Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why Don’t Indie Writers have Editors?

In this age of ebooks everywhere, Indies have flooded the market with some amazing stories. They lead most of the charts on each retailer and their fan base is growing steadily, while traditional publishers are having a hard time moving their titles. So why don’t Independent authors have an editor?
The answer is price. It costs 2cents per word. For a single read through. Let’s take a 500-page book as an example. Each page averages 300 words. That equals 150,000 words (My own exceed 200K) x 2.0 cents per word. The total? $3,000.00. For ONE read. And most books need 2-4 layers of these edits. We’re talking $5K + per book to be edited. Now, let’s look at other costs that have to come out before this 500-page book is released to readers.
Cover and inside images -$150-450
Formatting into multiple files -$500-1000 (This includes a separate file for EACH retailer. They all have their own rules.)
Research, copyrights, permissions-$200-1000+
ISBN for every format- $180.00 (Can only be bought in batches of 10)
Print set up- Separate file and cover needed - $200-400
Book Trailer/video -$200-400 for 30-60 second clips.
Email services -$30.00 monthly (Once you have over 1000 contacts, it is NOT free anymore.)
Electric, computers with great software, office supplies, internet and phone (many retailers won’t sign you up without a phone #), other equipment like printers, 1-$2K+
After that, Indies cover all their own marketing and advertising. This can run more than the editing, but an average monthly amount would be around $400-700. When you have 9 million+ competitors, you MUST advertise just to be found.
There are other expenses for authors that the reader never see, but you get the point from this list. Our total right now for a 500-page book, with everything above and before publication, is a whopping 5860.00. And that is using the lowest number for each expense, and only ONE edit. Can you imagine having a 300,000 word book that needs to be edited 3 times? That total alone is over 15K!
So the answer, my friends, is cash. People think writers are flush, but the term ‘starving artist’ came from writers begging in the streets over the centuries. We’re determined to put our prose out there, knowing we may end up in a pauper’s grave somewhere before it’s all over. The odds were stacked against writers way back when and it hadn’t changed much until the internet removed those barriers.
Some readers would say that if we can’t afford to edit, then pick another career. Okay. Sure. You do amazing things with hair, but you can’t afford the schooling for the trade. Oh, well. Pick something else. You’re a brilliant scientist but your parents can’t afford college. Tough titty said the kitty. Pick something else. You think you can become president and solve world hunger. No one cares. Go sling garbage bags at 3am every day until you die.
Some people, when told those things, will do exactly that. They curl into a fetal position and demand to know why they weren’t born rich or powerful. Others, like me, simply publish the work as clean as they can get it (I’m sorry. I’m no one’s editor) and later, if we can ever afford it, use the proceeds to send it to a real editor for that scrub and polish. Except, at those prices and with 9 million other titles to fight for attention, it is unlikely that an Indie ever makes enough money to properly edit their work. Does that mean we shouldn’t publish it? Oh, well and all that? If you still think so, maybe it will surprise you to know how many of our classic, infamous, studied figures in history were illiterate. We wouldn’t have:
·         Jane Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice. Here is a link to one of her early works that WAS published with all the mistakes.
·         Agatha Christie "Writing and spelling were always terribly difficult for me... [I was] an extraordinarily bad speller and have remained so until this day." Christie's dyslexia made accurate spelling difficult. In An Appointment with Death, Colonel Carbury's name is later written as "Colonel Carbery."
·         Winston Churchill
·         George Washington
·         Andrew Jackson-His perennial political rival John Quincy Adams once denounced him as "a savage who can scarcely spell his own name." Jackson's retort? "It's a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word."
·         Hemmingway
·         Twain
·         Fitzgerald
·         Yeats
Should all of those writers and infamous persons have picked another career?
So, what’s the solution?
Two things. Thanks to the internet, we now have wonderful readers who VOLENTEER their time to help writers clean up their books. Betas might be true angels sent down just for authors.
The other thing is education. We Indies have to do more than throw words on paper. We have to go out research it to find out if that comma belongs there. We have to take those night classes when the kids are sleeping.  We have to look at the corrections our Betas suggest and go, “Holy cow! I didn’t know that! I’ll try hard to not do it again.” In short, we have to care as much as our fans do.
On that note, I would like to say that I am sorry for every typo and mistake that you have been hurt by while reading my work. I adore my fans. I would never feel good about giving you work that isn’t top quality. I just can’t afford that outlay before you even see the cover or blurb. When I can, my work will go through a professional editor every time. Until then, I hope you’ll be patient with me. I really don’t like the mistakes any more than you do.
All I ever wanted to do was to give people amazing stories that take them away from life’s harsh realities. That’s what most writers want-Indie and traditional. The other red tape crushes us until we curl up on the floor and sob about the unfairness of the world. I much prefer explaining my position in hopes that you’ll continue to support Indies, especially the ones who try hard to do things right. If it weren’t for them, readers would still be paying full price for ebooks, which cost almost nothing to distribute once that first 5-8 formats are created. $14.99 for a paperback? Sure. For the matching ebook? No way. It should be free, and because of Indies, some of them are. Amazon has a matchbook feature. Check it out! You can buy the paperback, and get the ebook free!
Other advantages to readers, because of Indies:
Conversations. Did you know that none of the big authors even had FB pages until the Indies got there and began connecting with the fans? No offense to them, but famous writers would never have lowered themselves to ‘chat’ with fans unless their publishers and agents told them to. Need proof of that? How many times has S. King come to his page and shot the shit with a group of readers? Zero, but Anne Rice, who took herself Independent, often screams at her fans on a daily basis. Just click through their pages and scan to see how many of them actually talk to readers. Very few, but before the independents, there were none. You might be lucky enough to grab a few seconds at a book signing, or you may have gotten a form letter in response to your happy gushing, but no true contact. Indies have changed that. In the next decade, only rock star authors will be able to afford to ignore their fans, and Indies paved the way for that by getting on their accounts and talking to you. Nice, huh? One day, we may be able to bs with writers who would have ignored us ten years ago.
Lower prices, and the FREE EBOOK. Do you think traditional publishers were ever going to give you a 500-page book for free? Me either, but Indies do it by the hour, trying to draw your attention to their work. Traditionally published writers leave all of that to their bosses. They usually don’t have a choice. To be fair, they’re getting ripped off worse than Indies, but that will be a different rant.
Independent authors have already contributed so much to the world. Please continue to read their work, typos and all. You never know. One of those starving writers may just be the next Shakespeare.
*Not me. I’m just Angie, but there are amazing authors out there who need to be found, incredible stories that deserve to be read, and you’re the only ones who can do that. All hail the glorious readers!
Waving at you,
Free ebook!

1 comment:

Harold said...

To me the typos missed spelled words make the story that the author is telling more real, but that's me I have been told I'm an old uneducated redneck. One of my favorite author is Angela White she tells her stories with feelings and heart you feel that you are right there in the story and Angela will always have you on the edge of your seat and wanting more. I have many other authors that I enjoy reading and they are have the same traits as Angela White.

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