Welcome back. If you read my last blog post I touched a bit on editing. Editing something that weighs on all writers, my blog posts are self-edited, if you read my work it is a lot more polished. That is because our raw writing looks like this blog post, ugly. A writer sees his words differently than the reader, that is because in the writer’s sub conscious they already know what they want to say. How it is said does not always translates into how it is read. My first few years of writing I spent time putting my stories onto sites like Inkitt and Wattpad hoping to attract readers and to receive feedback before I submitted my stories to publishers.
Those sites can be helpful, and I did make some wonderful friends and loyal readers. (Shout out to Twinkletoes and Flobello if they are reading.) But there are drawbacks, unfortunately most writers are not interested in giving active feedback. Many want you to read their works in exchange for reading yours. Remember one thing when you are writing time is limited. Too much time away from a story is harmful and reading someone else’s takes focus away from writing. That time off between writing chapters should be spent mulling over ideas, testing hypothesis, and researching.
My researching takes up a lot of free time. One of my books in my Fallen Continent Series, Age of Queens has massive battles that cover hundreds of miles and several points of view. To help a few books that I read were Art of War & Infantry Tactics. Both helped me, a person who has never fought a battle to understand strategy, attrition and to apply those to suspenseful situations involving my characters.
To go and read another person’s book won’t help me with my book. What is more frustrating is when you read three chapters or maybe that person’s entire book and you only get a simple good job for your book. I once read a girl’s book who uploaded all my stories, I had seven at the time. Inkitt lets you know when another user adds the book. She reached out in the comments section of my story and said something along the lines of.
“Hey loving this book, would you mind giving mine a read.”
I did and I left a great review that was around a paragraph. In moments I got a simple.
There was nothing constructive about her exchange to me, I gained nothing while her story was given traction. The moral of this story is that you will waste your time on these sites. Why am I am mentioning it, because if you are just starting out writing chances are you have realized your friends don’t care that you are writing, and none them will read. Trust me I send friends paperbacks, some of them even ask for them with the exception of a few chances are those books are dust collectors.
So, what are you going to do with that 50,000-100,000-word document. Your friends and family wont read it, or if they do they will say things like, there are typos and errors, when all you really want is for them to tell you if its good and why. Then if you post it online you might slip down a rabbit hole of helping others in excess to yourself. The simple answer is you are going to have to pay an editor.
A real editor, not a pal who says they will edit, people have wonderful intentions but if it is not their livelihood or if their skin isn’t the game it will not be taken seriously. An editor is an unbiased resource that will get your work where it needs to be. Most likely you and the editor will exchange drafts through tracked changes, look closely at the comments and edits, read through it, it is easy to want to just take the clean version and answer the comments but seeing every line will show you mistakes, and that pattern that they are made. Once you see the mistakes you will begin correct them as they happen. Which will be good if you and your editor work on a few novels together. I don’t reccomend being rough on your editor so preventing the same mistakes over and over will make them happy.
After two or three exchanges and a final read through your story will be unrecognizable, totally different, and ready for submission, or maybe you want to self-publish. The point is your product will be market ready and if you go along with the traditional publishing path you may see results within three or four submissions.
When I was still writing on Inkitt, there was a writer that I corresponded with. A woman, nice and wonderful and a ‘ehh’ writer. She kept writing this series, book after book, chapter after chapter. The third in the series was nearly seventy chapters, each chapter 7,000-10,000 words, if this story had been printed it would be large and thick enough to pass for a tombstone. I had just posted my first edit of Ann’s Tale, and this woman read it. She to her credit was great at feedback, she had read the first version. Then seeing the edited she was floored. Then she asked how much it cost. I told her it was one cent a word, Ann’s Tale is approximately 121,000 words so that was around $1,200.00 for the first edit. She froze up at the mention of that kind of money. I don’t care who you are, if you are just starting out writing 1,200 is a large amount to have someone read and correct a story, but think about it, they are completing a service, you pay a plumber or mechanic for labor and editors are the same.
To me it is second nature to send my work to my editor, sometimes you may just want a read through for feedback, keep in mind this will cost but it’s a small fee. Which helps to only make your stories better. To take your writing to the next level you will need help and while spending money on any hobby or interest can be nerve racking your results will speak for themselves. Thank you for reading see you next time. Next time I will discuss the differences in writing non-fiction and fiction.