Tag Archive: Copyediting


This is a subject that drives me up a wall. I hate when I am reading a book and I start to hear the same words over and over. To me it’s just lazy writing and a sign of really bad editing.

Using the same a few times is common in your first draft. But by the time your book gets published you shouldn’t have the issue.

Your character walks to their car, gets in their car, and then drives their car. How many times do you really need to say car? It’s annoying and distracts the reader.

Out of the last 20 romance novels I’ve read this year, at least 15 of them had them problem and all but one of them were from real publishers, not indie’s.

So how did that even happen? I think (and again this is just my theory) that writers get it in their head that if they get an agent and a “real” publishing deal, that the publishers will take full responsibility for every little bit of editing your book, but in the end it is your book with your name on it, so you can’t leave it up to someone else.

The best thing you could ever do is to HEAR your words. Sometimes hearing your written words spoken out loud, will help you spot mistakes you just don’t notice when reading it. What I do is use a TTS (text to speech) program on my iphone called Voice Dream. I think I paid $1.99 for the app. I load up my entire word document and then have it read it back to me, chapter my chapter. I close my eyes and just listen.

If you don’t do this for your book then you are making a huge mistake. While your publisher will no doubt do their best, it is still your book and you want it to be perfect, right?

SO STOP REPEATING WORDS. Seriously. You don’t need to say door 3 times in a single paragraph.

Anyone who self publishes knows that hiring an editor can be costly.  I’ve seen people offering editing services for as low as $.02 per word or $1000 for a 300 page novel. Some charge per hour and they change $20 an hour and do an average of about 10 pages an hour. Some editors charge per page and I’ve seen those range in cost from $2 to $5 per page. Then there are the freelancer options where you can go on a site like FreeLancer (or a similar site) and hire someone from another country and get a 300 page novel done for around $150 or go the Fiverr route and with them a good editor will cost you about $5 per chapter.

I’m sure by now you’ve figured out that hiring an editor can be expensive. But as everyone will tell you, it doesn’t matter what it costs, in the end if you want to publish your book it’s something you have to do. Everybody needs an editor for their book, period.

So what can you do to get your book edited for free? Back in the day people used to barter. You do for me, I’ll do for you.  With a site like Fiverr you can pretty much do just that.  Let me explain how it works.

When you do a job for someone at Fiverr they pay $5 for it. You get paid $4 of that $5.

So what I did was offer my services as a beta reader. I would read up to 10,000 words of a person’s book and tell them my thoughts. I charge $5 for said services. I ended up doing about 20 of these jobs and had $100 credit in my Fiverr account.

A good editor at Fiverr cost you about $5 per chapter. My book had 15 chapters. If I was to buy the services it would cost me $75. But since I already had the $100 credit in my account, I got my editing services for free.

So basically again how this works is, you offer your services (of any kind) on Fiverr and then use the money you earn to get your book edited for free. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

So you finally write your novel and you’ve re-read it, and re-written parts of it 1,000 times. Now what? You send it to your editor and you wonder, just how much do book editors change?

The answer really depends on you and your own skill. The obvious thing they are looking for are major flaws in spelling and grammar but that isn’t all. They also look for mistakes in your story. For example in one place you may say that a girl is named Jennifer while in another part of the story you call her Nadine. Same girl that you changed the name of and missed the change in that one part. In one part of your story you may say the year is 1907 and then talk about World War II. Well obviously that’s a problem since World War I didn’t even begin until 1914.

But more than just the obvious mistakes, they are also looking at how well the sentences flow together and they also look for areas you can improve or expand on. Maybe there is a part of your book that might benefit from further describing the surroundings. They might also suggests minor restructuring where a bunch of secondary characters should be presented earlier in your story.  Or maybe in your book you are at a wedding and you write three paragraphs about your dress. Your editor will probably cut that down drastically.

Trust me when I say be appreciative of an editor helping you out with weak or awkward sentence structure.

They won’t change the heart of your story but they will help you present it in a way that the reader will enjoy it more … at least that is what a good editor will do. You can hire anyone to fix your spelling and grammar, but a great editor will fix your story in a way that makes the words you wrote, your story sing.

By the way, if you think you can’t afford an editor, you are wrong. Dead wrong. You can’t afford not to have one. You can find them super cheap at places like Fiverr.com and Odesk.com. Don’t publish your book without getting at least one strong edit!