Ten Tips for New Authors: #3

#3 Hire an editor. Maybe even two.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard “I can’t afford an editor.” Being the notorious cheapskate that I am, I did the same thing when I released my first book. And I lost many, many loyal fans over it. The story was thrilling, but the art was so damaged by the mistakes that many people returned the books, or worse — decided to not buy my future books.

That one action has probably hurt my career more than anything else. Your brain will replace wrong words with right ones, tricking you into leaving those words on the page. Its a subtle, cruel, evil thing, but it happens to all of us. Anyone that says that they do not need an editor is lying. I learned this the hard way. Trust me when I say, you can’t afford to NOT hire an editor.

Everyone needs an editor. I eventually hired a fabulous woman named Rebecca Eagleton. She’s a member of a group that I frequent, kindleboards.com (her user name is Rebecca Jane) and she does incredible work. She also is very inexpensive, which made the scrooge in me very happy.

And to those of you thinking, “I’ll have my mom/sister/uncle/brother/best friend read the story…” DON’T. Please, for the sake of your family and friendships, don’t go this route. They will never be as harsh with you as they need to be. You need the brutal honesty that only a paid professional can give. Of the friends and family that I’ve given my books to, none of them have come even close to finding 10% of the mistakes that the editor found.

I’ve since republished that tarnished work, and it has slowly taken off again. Do yourself the favor if you want to make a career out of writing: hire an editor. Whoever you hire, make sure that they are willing to do a sample chapter and get references. You don’t want to pay someone $1/page on a 500-page manuscript just to discover that they left half of the typos in.

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