Author Topic: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)  (Read 3744 times)  

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2016, 11:07:43 AM »
People can only pay what they can afford, but I really dislike this suggestion that rates where editors can actually earn a living are too high! I'm pretty sure most people on here who have day jobs don't go there and work for under minimum wage day in and day out, so why should an editor or a proofreader?
It's an American tradition to underpay the people who pick our fruit, clean our houses, teach our children, and edit our books. :P

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Offline Blique

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2016, 11:48:41 AM »
I agree with Ms Earl Grey, it seems to be a trend to underpay for service type jobs, especially if there are freelancers doing it. Customers tend to look at the final price rather than the price by the hour, and don't seem to realize just how many hours something might take.

Not sure how many covers these days use illustrated artwork, but I've seen a plenty of people expect a 20-hour drawing for $20, so just $1/hour.

And as RicardoFayet says, I would assume that the higher-than-expected prices are because quality is better guaranteed at Reedsy. With other freelancers, there's always potential issues with deadlines and quality, especially the less you pay. If you pay low enough, chances are you'll never even see it done.

Anyway, please don't underpay your editors and designers. Try asking how many hours they expect to take on it, chances are they'll be working minimum wage or below it. If they're nice enough to spend time on your book instead of getting paid more to work at McDonalds, at least give them a tip or something.

Offline Ebooksforfreeinc.

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #27 on: April 25, 2016, 11:59:11 AM »
What about marketing / advertising costs?

Offline Melody Simmons

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2016, 12:00:56 PM »
You mean I am in the bottom 2% of lowest cover design charges?  Wow - and I've designed for NYT and USA bestselling authors.  Are you sure about those prices?  Or are they for hand-painted illustrations?

Offline BWFoster78

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #29 on: April 25, 2016, 12:09:01 PM »
I agree with Ms Earl Grey, it seems to be a trend to underpay for service type jobs, especially if there are freelancers doing it. Customers tend to look at the final price rather than the price by the hour, and don't seem to realize just how many hours something might take.

Not sure how many covers these days use illustrated artwork, but I've seen a plenty of people expect a 20-hour drawing for $20, so just $1/hour.

And as RicardoFayet says, I would assume that the higher-than-expected prices are because quality is better guaranteed at Reedsy. With other freelancers, there's always potential issues with deadlines and quality, especially the less you pay. If you pay low enough, chances are you'll never even see it done.

Anyway, please don't underpay your editors and designers. Try asking how many hours they expect to take on it, chances are they'll be working minimum wage or below it. If they're nice enough to spend time on your book instead of getting paid more to work at McDonalds, at least give them a tip or something.

I'm pretty darn sure that the time investment for editing pales in comparison to the amount of time I spent writing my books. Believe me, what I'm making per hour from my writing is a lot lower than I'm paying anyone else. Kind of hard to justify spending more, especially since there are a line of people willing to do it at the price I can pay.

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Online Anarchist

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2016, 12:13:29 PM »
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Offline Crystal_

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2016, 12:16:20 PM »
That's in the region of $8 per hour at that lower range even at fairly generous proofreading-only speeds (and at fast copy-edit speeds it's even worse!). With tax, that's below minimum wage (and in the UK, it's about half the minimum wage. Going on welfare would earn more!). I don't think suggesting rates like this are 'usual' do any favours to the huge number of editors who have to work to earn a living. It's not really reasonable to expect people to work for $8 an hour for anything, is it? Would you go to work every day after ten years' experience and training for $8 an hour? 

People can only pay what they can afford, but I really dislike this suggestion that rates where editors can actually earn a living are too high! I'm pretty sure most people on here who have day jobs don't go there and work for under minimum wage day in and day out, so why should an editor or a proofreader?

I don't know how long it takes to proof. I don't think it matters for my purposes. Editors charge rates they think are fair. I hire them if the rate works for me. I don't go around asking proofreaders to charge less. I find an editor who charges a rate that fits my budget and I hire them. What I see, in this forum and elsewhere, is rates of .002-.004/ word for proofing, and .003-.006 for proof/copyedit combos. Is that fair? I really don't know. I'm not a proofreader. But that is what people are charging.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 12:22:15 PM by Crystal_ »

Offline Anna_

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #32 on: April 25, 2016, 12:18:50 PM »
My dearest friend works as a copy editor for one of the big five. I'm going to pass this along to her. Based on these rates, she'll make a fortune going the freelance route. Who needs to slog all those long hours . . .
Beta reading and proofreading services available. Check out my website for more information.
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Offline Ms Earl Grey

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #33 on: April 25, 2016, 12:23:42 PM »
Trad rates tend to be lower than freelance rates. That's often because trad editors have less to deal with in terms of admin and marketing their business (and these things take investment so editors need to earn money to run their business properly). And if you're working properly in-house, in the UK you get things like paid holiday, sick pay, your tax automatically calculated and deducted, pension, training courses, the software you need. Freelancers don't get any of that.

As for long hours, I consistently work ten-twelve hour days and I work weekends (as do many of my editor peers). I work longer hours now than when I worked as a staff editor. Running your own business is hard work.

« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 12:26:47 PM by Ms Earl Grey »

Offline Blique

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #34 on: April 25, 2016, 12:29:57 PM »
I'm pretty darn sure that the time investment for editing pales in comparison to the amount of time I spent writing my books. Believe me, what I'm making per hour from my writing is a lot lower than I'm paying anyone else. Kind of hard to justify spending more, especially since there are a line of people willing to do it at the price I can pay.

By "don't underpay", I mean if someone manages to do a spectacular job despite you paying them less than they're worth, they're doing a huge favor to you and you shouldn't take it for granted. I didn't say you can't go with the cheap route, just expect lower quality and cutting corners in general since they're making less than minimum wage on it and probably care about your book a lot less than you do.

Offline BWFoster78

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #35 on: April 25, 2016, 12:44:41 PM »
By "don't underpay", I mean if someone manages to do a spectacular job despite you paying them less than they're worth, they're doing a huge favor to you and you shouldn't take it for granted. I didn't say you can't go with the cheap route, just expect lower quality and cutting corners in general since they're making less than minimum wage on it and probably care about your book a lot less than you do.

I've actually dealt with a pretty decent number of freelancers at this point, and I have to say that, overall, I've been pretty darn pleased with the quality I've received.

For one thing, I don't think I've ever ran across a single one who didn't seem to care about my book. So far, they all seemed to be trying to do the best job possible for me.

I think, though, the main difference between what I would expect if I paid more and the freelancers I've employed is level of knowledge and experience. My expectation of a really experienced editor is that they know their stuff. I'm not sure that some of the freelancers I've hired know a lot more than I do.

I can live with that, though.

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Offline LindsayBuroker

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #36 on: April 25, 2016, 01:00:22 PM »
I pay in that ballpark for editing. When I first started out and had no money to spend, I went cheap for editing, and I can't even tell you how much I regretted it when I saw the result. I ended up having to pay again for a re-edit.

I've paid over $1,000 for a cover, but that involved hiring a model, designing a costume, a photoshoot, and a custom background illustration (Warrior Mage, if you want to look). I think $700 is fair for a custom illustration. I've been in the $500-$750 range for that. IMO, Photoshop manipulation covers from stock art (which is what a lot of genres can get away with) should be a *lot* less than that unless custom illustrations are worked in. You can run a 99 Designs Contest and get a ton of stock-photo-based designs to choose from for around $300.

I've also never paid more than $150 for interior formatting for a print book. I can't even imagine what's going on there. Even CreateSpace only charges in the neighborhood of $150.

I don't hire the cheapest people I can find. I hire people who run businesses doing what they do and making a living at it. I'll pick the person who does the best job over the person who quotes me the cheapest price every time. But some of these estimates definitely seem off.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 01:02:25 PM by LindsayBuroker »

Offline Maggie Brooke

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #37 on: April 25, 2016, 01:03:13 PM »
I freelance edit in a non-fiction niche market, and I think I'm underpaid. But I put up with it due to its flexibility and the fact that I can do it in my PJs or in between picking the kids up from school. But I'll be honest - I put in the amount of effort that I'm paid. In other words, I do keep my hourly rate in mind when I'm editing. If I'm reaching a very low hourly rate due to running into snags or unwittingly accepting a stinker of a project, yes, I will cut corners. Why wouldn't I? The kicker is that I work for an agency, so what I make is well-nigh half what the client paid. It's really a terrible system, although I don't know how to improve it. In essence, clients are paying $500 but only getting around $250 worth of effort. The only other option is to go into business for myself, but that comes with its own problems. I never deal directly with clients. All I do is edit.

Just telling the unfiltered truth as an editor myself.

I see both sides though. Despite knowing what goes into editing, I will struggle to want to pay it myself someday for my own novel. It hurts to pay people what they're worth, especially since I might not even make back what I put into the editing.

I'm intrigued by paid beta-readers. I might try that approach. I like the notion of getting multiple paid perspectives on my work.

Offline RicardoFayet

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #38 on: April 25, 2016, 01:11:31 PM »
I've also never paid more than $150 for interior formatting for a print book. I can't even imagine what's going on there. Even CreateSpace only charges in the neighborhood of $150.

Just want to clear a few things regarding the book interior design costs again. These are not for standard novel ebook or print formatting. I mean ones in the <$500 ballpark are, but not the ones above. Most authors on Reedsy use the Reedsy Book Editor (https://reedsy.com/write-a-book) to do the formatting and typesetting of the book themselves, for free; or they hire a freelance formatter for <$100.

Now, for a complex print format with drop caps, fancy scene breaks, and more custom features; or for a cookbook or heavily illustrated coffee table book, typesetting costs a lot more and that is what these quotes reflect. We've found that most authors coming to us for interior design were looking for that (not for simple formatting), which skews the prices to the higher end. I have added a couple sentences to the post to mention that.

Offline MMacLeod

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #39 on: April 25, 2016, 01:15:11 PM »
To add my 2 cents, I spent about $225 each on creating my books. I designed covers myself and paid for a critique and proofread at .003 per word.

There is an infographic that is missing here, and that is the one that shows what the "average" self published author earns on a book over its lifetime. It would look like a diagonal line running from $0 to tens of thousands or more (the tall part of that line would be way closer to the zero). More than anything else, I'm afraid it is where we will likely fall on that line that informs how much we "should" budget for all of these wonderful support services. If you have written your first book and have no mailing list, no followers, no advertising- in short, no one except maybe your mother who is lining up to buy your work, spending at this level is risky, and perhaps financially reckless or crippling. Yes, you need an eye-catching cover. Yes, you need a manuscript that is free of errors and pleasant to read. Yes, you can get something adequate for way less than this. And no, spending thousands will not guarantee success.

Once you have a book, or several, to your credit that have earned many, many times these figures, that is when you can consider spending more. It's not that I begrudge a cover designer or a copy editor their living. However, an author also needs to eat. If it takes 55 hours to edit a book, it has probably taken 5 times that or more to write it. That means that unless you can clear at least $4k from your book, after paying for all the design and editing and advertising and everything else, then you as the creator of the work are working for starvation wages. If this is more than a hobby for you, that should not be acceptable, no matter how much any one service "should" cost. Sometimes you have to make do with what you can afford, and sometimes the difference in results between that and the premium services will simply not result in enough sales to pay for it.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 01:21:07 PM by MMacLeod »

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Offline Blique

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #40 on: April 25, 2016, 01:15:36 PM »
I think, though, the main difference between what I would expect if I paid more and the freelancers I've employed is level of knowledge and experience. My expectation of a really experienced editor is that they know their stuff. I'm not sure that some of the freelancers I've hired know a lot more than I do.

Well yes, that's what I meant by quality. If they don't have particular experience with editing, then minimum wage is reasonable, since the quality is low/medium at best.

Cutting corners is more prevalent at the lower price range, though it's not uncommon in anything below minimum wage since, well, people have to eat and all.

Offline lilywhite

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #41 on: April 25, 2016, 01:26:42 PM »
Birds-eye view of today's manuscript. If anyone expects me to do this level of work for 10 bucks an hour, they can move along to the next editor. I won't miss them.

« Last Edit: May 01, 2016, 05:38:26 PM by lilywhite »

Offline Tilly

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #42 on: April 25, 2016, 01:28:57 PM »
Just want to clear a few things regarding the book interior design costs again. These are not for standard novel ebook or print formatting. I mean ones in the <$500 ballpark are, but not the ones above. Most authors on Reedsy use the Reedsy Book Editor (https://reedsy.com/write-a-book) to do the formatting and typesetting of the book themselves, for free; or they hire a freelance formatter for <$100.

Then I would suggest your info graphic and article is misleading. Perhaps you should make it clear that standard fiction book formatting is in the <$100 rather than stating it is >$1,000?

Offline Clara

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #43 on: April 25, 2016, 01:30:23 PM »
The way I see it, Reedsy is selling to a market that's not particularly composed of indies (at least not the "midlist" Indie). Sure, it's fine to target the big ones, but the average Indie? They can't afford that.

I appreciate the guide, it's a really cool initiative and I really like Reedsy, I really do. I think it's an awesome concept driven by awesome people. But maybe Reedsy needs to focus its effort on nailing corporate clients/big indies and not the average indie author. I say this because I actually found my current editor through Reedsy and she did a splendid job. But now I'll have to let her go, because if I keep paying her fees, I simply will never have a return on investment.

It sucks because it might affect the quality of my end product, but the thing is, there's a LOT of capable editors out there who charge a lot less. And one of them will have to do. So the quality of my product won't be that much worse.
 
I feel for editors earning less, but please do keep in mind that most indie authors aren't earning that much either. Also, there's a lot of offer out there and a lot of demand, so things like this will happen. It's actually a chain reaction.

Anyway, maybe my opinion will change in the future, I'm only starting out after all (My first release was in March), but I simply cannot foresee having a profitable business (yet), if I have to pay that much for an edit.
Sadly, it has come to simple financials.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 01:45:12 PM by Clara »

Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #44 on: April 25, 2016, 01:34:07 PM »
If you have written your first book and have no mailing list, no followers, no advertising- in short, no one except maybe your mother who is lining up to buy your work, spending at this level is risky, and perhaps financially reckless or crippling. Yes, you need an eye-catching cover. Yes, you need a manuscript that is free of errors and pleasant to read. Yes, you can get something adequate for way less than this. And no, spending thousands will not guarantee success.

Starting a business is always risky. There's always the chance that it won't pay off. Sure, investing thousands is taking a risk - but a poorly edited novel is almost guaranteed to not sell well. Some writers are so exceptionally talented that they can self edit with minimal investment and still deliver a professional product, but most aren't.

I took the risk and invested several thousand bucks (my life savings) because I knew I had an audience. My series was already online (as free web fiction) long before I got any editors involved, but the more I edited, the more readers I attracted, the more votes I got on topwebfiction, and the more positive reader comments I received. My blog stats multiplied, then multiplied some more. I have absolutely no doubt that my professionally edited ebooks are going to do much better than my self-edited drafts would have.

The way I see it, Reedsy is selling to a market that's not particularly composed of indies (at least not the "midlist" Indie). Sure, it's fine to target the big ones, but the average Indie? They can't afford that.

I'm dirt poor, but I'll invest in a good editor before I buy new shoes or go out with friends. I have two pairs of shoes, both have holes in them. If it rains my feet get wet. I'll do it because I believe in my story, and I believe the investment will pay off. Even if it never does... then at least I've given it my all, and don't have to wonder whether I could have 'made it' if had given it my all.

« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 01:43:04 PM by C. Rysalis »

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Offline Maggie Brooke

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #45 on: April 25, 2016, 01:36:42 PM »
Birds-eye view of today's manuscript. If anyone expects me to do this level of work for 10 bucks an hour, they can move along to the next editor. I won't miss them.



Amen. I edit with the "Simple Markup" viewer in Tracked Changes, but when I switch it to "All Markup" for the client to view, I'm always surprised by how much I've changed. It's a rigorous process to be sure. In my field, I'm also expected to do the lion's share of the formatting, some of which is pretty precise and often gives me conniptions in Word.

Offline BWFoster78

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #46 on: April 25, 2016, 02:04:31 PM »
Starting a business is always risky. There's always the chance that it won't pay off. Sure, investing thousands is taking a risk - but a poorly edited novel is almost guaranteed to not sell well. Some writers are so exceptionally talented that they can self edit with minimal investment and still deliver a professional product, but most aren't.

I took the risk and invested several thousand bucks (my life savings) because I knew I had an audience. My series was already online (as free web fiction) long before I got any editors involved, but the more I edited, the more readers I attracted, the more votes I got on topwebfiction, and the more positive reader comments I received. My blog stats multiplied, then multiplied some more. I have absolutely no doubt that my professionally edited ebooks are going to do much better than my self-edited drafts would have.

I'm dirt poor, but I'll invest in a good editor before I buy new shoes or go out with friends. I have two pairs of shoes, both have holes in them. If it rains my feet get wet. I'll do it because I believe in my story, and I believe the investment will pay off. Even if it never does... then at least I've given it my all, and don't have to wonder whether I could have 'made it' if had given it my all.

I think that you and I appear to be in very different places.

1. I'm unsure as to exactly how much higher quality editing I would get from paying more for editing.
2. I'm unsure as to exactly how much impact higher quality editing would have on the bottom line.

If the message I heard from the successful indies on this board was that I needed to pay top dollar for an editor in order to make sales, that's what I would do. However, that's not really the takeaway that I've gotten from the board. Instead it seems to be, "Make sure that you attain a certain minimum level of quality (that is really hard to define). Once you reach that level, increasing the level of editing only results in minimal gains in sales."

So while you have absolutely no doubts about your course of action, I have a ton of doubts about which path is the best, but based on what I've learned here, I think I'm doing it right.

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Offline katherinef

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #47 on: April 25, 2016, 02:10:35 PM »
I don't care how much I should be paying, because I'm sure no one cares how much they should be paying me for my books. I'm always looking for cheaper editing, but I want quality too. I don't have a manuscript full of errors though, because my betas take care of most of it. Still, I'd rather hire a few cheaper editors than one expensive because I've seen people charging a lot and doing a terrible job, even those who got a lot of praise from other authors (who probably didn't know any better).
De gustibus non est disputandum.

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Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #48 on: April 25, 2016, 02:38:12 PM »
I think that you and I appear to be in very different places.

1. I'm unsure as to exactly how much higher quality editing I would get from paying more for editing.
2. I'm unsure as to exactly how much impact higher quality editing would have on the bottom line.

If the message I heard from the successful indies on this board was that I needed to pay top dollar for an editor in order to make sales, that's what I would do. However, that's not really the takeaway that I've gotten from the board. Instead it seems to be, "Make sure that you attain a certain minimum level of quality (that is really hard to define). Once you reach that level, increasing the level of editing only results in minimal gains in sales."

That wasn't the takeaway I've gotten from this board. What I've seen is threads and posts from Indies who regretted not investing in more thorough editing before their first launch, and threads / posts advising Indies to make their first book the very best they can. I haven't bookmarked any of the latter so I can't dig it up right now, but Lindsay Buroker just posted (in this thread) that she regretted going with cheap editing. And maybe you've seen Andrei's thread: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,233959.0.html

To be fair, I had an advantage in that the results of my editing efforts were directly visible in my blog stats. I could see exactly how many people stopped reading after the prologue, after chapter 1, etc. and my daily view / visitor stats were somewhat informative as well. Over time, my read-through rate after the first chapter went from about 20% to 70%. Visitor stats went from 'could be worse' to HOLY **** WHERE ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE COMING FROM.



This was after I put a thoroughly edited chapter as a guest post on a popular author's blog. The unedited version of that same chapter hadn't been very popular at all. 'It was okay' was about the most positive feedback I received for the unedited version.

I don't know what would work for you, but all of your top reviews for Rise of the Mages mention characters and character development, so that might be something worth addressing with a good content editor.

Olivia Rising | Author page

Offline BWFoster78

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)
« Reply #49 on: April 25, 2016, 02:48:50 PM »
That wasn't the takeaway I've gotten from this board. What I've seen is threads and posts from Indies who regretted not investing in more thorough editing before their first launch, and threads / posts advising Indies to make their first book the very best they can. I haven't bookmarked any of the latter so I can't dig it up right now, but Lindsay Buroker just posted (in this thread) that she regretted going with cheap editing. And maybe you've seen Andrei's thread: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,233959.0.html

To be fair, I had an advantage in that the results of my editing efforts were directly visible in my blog stats. I could see exactly how many people stopped reading after the prologue, after chapter 1, etc. and my daily view / visitor stats were somewhat informative as well. Over time, my read-through rate after the first chapter went from about 20% to 70%. Visitor stats went from 'could be worse' to HOLY **** WHERE ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE COMING FROM.



This was after I put a thoroughly edited chapter as a guest post on a popular author's blog. The unedited version of that same chapter hadn't been very popular at all. 'It was okay' was about the most positive feedback I received for the unedited version.

I don't know what would work for you, but all of your top reviews for Rise of the Mages mention characters and character development, so that might be something worth addressing with a good content editor.

I'm really confused after reading the linked post. The OP in that one states:

Quote
save up some money and have them all professionally edited before publishing. But I was anxious to get my masterpiece out there and arrogant enough to think it's so good that people won't mind a mistake or two. They did!

Now, don't get me wrong: these weren't big issues - just the occasional typo or improper use of grammar tense. But it was enough for some to point them out in what were otherwise good reviews. "Entertaining read with a few little issues" is a three-star review that might have been a four or even five star. A four-star review I got mentioned the fact that "Although I enjoyed the book, I have to ask the author to please fix the spelling and grammar errors in the book. They are distracting to a reader. Find someone or several someone's [sic] who will proofread your work please."

One of us must be interpreting this wrong. I read this as saying, "It's really important to get someone to read over your stuff and make the easy fixes such as the occasional typo or improper use of grammar tense."

I think that most editors who you're paying $.001 to $.003 can catch typos and improper grammar tense.

I thought you and I were discussing if it would benefit you to pay a lot more than that for a better editor.

Did I mis-read something somewhere?

Regarding my book: I definitely would have made different choices had I to do it all over again, but even if an editor would have pointed out the folly in those choices at the time, I'm not sure I was in a place where I would have heeded the advice.

That's another thing about editing - it can't take complete crap into complete awesomeness. It really can only take what you have and improve it.

EDIT: Kind of a case in point on the whole not being ready thing - the very first writing group I went to, a guy told me, "You're not getting inside your character's head." That was maybe the best advice anyone ever gave me, but at the time, I was like, "Huh?" It was a year before I even understood what he meant, and I sometimes read back over stuff even now and go, "Argh. Not in the character's head."
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 02:55:28 PM by BWFoster78 »

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