Some new authors think they can't afford to hire an editor. They think they can publish their book just like it is, and maybe work on editing in the next edition. The truth is, you can't afford not to! Your first books are the first time millions of readers will get to know you. Do you want your first impression to be of an author who doesn't know basic grammar rules, or one who doesn't care enough to fix typos? No matter how careful or diligent you are, a second or third pair of eyes is always better when it comes to polishing your book. That doesn't mean you have to drop a fortune on editing services. Here are five things you can do to cut down on your professional editing costs.
Microsoft Word has its own editing tools, but it's as bare-bones as it can be. Begin by investing in at least two more detailed editing apps to give your manuscript some polish. Some of the most popular are:
Text to Speech
Once you've gone through your manuscript a few times, the words will all begin to run together. Some of the more common typos happen because you know what you meant to write, so your eyes see that as the way you've actually written it. Run your chapters through a text to speech converter to allow your laptop to read your words out loud. You'll hear mistakes your eyes never landed on, and they'll stick out for easy identification. Free text to speech programs like Natural Reader or the Word Talk Microsoft Word extension work just as well as the paid programs for your editing purposes.
Word fatigue can cause you to skim over paragraphs you've read multiple times before, never allowing you to see errors that might otherwise stick out. One way to switch up your words is to read your manuscript backward. It sounds odd, but if you read the last paragraph by itself, then the next to the last one, and so on, it breaks up the mental continuity and allows your brain to see the text as a new experience. You'll be able to pick out errors you skimmed over multiple times previously.
Once you've gone over your manuscript multiple times and have made it as clean as possible, it's time to send it out to other people. Gather a group of like-minded people who want to work as beta readers for your book. Use other authors or readers who are very familiar with your book genre. Emphasize that the goal of this exercise is for them to find as many errors as possible, not to spare your feelings. Include instructions on finding plot holes, dangling mysteries, misspelled words, or any other error that might show up in your story.
If you're just starting out and you're truly broke, there might be absolutely no cash in your account you can use to pay an editor. On the other hand, you might have some useful skills you can use to trade for editing services. Are you a whiz at SEO? Can you build websites or create interesting blog posts? It never hurts to ask someone if they'd be willing to make a deal for their services, as long as you explain your circumstances. Who knows? You may find a kindly editor who's willing to edit your first book for free, in exchange for paid editing services for the next two books in your series. Check your social media groups to see who would be willing to make a deal.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!