The term self-publishing is somewhat misleading. The name on the front of the book is not the only person who had a hand in getting that book to the point where it was ready to be sold. When I decided to go this route, I decided that even if I didn’t make much money, I was going to make something that I would be proud of, something professional and as free from defect as possible. To do this, I was going to have to invest in my book by outsourcing some services. The biggest expense, but probably the most important of these, was copyediting.
Copyediting (a.k.a. line editing) is more than just proofreading. A good copyeditor goes through your manuscript looking for ways to improve the flow and style as well as fixing grammar, spelling, and typographical mistakes. I knew it would be a big expense, but I knew that I needed another set of professionally trained eyes on this thing.
Enter David Gatewood, freelance editor. I was first pointed his way by bestselling self-published author/guru Hugh Howey’s old website. Hugh Howey used to have a little “author’s toolbox” feature on his website that shared a lot of the great people he would hire for his books. He’s since revamped his website/blog, and while he still posts a lot of helpful information on there, I can’t find for the life of me find that author toolbox link anywhere. Fortunately for me, when I first started looking into editors and such, I saw David Gatewood’s name in there and wrote it down in my notes.
Gatewood was a pleasure to work with. He is professional while still being down-to-earth and friendly. Both of these things are extremely important to me. On the one hand, you need someone who takes the job seriously and won’t worry about hurting your feelings when something needs changing. On the other hand, you want someone who sees the value in your story, and isn’t negative or condescending when suggesting a correction, because you want to feel like the editor is on your side, trying to improve your work, not trying to mock it. David is awesome to work with.
Some of you writers might think that something like this is too expensive, that you’ll just do it on your own. After all, you’re a writer, which means there’s probably a good chance you’re good at using the English language. And if not, you probably have a grammar Nazi friend to whom you could send your manuscript for a look-over. Listen, I consider myself about as grammar police as they come, but David really knows his stuff, and I really needed an objective set of eyes on this thing. I couldn’t believe how much of my writing needed correction. He really helped a lot of places where my writing was weak, and he caught all sorts of mistakes that I made–and I swear I read this manuscript until my eyes were bleeding! And so did my wife! So please, if you are serious about self-publishing, I implore you to hire a copyeditor. And if you’re going to do that, I don’t think you can do much better than David Gatewood.
Visit David Gatewood’s website: http://lonetrout.com/