What is an Edit?

Many new writers have an incorrect idea of what an edit consists of and what edits they need. Not only how many edits but what does each edit accomplish. You as an author soon realize where your strengths and weakness lie.

When I started out I thought editing consisted of all three types of edits rolled into one. In plain speak I thought Developmental editing...Line Editing, and Copy editing went together like a good bourbon and an excellent cigar. All three edits for a low price under the  auspices of book editing.

Unforunately that is not true.

Each editing often comes with a price tag. The most expensive is Developmental editing. For my first book I paid a well known editor $1,850.00 to give me a fifty page report on the strengths and weaknesses of my novel.

Was it worth it? Yes and no. Yes... in the sense I learned rather quickly what my strengths and weaknesses were and I could always go over the fifty page report to fix potential errors. No... in the sense it cost me $1,850.00 to be told what I should have learned by myself. I did save time on the learning curve.

What about Line Editing and Copy editing?

Let me talk to you as if you were a son or daughter. I hope that is OK with you. Finding a good editor is crucial to your success. Why do I say that?  Let me list some reasons why.

• Finding mistakes in a 90,000 word novel is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Did you ever hear that from your parents or grandparents? No matter how many stinking times you go through your novel mistakes are still there. I edited my first novel (55) times, had my lawyer wife edit it, a good friend and a graduate of Notre Dame edit it, I paid for two editors to edit it and still found eight punctuation errors. This caused me to have my formatter reformat my book three times for money lost.

• Editors make mistakes!

•Take this as my opinion only:) Most editors want half money down or want the whole amount before they begin. DO NOT DO THIS.

We have been taught by people who have a skill as an editor that they control the money. I have paid editors ahead of time and they have done a CRAPPY job. Somehow they think they can do a crappy job  because they put in the time and effort. They think they should get paid no matter how much they mess up your book and you and I are left holding onto a bag of excrement.


My formatter doesn't get paid until I see the completed project, my cover artist does not get paid until I'm completly happy with my cover, my audio narrator does not get paid until I'm completely happy with his narration. This is the complete truth.  This is my team. I love them and they love me. We help each other become the best we can become. We are friends!

Work out a plan with an editor. One chapter at a time or two chapters at a time or the whole book completely edited, but donot pay them until you are completely happy. Do you understand my children?

• I have written and published three novels and my fourth is in the editing process. Yes I actually edit my own books many times before I send it to an editor.


 If you are a writer you also must be an editor. Learn the skills of an editor. This will save you money.

• Do I use any software? 

Of course! I may be a retired Marine but I have a brain:).

I use Grammarly and Wordtune to edit before I Line and Copy edit.

These two programs get me in the ballpark with fewer errors. Grammarly also keeps tabs on the words I have wriiten while writing my novel. Each novel comes in over one million words written.

• Finding a good editor is like finding that perverbial needle in the haystack. Keep at it. If someone edits one chapter and its bad...tell them no thank you and move on until you find a good one. If they won't do this tell them to hit the road. Explain to the editor that you want him or her on your team and they will make money if they edit for you.

The following infogram is done by Amelia an editor who wrote an article for ALLi (join this organization I don't get a penny for this recommendation). She must be quite talented!

Until we meet again. Happy trails to you!