This article is mostly for you DIY publishers. But it's also for authors who opted to go with a small press (which may often be paired with an equally small budget). Maybe this can somehow apply to you authors who landed a really big publisher with a super swank contract (you lucky dog you) who might also resent the dreaded edit. Whoever you may be, let's get one thing straight right now. We get it, the copy-edit can be a real drag. The fun part is writing and maybe researching (really? - yeah, we know there are some of you out there) . . . and of course no author can wait to write their award acceptance speech. We're here to say what really needs to be said, so get ready for a little tough love. There are a number of self publishers out there, and even small press publishers, who notoriously cut corners on the copy-edit. This should never, ever, happen. When it comes to checking your manuscript for disconnects, grammatical errors, and typos you simply can't afford to do this yourself (or, God forbid, hire the most affordable person regardless of their qualifications).
Even if you possess some freakishly impossible traits and happen to be both an exceptional copy-editor and a talented writer, chances are you are too close to your work to be able to read it with a critical eye. The ability to read and proof objectively is necessary for a copy-editor. But going one step further, a skilled and experienced copy-editor will catch things most people never could. If you don't consider the Chicago Manual of Style to be a delightful coffee-table book and you don't have a copy of Strunk & White in your bathroom, chances are you don't have what it takes to edit your own book. Don't take this personally. Writers are typically right brained and copy-editors tend to delve into the left side of their brain while tackling the complexities of editing.
If you don't believe us, get your hands on a few self published books. Where, you might ask, will you find such books? Chances are you won't find one in a big box book store. There's a reason for that. Big box book stores typically won't chance taking up valuable space for books which are commonly riddled with errors. I am here to tell you, my friend, that self published books (and some indie books) tend to reinforce that stereotype. So if you want to be taken seriously as a self published author, take the time to seek out an experienced copy-editor. Dig deep into those pockets (but really, a good copy-editor is not as expensive as you might imagine) and hand over your manuscript to a professional who will help you put your best foot forward.
or . . . putting your best foot forward
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