I was originally attracted to the idea of self-publishing—“indie publishing,” if we’re being hip about it—because it eliminated the army of “gatekeepers” who get between the writer and the final product. I thought, and I still think, that letting readers in the big wide world decide on the merit of a writer’s work, before editorial departments get their hands all over it, is a more democratic way of publishing. Lots of famous writers publish their own work.
For this point of view to have any legitimacy, though, the final product must have the same production quality as the big houses. Works that are poorly written, are riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, and have covers that look like they were put together by toddlers just buttress the claims of the establishment that indie works “just aren’t good enough” to be traditionally published.
Happily, the huge rise in independent publishing has also fostered a market aimed at the indie author: developmental editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders, as well as cover and interior designers and marketing firms. The quality and cost of these services vary wildly, but my recent experience publishing The Vials of Our Wrath has shown me the unquestionable value of good editing. If you want to put out quality content, you really can’t skip this step.
So if I’m happy with the editing I received, what’s my beef with the editors from traditional publishing houses?
The editors and designers who worked on my book worked for me, not a third-party publisher. Their goal was to make sure my story was told the way I wanted to tell it, not the way the publisher thought would sell the most books. With professionals to help me realize my vision, by producing a book that looks and reads as polished as anything else on the shelf, the whole experience was a real joy.
I’m proud of my book, not just because I wrote it, but because it is high quality. Sure, it’s an expression of my creativity, but it’s also a finely crafted product.
Your book deserves nothing less.