Are you paying for book editing too early?
If you're writing a book, you want it to be perfect. Perfectly edited, perfectly formatted, perfectly designed. But what about perfect for your audience? Read on to find out why you might not want to pay for perfection just yet.
Is it ever too early to pay for book editing? Yes! In my opinion, it's too early if you haven't shared drafts and received feedback from early readers. This process is of incredible value for several reasons.
Early readers can help you edit. Not spell check, or move commas around (though some like to do that), but ask smart questions like, Is Marie and Marie-Lizette the same person? Are you sure cedar trees grow in Morocco? Why does the price of Bitcoin go up when the government prints more money? Can this really happen or are you trying to inject a bit of magical realism here?
A good structural editor (expensive!) may catch these and other problems, but a copyeditor might not.
And besides, when you share your early drafts with readers, they get to help you "fix" issues, and this is how they begin to feel connected with you as a person and invested in the success of your book. Because, after all, they helped you write it, right?
If you're a perfectionist, this mindset shift might be very difficult to overcome. I want to urge you to try.
If you're not a perfectionist, but just want to get your book edited and published so you can move on to the next one, I want to urge you to wait.
Because when you share early drafts of your manuscript you get to:
- address any issues early, and for free.
- involve your readers in the process of writing your book.
- prove that your book will sell.
- build a marketing street team of readers who will give you five-star reviews on launch day.
I'm not trying to put editors out of business. Quite the opposite. When an editor has a book that readers have already approved they can concentrate on making it even better without getting bogged down by plot holes and dropped themes and researching whether cedar trees grow in Morocco. Editors want to help you create better scenes, layer in dialogue and sensory detail, and smooth out your prose.
And the simple fact is, if you've already paid for editing, you'll be less likely to want to make changes to your book. Consequences? Yes. This can create a cascade of disappointments - launching to silence, getting few reviews, reviews that cite issues in the story or presentation of information, and becoming discouraged, to name a few.
Early readers, even when they're critical, especially when they're critical, are showing you they're engaged and that they like the book enough to read all of it and give you feedback. Mind you, these need to be actual readers of your genre, not your mom and your brother-in-law, but people you find in forums or on social media, in business groups or book clubs.
There are all kinds of ways to find and engage early readers. Ideally, you'll develop a process - a foundational system of tech to enroll them in your program, automatically deliver your manuscript, and keep in contact with them using email autoresponders. (Including that special autoresponder series that remind them to review your book on Amazon on launch day!) Foundational tech systems help you handle and track (and simplify) your book marketing and launch activities.
So... about getting editing too soon. Hit reply and let me know, are you sharing your stories and book drafts with early readers? Were you thinking about getting your book edited before sharing? Did you already? I want your stories!
PS: Hey, I've got a free training on the basic tech foundation setup for authors who want to automate their email marketing, manuscript, and ARC delivery system. I hope you enjoy it!
Enrollment for the Five-Star Book Launch Masterclass is closed. Catch it next time!