Self-Publishers: Research Your Copy Editor!

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Updated: December 8, 2020

I have reviewed quite a few self-published authors’ books of late and I must say there is some wonderful talent out there who deserve more widespread recognition!  It’s a shame that finding an agent and a publisher is such difficult work and that rejections are so very plentiful – which is hard on the ego – when all you want to do is write and be read.

There is a reason why some authors don’t find publishers and turn to self-publishing (there are hundreds if not thousands of self-publishing companies now at your disposal via the Internet.  I used Lulu.com for my collection of poetry and lyrics entitled Eden Refugee, in 2008, and I carefully copy edited and proofread it numerous times myself).  Some authors are either not a strong enough writer, their work is cliché, or the copy editor they hired to proofread and edit their manuscript was a fraud.

If there is anything that can deter a reader/reviewer when reading your book, it is a sloppy editing job.  I truly believe that all self-published authors should be very careful about who they hire to edit their manuscripts. I’ve been reading some that have supposedly been edited by professionals and I’m sorry to say, they’re not! They’re a mess and that’s very embarrassing for the authors who I am sure only want to present their work to the public in the most professional manner possible.  After all, they are asking you to buy it and for most of us, books are a luxury item these days.

I have been paid to edit everything from novels to non-fiction books, websites to Ph.D. theses, and it is a time-consuming process.  I don’t have a university degree, but I do have two college diplomas and I worked as an administrative assistant/legal assistant for over 25 years which involved extensive editing and proofreading in almost all my jobs.  I have worked as a freelance copy editor for the past 12 years for PublishandPromote.ca and just started my own copy editing business, Bodacious Copy.  Not to toot my own horn, but I have a good eye for details (when I’m not tired) even though I have made mistakes, as we all do (believe me, I’ve caught numerous mistakes in books published by major publishing houses), and we can be prevented from doing our best work by the author’s budget.  However, if someone is giving you an editing deal that seems too good to be true for the price, it’s probably because it is.

I strongly urge writers who want to become self-published authors to do their research when it comes to hiring a copy editor.  Request a PDF copy of your potential copy editor’s University English degree, specialty editing diploma, or relevant qualifications before you hire them!  If they are legit, they should have no problem proving that they are.  If they are not, you’ll smoke them out in no time and save yourself time, money, and much mortification.

Happy writing!