Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quit Asking Your Editor to Work for Free

You've written your book. It took months of bleeding over your keyboard and countless nights wrestling with your characters in your dreams. You've created a masterpiece. You know it in your gut.

But people keep telling you they see flaws in your material. It isn't good enough for publication. Rejection letters are flowing in. The agent at the conference turned you down.

They've told you to hire an editor.

And "every excuse in the book" forms in your mind. You can't hire an editor because:
  • They'll tell you to change things.
  • They'll rewrite your story.
  • They'll criticize you.
  • They'll change your voice.
  • They'll ... they'll charge you money you don't have. After all, nobody's knocking on your door to hand you an advance.
Too often, authors think that editors should work for free. Or at least at a discounted rate.

Which leads me to ask you this:
Do you want an editor to do less than their best work on your manuscript?

If you answered no, then consider why you would ask them to work for a discount or free.

Corporations pay big dollars to contractors so that they can build on strong foundations. They want their offices and factories to stand against the storms that will likely blow their way.

Women pay plastic surgeons large amounts of money to fix their blemishes because they want someone who is going to make them look good. Not screw up their face.

Students pay colleges very costly tuition fees to teach them what they need to learn in order to go on to a successful career in their field of study. They want to find a rewarding career, not flip burgers for the rest of their lives.

Authors should be willing to pay their editors top dollar to make their work salable, as well.

Quit asking your editor to work for free. Don't expect your friend to edit your book for you just because they're your best friend and they happen to work as an editor. Don't expect the freelance editor you just met at conference to fix your errors for you out of the kindness of her heart. The workman is worthy of his wages. Jesus said so.

If you want your work to be the best that it can be, then sacrifice your mocha for a few months and pay your editor instead.

Or buy yourself a bunch of books on craft and editing and learn how to do it yourself.

Because you'll need to do what it takes if you want to get your book published.

1 comment:

  1. As a writer, I have offered to help others and have edited one full manuscript. After going through that one, I realize why editors charge what they do! They're worth it!


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