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Discussion Starter #1
Judging by how fast many of you produce your work it would appear that many of you self-edit as you go along.

I'm very interested in your editing process.

If you edit by yourself, can I ask why you do that?

Do you feel that your work could benefit by having an objective outside editor looking at the things you write?
 

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This looks like a volatile subject... But pace doesn't necessarily have to do with self editing. My editor takes 10 days to correct my manuscript. If I could have written 50-100K a month (and God, how I wish that would be the case), the editor wouldn't be the one to hold my pace back. In fact, it probably improves the publishing rate, as while a manuscript is being edited, you can work on a different manuscript.
 

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NothingsShocking said:
Judging by how fast many of you produce your work it would appear that many of you self-edit as you go along.
Not many, from what I've seen. People allow for editor turnaround in their schedules.

I'm very interested in your editing process.
I reread multiple times with a different focus each time, make outlines, etc. I feel like this is a baiting question, because nothing is ever going to be good enough.

If you edit by yourself, can I ask why you do that?
Money. My book has grossed $60. Editing a 120k book at 7 cents a word is rather more than $60, and rightfully so.

Do you feel that your work could benefit by having an objective outside editor looking at the things you write?
That's patently obvious. Don't you think it would be easier and safer to have a chauffeur than to drive yourself? Why on earth wouldn't you? Don't you care about your writing?!? Sigh...

When I can afford editing, I will be first in line. It is simply not an option that is available to me at this time.
 

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I edit my own books because I was a professional newspaper editor for years. Of course, that doesn't make me perfect, but I feel like I'm qualified at the very least. A couple of people usually read my books before they're published, and they'll pass on any typos they find, so I do have some outside eyes looking at my work too.
 

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This topic always goes bananas.

Many of us self-edit with another set of eyes to look for typos. That can be a copy editor, a beta reader, etc. There are tools you can use, Autocrit, Grammarly, etc. to run your work through to make it stronger. You can take time away, print it out, read it backwards, have your computer read it to you etc.

Everyone has to make a balance between what their books are going to earn vs the expenses they incur to publish it. Most authors work up to paying top dollar for outside editing, some never do because their books sell well without the extra expense.

Basically, there's no right or wrong answer. Until you try it, and get some reader feedback or other author feedback, you won't know if you have the chops to self-edit your book. That doesn't mean you can't ever get to where you can self-edit, it may just mean you need to learn more about writing craft. Having an outline ahead of time to make sure your major story beats are strong can save a ton of heartache later when you find out your middle drags.
 

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My process is to write everyday but edit yesterday's work to get me back into the groove before moving forward. By the time I am done with my rough draft I have edited at least twice.

My next process is to read through the manuscript, looking for holes in the plot, major changes, flaws, better explanations, maybe cutting back on too much description, etc. I find there are things I might need to rearrange.

When this is done, I'll go through it line by line polishing things up about 2-3 times. Line editing may turn into some rewrites here and there. I tend to cut back and take things out more than I add. I'll find places where i duplicate. For instance, I may say:

John grew angry with the latest news. "Dammit. That son-of-a-b*tch."
"Calm down," Frank said, trying to prevent John from coming unglued.

Then I can do this:

John grew angry with the latest news yelled, "Dammit. That son-of-a-b*tch."
"Calm down," Frank said. trying to prevent John from coming unglued.

To get me:

John yelled, "Dammit. That son-of-a-b*tch."
"Calm down," Frank said.

For me most of my edits are to reduce unnecessary clutter and repetition prior to outside editors. I cut my 2nd book 4,000 words between the rough draft and final copy. I'll cut full paragraphs sometimes if I think it may not fit.

Then I send my manuscript to an editor who goes through it line by line. As a first time reader they will open your eyes to things you may oversee. Things they will pickup on are pronoun usage. As a writer you know who is doing what but as a first time reader it may not be so clear, so you may need to make sure it's absolutely clear who, or what, is doing the action. Every single line needs to make sense and move the story along. They'll pick up on typos. For instance. I read through my manuscript 5 times and still didn't pick up on the fact that someone was trying to get "cell surface" and not "cell service". Someone also was trying to "Peer through the think bushes" and not "thick bushes." We tend to read what we know it's supposed to say. I even had written that there was a "cold due blanketing the ground" and not "dew".

Although consciously we know how to spell, there are things the writer will simply oversee.

My editor will offer suggestions, line by line. I can either accept or decline. Maybe they'll say things like "You don't need to mention this here, because you already did in the previous chapter."

Once I make the changes I wish to make, I resend it and then they go through it one more time. Picking up on typos, seeing if the changes worked well, and if they may have missed anything else.

Once this is done and I make changes, I thank them and then sit down and read through it a last time. Then I'm done. ;)
 

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Yeah, this is a volatile subject. But what the heck - I'll dive in! For those who say, "I don't hire an editor because I don't have the money," have you considered that you don't have the money because you didn't hire an editor? A book rife with typos and grammatical errors is unlikely to become a hit. It's a "chicken and egg" problem.
 

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My process is almost exactly like Steven's, but I go through two beta readers before the editor, then I have a beta reader who proofreads, and then it goes out for a final proofread.

I've been thinking, though, of cutting out the line editor. I'm seeing diminishing returns on the investment. My first couple books really benefitted, but the latter ones are coming back with more changes that I reject than accept. (I mean, there are fewer changes overall, so the ones I disagree with are now a higher percentage of them.) I'm not sure though if it's because I'm doing a better job line editing myself before it gets to the editor (I do try to learn from what the editors do) or if it's because of the editors themselves. The first couple of books were with a publisher; my editor there was great. The next two books, I used different freelancers for each--and it's just difficult to tell if they're less thorough or if I've improved thanks to my first editor. I have a book set to go to a whole new editor in March, and that's going to be the point where I decide whether the line editing still has value for me, or if I'd be fine just doing one more pass on the manuscript myself.

(I do have to say that one nice thing about having a line editor (and then a proofreader) is that I'm paying to not have to do that one more pass, which frees me up to work on more projects. I think the idea that self-editing lets you produce more faster is a little off: you produce more faster when you have someone else poring through your draft for problems. That's slow, tedious work!)

On the other hand, I've been considering trying a developmental editor because at this stage I'm more confident of my prose than I am of story, so if I do drop line editing, it will be to switch to a different type of editing service.
 

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"Judging by how fast many of you produce your work it would appear that many of you self-edit as you go along."

Indeed. I try to keep everything grammatically correct as I go. But I am not fast. Writing is easy for me, plotting is like walking in mud, so I have time to read through and correct what I have done so far.

"I'm very interested in your editing process."

See above, plus multiple reads through, plus extra editing for problem sections that don't work.

"If you edit by yourself, can I ask why you do that?"

Have no desire to pay for something I can do better myself.
Throughout my career(s) I have never found anyone who can do better then me what I need done.
From mixing a good drum sound to taking a photograph that satisfies the brief.
No reason to believe things will be any different with writing.

"Do you feel that your work could benefit by having an objective outside editor looking at the things you write?"

Not really. First of all, nobody is objective. Because of that I only seek input that will reinforce my opinions, I never seek out opinions that differ from mine.
It's not simply a matter of ego, it is also because, for me, writing is not a group activity. It is me versus the world. It is the exact opposite of almost every other human endeavor. It is the only thing I own completely.
Of course when it comes to the business of writing I am complete putz. That's why I hang out here. :)
 

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The only self-editing I do is pre-Beta readers. Then off to the editor it goes for line editing/proofreading. My big thing about getting books out fast though is that my editor is BUSY. I contacted her in January and she doesn't even have an opening for me until the middle of June! Of course I took the spot before someone else snagged it, but I'm amazed at people that not only hire editors but whose editors have space to for them in right NOW. Which allows them to write and publish books in say 2 or 3 months. And I wouldn't change my editor for the WORLD. I love her. I am willing to wait. It just gives me time to get started on my next book.
 

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For those who self-edit. Editing is like writing, there's never really a price one can say definitively it's going to be great.

Here's a list of mistakes made in early editions of the Harry Potter series. These are books that went through probably multiple rounds of editing.

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Mistakes_in_the_Harry_Potter_books

None of the typos or mistakes killed the fanship. Story is supreme. And certainly, too many mistakes and issues will kill the reading experience. But a book that is published with about the same tiny number of mistakes as a trad pub book is probably going to be just fine out there in the wild.
 

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Stephanie Marks said:
My big thing about getting books out fast though is that my editor is BUSY. I contacted her in January and she doesn't even have an opening for me until the middle of June!
I always schedule my editors well ahead of time. Having that deadline works really well for me. Sometimes I'm burning the midnight oil to get the final draft ready to meet that deadline; other times I have the manuscript finished with plenty time to spare. But if I didn't have the deadline, I'd meander. I'd get fewer books done. I know a deadline like that freezes some people up, but for me it guarantees my productivity. It's good in another way too: there are always other projects I want to be working on, and instead of saying, "Well, as soon as I finish this one..." I can say, "March 1st! March 1st I get to start the new book!"
 

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If you edit by yourself, can I ask why you do that?

I've been an editor and writer for 19+ years. My craft is at the point where I write mostly clean copy.

Do you feel that your work could benefit by having an objective outside editor looking at the things you write?

For copy editing and proofreading, certainly. Few writers can proof their own work and expect to catch every typo. Some can, though.

But for developmental editing or substantive editing or the like? No. No editor is going to know my stories and worlds as well as I do and what they'll have to offer are opinions at best. I'd rather save the time and money and leave the opinions to my readers.
 

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I self-edit as I go.

I try to get most of the themes and the actual story in one go, so I don't ever 'edit' in the structural sense. I only edit in terms of sentence structure and word choice and the like.
 
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This definitely feels like a bear bait question.

Editing by yourself is done in the full knowledge that you will miss errors and other obvious faux pas but, on the other side I have used several editors who just don't get the way I write and I'm not paying $500 - $600 a pop for one who fails to see my writing as okay. This isn't stupidity, or arrogance, or anything that you will immediately want to label in some derogatory fashion, but just my style of writing isn't everyone's cup-of-tea. My beta readers and my wife catch the obvious stuff, otherwise I just keep editing until I'm happy with it myself. I do use Grammarly, and other online checkers to help identify problems, but not until I'm about to publish.
 

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Z. Rider said:
I always schedule my editors well ahead of time. Having that deadline works really well for me. Sometimes I'm burning the midnight oil to get the final draft ready to meet that deadline; other times I have the manuscript finished with plenty time to spare. But if I didn't have the deadline, I'd meander. I'd get fewer books done. I know a deadline like that freezes some people up, but for me it guarantees my productivity. It's good in another way too: there are always other projects I want to be working on, and instead of saying, "Well, as soon as I finish this one..." I can say, "March 1st! March 1st I get to start the new book!"
Ah, see that makes sense. As I get more into the groove of things I may just give that a try!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
For those of you that thought my question was trying to provoke or bait people - it really was not.

I am just under the impression that a lot of people do not use a professional editor.  I just wanted to know why not.
 

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I write the novel fully before doing about a thousand rounds of self-editing.  :D I have a great checklist that Just Ink Press gave me and my own list of personal banned/crutch words that I comb though my manuscript to weed out. Then it goes to two or three editors for "real" editing. I'm not confident enough to do it without an editor at this point. A second and often third set of eyes is invaluable to me and right now it's what I need to do to put out a solid product. I really enjoy the whole process; editing is almost as fun as writing for me and it teaches me a ton, so I don't mind taking a little more time and paying a bit more money to further my education.  :)
 
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