With the proliferation of places to self-publish your stories, there’s a lot more reading material out there to choose from. Some authors might say marketing is their secret. They know what their readers like and they know where they go to find reading material, and they buy ads to reach them.
But a lot of readers still browse. They flip to the first few pages, the middle, or even the end, to see if a book is worth their limited time to spend reading.
Here’s a refresher of what each type of editing can do to improve your story’s chances to be browsed and bought
A story with gripping characters, interesting plot twists, unique interpretations of favorite tropes. These are all things would-be readers of your story will be searching for. And a developmental edit can make sure your story will meet, or exceed, their expectations.
A well-written story keeps the reader engaged, and doesn’t trip them up with awkward phrasing or sentences with a profusion of confusing ideas. The word choices and subtleties of punctuation sustain an easy reading rhythm and build a tensioned pace to match the story’s action and characters’ feelings. A copy edit can make sure the readers’ experience is smooth and clear of obstacles.
A line edit (which I do in combination with copy editing) strips overused words (some writing advice books call them “crutch” words) which can help streamline narrative and also smooth out the rhythm for the reader.
Not everyone will notice if you used a proofreader, but I highly encourage engaging an editor for this service. Reuploading an ebook file to correct typos may be easy, but it is time-consuming – time that could be spent writing your next book. Also, a lot of readers still buy print books, and if you want to have the widest market reach possible, you want to have paperback copies, at least. However, correcting paperback errors is EXPENSIVE and the already printed ones must be destroyed (lost income) as well as the new books printed and bound.
A single review mentioning that the story was poorly edited (or didn’t appear to have been edited at all) can forever sink your book sales. It’s very difficult to come back from a reputation “on the page” as a sloppy writer. The Pew Research Center in 2011 pointed out that word of mouth (WOM) drives over 90% of sales (64% from friends and family; 28% from online reviews). In the decade since, the online review portion has only increased. To have strong WOM you need to have given the reader a pleasing experience reading your story. If your book has languishing sales, lackluster reviews, and you’re contemplating an overhaul, or want to learn better to do better on your next series, consider a manuscript evaluation.
While hiring an editor is a pre-publication cost, the reputation you will earn as a professional author who cares to produce the best reading experience possible will more than recoup the money through increased sales and great reviews.
I am currently booking September 2022 onward. If you’re looking toward publication in December 2022, you’ll want to reserve a slot in October or November now.