Sunday, February 24, 2013

Breaking Even

It was a foggy morning in the back yard. Not in the front, which is weird. Not sure how that happens. If you look hard, you can see the deer hiding in the fog
I'm in a bit of a fog about how much I should spend on an editor. I haven't gotten any quotes on it yet, but most places like Red Adept give guidelines. For copy editing, they ask $.012 per word. At 150K words, that adds up to $1,800.00. For content editing, they ask an additional $.004 per word, That's another $600. For proofreading, another $.00175. That's another $262.50. A whopping $2662.50 for what I'm looking for. Add to that another $700.00 for my cover artist. Add another $100 or so to have someone format the thing. Oh, and I wanted a map, as well. That's another $200. That's $3670 to publish the book.

Chances are, my book will never earn that back. It's not one of the popular genres like romance. It's not popcorn sci-fi of the kind someone like Scalzi writes. All I can think of is the wife scorching my scalp with the Gort lazer glare. And it's not fair to her. But I need an editor. I wish I didn't, but my English isn't good enough to know which words get hyphenated, the precise meaning of every word, etc..

I know every author goes through this. You want to put the best product out there, but you have to have enough confidence in your writing to spend the money, or the chances are that the writing won't be good enough to make it back. It's one of the main reasons people try so hard to find agents and go the trad publish route.

Well, I'm confident enough to think I'll make some money, but not confident enough to shell out that kind of cash for editing. That means I have to find someone unproven. I'm looking at some editors advertising their services on places like Kindle Boards. Most of them don't write all that well. Their posts on the forums are stilted, the words clunky at times. Yes, they can quote the rules of grammar, but the sentences don't flow.

We'll see. I'll get some quotes in a month or so. But I have a feeling I'm going to end up holding my nose on this one.


  1. Fred,
    I've used an excellent formatter for e-books. She'd charge about 40-45 dollars, because she charges 35 for 112K. Let me know if you want her email. She also does formatting for Decadent Publishing.
    You'd also have to get a formatter for print, and that runs 50 dollars on up. When I finally get around to it, I'll use the person Chrys used.
    The most I've paid for covers is 220.00.
    As to an editor, I think you should negotiate by sending a sample chapter and asking for a quote. Your writing is so polished and clean. If it's a matter of commas and hyphens, it will be an easy job.

  2. My former editor with Ellora's Cave and Samhain is freelance now. Want her email? She edited my suspense story too.
    I agree that's a lot of money to spend, Fred. Too much I think and if you go for the unknown, you might end up worse off than when you started. I've read your other stuff and your writing is tight. I can't think you need much editing. Do you remember Pearson off CC? He's active on there now and has written an epic sci fi fantasty - I've read it and critted it as a whole. He'd do a tit for tat for you, I'm sure. I'll send you his contact details too if you like. Email me - bjel at btinternet dot com

  3. That is a lot to shell out up front! I don't have any other connections, but it looks like you've already been hooked up with some alternatives. :)