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Sunday, June 26, 2011


My book is completed, for the most part and now comes the task of submission. Which leads me to my next dilemma. Do I have my work professionally edited? In my head I hear a voice telling me......duh.....what do you think?!?! Of course you pay to have the edit!!!!

And I don't mean proofreading. I have done that. I have gone over my manuscript time and time again trying to keep an objective opinion, and I always am able to find a typo or some random sentence that just doesn't make any sense. I then rework it and hope that it is better. But that is where I have my questions. By hoping my work is better, did it improve? Is my writing clear and concise? Will it engage my reader enough that they won't read the first paragraph and then toss the book to the side?

Thanks to the vast amount of information that is available on the internet, I have found that it is about 50/50 from writers and published authors if they hire a professional editor prior to submitting their work.
Some say they always hire out the job, some have used their crit groups and others are profoundly capable of self-editing.
I know my capabilities, which leads me to second guess every sentence I write, and I am sure I would benefit from hiring an editor to help polish my work, however the cost involved can be extensive. And the choices are endless. A google search on hiring a freelance editor yielded 7,680,000 results, wow, that's a lot to chose from. And it is not cheap. Most editing services I found charge anywhere from 1/2 cent to 0.5 cents a word to edit your work, and then if you want to have a more extensive study of your writing completed they will charge you by the length of your manuscript in pages. For my manuscript to be professionally edited it will be in the ballpark of $2000. I had a moment of sticker shock. I am serious about publishing my book (I love my characters and I have a burning desire to share them with the world) but to spend that kind of money as a risk, and no guarantee that it will get me published, I have a really difficult time of pulling the trigger and throwing my hard earned money over to someone for them to critique my work.

I did find a service through one of my many extensive internet searches that did fit into what I was looking for, and it offers a free trial for 7 days to see if it is any good.

It is called Grammarly and it is very user friendly, even if you aren't really computer savvy. All you have to know how to do is copy and paste, and away you go.

How it works is you put your text in the box and it does the magic. I started by trying to put an entire chapter in the first time, and my impatience came to the surface after 10 minutes of the program doing its work so I started over with about 3 pages of text.

After registering, it will give you a detailed report of where the errors in your work lie. There is a running list to the right of your work and it explains how many error it found, and what type of errors. After you are able to see your list running down the side, you are able to click on each one and it highlights the troublesome area and it explains the problem.
Some of the rules it explains are verb form use, limiting modifiers, punctuation within a sentence, vocabulary use, commonly confused words, comparing of two things, and the piece that I really like, synonyms. The list goes on and on of all of the correctness that this program is able to help a writer achieve.  (OK, this writer!)

I also like the program because it takes me out of just reading what I have written, and puts me in the roll of the editor. I have to find the place where the change needs to be made, it is a little tedious, but it takes the writer part of me out of the equation, and I am just focusing on the words, and how I can manipulate them to make my writing better. And it is still my writing, my voice that comes through.

It is relatively inexpensive too. There are options if you would like to sign up monthly, quarterly and annually. And if you just want to test it to see if it is the right help for you, they offer a 7 day trial for free. There is no limit to submissions in 24 hours that I have found, which I have found in other websites.

This may not be the right help for everyone, but it did work for me. I am sure I will end up using an editor on my own prior to sending in my manuscript, but by using this website first I have invested a little bit of money, but more importantly I have invested my time into my story, and my characters and I feel they deserve the best chance to be brought to life and shared with the masses. When I think about it that way, it doesn't seem like just a money thing, but more of a learning thing that I will be able to continue to develop as new characters leap out of  my mind and are forever immortalized in a story.

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