"All About Editing" or How an Indie Author Made My Day

What Authors Should Expect from Professional EditingLast spring, I received an email from a writer who was looking for an editor for his novel. He’d read my blog post, How to (Almost) Instantly Improve Your Writing, and wrote,

I have to agree with what you said about how writers can’t afford to NOT use a professional editor. Which is why I’d like to know about your services, procedures and prices for editing a full-length novel. . . . My book, The Man of Nightstone, clocks in at over 110,000 words. I really want to make my novel the best that it can be . . . hopefully at a reasonable price.”

After a few email exchanges, we decided to have a telephone conversation. Like most first-time authors who seek professional editing, Devon had many questions about what an editor can and cannot do as well as what an author should and should not expect. Devon had many concerns because he’d previously hired an “editor” and had been burned by broken promises, poor results, and money out the window.

Understandably, he was not in a hurry to repeat that mistake with another editor, yet he realized that he still needed professional help—he just wasn’t sure what type of help. After discussing various options, we decided on a sample edit followed by a full manuscript evaluation.

Writers can't afford to NOT use a professional editor. #IARTG #writetip #indieauthors #selfpub Click To Tweet

I loved Devon’s story, but as I pointed out in his written report, I felt the manuscript needed structural work before he spent more money on line editing. When an author is willing to do the heavy lifting, he or she can save a substantial amount of money by working  with an editor instead of merely handing over a manuscript with the instructions to “fix it.” Devon took my advice and spent the next several months working through the manuscript to fix all the issues I’d brought to his attention, and when I read the manuscript again to do the line edit, all I could say was “Wow, what a difference!”

I completed the line editing. Devon worked through my changes, comments, and queries, and then he contacted me with questions (which I always encourage authors to do—editing should be a collaborative venture, and your editor should be your partner, not your parent 😉 ).

During the time we worked together, I sent Devon several articles I’d read about the benefits of blogging to grow your author platform; he seemed resistant to blogging but offered no explanation as to why.

Last weekend, I got my answer. Devon wrote to let me know that he’d mentioned me in the second vlog post he’d just recorded. Imagine my surprise (and thrill) when I watched this video (which is worth a six-minute investment of your time, but if you just can’t spare that, start at the three-minute mark):

Devon Drake is doing something every author should do: he is embracing the need to market his book in a way that works for him. Blogging isn’t his thing, so he’s figured out a way to connect with his fans using a visual platform and devoting his writing time to working on his next novel.

I encourage you to watch Devon’s first VlogRant, where he discusses Why I Hate Blogging.

And if you’d like to read a free sample of his work, check out Devon Drake’s page on the Independent Author Network, where you can download his free short story, “The Doctor Next Door.” If you’re a fan of urban fantasy and sorcery, you can read an excerpt of The Man of Nightstone here (and after your read that, you’re going to want to keep reading, trust me).

By the way, in case you didn’t watch the vlog post above, here’s a line from the email Devon sent to me when he published The Man of Nightstone that pretty much sums it up:

You’ve taught me a lot about writing and editing, Candace. Thank you.”

What more could an editor ask for?

Happy Writing,


related article: How a Professional Editor Can Help You Get Published: Manuscript Evaluation

Image courtesy of Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.

For more great writing and publishing information, check out Change It Up Editing and Writing Services on Facebook, where I share interesting articles and links about writing and publishing.

11 thoughts on “"All About Editing" or How an Indie Author Made My Day”

  1. WOW! What a wonderful idea and thank you for sharing Devon with us. I keep wanting to do some more video, but writing seems easier. It nice to see people carving out their own niche!

    1. I love how easy Devon makes it look; I might have to give vlogging a try myself! I encourage you to go to Smashwords and read his free Dr. Madangel story (link is in my post)——he’s a good storyteller!

  2. Wow, terrific testimonial by Devon!
    The timing of this post couldn’t be more perfect, Candace. Today I finished reading a book written by an independent author and the editing errors were atrocious. Half way through the novel, it was as though the writer just wanted to hurry up and get the book published, at any cost, including her name because I would never spend money on this writer’s work in the future.
    The word dessert, as in cake, etc. was spelled as desert, three different times! That was one of many errors that had me cringing.
    The author mentioned her editor’s name in the acknowledgements and raved about her. I wrote down the name and plan to check her out on line.
    I believe this author and the editor are doing a disservice to the world of self-publishing. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll purchase another self-published book unless it comes highly recommended by someone I know and trust.
    It’s comforting to know there are editor’s like yourself who are true professionals, Candace. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the kudos, Jill. I’m glad you brought up the point about the editor’s name in the acknowledgments; as readers, we can’t know what type of editing an author pays for, and the editor in question might have been hired for developmental work (and done a fantastic job of helping the author with structure, plot, character development, and other big-picture issues). If the author then decided she’d spent enough money and would rely on a grammar checker and spell checker for line editing and proofreading, readers would likely encounter big problems, as you did, even though the book was “edited.”

      Professional editing isn’t cheap, and if an indie author tries to duplicate the traditional publishing model, those editing dollars add up fast, so I understand why authors are reluctant to spend money on something they believe they can do without. That’s one of the reasons I’m such an advocate for beta readers and other methods that stretch your editing dollars. It’s sad when readers are skittish about indie books because of poor editing in a few, especially since that’s such an easy problem to fix, but I understand your point of view. Let’s just hope the author of the book you read decides to invest in herself and her writing going forward.

  3. This was a great post, Candace. I agree with what Jill wrote above, that too many indie authors are in a hurry to get their work published and skimp on editing services. It also makes me wary of purchasing indie work, unless I’ve established a relationship with the author or s/he comes highly recommended. If I ever reach the completed manuscript stage in my writing, you’ll be my editor of choice.

    By the way – I hope you know I meant “vlogging” in the above comment. Stupid auto-correct. 😀

    1. I’m honored, Gwen, and it’s when, not if, you finish. 🙂
      As more indie authors learn how important it is to have professionals on their team (editors, cover designers, etc.), the overall quality of indie work will continue to improve, and the stigma of self-publishing will become a thing of the past. Many successful indie authors have already figured it out and are reaping the (financial) rewards.

  4. What a glowing review! Can one hope for more? That’s awesome Candace, keep it up. I told you last time that maybe we’ll work on my 2nd or 3rd book due to budget. We’ll do my 2nd. Already making goals over here. Who knows if the movement keeps growing, I may even be contacting you for my 1st. Take care,

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