting and has potential to grab a reader. If you are confident that your story does all that then you might consider a copy editor. If you do -- you are missing an important step.

A book editor will advise on how well you are writing, whether there are inconsistencies in the tale, your characterisation and whether it is examples. This stage may require you to rewrite or reorder chapters. You may be told that a chapter isn't working. As you can see, if you have had a copy edit and then have a book edit you may have to have another copy edit. 

A book editor can cost from a few hundred dollars to a thousand. 

The more that you can get your book to a reasonable level, the lower your costs.Do not be tempted to think that you have written a great book and now all you have to do is "get it edited". If you are very lucky, friends and family may offer, but they will lack the expertise to get to a high standard. They will help (usually) so do not dismiss their advice. It is a large undertaking though and it may be wrong to ask a friend or family member to do this.

If you are lucky to get a publisher interested in your work then they will arrange much of the above. However, the catch is that a publisher will only be interested in your book if it is already at a high standard. I will cover getting published in a later article, but it is well worth considering the editing process prior to this stage.

A beta reader is someone who accepts free copies of a book at an early stage. They will expect a high standard. They will tell you if the book is riddled with mistakes but they will not offer advice on where mistakes are (unless they are few in number and they are feeling generous.) 

So my final comment is to get your book to a high standard prior to considering any other stage, editing or publishing. My earlier advice  Writing a book - How to Start was to write short stories. That should get you in the right frame of mind for the editing stage as people will offer advice on your work, if it is a short story. 

Tops for Writing a Book - How to Self Publish
Should You Pay for a Review -- yes or no?
Making Your Writing Interesting
My top tips
Choosing a genre
How to Start writing a Book?
Creating a Plot for Your Book


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