We live in an age in which a person can write a book, type “The End” and immediately publish it on multiple platforms. That’s one look from one set of eyes. The next person who sees it is the reader. The results are usually appalling, and I’ve read a few that appeared to have been done that way.
Most authors, even those of us blessed with a company like Soul Mate Publishing, self-publish at least a work or two. We have to locate an editor, and good editors are expensive (But worth every bit). The temptation to skip a full professional edit is great. If you are so tempted: don’t. Short cuts cost you in the long run when you put out a book that isn’t as good as it could be. An author with a skilled friend and something to barter may escape the cost but dares not skip the process.
Here’s the heart of the matter: the more eyeballs that see your work, the better, more polished and professional it will be. Counting each run through by as one set of eyeballs, mine, this is my count of the number of looks a well edited book gets:
- First draft – 1
- Read through and self-edit – 1
- Do it again for good measure – 1
- Show it to at least three (preferably 6) beta readers – 3
- Rewrite and edit based on comments – 1
- Submit it. Each pass of the editorial process is two looks, the editors and mine. – 2
- Usually a second editorial pass – 2
- A final run through – 2
- Read the Advance Review Copy when the publisher sends it – 1
That’s fourteen looks from at least five different people. Some authors also hire proof-readers or developmental editors. All that attention will have ferreted out things like plot holes, name inconsistencies, grammar issues, confusing or anachronistic word choices, and typos. But here’s the thing: even after all of that, a reader will come upon the book a few years later and find a typo. If we’re lucky they report it and we fix it. Make that fifteen sets of eyeballs. Perfection? No. Professional and polished? You bet.
This is on my mind because I just finished all those steps. The Price of Glory will be off to reviewers and up for pre-order soon. I can hardly wait!