Updated: Nov 21, 2020
We all like to save money while enjoying quality goods and services. It's no different with editing. Editing can be quite pricey and rightfully so because editors spend hours intensely focusing on each manuscript. But editing does not have to cost a ton of money.
There are many ways to save money on editing as long as you are willing to put in the work. Here are eight ways to save those pennies.
1. Read Before You Write
The number one piece of advice I give to writers is to read more. Read lots, and read often. Read in the genre you write in, and read other books as well. Before you jump into writing your own book, you should be familiar with the different parts of a story and what makes a story interesting to you. The more you read, the more you will know about writing craft and what appeals to audiences. This knowledge is a solid foundation for your writing, which means you will likely need less editing.
2. Do Your Research
If you do not know how to do something, look it up. If you're unsure about spelling, go to a dictionary. If you need an alternative word, go to a thesaurus. If you don't know how to punctuate dialogue properly, Google it. There are plenty of useful writing resources out there, and making good use of these will mean your writing is more polished before it goes out for editing. This will save you money because the editor will have fewer suggestions and revisions.
3. Write Multiple Drafts
If you give your first draft to an editor, there will be much more to edit than if you give them your fourth or fifth draft; therefore, revising your story and writing multiple drafts will save you money. Why? As you revise the story, you are aiming to make it better and cleaner. Being familiar with writing and storytelling will help with this, which goes back to doing your research.
4. Send Your Story to Beta Readers
Beta readers are people who will read your book and give you feedback to help you revise the manuscript. Beta readers are often (but not always) free, and you can send them a list of questions to focus on as they read to help them provide the feedback you need. Beta readers cannot provide the same level of feedback as an editor, but they can help you solve any glaring issues in the story before you send it to an editor. A more polished story equals a lighter edit, which will be cheaper.
5. Use Editing Software
Editing software is not a replacement for an editor, but it can help you clean up your work before you send it for editing. Software like Word's spellcheck or Grammarly will not catch any nuances, but they can fix routine spelling and grammar errors. Fewer errors will call for a lighter and less expensive edit.
6. Be Diligent About Self-Editing
When you edit your own work, be strategic about it so it will be as effective as possible. One useful strategy is to make yourself an editing checklist of specific things you want to go over before sending the manuscript to an editor. Here are some items for that list:
Spelling of proper nouns (names of people and places)
Canadian vs. American spelling
Spelling out numbers one to one hundred
Another tip for self-editing is to put your work down for a few weeks and then come back to it. Reading your writing with fresh eyes will help you catch any errors you missed before. Doing a thorough job on self-editing will mean less work for your editor and more money saved for you.
7. Start With A Manuscript Evaluation
A manuscript evaluation is a way to receive feedback on a manuscript before paying for in-depth editing. This feedback includes tips on how to improve both your story and your writing. Paying for a manuscript evaluation can save you money in the long term because it will help you know what to focus on during revisions. You will be able to clean up your manuscript without forking out your life's savings, which will make the editing process cheaper.
8. Make A Style Sheet
Editors use style sheets for every project to ensure consistency in spelling and style. Style sheets and style guides are a life-saver for editors and writers alike if you know how to use them. Making a style sheet as you write and passing that on to your editor will be like giving them a much-longed-for Christmas gift; having a style sheet made in advance will make editing much easier. The style sheet will save your editor time and will therefore save you money.
Employing even one or two of these ideas will save you money on professional editing. Now you can get that book published and still go on your summer vacation!