This was posted on Facebook by author Lacey Weatherford, USA Today Best Selling Author, this morning, Saturday, July 13, 2013
I am blogging it, verbatim, with permission and gratitude.
Editing. It can be such a touchy subject. First off, let me clarify. Yes, I believe all authors should spend the money and take the time to have their book professionally edited. It’s an investment that can largely pay off in the long run, and can make the reading experience much more pleasant for both the AUTHOR and the READER.
However, there are many new authors in publishing today that can’t afford to pay for a professional edit. Unfortunately, many, many, new authors—myself included, with some of my earlier work—paid what they could to editors in their price range, usually a price ranging anywhere from $200-$600. Believe me, when starting out, that seems like an outrageous sum to pay. Now, after having my first series edited FOURTEEN different times, by FOURTEEN different editors, I STILL receive bad reviews stating what a terrible author I am, and how horribly my books are edited.
You know what? They ARE badly edited!! BUT it’s not because I didn’t try to get them perfected. I paid for what I could afford at the time, and sadly, most editors available in that price range are going to be more on the order of proof readers. They are people who are usually pretty good at catching errors, or have some sort of English education, and they feel they can do a good job as an editor, so they start up a business. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying anything bad about these editors. I’m only saying that having the title of editor doesn’t mean one has a degree in it. However, after fourteen edits, I’m thousands of dollars in the hole, and still without my one of my bestselling series being properly edited—which is why my current editor is redoing them for me—one last time.
What irritates me is, despite my success and the fact that I now pay THOUSANDS of dollars for each of my books to be professionally edited up to Chicago Manual of Style guidelines, I still get reviews from readers calling my NEW professionally edited books UNEDITED.
Granted these reviews are few and far between—most reviewers comment on how nice it is to read a well-edited book. However, as I look around, I see reviews on many other author’s pages stating the same thing. Some of those books I’ve read, and they were edited very well, other’s I haven’t, so I can’t speak to them. The point is, when it comes to editing, everyone has a different opinion, or they follow different rules and styles. I have YET to see one of my fifteen editors edit in the same style as another one, and each one has tried to “teach” me conflicting rules.
If you’re reading a book and you don’t agree with the way something is done grammatically, it doesn’t mean it’s not right according to a different rule somewhere else. My current editor spends HOURS researching anything she has a question on in the Chicago Manual of Style. She is ALSO a member of an elite discussion board of editors who help her find answers to more difficult questions. She takes SIX WEEKS to edit each of my books and ONLY EDITS MY BOOK in that six weeks. I receive a 1st edit, a 2nd edit, a 3rd edit, for BOTH CONTENT AND GRAMMAR, followed by a repeated word edit, then a final edit, which is THEN SENT OFF to ANOTHER EDITOR for a PROOFREAD, and when it’s returned, the FINAL read through is done by my editor, and sent to me for publication.
Does this mean my manuscript is perfect? NOPE!! Why? Because we are human, and humans make errors—not to mention the fact that after writing, reading, and rereading a manuscript a billion times, the brain starts seeing/comprehending things the way it knows it SHOULD be. In spite of all that, my books are still bestsellers and carried by one of the biggest agents out there, who also has 30 years of editing experience in the business, has commended the writing style of my books, and has sold my manuscripts “as is” to traditional publishers.
PLEASE—don’t leave reviews on books saying they aren’t edited.
You have NO IDEA what the author has gone through to bring you that work!! Instead try something like, “According to what I’ve been taught,” or, “In my humble opinion, this book could use some editing,” or something like that. This will tell other readers you aren’t a professional, but you disagree with how it was done. I’ve seen other authors crucified by readers jumping on the bandwagon to proclaim a book horribly edited—when in fact, while it may have needed a little housecleaning, the story still read well. AGAIN—I’m not saying to overlook bad editing—all I’m saying is that MY EDITOR, and I’m sure many others, puts her blood, sweat, and tears into my books. You don’t have to like them—that’s fine. I’m a big girl, and I can live with reviews from people who hated my story, but please don’t trash/undermine the hard work of my editor. We both spend countless hours trying to put out amazing products for readers, trying our absolute best to give you error free projects.
It’s getting to the point where people can’t even type an error in a post on Facebook without being attacked by someone. It’s quite disheartening. They are WORDS, people. In the grand scheme of life, is it REALLY going to matter if someone said “its vs. it’s, or your vs. you’re?” I don’t think so. Better, I think, to treat people with kindness. And honestly, if something bothers you that badly, use the PRIVATE MESSAGE button to let an author know, instead of forming a public lynch mob to get them. Authors/editors are still people too, and despite how you liked their book, they deserve professional respect and decorum.
Never assume you know what is going on.
As always, I thank you for your support. You may feel free to disagree with me—that is YOUR RIGHT—sharing this is mine.
My WISH for EVERYONE: May only the books you LOVE find their way into your hands!! Ha ha
**I feel like I should give you a reward or something if you actually made it to the end of this!!
Just FYI: I do not have an English degree. ~ Wendy