Self-Publishing an eBook: Part 2 – Editing the Book

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

Once you’re done writing the rough draft, it’s time to start thinking about editing your book. In this process, you’ll fine-tune its flow, add or remove text, and get it ready for publishing. How you go about doing this, though, is completely up to you.

Because there are several different paths you can take.

In my case, I went with the cheapest methods possible as I don’t have a lot of disposable income to pay for professional book editors. Still, it’s something I will absolutely consider for future books.

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Is Editing Your Book Vital to Success?

In today’s online-driven world, is editing necessary to support the success of your book? If you want to turn writing into a career and promote yourself as an author, then yes.

Even as a blogger, I often get people who point out the slightest errors. And if you try to publish an eBook that has several mistakes, people are going to point them out.

Bad grammar and misspellings can lead to poor ratings, a lack of trust by the reader, and ultimately hold back what could be an otherwise good read.

Not to mention the fact that using your book as part of your portfolio can influence future publishers in how they perceive you as a professional.

Now, there is really no such thing as a perfectly written and edited manuscript. In fact, I’ve seen published books by major houses that had a few mistakes here and there.

But the closer you get to perfect, the better.

Thanks to the Internet, you can actually find quite a few manuscript editing services that won’t break the bank. Just make sure you’re hiring someone who is worth the investment.

5 Methods for Editing Your Book on the Cheap

Proper manuscript editing can be quite expensive. Some people will charge per page while others have flat fees. So, what kind of editing can you do for cheap when it comes to your book?

It depends on what you believe is “cheap.”

Below is how I edited my first book. It remains to be seen if this was successful or not. So, I’ll update this post when I have more data to support how well this worked.

In any case, perhaps it’ll give you some ideas for your own book.

1. Having a Friend Who Is an Avid Reader

Another set of eyes is helpful whether you’re blogging or writing an eBook. This is because of how difficult it is to edit your own work. Having someone else give your content a once-over can help you catch all kinds of grammatical and spelling errors.

It’s incredibly difficult to edit our own work simply because of how our brains work. Though, if you give it a few days or even weeks, you’ll find all kinds of mistakes when you proofread the piece again.

In this instance, your friend can help you catch errors while also acting as a beta reader.

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2. Find Beta Readers

Beta readers are people who will read your book, usually for free, to help you find errors as well as figure things out like continuity. If your book doesn’t make sense to them, you may want to make adjustments.

In many ways, beta readers act as a test audience for movies and television shows. The purpose is to establish if the plot and flow of the book are well-written and liked by the majority.

A lot of beta readers will work for free, but it’s not a bad idea to give them a free copy of your book once it’s published.

3. Feeding the Manuscript through Grammarly

When you don’t have the money for editing services, there’s nothing wrong with putting your manuscript through online services such as Grammarly. Even the free version can find all kinds of things you may want to consider changing.

Of course, you’ll get a far better report if you upgrade to the premium services.

The point of this, though, is to catch some of the most glaring mistakes that will get past your friend or beta readers. Just keep in mind that no editing system is absolutely accurate, this includes hiring freelance book editors.

4. Read the Manuscript Aloud

One of the most effective methods of editing your book is to read it out loud. Though, this might be time-consuming.

When writing my audiobook, Despair, on YouTube, reading it aloud lets me find all kinds of grammatical and spelling mistakes. In some cases, it’ll also help with finding faults in the flow of the story.

Ever since uploading those videos, I treat almost every piece of content I write like a YouTube video script. And it’s helped out in profound ways.

5. Proofread Your eBook Before and After Editing

Even after your friend, beta readers, and grammar-checking app have gone through the book, proofread it again. Remember, you want the book to look as professional as possible.

Now, you don’t want to spend the next five years editing your book. That’s just a bit obsessive. But there is something to be said about being diligent in producing the best work you possibly can.

In the end, it’s all under your name. Deliver a quality eBook that people will praise and share with friends and family by taking steps to fully edit and fine-tune your work.

Grammarly Grammar Checker

Finding Professional Book Editors

If you do have the money to put towards professional book editors, they are quite abundant on the Internet. Just keep in mind you’ll easily spend a few hundred dollars depending on the length of your manuscript.

For example, eBook Launch is a full-service website for authors. Let’s say we have a book with 112,000 words.

eBook Launch would charge you:

  • $1,904 for Line Editing
  • $1,736 for Copy Editing
  • $840 for Proofreading

In the end, you’ll spend $4,480 just on the entire editing process alone. That’s quite a bit for a book that may or may not sell. Now let’s say you sell your book for $7.99 as a 150-page paperback on Amazon.com through KDP for print-on-demand books.

You would have to sell 2,094 copies just to make up for what you spent in editing. Unless you have one hell of a marketing strategy in place to sell a lot of copies, it could be a very long time before you actually see a profit.

This is taken directly from KDP’s own Royalty Calculator.

Direct Freelance Book Editing

Luckily, you can also find a slew of freelance book editors in a myriad of places online. This includes:

  • Those who advertise on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn – usually the cheaper option that I have seen.
  • Job recuiting boards such as ZipRecruiter.
  • Freelance sites such as UpWork and Fiverr.
  • Book-specific service sites, such as BookBaby or eBook Launch, which I mentioned earlier.

Don’t get me wrong, having someone on hand for editing your book is greatly beneficial, especially if you plan on making this your career. But keep in mind that it will wind up costing quite a bit.

The hardest part about hiring freelance book editors directly is having trust. You are paying someone to make sure your book has no mistakes. Because when critics and trolls attack, it’s not the editor that takes the brunt of the blows.

It’s you.

If you do go the freelancer route, make sure you do some heavy research into the editor’s background. How many books has he or she edited? What’s the turn-around time? What does past clientele say about the editor?

There are quite a few things to consider.

Editing Your Book Boosts Marketability

The bottom line is that manuscript editing services may be necessary if you plan on being an author. Everything from your reputation to how many copies you sell will be on the line.

The last thing you want is a bunch of reviews bashing the flow, grammar, and spelling of your book. People are highly impressionable when it comes to reviews.

Spend some quality time editing your book as best you can.

Proofread by Grammarly
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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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