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The Woes of the Written Word

This post is dedicated to editing. Not how to edit, nor what a wonderful thing a good editor is. Rather it’s about the different styles of editing and how very misunderstood the concept of editing is. I’m far from above making the mistake of misunderstanding it as well, it took several books and years for me to be able to wrap my brain around it. Truth be told, I’m sure I’m still missing out on a lot.

You see I hate typos and grammatical mistakes. They infuriate me because they’re so easy to miss. I assumed, years ago, that by sending out my work to an editor they would magically be corrected. Then I’d get reviews or comments complaining about how my book needed editing. I keep my hair short for many reasons, not the least of which is so that it’s too hard for me to pull it out when stuff like that happens.

The misconception is that all editing is the same. It’s not. All of my books are edited, and nearly 95% of those are done by a third party person as well as myself (and sometime by other parties as well). The third party is the content editor. A content editor is reading the story and looking for it to make sense and to make it flow better. They help revise poorly worded areas and also catch other things that drag a story down or make it difficult to read / understand. These people can truly make a story shine, yet to the average reader they have no idea these people exist or that they aided in the publication of a given story.

Then there’s the copyeditors, or proofreaders. They look for the formatting and typographical errors. Copyeditors are the parade soldiers in dress uniforms that people see. They make a writer and a reader feel like they’re being protected from the barbarian hordes wielding fragmented sentences. In reality, the copy editor has less of an impact on the story than anyone else does, yet their work is the most visible. For me, most of my stories have not been reviewed by a proper third party copyeditor. I admit this and regret it, but when it comes down to managing costs it’s a difficult burden to bear. Instead I try to do my own proofreading (shame on me, I know), and try to sucker anyone else I know to do the same. As time and money becomes available I send stories off to be copyedited, but I write faster than I can afford to edit so it’s a growing backlist.

So my friends, when I say I’m a stickler for editing, I mean it. That doesn’t mean you won’t find superfluous errors with no impact on the story though, it only means the story itself has been polished and shined to be something fun and provoking. I’d love to be able afford to provide both, but that requires more sales. How can you help? Tell your friends what you’re reading and how much you like it – it helps even more if the book your reading is one of mine! Tweet about it, post it on Facebook, blog about it, or write a glowing review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes, Sony, Kobo, or wherever you go it. And keep checking back, I’m always writing the next book – my current project is Black Widow, book four in the Lost Girls series, which I’m hoping to release in August.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

  1. azureboone
    July 12, 2012 at 18:08

    I found the hard truth of this very recently from going through traditional publishing and “seeing” the layers of edits required and being there to approve or question or reject each mark. I was AWED at the process and thought, wow, so this is how they get these books to look perfect. With layered edits. We do the same edits as writers but it’s too much work to catch everything within your own work, unfortunately we HAVE to have the third eye. And unfortunately they all have families to feed. I just self published one and I know there will be things pointed out in it that I missed after going over it TWENTY times. Not kidding. ABC check and all, redundant word list and all. It’s the Indie Publishing price we pay if we can’t afford editing. And certainly not all of us can.

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