Monday, August 27, 2012

5 Reasons this Reader Wants Every Writer to get an editor and a copyeditor!

I bought an iPad in May. Drooling to get one for ages, I figured I could finally afford it. Since May, I have read more books in 4 months than EVER and my eyeballs are falling out! I am in heaven.
I am in hell.
My outrage at writers who do not employ editors nor even copyeditors is getting rather bitter! (And trust me, I am a gentle soul who works to never spend her adrenalin on anger because when I do, it destroys my chi for the day or longer!) EVEN multi-pubbed authors seem to be skipping this process. What? To save $$$? If they do it to save TIME, then I have a new dynamic in my buying habits and it is called, "Oh, boy, I ain't buying your stuff, no more, no more!"
Ergo, I rise to my speaker's stump and proclaim to my fellow authors, if you are writing, I really do not care how many previous books you have published or how many awards you have won, if you can't hit the spell check or the grammar (shoot me, please), and you do not hire an editor to smooth out your draft prose or your plot or logic, I am not returning.

Here are 5 reasons why I beg you to hire an editor and copyeditor:

1. I am an educated reader. I have a graduate degree, had to read and write my a$$ of to get it, and I understand logic, sentence structure and time sequencing. (As an author, I also get all that other jazz like conflict, inner and outer dialogue, etc. But that is another subject and I digress.)
I read at a fast pace.
I am in that demographic you crave: I am over 45, I buy hundreds of $$ worth of books each year, I will buy almost any genre if you lure me in. (And you spend a lot of people, time and money to lure me in, don't you? Yowza.)
Treat me right. Give me the very best. Then I will buy another book of yours.

2. I understand how typos occur. I have written hundreds of thousands (maybe millions of words, given my corporate tenure) during my career. I am still a really $hitty typist. I hit the spell check. It's free. It completes me.
But you need to hit the spell and grammar check and hire a copyeditor because every time one of those blurps appears, my reader's mind goes blank.
I lose track of the story.
I get angry because this is supposed to be a professional piece worthy of my copious UNfree time! Remember, your work is supposed to entertain me.

3. When I stop reading (and I can sit for a damn long time doing it, like 8 hours+ when I did not move on a flight to Israel), I subconsciously ask myself: Will this happen to me again?
I get frustrated. I might even skip around. Go to the end. (Oh, no, you shout!) And I will skim the intervening pages, too. If my expert eyes find more god awful stuff, you can bet you and I and your story might be done, baby, done.

4. Grammar still thrills me. Correct grammar. With the exception of dialogue that shows regional accent, grammar makes my day.
If you use the wrong version, I am really mad.
I stop here too. (See #3 for my further actions.) Not pretty.

5. See Spot Run. Sigh. Spot, the dog, still runs around. He appears in a lot of works and he needs to go home and sit in his doghouse. He needs to learn his place. He needs to go to critique group and hear his professional colleagues tell him to polish his prose, deepen his characters' profiles and improve the pace of his plot.

Am I perfect? No. But I try. And I spend the money when I do self-publishing to ensure that those readers I have worked hard to gain, I keep.
And yep, the cover here is my latest self-pubbed book for which I hired Wizards in Publishing to do my editing and copyediting and formatting. They are superb.
Shameless Self Promotion.


Tina Donahue said...

I'm with you on this, Cerise. Ever go to the msnbc.com comments section beneath their articles? God. The incorrect use of words (the poster meant to write 'our' but uses 'or' or 'are'). The misspellings or phonetic spellings ('sincrownise' for 'synchronize').

Freaking stops me dead and I'm not paying for it. If I had paid for it, I'd demand my money back.

We are writers. At the very least, we can write correctly. Not that hard. We all went to school and presumably graduated. As you said, there is spell/grammar check on a computer. Use it. Simple as that.

And if you really, really, really cannot spell or don't know the correct word to use, get an editor.

jean hart stewart said...

Can't tell you how much I agree. Errors drive me mad. I have two beta editors to help me catch my mistakes, which are always more numerous than I expect. And then my books go through two more tough rounds at mu publisher before going to the final editor. If you're going to self-pub, please have the courtesy to be a rigorous.

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

Tina, Thank you. I cringe myself at those. And let us all hail those who go on Amazon with GLEE and attack an author, using awful spelling, grammar and punctuation. I say to myself: I DIDN"T APPEAL TO YOU? Fine by me!

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

Jean, So true. I value editors. When I finish a manuscript, I am always enthralled with my h/h and the plot. I NEED an editor to show me how to perfect it. I NEED a copyeditor to polish it up.
Not unafraid to say it.

Fiona McGier said...

It never fails to amaze me that books that are poorly or not-at-all edited can become best-sellers, while those of us who toil in obscurity are obsessed with making sure that our manuscripts are as close to perfection as we can achieve, before we even submit them. As an English teacher, I also cringe at typos and incorrect grammar, and I can't believe how prevalent errors are in even newspapers and magazines, let alone novels.

In fact, I've been bemoaning the "dumbing-down" of speech and thinking habits for so long, that my next novel addresses a possible cause for it, with an ancient alien conspiracy to have humans proliferate but not increase their intelligence.

The really sad part is that probably there isn't any conspiracy...it's just sheer laziness on the part of people who don't want to think because it's hard work. But they exercise their legs running, or their other muscles. A flabby brain is also very unattractive.

Karenna Colcroft said...

I'm a fairly decent self-editor, but I fully recognize that I won't catch every mistake in my books. I'm the author; I know what I mean, and I see what I expect to see instead of what's on the page.

When I submit to my publishers, editing is part of the deal. Each of the publishers I'm with has content editors and line editors, and they help make sure my books, and the others from those companies, are up to snuff.

I recently decided to take the self-publishing plunge, and I knew darn well that it would be foolish of me to try to edit those books on my own. I hired one of the aforementioned content/line editors (he was my content editor for some of my young adult books, and line edits most of my M/M romances) to freelance for me on whatever I self-publish. I know he knows his stuff; he knows my writing well enough to actually edit it well.

Saving a few pennies by not hiring an editor could end up meaning losing out on a lot of sales in the long run if word gets around that your books are shoddily edited.