Monday, March 28, 2016

The More You Know, The Less You'll Pay: Part I

by Alycia W. Morales

Most people are on tight budgets these days. If you've already quit your day job to pursue your writing career, your finances may be tighter than others'. To top that off, we all have things we'd rather do with our money than pay an editor. Like attending conferences and writing retreats with our fellow wordsmiths. Paying a designer to build our website. Things that will further our platform.

Here's a money-saving tip:

The more you know and do, the less your editor will have to do. And the less you'll have to pay.

That's right. The cleaner your manuscript, the cheaper the edit. Substantive (in-depth) edits cost more than proofreads. They take more time. The editor is looking for content issues such as flat characters, lazy writing, and gaps in your plot, as well as copy issues like punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Proofreads are much faster edits because all we're looking for are those punctuation errors and a misspelled word or two.

So the more you know and the more effort you put into that final draft, the cheaper your edit will be.

Most manuscripts that cross my desk (-top screen) are full of typical errors that would mean the difference between a substantive edit and a proofread. If authors would just put extra time in to correct even a few of the following basics of writing, they would spend less money and their editor would spend less time on their edits.

Over the next two months (or so), I will be posting different things authors should look for as they rewrite and self-edit their first drafts. If you are willing to do the work and put in the extra effort, you should be able to clean up your manuscript to a degree that it may only require a copy edit or a proofread from a professional editor.

I do have another money-saving tip for you, should you be curious as to whether your writing abilities are enough to pursue publication. Get a critique. A proper critique should point out your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. It should give you a good idea of what you need to study more to improve your craft, as well as where you need to refresh your grammar skills. Maybe you're really great at developing conflict, but your characters are lacking in motivation. Maybe your characters are lovable, but you forget to develop your scenes. These are things a critique should point out. And critiques are generally cheaper than a substantive edit.

Once you have the critique in hand, go back through the manuscript and look for those things the editor has pointed out. Work on those. Develop your craft. Relearn the grammar rules. And take the time to implement them into your manuscript. This may save you money in the long run.

The final money-saving tip I have for you is this: Practice first. Practice. Practice. Practice. Write a few manuscripts as you study craft and build your grammar skills. Don't even think about publishing them. Just write. Give yourself a chance to learn before you seek success. Engineers don't become engineers the moment they step out of high school. They go to college or they work up to becoming leaders in their field. Start small. Write a blog. Write articles. Write devotions. Learn the art of writing, and then pursue the bigger things like finding an agent and getting a contract and publishing a book and winning awards.

So before you rush to send your editor that first draft for a substantive critique, take the time to learn about writing, how to properly punctuate sentences, and be sure to practice. Again, I'll be posting for the next couple of months about what to look for in your manuscript as you go back through your first (rough) draft so you can turn it into a diamond that others will enjoy reading and your editor won't have to spend so much time editing, which will save you money in the long run.


3 Money-saving Tips for Authors Hiring Editors via @AlyciaMorales {Click to Tweet}

Save money on edits. @AlyciaMorales offers three tips. {Click to Tweet}

Want to know how to save $$$ when hiring an editor? @AlyciaMorales offers 3 tips. {Click to Tweet}

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