I’ve had several guest editors on my blog that have written about the importance of getting your work edited before you self publish. The general consensus is that (and I agree with this) all writers should have their work edited prior to self publishing.
But there is a conundrum when it comes to the market. Readers want books that are inexpensive and often won’t take a chance on a new author if the book is over .99. They are afraid to put money out for a book that isn’t put together well. I don’t blame them. I have seen a number of e-books by self published authors that are not only riddled with mistakes, but also look as if the author hasn’t cared to even attempt a proper e-book design.
You know, the book is missing things like chapters, an attempt at formatting, spell check. Basics that should be done no matter what you decide to charge.
So I don’t blame the readers one bit for not wanting to take a chance on an e-book. I get frustrated too.
There are authors who say that they can’t afford editors if they are only going to be putting the book up for .99. Their argument is something along the lines of what do you expect for a .99 book? Again, I can understand that. Let’s say you put $1000 worth of editing into a book (that’s not a lot by the way, that is a mid-low range of cost) and then you put your book up for .99. Under the current royalty rate at Amazon, you need to sell over 2800 books just to break even. That’s a lot of books.
But what if there was a different way to go about this? A way to, in a sense, reward authors who’ve taken the time and money to properly edit their books prior to publishing them?
Stay with me here. I know that there are flaws in what I’m about to suggest, but it’s an idea that may prove some merit if you give it a chance.
What if when you uploaded your book to Amazon (just for simplicities sake I’m going to use Amazon as my example) there was a section that said “Tag your Editor”. And then there was a list of *(1)*Editors registered with Amazon. You scroll through, find your editor and then tag them.
In my case that would be Jessica Klassen and Melissa Breau.
Then Amazon sends an email to these to lovely gals asking for confirmation that they did indeed edit my work. The click on the yes and now my book has confirmation of being edited.
What would this accomplish you ask? Two things.
1.It would show readers that the book was, at the very least, edited.
2.It would allow the author to charge a higher price for their book if they chose to.
You see, my idea is that if you aren’t an edited author, you can still publish your book, but you can’t charge more than .99 for it. Quality and cost can now intersect on Amazon.
In fact, to take this a step further, why not have Amazon break the Indie Authors into two sections? Edited and un-edited. That way the reader can decide where they want to spend their money and their time, with authors who *(2)* can’t/won’t/don’t edit or they can spend their money on authors who think enough of themselves and their work to put in a little time and effort.
If you have editors you could still choose to do a discount of .99 for your book, but again, readers would be able to see that you have CONFIRMATION of editing have been done.
Like I mentioned, there are flaws to my plan, but they could be worked out. This would give readers some idea of the quality of book they were purchasing and allow them to feel more at ease with a slightly higher price for an indie author’s book, which would in turn help the author make a living.
After what I’ve read in indie books, I can tell you that while there are a large number of authors who would never publish their book without editing, there are also a large number of authors who don’t, for a variety of reasons even make an attempt at having their work edited. The unfortunate part of this is that the people who need to get editing done are rarely the ones researching and finding out what the industry standard is, because if they were, there would be no need for this discussion.
*(1)*The editors would have to somehow prove that they were indeed legit before being able to get on the list and it could be broken down into country too. Perhaps they would have to supply Amazon with either a reg. Number from an editors association or proof of employment with a publisher or perhaps just website. I don’t know the answer to this one, it’s one of the flaws in my system that could easily be taken advantage of.
*(2)*There are a LOT of editors out there who are reasonable, I don’t think it’s a matter of can you afford to edit, but can you afford not to. Save your pennies, you can hire an editor, even if it’s for a single pass through the manuscript, it’s worth it.