Recently, I was approached by an emerging writer who opened her correspondence with something to the effect of: I don’t have money but I need a comprehensive editing package. My last editor was more interested in taking my money than fixing my book.
I can empathize with this writer: she’s hungry to get her product into the marketplace and believes her work experience qualifies her to be a NYT Bestseller. But, as most of us who have tried our hat at creative writing after careers in journalism, academia, technology, etc. have learned, writing fiction requires a different skillset.
Writers are fortunate to have resources available to help save costs while honing their craft. Through the Internet, we can take master-level courses in creative writing and storytelling, grammar, and all points in between at little to no cost. I have personally completed the Creative Writing Specialization through Coursera.org and found it to be one of the best learning experiences I’ve had to date. There are also local workshops hosted by writing groups and universities such as this one in my corner of the world: The Apprentices: Free Creative Writing Workshops at Northwestern University. On social media and apps like Meetup or Scribophile you can join face-to-face or virtual writing groups.
Also, there are literally oodles of books about writing available for free through your favorite eReader bookshop, and don’t get me started on the tens of thousands of titles on Kindle Unlimited alone! And, don’t forget about your library where you can rent ebooks and audiobooks as well.
All of these resources can help writers — newbies and veterans — gain a better command of their craft. This legwork is done so you can save time and money when you reach the editing stage of the publishing process.
As an editor, I hope you’ve used your time wisely and sought advice from early readers and writing partners. I don’t like to have been the only other voice at this stage of the process.
“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” Stephen King On Writing
What King means is, tell yourself the story in the first draft. Let it rest. Then collaborate to make your story more real through the help of trusted crit partners. Give your manuscript another thorough self-edit or two before handing it over to editors.
Also, check out this post about how to determine what kind of editor you need and how to combine services to save money without negatively affecting your manuscript. In the linked article are alternatives to costly editing tasks. Picking Editors: Can We Combine Steps…? Jami Gold has a terrific site chock-full of detailed guides and worksheets to help you tell your best story.
After you’ve done all that, give me a holler to discuss your publishing goals. email@example.com