On editing ...
This is quite likely the second hardest blog post I will ever have to write - the first being if there's ever a day I announce I'll no longer continue my dream as an author. That being said, this is a difficult post. To help me push through it and keep it from being a downer to read, I'm going to fall to some of my favorite gifs to lighten the mood. Please don't think it means I'm not taking this seriously, it's merely a way to keep this blog post feeling a little lighter.
Editing is not my strong suit. I know the grammar rules - many thanks to a wonderful editor I had for a year who crammed them into my head - and when to apply them. Unfortunately, proofreading for me is an incredible challenge. I'm legally blind thanks to a combination of genetics and a few rough head strikes into the ground as a cheerleader for half my childhood. That makes editing on a screen considerably harder, because even with glasses, the characters have a nasty habit of blending together. I've known this, and did my best to print out stories when I could to ensure I was editing by hand. In addition, I struggle with dyslexic tendencies. It's harder for me to see typos, and to my husband's amusement, I sometimes even struggle to read words and pronounce them silly - like calling "broccoli" "bro-col-lie" and not realizing I'd done it.
I'm aware of it. I've worked to make my drafts as clean as possible. Only, they're not as clean as they should be. There's typos littered here and there, extra words and even accidentally dropped punctuation from typing at 83wpm. I didn't know this. For years I had no idea they were as riddled as they actually are. Editors never said anything too harsh, and I had no way of realizing the number of red marks for typos was out of the ordinary - mostly because some authors don't self-edit and editors are used to a high number of typos now (not my words).
My journey started on a rough note. I was 24 and still seeing the actual affects of my editing issues. I was with a publisher. Unfortunately, the editor was not one suited for editing someone with my issues, and many readers contacted me about editing issues as books were often edited the day or two before release. The publisher was wonderful and set me up with a fantastic editor. I don't want to call her out and embarrass her, but if she's reading this, she knows how much she means to me and my career.
I learned tricks to edit "cleaner." She taught me grammar rules I'd never heard of complete with ways to remember them so I never fall prey to "try and" do anything again. We worked to make my sentences stronger and my style sharper because my voice was already pretty firmed up. My confidence was restored because I was doing the best work I could and knew she had the skillset to catch the errors.
Fast-forward a year and a few months. Life took hold and my wonderful editor could no longer be my editor. I struggled with a choice to stay with my publisher or move onto self publishing where I could personally vet editors and find ones used to working with people like me - because no matter how hard I try, there's always going to be a bit less polish with my drafts.
I've bounced from editor-to-editor trying to find a good fit. Some simply proved they were "editors" because they thought they could be. Others cost upwards of $500 an edit. I grabbed programs, found beta readers and did what I could to eliminate issues before editors took on my stories. I thought everything was hunky dory. Each book got a self-edit, a content edit and a line edit. Then I read it again - sometimes on audio but not always since becoming a mom makes it harder to listen to audio since the kiddo is either awake and running around or asleep and I need to be quiet because he's a light sleeper like mom.
The last few books have been with the same editor. I found someone who I worked well with, had decent rates and turn times, and seemed to be a good match. Then the negative "edits" reviews came in. The hurtful kind where it talks about going back to school or letting someone else write my awesome ideas. I shrugged it off, so many people think they are perfect at editing, but in fact, don't have strong grasp on it.
A little bit ago I picked up a paperback and started to read. Low and behold I found typos. Not 1 or 2, but 10 - in two chapters. Now, this is my fault. I do not blame the editor in full. I am responsible for what I put out into the world. I am the one with final say. A few times I've tried to ask friends to proofread, but they never come back with anything because they end up reading the story, not looking at the details. So, I got complacent. I thought everything was fine. Yes, the editor should have paid more attention - it's what they're paid for - but it still falls on me when the day ends as a self-published author.
To start, I want to apologize for not realizing there were fundamental flaws with my work. There's no excuse and no apology eloquent enough for producing subpar work.
To all the reader who've stuck by my side and continued to read when the editing floundered, thank you. My dream was to touch readers with fantastical stories and I appreciate those of you who have continued to fall into them despite flaws.
So what does this mean, what is the point of this long, downer post? It means I'm going to be changing my editor and my release schedule. The books will be written, self-edited, editor edited and left alone. I'll be putting them into paperbacks (bc it's cheaper and less messy than printing 200+ pages) and editing them before releasing. Releases will be further apart because the process will take longer, but also the math behind it. A cover costs typically $250-$300. An editor will run me about $500. I make (wait for it) about $30 a book during release month and a few spare dollars here and there. So, if you've done the math, you can see I'm an author because I love it, not because it's raining in money. And I will continue on this path, at least for a little while longer.
I don't have an updated release schedule yet, but I will soon. For now, I'm going to take things slowly, one book at a time on released novels and then worry about releases moving forward. This doesn't affect anything for April or May, but may see an affect in June. Thank you all for standing by me, for reading this gigantic blog post, and for being awesome.
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