Editing Blues

Editing Blues

Editing is tough work. There are days I wish I had the $1000 it costs for a professional edit. Mind you, the $1000 I mentioned was for one pass. I read that a manuscript should have at least two editing passes and one proofread. I would need $2500-$3000 for that.

Face palm. Not happening. Not on my salary.

But wait! There is this wonderful thing called crowd sourced funds. Have I thought of that?

Hell yes, but I receive more of a response when I post on my dead sister’s Facebook page than when I post on my own. Becoming one more languishing project on Kickstarter.com doesn’t appeal to me, especially when there are an unreal number of other people trying to get their writing projects funded. People who need a whole lot more money and stuff than I do.

Professional cover? Check. I designed it myself. You wonderful readers have expressed delight over my cover and my coworker, who designs everything for a biotech trade magazine’s website (the leader in its industry) complimented over it.

So the covers for the next 4 books are good to go. Total cost? Several weekends of my time beating images into submission in Adobe Photoshop (my second love).

Print layout design? Check. I used to layout an insert into the Journal News in Quark Express. What is the Journal News? It’s the newspaper serving the ‘burbs of New York State south of Albany. So yeah I don’t need any help with that.

Sound editing? Check that off too. I used to edit the audio in Audacity (a free tool) for our webinars. One academic with a heavy Russian accent wrote my boss to thank me for making him sound like a native English speaker. I might have gotten a little carried away with the editing.

Over the years I have listened to over 1000+ audio books.  And all that listening gave me an ‘ear’ for audio editing. So I don’t need to hire someone else to do that. But if Bronson Pinchot, Simon Vance or any of my favorite narrators asked to narrate my book, I would drop my DIY efforts in a nanosecond and accept.

That just leaves editing. Financially I have to go with the DIY method. I am carrying way too much debt to add any more. So I will be wearing the editor’s hat and I am trying not to cringe at the thought.

I worked in the editorial department for awhile before landing a position in project management, but I spent the bulk of my time managing the project manager, and all the stakeholders’ expectations.

In grad school, I tried to read the Chicago Manual of Style (the traditional publisher’s bible) and fell asleep on it after a few pages. I aced grad school despite that. (I hold an MS in Publishing for what it’s worth.) Maybe I learned something through osmosis.

I eye my CMS 16 book and consider using it as a pillow. Ow, no thank you. My demanding day job requires actual rest, and pillowing my head on hard objects won’t achieve that.

Thanks for reading my rant.

Are you too struggling with these same things? Are you an editing ace or a grammatical guru with advice to spare or a brain to pick? Have you been down this road before? Do you have road map for success, or reduced insanity?

Do let me know! Commiseration reduces loneliness! We can swap editing tips, reads– whatever–and just maybe, our manuscripts will be all the better for them.

27 thoughts on “Editing Blues

    1. Thank you 🙂 yes the editing part is the hardest one for me. The layout and design not so much since I have experience doing that and my cube mate at work is a very talented designer. I ask her to eyeball my designs. Lately she hasn’t made any suggestions 🙂 But yes, the decision to not get a professional edit was a tough one but my finances won’t allow it. 😦 Thank you for your best wishes.


  1. Oh my dear, oh my dear Mel! I wish I can just give you those dollars!!! But geez! I believe you have all the credentials to wear that editor hat! 🙂 ❤
    I am cheering for you, dear Mel!!!! You can do it!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

    I love the photo, Mel! I believe Photoshop surely deserves to be a second love. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 I hope I can wear that hat and wear it well. I shot that picture right outside my apartment building after a rain storm on Sunday. The peony was white but I tinted it blue and gave it cosmetic surgery in Photoshop 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Melinda.

    Thank you for some extremely useful information. I’m looking into what a professional edit would cost for my own book. Your post gives me more of an idea but I never thought about them charging more for a second or third pass through your novel. I will have to keep that in mind as my budget is tight too. Not to mention, I know after a substantial edit, I want a copy editor to take a pass through the book too.

    For now, working on my own edits in Draft #2. Making sure everything fits and that there is less showing and more telling. As the book went on I got better at it, but the beginning requires heavy editing. I have to research cover and all that too. As well, I was told for a series, I should do all three covers at once by another blogger.

    Editing is hard. I took courses on it, hoping to do an editing certificate. I got about three courses in and said enough. 70% wasn’t good enough to be an editor, you need to catch most or all of the mistakes. Also the final exam was worth 80 to 85 percent of the course so it was difficult. I didn’t feel we had enough practice. I do have the Chicago Manual and you can go online too and they have it. Extremely useful.

    Good luck with publishing and work. Doing both together, seems like it must be difficult and time consuming.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Editors charge either per word or per a set number of words like 1 cent for 10 words etc. Different editing services have different per word costs. Copyediting is more expensive that proofreading. However, the first edit should be a more in-depth edit than a straight up copyedit. A copyedit will not tell you if your plot has a hole in it. Congrats on your draft #2! It’s hard work getting one draft done. I agree that you should do all the covers together for a series, I did. Or you could come up with a conceptual design like i did that’s easily applicable to a new title. I hear you about editing being hard. I am living it. Those green squiggly lines in word are making me doubt my grasp of English grammar and my sanity. Thank you for wishing me luck. I wish you luck too. Keep me in formed of your progress. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing someone else who is struggling through the same hurdles. We can swap tips! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for all the advice and tips. Yes, I will keep you updated and you too. I agree I do really need a substantial editing job first. I think I should be good enough to do proofing, but will need the copy edit. Not sure, was reading a lot last night. And if you could go with a publisher, it might be worth it. But I’m sure that’s difficult and so is getting an agent. Not sure how much an author would end up making as well. So keeping everything in mind at this point, and just trying to get a better draft for whomever ends up editing first round. Thanks Melinda 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Yeah I know they’re a certain kind of letter (the name escapes me at the moment) but I was researching them and what needs to be in them. But they’re extremely important to write well. Not sure about the agent yet, could go self-publishing route, not sure. I will research and work on getting a better draft 2nd draft either way. Hope you have a lovely rest of your week Melinda and your own book is going well. 💕🎈🍰

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yes they are important to write well. There is a blogger on here who writes and sends them off like clock work. He has a blog devoted to his rejection letters. From reading his posts, it seems that rejections come more often than acceptances.

              Liked by 1 person

                  1. Yeah you are right. Even in writing my first draft took a few years. I had to learn how to plan the novel before everything came together and my ideas started flowing. The first few chapters eat a good year and a half. Well best of luck for us both 🙂

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I agree. It didn’t help that I was writing a series. I had to keep shuffling plot lines around until I had them in order. I’d write a draft and then realize that the series can’t start here. Then I’d have to work out what led up to the events in that draft. I’d write another draft and discover that no, the series can’t start here either without chapters of backstory. So back to the draft writing I went. Yes all the best of luck to us both!

                      Liked by 1 person

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