All self-published authors must face this question at some point in their publishing journey. I am no exception. I have toyed with the idea of simply going through a few beta reader rounds and utilizing a program like Grammarly premium before finishing off the process with a proofread from a professional.
I have also contemplated hiring a professional editor for every stage of the process – copy/line editing, structural editing, proofreading etc…
In the end, it comes down to budget.
How much professional editing can you afford?
I would bet that most writers (if they had the money) would jump at the chance of hiring an expert – you would be crazy not to. But what if you will never be able to afford a professional editor? Should you throw in the towel and return to submitting your manuscript into that void filled with silence and a litany of rejections?
For me, no.
Long ago (and for various reasons) I decided I would travel down the self-publishing road, the one filled with obstacles innumerable. My dream of being an indie author is the very reason why I created my blog in the first place.
Despite my initial goal of self-publishing, in 2016 I submitted my manuscript to a large number of traditional publishers and at least 20 agents. My search & submit resulted in a contract from a shady, small publisher who ended up being a scammer of sorts.
My bad experience (with the shady wanker who trashed my dreams) ruined my confidence. I have not submitted to any traditional publishers since, and certainly not too any small US publishers, even if they are considered reputable. It’s not worth it for me.
Sadly, all this rejection made me think I had no right to self-publish my books and inflict my shitty writing onto unsuspecting readers. Yep, this is why I still haven’t published my novels.
To think I now have two novels (complete with professional covers) sitting there on my desktop waiting to be uploaded to Amazon. I could do it tomorrow if only I had the money for an editor! The confidence issue I will need to defeat on my own…
So what the hell is a girl to do?
I have just enough money to hire a professional editor for a copy/line edit for one novel only – my first. Yeah, a structural edit and proofread would be fantastic, but it’s simply not in my budget. I have a mortgage to pay and animals to feed.
Many published authors have told me I should wait until I can afford to put my novels through a few rounds of editing. Well-meaning advice yes, but not realistic. “Forever” is how long I may be waiting… and that’s not an option for me. Publishing sooner rather than later is my only hope. I fear if I wait too long, I may never realise my dream of being a published author.
I’m under no illusion that my first novel will make enough money for me to afford an editor for my second novel. My plan? Take it one book at a time and see how things pan out.
I would love to hear from any indie authors and prospective self-pubbers out there who are facing this same dilemma. Shoot me some advice, I’m all ears!