1. Autumn Grayson says:

    To comment on the objectivity thing…sometimes the people closest to us are actually the best for honest feedback. Like, they might know us well enough to realize we can take some criticism. Or they know how to word the feedback in a way that’s obviously helpful instead of annoying. So it really just depends.

    I’m not saying people need to rely on their family members for edits and beta reads, but as long as an author doesn’t get super offended (or some other thing that makes the editing/beta reading process unrewarding) their family members may very well be a good place to at least get some initial opinions, if not more thorough editing. So authors should gauge that stuff carefully and go from there, instead of immediately assuming those closest to them can’t be objective. Although some people have a hard time being objective with loved ones, objectivity is more a matter of individuals and circumstances than anything else.

    • L.A. Smith says:

      My beta readers are all family members. I haven’t been able to find anyone else to do it for me. BUT they are all people whose opinions I trust, who read widely in many genres, who know what good writing and story telling looks like. I really appreciate their feedback, it gives me a place to start at any rate.

      • And having readers who know good writing is what really matters—even if they can’t articulate WHY something is off, they can still pinpoint the places that need some attention.


    • You make a good point, Autumn. We are more apt to listen to people we respect.


  2. L.A. Smith says:

    I totally agree with you! Professional editing is so very important! But I struggle with the financial aspect of it. If it’s your first book, or if it’s not your first book but other books are not flying off the shelves, it’s really hard to find the money. Professional editing is not cheap, nor should it be. But the cost can be a huge obstacle for authors. Especially if you are self-published and are also paying for professional cover design, a good-looking website, some kind of marketing plan…etc etc. All those things that we should be doing!

    I am fortunate that I have been able to find “enough” money to hire an editor for my books, but I can only hire her for ONE pass through. For my first book, I hired her to do the final proofread. For book two, because I am learning all about this and want to have a feel for how the different edits work, I am hiring her to do a kind of combined developmental/copy edit. I will have to do the final proof read myself. If I had the money to hire an editor to do every type of editing for the books, I would. It’s so very important. But really, really hard to do in the real world, I find.

    • Yep, money is an issue. So that’s a point in favor of trying for traditional publishing. Whatever company picks up the book, shoulders the cost. But for people who want to go the self-pub route, a book that has problems isn’t going to catch on with readers—well, unless it has some other hook. It’s always a possibility, I suppose. But for most books, they need to be well-written in order to sell.


  3. Kathleen Eavenson says:

    As a reader (trust me, no one would want to read a novel I wrote … if I could finish it), one thing most books need is a good proofreader! This is especially for self-published work. If $$$ mean making a choice, please find a proofreader who can really spell & catch grammar mistakes. You know – simple things like ‘it’s’ vs ‘its’; ‘their’ vs ‘they’re’ vs ‘there’, etc. Mistakes like that absolutely drive me up a wall, drops me right out of the story!!

    If you can afford an editor, more power to you. But please don’t neglect the “simple” stuff. [Rant over now]

    • Thanks, Kathleen! It’s really good (did you notice that it’s? I double checked it, just for you. 😉 ) to hear from someone who classifies herself as a reader. You are who we writers should be writing for. And you make the point brilliantly. The errors that can and should be corrected are a problem for readers!

      I appreciate you weighing in on this topic.


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