So, you want to be a writer?

I asked Twitter: For those who are writing/interested in writing their first book – what advice from a published author would you like to read about?

And I received this in response: How important are editors? And should you pay for one on your first book?

You know what? That is a BRILLIANT question. And one I’d absolutely love to answer. Why, you say? Because I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I actually have true experience in this very question.

Let me give you a bit of background.

Before I published my first book, I was a complete noob (a.k.a. newbie, for those who are unfamiliar with gaming lingo hehe) to the whole ebook world. I rarely read ebooks, and even more than that, never read ones by self-published, independent authors.

I was a traditional-physical-book-kind-of-girl all the way.

Not because I was against ebooks or Indie authors/books.

It was simply the fact….I didn’t know they existed.

I only knew of traditionally published ebooks, which pretty much cost the same amount as a paperback. So of course, I was in no way interested in spending $8.99 on an ebook when I could just do my fav thing: walk in to Barnes & Noble and take a big whiff of the lovely paper and ink and buy the physical copy.

Why would anyone ever pay the same amount of money for an ebook? That’s what I’d think to myself, anyway.

But then! Thanks to a recommendation, I discovered books written by self-published, independent authors! And they were FREEE!! Or really reasonably priced!! Almost too cheap, in my opinion! 99¢? $2.99? Heck yes! I’d so support this community if it meant getting more books at this price.

So, that’s how I discovered the true world of ebooks and self-publishing, and I immediately knew that I wanted to self-publish my book. I wasn’t even going to query traditional publishers because why have someone else do what you can do yourself?

Now, before you go thinking self-publishing is easy, let me stop you right there. It isn’t easy. It takes a LOT of work. But if you can commit to it, then it’ll pay off in the end.

Okay, I’ve totally gotten off track here. The point of all that is, I was a noob to self-publishing. I had my finished manuscript sitting in front of me with no idea what to do with it.

Where did I begin? What was the first step? Who do I contact?

No one knew about this book, first of all. The only people who knew were: my sister (because she helped me write it), her husband, and my husband. We also had NO pocket money to spend on the book, because let’s face it. It’s freaking expensive to hire other people to do everything you need done to publish a good-looking, professional book.

So, being that I was completely green to the whole thing, I thought: I can do everything myself!

I can save money and do my own cover, do my own editing, do my own formatting, etc.

Piece of cake!


That was the BIGGEST mistake I have ever made in my writing career.

So, to answer that initial question: How important are editors? And should you pay for one on your first book?


Here is why:

The self-publishing world is BOOMING. Everyone and their brother are publishing novels now, which of course means it is also immediately getting scrutinized by the big guys a.k.a Traditional Publishing supporters. And by that I mean READERS. Plain and simple readers are getting on their high horses and judging self-published books with a huge magnifying glass, just looking for any mistakes possible.

Due to this, self-published novels are getting a bad rep, because some self-published authors don’t get their manuscripts professionally copyedited before publishing. It’s true. At least, that’s how it was at first. And that reason is because it can be incredibly expensive. Everything is expensive. Professional cover art can cost $400-$600, and professional copyediting can cost another $400-$600, depending on the size of your novel. It can even get upwards of $1,000, depending on who you hire and what they have to do to your manuscript.

And let’s face it. I don’t have that kind of money to spend on anything, let alone a book I don’t even know will sell. (My thoughts before I published my first book)

So, it’s completely understandable why self-published authors chose to skip editing and focus their money on their cover – because that’s what everyone judges books by first. It’s what draws readers in to their books.


Times are changing, and now you can get a great looking cover AND professional copyediting at a very reasonable price. There’s no longer an excuse for self-published authors NOT to get their books copyedited.

And here’s the reason why it is SO IMPORTANT to have your manuscript copyedited before publishing:

It’s all about reputation.

If you publish your book without it being copyedited, you’re basically submitting to the entire world your precious hard work – the blood and heart of your soul – at its worst instead of its best.

And it’s going to get ripped apart by grammar vultures.

You better believe every review is going to say that the typos and grammar were horrible. Readers prey on those 1-star reviews and won’t read your book if there is every any hint of poor editing. Even if people liked the story, they will knock off stars for poor editing.

It also gives a bad name to other self-published authors who DO put money into their books and pay for that professional editing job. People start to think that ALL self-published novels are bad and so won’t even try any at all.

I was one of those people that thought, eh…I can edit my manuscript myself and save that money. And so I learned everything I could about editing, edited my manuscript several times (omg, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gone through Sweet Oblivion… many times, I can hardly stand my own book), and published it.

I thought I did a GREAT job editing, too. That’s the funny part.

Looking back on it now after truly learning how a book should be edited from a professional copyeditor, I can’t even describe to you how in bad shape Sweet Oblivion was when I first published it in 2012. The thing is, it’s not that it was riddled with typos or anything…a properly edited book is SO much more than just spelling everything correctly. It’s about comma placement and punctuation – if you don’t have the correct comma placement, your book will get knocked a star or two. People are that brutal.

The fact of the matter is simple: You. Cannot. Edit. Your. Own. Work.

You just CAN’T!

This is the reason professional editors even hire editors for their writing.

Our brains are amazing. When you’re re-reading your own work, it automatically reads the story without REALLY reading what’s there on paper. Your brain fills in the words. So it completely skips over typos, especially small ones, like if a word should be “my” instead of “by,” etc.

So, please, if you’re going to give your beautiful work to the world – make sure it’s at its best. Your book is the most important investment you will ever make. And it’s worth it. Trust me on this. It’s SO worth every penny in the end – you will never regret getting your book professionally edited, but you will regret not getting it edited.

Not only will you feel proud of your work, but you’ll feel a whole heck of a lot more comfortable with it out there as well. I know when I published without it being edited, I always worried about it. I was never fully comfortable with it out there in people’s hands, and I just waited for those bad reviews that’d mention the bad editing, because I knew it wasn’t at its best.

If your book is professionally edited, readers will take you seriously as an author and will become loyal to you. They’ll want to keep reading other books you publish. If you don’t have a professionally edited book, a LOT of readers won’t even finish reading your book. They’ll immediate DNF-it, slap a 1-star on it, and call it a day. Actually, they just move on to the next book. The market is saturated with books now, and the only way to be successful as a writer is this ONE thing. You must stand out. And with books, you need to stand out in a GOOD way when it comes to editing. And that 1-star review will always be there to haunt you, and there will always be other readers who look at it and say, “Thanks for the review. Now I know I can skip this book.”

And that sucks. Because as a newly published author, you want every reader you can get, and you most definitely want to start your reputation off right.

In my opinion, spending the money on a professional editor is more important than spending it on a cover. Readers can forgive poor covers, but most times they show no mercy when it comes to editing.

Here are a few FABULOUS Indie Designers and Copyeditors that are so low-priced, it would be silly not to hire them:


Rare Bird Editing - Jessica is not only amazing, but very reasonably priced. I’ve looked far and wide for low-cost editing, and even though Indie editors claim to be cheap for their fellow Indies, I’d soon discover that wasn’t the case at all after finding out their prices. But that is NOT so with Jessica. Her prices ARE actually affordable, and she does such a great job. She has several degrees in English, so make sure to check her out at the link above.

Cover Designers

Me! :) I charge $50 + the cost of the stock images. You can find out all about it at my Writer’s Corner!

Caedus Design Co. - Only $50 + the cost of the stock images for a beautiful ebook design, but it doesn’t end there. He does so much more, including bookmarks, Facebook banners, and promo pics. Be sure to check him out!

Anastasia Creatives – This woman is amazing! She can do everything! Design you a website, format your books BEAUTIFULLY…the list goes on and on.

Good luck on your writing endeavors! And may all your book dreams come true! <3

2 Responses

  1. Candy S

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I was so wondering about that just today…no I’m not even near that point in the process,just starting to put story together,don’t even know if it’ll make it that far.But yeah as good as I can edit other people’s papers,my biggest problem is usually comma placement.
    Oh and I’m not one to get all fussypants about grammatical errors or typos unless it is serious hindering my reading of the story,that has only happened once.

  2. Bailey Ardisone

    You’re so welcome!! I’m so glad it came just at the right time for you! :) Good luck!!

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