Though many writers may fight against it or don’t understand the importance of teamwork, the truth is that publishing is a collaborative effort. It doesn’t matter if you are self-publishing or going the more traditional route (though we’ll focus on the former). There are always many people, or at least many forces, at work when it comes to getting your book ready for publication and ensuring that it sells the highest number of copies. Here are a few things to consider about letting other people in and accepting teamwork.
Neither Men or Books are Islands
Many writers, especially fiction writers, want to do everything themselves. While they might begrudgingly allow someone to design the cover, they don’t want anything else done to their books. It seems like an irrational fear, but many writers are afraid of editors changing the book to make it more marketable.
You can go against the mainstream river all you want, but the fact is that a book that is published without some sort of teamwork will falter somewhere along the line. It’s good to take suggestions. Many people will bring up problems that you probably didn’t notice in the first place.
Reviewers are people who just read your book.f you work with or hire a professional reviewer, then this person will talk to you directly about what works and what doesn’t about your book.
While many editors can tell you how well the logical, plot and characters flow from page one until the end, this is the reviewer’s primary job. Most professional reviewers have worked with publishing houses in the past, and they know what the industry is demanding. If you don’t have a book-loving friend or family member, then this is the best way to see how well your writing is. Not only that, but the person will be unbiased about your book, while a friend or family member might say that your book is great when it really isn’t.
Let’s say that you have a friend or family member who loves books and truly is willing to give an unbiased opinion. A professional is still good for several reasons. They know the market, and they know from a publisher’s point of view which books can or can’t make it. They also tend to have a certain sphere of influence, which can help increase your sales if you get a good review.
Editors offer a variety of services, but you’ll have to choose between light or heavy editing. Do you need an editor? Well, consider the following.
Light editing is just working on the grammar and sentence structure.
“But I wrote the book, I know how grammar works!”
Every writer makes simple mistakes, but a small mistake can change the entire meaning of a sentence. Consider the following example:
“Let’s eat, grandma.””Let’s eat grandma.”
A single comma can make a huge difference. Light editing will ensure that your message comes across clearly. Editors aren’t there to muddle your message, but to make it clearer and stronger.
That might be a harder case to make with heavy edits, but the same applies. Heavy edits are when entire parts of your story might be changed to suit the market or work within the logic of your story. You can usually object to these changes, but it’s worth listening to the suggestions to see if the editor brings up a good point.
Since we are tackling this from a self-publishing standpoint, most heavy editors won’t make major changes without your permission. They will more often add notes to the side of your manuscript. For example, if the logic in a certain area is faulty, then the editor will bring it up. He or she may also cite other areas of your book if you made special rules (like using magic in fantasy books).
Yes, you can publish a book by yourself without any editors or reviewers, but there’s a reason why the vast majority of self-published books lack a level of professionalism. The publishing industry is typically interested in changing manuscripts before they are printed, but only because they want the book to become as popular as possible while leaving your text intact. This is a collaborative effort, not a solo event.
If you want a book that truly is professional, then you need at least a few outside opinions. They will help strengthen your book and improve your ability to sell more copies.