Authors Setting Themselves Up for Failure By Not Getting Editing Help

An ongoing debate on some Facebook author groups is the need for editing. There tends to be two camps – those who argue for the need for outside editing and those who say it’s not needed. Often, the anti-editing camp calls the pro-editing group elitists while ignoring the most important group out there – readers. The basic fact is you need editing. There are free, cheap, and expensive editing options available. However, you get what you pay for and free is not always the best answer. I haven’t tried this site –, but a fair number of authors use it.

With 1,021,333 critiques served for 174,049 works, and 3,836,740 posts in 131,440 threads in our writing forums.

I understand not having the money to hire a professional editor as I can’t afford an editor, but don’t be surprised if you don’t get your book edited and you don’t sell a lot of books and/or get bad book reviews.

Turtledove writes alternate history books. He is traditionally published by a major publisher, but his books are so full of typos, grammar errors, and other issues, a new reader might think he was self-published. My suggestion to Turtledove is to hire your own editor as you are disrespecting your readers by allowing your work to be published in the state that it has been published for a long time.  He’s also disrespecting himself by allowing such poorly edited work to be published. I don’t normally recommend a basic spell-check, but that would catch a fair amount of Turtledove’s typos; it would miss a lot, but it would probably cut the typos by half. The publisher is relying on the large diehard fanboys/girls who pre-order the hardback editions and later buy paperback and eBook versions of the books.

Another point missed by the anti-editing crowd is the fact writing is a business. That’s true if you are self-published, independently published, or traditionally published. In all cases, there are expenses you should expect and include in your budget. That also includes marketing as most traditional publishers are not going to do much marketing for their new authors. There are plenty of free and cheap marketing options available. In a recent Kickstarter campaign, a creator wanted to know how much to spend on Facebook ads. I suggested not spending money on ads as the campaign was 6 days old and at 90% funded with 24 days to go. For authors, e-mail lists are a much better way and you can get often have up to 2,000 on your list before you have to pay for the e-mails. Combined with social media posting, it’s hard to beat free marketing.



About ICT Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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