I don’t use one myself, never have and never…well, let’s not be stupid – I’ll use an editor as soon as I have enough damn money for one. And to get enough damn money for one I’ve got to sell a shit-ton more books than I am now.
Ah, the Catch-22. I remember writing about that way back when I was putting out my 7th book. Oh how green I was!
Those days are like distant memories now, so many months ago were they. I know a lot more. In fact, I know so much that I know I don’t know that much.
But I get results…just not sales. So maybe I need an editor. Great. But does everyone need an editor?
- Stephen King didn’t think so, not with the Dark Tower Series, which he said were never edited, as you can read in the October 2014 Rolling Stone issue.
- How about someone like John Updike, who wrote the Rabbit Series, two of which won the Pulitzer Prize? He claimed that most of what he wrote were first drafts.
- Hugh Howey is another big name, one you’ll hear many self-published authors hold up as the way to go. I’m pretty sure he wrote his break-out novel Wool in one month during NaNo and then did his own self-editing on it.
Now maybe later all these guys went and got some editing work on their books at some point, and I’m sure they did. But that still doesn’t erase that glaring problem that you have, and that’s the fact that you don’t have a lot of money for editing, but you do have a damn lot of time to write books.
That’s why I think beta readers are key. I’ve asked for beta readers on this site before, and I’ve gotten absolutely zero response from that.
And I have to admit, I’m a bit leery of getting beta reading work from people in writing forums, many of whom just decided to be a writer and many of whom will burn out in a matter of months or years or whatever. Hell, maybe I’m one.
So I trudge on and struggle and any money I have isn’t put toward editing, but toward eBook covers – to hell with marketing. But back to editing.
“Try to develop steady work habits, maybe a more modest quota, but keep to it,” Updike told Writer’s Digest in an interview that ran two months after his death in 2009. That’s good advice.
You’ll see a lot of writers get accused of not editing their works after they become successful – Anne Rice, Tom Clancy…they’ve got quite a good discussion on the Straight Dope message boards, for anyone so inclined.
It’s just that there’s so many voice out there decrying writers editing their own work. Jeff Goins has quite the vocal dissent, and I can’t help but feel the more someone shouts against something, the more it’ll get done. Or does that just apply to drugs?
Some writers do self-editing so long that when they get the chance to just be done with it once and for all, they jump at it. Amanda Hocking is a good example of this, and this excerpt from the January 2012 issue of the Guardian tells it well:
But what about the nine years before she began posting her books when she wrote 17 novels and had every one rejected? And what about the hours and hours that she's spent since April 2010 dealing with technical glitches on Kindle, creating her own book covers, editing her own copy, writing a blog, going on Twitter and Facebook to spread the word, responding to emails and tweets from her army of readers? Just the editing process alone has been a source of deep frustration, because although she has employed own freelance editors and invited her readers to alert her to spelling and grammatical errors, she thinks her ebooks are riddled with mistakes. "It drove me nuts, because I tried really hard to get things right and I just couldn't. It's exhausting, and hard to do. And it starts to wear on you emotionally. I know that sounds weird and whiny, but it's true.”
I can’t help but think this when I continually read article after article saying you need editing. Yeah, I get it, but you know what, maybe I’m not in the same economic class as you, maybe I never recovered from the recession, or maybe I’m not trying to balance writing and work, I’m doing one full-tilt to the exclusion of all else.
So that’s how I feel, and that’s why I don’t do any editing. What should you do? I have no idea, but good luck doing it!