Publishing

Self-Publishing: Would You Self-Edit?

I was asked this question:

Since you are self-publishing are you self-editing?

My answer? No I am not self-editing my work, the reason being that I have paid for professional editing, and also I have had others look it over for errors.  It’s important to me to get a second pair of eyes. As much as I dream of being a good editor, it is not one of my strong suites in my life as a writer.  Writing is one thing, editing is another.  Writers can write and should look over their drafts, but for the finer details that is for others to look over.

writing cloud
editing is the art of cutting back

Self-editing is something some people can do.  I’ve heard of the book Aiming at Amazon in which the author makes the point that he self-edits.  The difference here is that he also makes the point that he updates his book almost consistently. (Update, August 2012: This book is no longer being published, but, any updates he has on his website. However, I still recommend it even buying it used) The biggest takeaway with this book is that the author is self-editing, but he’s always editing.

In a sense, he’s contradicting himself.  While he says he’s good at spotting editing problems, wouldn’t a second set of eyes help?  Or, even one where it’s fact checking?  He sells his books, such as From Word to Kindle (Update 2013: This is his most recent book and one which you can get in paperback still.) where again he is consistently updating information.  Amazon does change their policies, as does any company, but, if you are going back and taking time out to make something better, this takes time away from producing more work.

When I talked to the people at Create Space, and they in fact pointed out a get a good professional editor.  Not only does it mean better reviews, but it also means a more professional book, which means better long-term sales.  it is a bit like blogging and learning how to blog in a way.  The more you write the more likely you will have comments and you will see self-publishing success.  This won’t be from redoing things over again.

So, no I am not self-editing.  I’ve gotten better with editing, but this does not mean that I am great at it.  No one is really good at self-editing.  We tend to be blind to mistakes on our work.

This being said, there is a time and a place for self-editing.  A first draft is a good time to go and rebuild on what you have written without someone taking their own time to make a draft such as this better.  A first draft is ripped apart and made to look and feel better is it not there to make another person worry about your grammar, only to have their hard work taken away.

What I believe is best is to have a moment where you sit down and see what can hep you and build on your own editing skills.  A first draft works.  Although CreateSpace suggested a professional editor (their own) I still have more than one person looking over my work.  It’s important to build relationships with editors.  Self-editing will only take you so far.  A book, especially a self-published one, needs to stand out, and be ripped apart to get good reviews.

So, tossing it to you: Would you self-edit after your drafts?

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