Linda Maye Adams

Going Indie and the Teethpulling of Editing


One of my big sticking points about going indie was the editing. It’s not quite as easy it sounds to actually find an editor. Yet, it is essential because a book can’t be indie published without some form of editing.

The problem is that indie has opened a huge market for it, and specifically in one area: Developmental editing.

That’s when a writer sends their story to the editor and gets comments back on how to revise major elements in the story. If you hear someone say they spent thousands of dollars on editing, this is what they had done.

What I was looking for was copyediting.

That turned out be very hard to find.

I’d ask for recommendations for copyeditors, get a name, and then find out they did only developmental editing and proofreading.

I even went to a con, and there was an editor there, so I got his website and looked it up. I’d liked what he said at the con, but the site was another story – it was very clearly focused on pushing developmental editing onto the first time writer.

I think that’s one of the major issues of why it was so difficult to find an actual copyeditor. Everyone is focused on the first time writer, who needs a lot of help with the basics, and sometimes they forget that not everyone is beginner.

I also think there’s a lot of focus on the fear that many writers have – that they’ll get bad review because the story isn’t perfect. Newsflash – not everyone is going to like a story. It’s just the way it is, and it’s out of the control of the writer.

Anyway, I found the following things that became flags when I checked out an editor:

  • Offered developmental editing but no copyediting. This is kind of like saying, “We’ll tell you how to revise, but the small things are your problem.”
  • Overselling the developmental editing. This said that I was going to be pressured to upgrade to developmental editing.
  • Website under construction. This is always a bad thing to see, but worse for a business that is supposed to be about the details.
  • Too expensive for services. One had a starting point of $150 for short stories. I have 35 short stories of varying lengths, so the math is rather horrifying.
  • Too inexpensive. There were two places where I kind of felt like they weren’t going spend any effort on the copyediting because they charged too little.

I did have a price range that I was thinking of, and also an understanding of exactly what I wanted. I’d taken a class on editing, which wound up being helpful here. The class had us do exercises on editing – some of it was really hard! But it also gave me more knowledge than simply reading a description of the different levels.

Particularly, it helped me with deciding on the ones that were too expensive and too inexpensive.

Anyway, story #2 is in for a copyedit. Cover is below.

Cover for River Flight, showing a woman warrior standing on a cliff overlooking water.

1 Comment

  1. I started a copyediting business last year! I haven’t put together a web site for it yet. However, if you’d like, I’d be willing to do a copyedit on one of your stories. If you’re not interested that’s fine; if you are, please let me know and I’ll send you the particulars.

    Thanks! Liz S.

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