by Archana Murthy
We may all have many stories, perhaps even books, inside us. With the advent of self-publishing, there now exists a simple path (allegedly) to take these stories and books to the world outside. But do writers wishing to self-publish underestimate the importance of working with a professional editor? As a writer aspiring to self-publish soon, there is no doubt in my mind that I should work with a professional editor. Then my financial realities set in and I begin to wonder if I could afford to hire one. I say to myself, “Hire an editor after your first book makes a teeny bit of money or get a fresh pair of friendly eyes to look over your manuscript.” Such thoughts have occurred to me time and again.
Armed with this internal struggle, I walked into the AWP conference in Seattle earlier this month. The internal struggle reached a dramatic conclusion, thanks to a chance meeting with author Hugh Howey. Given my penchant for drama, my inner writer was ecstatic.
On the first day of the conference, Hugh Howey stopped by the Writer.ly table with a smile. Hugh said he liked Writer.ly (yay!) and that he loved the idea of bringing writers, editors, marketers, designers etc. under one roof. He then briefly chatted with us about the importance of editors.
“Even before querying agents, writers should work with editors,” said Hugh Howey.
There was my answer. Yes, as writers, we should focus on putting our best foot forward. As a reader, I have purchased some self-published books that are rife with inconsistencies, poorly formatted and topped with spelling errors. First impressions were made and I will never go back and buy books written by those authors.
I am currently working on a collection of flash fiction stories. My beta readers had already given me some valuable feedback. Post my ‘editorial enlightenment’ at AWP, I decided to invest in my writing future using Writer.ly: I posted a job on the marketplace, received two great bids from editors and finally chose an editor who expressed a particular interest in flash fiction. I must tell you that my editor’s feedback has been invaluable. My story collection is now going through some minor and major restructuring. I am certain that will be putting my best foot forward when I finally hit the publish button.
P.S. Thank you for the wonderful advice, Hugh Howey. I hope you do not mind that I have a huge writerly and readerly crush on you presently. Oh and thank you for starting authorearnings.com.
Archana Murthy spends most of her time weaving stories that seem to have no beginning and no end: she certainly is working on fixing that. She can be found doing Writer.ly things @writerlytweets and the Writer.ly Facebook and Community Pages.