I saved for a long time so I could pay for an edit, a copy edit and a proofread, which can become very expensive. So, if you don’t have any money saved up, here’s how you can do it for free.
Step 1: Use beta readers
Goodreads has a group dedicated to this. If you’re not going to get an editor then I suggest getting the opinions of a few beta readers. However, be careful with this. In my experience you can take too many opinions on board and you lose the original story. Stick to your guns and only edit things that deep down you know need changing. Often, after you’ve received a suggestion you’ll be slapping yourself on the head for missing it.
Step 2: Trade for a copyedit
Once you’ve gotten the structure sorted you’re going to need a copy edit – a copy edit sorts out style, formatting and any inaccuracies. A copy edit for 65,000 is about £500 so, if you don’t have money in the bank for that then find someone who knows about your subject matter. If you’re writing about teens, ask a friend or friend of a friend who is a teacher to look at it in exchange for 4 nights of babysitting or washing their car. If it’s historical then contact universities and see if anyone is willing to look it over for you and ask what you can do for them in return etc. Bartering still exists! Otherwise, there are people out there on the internet who will do it for free for the experience (this still counts as a trade). As you know, you can’t get a job in any industry without experience or a recommendation, you’ll be helping them out just as much as they are you.
You can also look at a style guide to improve the consistency of the text.
Step 3: Get in touch with that annoying friend who is really into grammar
Come on, EVERYONE has a friend like that. I have about 5. Friends are always happy to help out, especially ones who are into grammar. Have them check it through for you and any other friends who are willing. With this stage send it out to one person at a time because you won’t be able to keep track otherwise.
Step 4: Release your book
By releasing on kindle (still a little confuddled by Smashwords) readers will pick up on any typos etc and mark them up, this allows you to make changes even after release.
The benefit of all of this is that people are becoming aware of your book and they will talk about it to others – this is the beginning of your marketing journey. I’ll do a post on marketing in a few weeks, once I have an idea of the effects of what I’ve been doing recently.
In case you want a third option – there are also companies you can pay to do the editing and marketing for you but it’s about £3,000 to do this. Double the price of finding and paying for professionals yourself.
My advice is this – do what you’re most comfortable with, everyone has different preferences but do not launch a book with having other people look over it. There will always be mistakes.
Note: Please remember to be careful of sending out digital copies as this does put you at risk of people distributing your work.