Along with the ease of self-publishing came the ability to publish cheaply, and this may be one of the biggest problems with self-publishing today. Some of the disadvantages of getting a traditional publishing house contract are a loss of control and much lower royalties. The publisher chooses a cover they think will sell and they edit a book, including copy, line, and development editing. Even so, I have to say that not all traditionally published books are edited to perfection, or to the author’s satisfaction, despite the fact that the publisher uses professional editors.
Most self-published authors love the higher royalty percentage but often don’t want, or can’t afford, to hire the appropriate professional talent to make their book a quality product. I think it is accepted that in most cases an indie author simply can not properly edit their own work. Being so close to it, an author often sees what they think is there and not what is actually written on the page. Catching spelling mistakes is hard work (let’s hope I didn’t miss any in this blog), and in many cases, they fall in love with their own words. This makes it very hard to remove words, sentences, or even paragraphs that don’t add value to the story. Often a poetic line may be well-crafted and interesting but not appropriate for the particular book. It needs to go!
There are ways of mitigating the cost of editing. Some, such as using beta readers, are quite effective. But an indie author who chooses not to get help needs to know that the majority of books rejected by indieBRAG need a professional editing overhaul. The brutal fact is that to self-publish a high quality book, an author can’t have it both ways –getting higher royalties but not spending to have it professionally edited.