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Publishing on a budget, part 1: Editing

August 25, 2014

Hello again! You might have seen the post last week talking about the expenses that come with being an independent author. Since it might appear daunting to read this and see some of the figures, I wanted to follow up the post with some ways to cut expenses. Here are some of the things I’ve used. Try them out and see what works for you.

Let’s start with editing. Whether you are going the independent route or through more traditional one, you can’t get away from this one. You can make the editing process go by a little faster (and possibly cheaper) by starting with a cleaner manuscript. There are several ways to get your manuscript looking as nice as possible. One method I like to use is editing by hand. Sometimes, I can see things a lot better when I’m looking at paper versus a screen.

Another way to get a better grasp of your manuscript is reading it aloud or using one of those voice programs that come on a lot of computers. Hearing the part you’re working on can alert you to spots that are awkward or just don’t sound right.

I was doing some research once and came across a post suggesting that you look at your text backwards, starting at the end. The theory is that by looking at the words in reverse order, you’re forcing your brain to process the information differently. This helps you to see things you might otherwise miss.

There are also a lot of sites out there that go over your manuscript and flag different things such as passive words, frequently misused words, and other potential issues. I personally like using EditMinion and Grammarbase, which are both free. There are other services like Grammarly and AutoCrit, but those two often are more useful if you have a paid subscription.


Finally, I’d like to recommend picking up a copy of Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips and The Chicago Manual of Style. They can answer a lot of questions you might have when editing. Also, don’t underestimate the power of critique groups! Bring in some chapters and see what they catch.

This is a must-have! Seriously, I love it.

This is a must-have! Seriously, I love it. She also has a handy blog.

Now that you’ve got your manuscript in the best shape possible, there’s another way to cut editing costs. Do you have a special skill that might be in demand like graphic design, marketing, or photography? Consider bartering services with an editor you trust to help each other out. There may even be other skills you have that may be needed other than what I listed. Ask and see what happens!

Stay tuned, because I will be talking about some of the other points in future posts. See you next time!

  1. August 25, 2014 9:23 am

    Don’t forget about the FWA Editors Helping Writers Service, which connects you to a professional editor who is perfect for your specific manuscript. In addition, the first portion of the edit is usually at a discount. Go to and scroll down to the information that says “Editing!”

  2. August 26, 2014 10:33 am

    This is great info. I wasn’t aware of those editing programs. Thanks.

    BTW, who is the author of this post? Jamie? I’d like to mention to whomever runs this FWA blog that it would be nice if the authors who post blogs would interact with those that comment. I’ve commented many times and rarely receive a response. Mary Ann DeStefano is the only one I can remember responding to me. The last time I had questions, and the author never responded. I have my own blog and almost always interact with my commenters. It may give the author of the post more readers, and enrich those who are reading with some interaction.

    • August 26, 2014 3:57 pm

      Yes, I’m the author of this post. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Lori, and you’re welcome. I came across those programs through some author friends and really like them.

      • August 26, 2014 8:25 pm

        I appreciate you responding, Jamie. 🙂

  3. Lyn Hill permalink
    August 31, 2014 11:44 am

    At conference first time authors may want to check out the second edition of “Self-Editing for Beginners: A little Book of Questions” by Hill & Helscel which guides the new author through the evaluation of the first draft before challenging an editor.

    • September 28, 2014 11:49 pm

      I don’t know why I didn’t get notified of this comment sooner, but thank you for the recommendation, Lyn.

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